Atsushi's trying to hide a smile as he skips merrily to the door, "I'll be going now, Kyouka-chan I'll see you at home," He says as he slips out, the smile still tugging at his lips trying to worm it's way onto his face. Kyouka, for her part, doesn't even get out her farewell before Atsushi's closed the door and his footsteps can be heard rushing down the hall- bypassing the elevator completely and going for the stairs.
Dazai can't stand it anymore, he's practically losing his mind, for the past two weeks Atsushi's been up to... something, and the fact that he doesn't know what that something might be is driving him up a wall. "Ranpo-san," He sings sidling up to the great detective.
"Nope," Ranpo replies not even waiting for his question, "It's much more fun to watch you sweat." He sneers at the chip between his fingers before biting it in half with a laugh at Dazai's suffering.
Grumbling, he turns to the next potential informant, "Kyouka-chan," He gives her his best winning smile. "Surely you know what Atsushi-kun's been up to, you two live together after all," He bats his eyelashes.
Kyouka's gaze goes murderous, "I know, and I'd rather not think about it if you don't mind Dazai-san." He's not about to poke that bear, he wants a peaceful death thank you very much.
"Kunikida-kun," Dazai spins his chair towards his partner, "Surely the second in command of the Armed Detective Agency knows-"
"I don't know and I don't care," Kunikida snarls. So he doesn't know and he's just as curious as Dazai is huh? The mystery deepens. Atsushi shouldn't be mysterious. Dazai should know everything about him. He's practically his guardian. He is his guardian for all intents and purposes, and Kunikida's the agency's mom so why doesn't he know?
"I'm going to lose my mind!" Dazai screams throwing his head onto his desk.
"It's really not all that interesting," Tanizaki mutters while typing away.
Naomi hisses at him, "Quiet Onii-san, you'll ruin it."
Dazai sits up and his eyes go wide, "You know?" He breathes, "You both know, and I don't?" How do they know what Atsushi's up to?
Tanizaki hunches forward, "Naomi was curious so I followed him, and well..." He trails off leaving Dazai hanging and not in the fun way. "The president knows too," He adds trying to divert attention.
Dazai scoffs, "Of course the president knows, he's the president after all." That's not a surprise. The surprise is that Dazai doesn't know and can't figure it out. What could Atsushi be hiding? Atsushi's not the type to hide things, he's too innocent. "Wait, why did you report it to the president?" The realization hits Dazai as he's fretting over the problem. There aren't many reasons to involve the president in agency member's personal lives- and Dazai's assuming this is personal or Atsushi would have told them right?
"That's- well- because-" Tanizaki stutters trying to come up with a good answer and looking anywhere but at Dazai.
Naomi slaps a hand over her brother's mouth, "No, Dazai-san you'll have to figure it out yourself," She commands imperiously. This is what comes from being too spoiled, Dazai tries to impart that thought to the two of them with only a look. It doesn't work.
"It's none of our business, so long as he's doing his job properly," Kunikida says his voice tense and that vein in his temple that's usually reserved for Dazai's antics throbbing, "We should just let him be."
"You've got to be curious too, Kunikida-kun," Dazai purrs. Kunikida's so close to breaking he must be itching with curiosity.
"Not at all," Kunikida insists loudly as Yosano enters the room.
"What are you all shouting about?" She asks.
"Dazai-san wants to know what Atsushi's been up to," Naomi informs her.
Yosano snorts a laugh behind her hand, "Oh, is that it," She's snickering and looking away from all of them. She knows.
"You know?" Kunikida shouts slamming both hands onto his desk.
Yosano waves him off, "Well," She's devolved into giggling, "He did come to me for advice after all," She chokes on a laugh at the word 'advice.' Good, choke on your knowledge, Dazai thinks bitterly.
"What would Atsushi need your advice for?" Kunikida asks, his face going pale.
Did he need Yosano's advice specifically, or a medical professional's advice? Dazai chews on his thumb, he can't take any more of this, "I'm afraid that falls under doctor-patient confidentiality," Yosano says.
"But that means he was asking your advice as a medical professional?" Dazai says brightly.
Yosano shrugs, "Perhaps."
"Should that really be something you're so happy about?" Kunikida snaps, "What if he's ill, what if he's hurt, what if he's doing something dangerous?" He frets to himself.
"Oh it's definitely dangerous," Kenji says lightly, "But Atsushi-kun can handle it."
"How do you know?" Dazai and Kunikida shout simultaneously.
Kenji just tilts his head at them innocently as if he hasn't been paying any attention to the entire conversation, "Isn't it obvious?"
That's it, "Kunikida-kun, let's go," Dazai grabs his coat and his partner and dashes through the door, Kenji's farewell following them to the elevator. Once their inside he let's Kunikida fall to the floor as he puts on his coat.
Kunikida stands while the floors tick downward, "This is an invasion of privacy," He says weakly, "Atsushi's an adult, he can do as he likes, it's not as if-"
"We're practically his guardians," Dazai insists, "Think of the trouble he could get into if left on his own," He's adding fuel to Kunikida's fire, "He might do something that would embarrass the agency," He finishes like the devil on the other's shoulder.
Kunikida's shoulders are drawn all the way up to his ears and his response is strained, "Well, Atsushi is naive," He mutters, Dazai nods along encouraging him, "And there's so much trouble he could get into if someone doesn't keep an eye on him," Of course, of course, "This is for the good of the agency," Kunikida reassures himself of the lie.
"That's right, so let's tail him." They step out of the elevator and through the door of the cafe. "But before that, Lucy-chan, do you know what Atsushi-kun's been doing lately?" A cup flies dangerously close to Dazai's head. Lucy's standing on the other side of the cafe with a dangerous expression.
"Don't ever make me think about that," She warns.
"I see, well have a nice day then," Dazai and Kunikida back away and out the front door onto the street.
It's a busy day in Yokohama. Spring is turning into summer and the city is full of tourists and locals enjoying their days off in the warm sunshine. Dazai groans, that's just going to make it more difficult to follow Atsushi. He scans the crowd. No sign of a silver head anywhere. Not that it's a problem for him he chuckles and takes out his phone, "Let's see," He murmurs.
"What are you doing?" Kunikida looks over his shoulder.
"Tracking Atsushi-kun," Dazai replies casually. He'd installed a tracker on Atsushi's phone before giving it to him and it's come in handy more than once.
"You track Atsushi, why didn't you use this earlier?" Kunikida says angrily.
Dazai gives him an unhappy look, "That would be an invasion of privacy, Kunikida-kun," He says. The vein in Kunikida's forehead grows more aggressive. "Anyways," The application loads and Dazai blinks a couple of times, "Anyways?" He says again staring at his phone in confusion.
"What?" Kunikida looks back at the phone. "There's nothing."
"I can see that Kunikida-kun," Dazai shouts, "That's the problem, Kunikida-kun, there should be something but there's nothing, why isn't there anything, tell me Kunikida-kun?" He throws himself against a wall and slides to the ground in despair.
"Atsushi's probably disabled the tracker," Kunikida sighs and takes out his own phone.
Dazai turns a glare on him, "My Atsushi-kun would never do something like disable the tracker I so lovingly installed on his phone for his own safety, he is a good boy, he wouldn't even think of something like that," He mutters darkly.
"Well the fact remains that the tracker isn't working," Kunikida says as he taps at his phone. He holds it up to his ear and Dazai continues to glare. "Of course he's not answering, that idiot," Kunikida growls. "Let's go," He turns and marches confidently down the street.
Dazai let's himself be dragged along, "Kunikida-kun," He whines, "Where are we going, if Atsushi-kun's not answering his phone and the tracker isn't working-" He won't believe that Atsushi would ever think to disable a tracking device, "Then aren't we just wandering around blindly wasting our time?"
"As if I would wander around blindly wasting my time, Moron," Kunikida says, "We're going to Katai's place, we'll have him track Atsushi's location," He explains.
The spark returns to Dazai's eyes and he perks up, "As expected of Kunikida-kun, such efficiency," He says excitedly and trails after his partner. He'd thought of Katai, but he didn't really want to deal with the shut-in, but if Kunikida's so motivated that he's volunteering... Who's Dazai to stop him?
Katai's building is, as ever, dull. Few people would guess that such an exceptional Gifted was living here amongst his own garbage. Kunikida snatches bag after bag off the ground shouting at the man huddled in his futon about the mess. Dazai hovers delicately in the hall. He's not going into a gross place like that if he doesn't have to.
"Get up you lazy moron," Kunikida kicks at the lump once the apartment's in something of a livable state. Dazai's still not going inside, it smells rancid.
Katai's head pokes out from beneath the blanket, "Kunikida," He states as if he hadn't heard the tirade that's been going on for the last twenty minutes while Kunikida cleaned, "Why?" He whines.
"I need you to track someone," Kunikida tells him.
"If it's Atsushi, I decline," Katai replies and slips back under the covers.
Dazai feels his eye twitch, it can't be- "Do you know what he's doing?" Kunikida says wondrously. "Of course," He adds, "You can access CCTV across the city, you can see where Atsushi is and what he's up to." Kunikida's eyes are bright with the thought.
"That would be an invasion of privacy," Katai mutters from beneath the blanket, "I wouldn't do such a thing."
"But what if we asked you to very nicely?" Dazai says finally braving the room now that it's aired out some and there's a strong chance that they can use Katai to find Atsushi.
"No," Katai refuses once more.
"Then at least track his phone for us," Kunikida demands, "The fate of the agency could be at stake." Looks like he's convinced himself their mission is much more important than Dazai being unable to tolerate not having a piece of information.
"I refuse," Katai repeats.
"Damn you," Kunikida yanks the covers from Katai and tosses them across the room so the other can't return to his hiding spot.
Katai squeals and curls into a ball, "No, what are you doing to Yoshiko," One of his hands grasps for the blanket on the other side of the room. Dazai's eyes narrow at the two wires trailing from Katai's ears to something hidden in the curve of his body.
"Oh, what do we have here?" He says as he bends forward to investigate.
Katai withdraws his grasping hand and curls into himself further, "It's nothing at all," He insists weakly.
A cheshire grin splits Dazai's face and he extracts the object with ease. "Let's see what you're hiding," He looks down at the object in his hand. It's a game console... Running a... "A dating sim?"
With a gasp Katai tries to snatch his game back. Dazai easily keeps it out of his reach with a foot on the other man's face. "Katai, really?" Kunikida groans, "You're devolving."
"No," Katai says, "This is an evolution, Yoshiko 2.0 is my true love!"
"Ew," Dazai says and dangles the game between two fingers.
"Are you kidding me?" Kunikida roars, "This is just getting further and further from humanity, what even prompted you to get something like this?" Kunikida's voice trails off, "What prompted you, and why are you suddenly so protective of Atsushi?" His eyes narrow.
Dazai's smile returns, "Indeed, Atsushi-kun did mention off-handedly that his savings took a recent hit," He swings the game back and forth, "I wonder what it could have been?" He says.
"That- well- you see- it's just-" Katai stutters still grasping for the game. "Please just let me have my girlfriend back!" Oh, it seems their little Atsushi's gotten a bit more devious. He's still a hundred years too early if he thinks he can out devious Dazai.
"I might consider it," Dazai hums, "Or I might consider," He takes the game between his hands and starts to bend it gently.
"No," Katai wails, "Anything but that!"
"Then give us Atsushi-kun's location," He orders maniacally.
Katai's lower lip wobbles as he stares between the game and Dazai's murderous expression, "J-just promise you'll give Yoshiko 2.0 back unharmed," He begs.
"That depends entirely on you Katai-kun," Dazai responds adding a little more pressure to the game. Katai writhes in pain as if Dazai's breaking him in half and not a toy made of plastic and silicon.
Kunikida's head falls into his hand, "I think this is the most pathetic hostage situation I've ever seen."
"Hurry up and decide, Katai-kun, Yoshiko 2.0 is in pain," Dazai says ignoring Kunikida's lamentation.
Katai's expression is pained, "You installed a tracker on Atsushi's phone right?" He says desperately, "If I re-enable it you'll be able to track him all day, then will you leave Yoshiko 2.0 and me alone?"
"Gladly," Dazai says brightly. "Kunikida-kun, return the man's futon." He orders imperiously. Kunikida does with a shake of his head and Katai burrows beneath.
"For Yoshiko 2.0," He says and the room fills with electricity. This is the first time Dazai's actually seeing Katai work and it's pretty interesting watching the monitors flicker and feeling the static tracing lines across the hair on his body. His phone beeps in his pocket. "There, please return My Angel to me." Katai holds out his hands pleadingly.
Dazai checks his phone and sees the little white tiger icon indicating Atsushi's location bobbing along three streets over from their current location. "He's close," He says and tosses the game back at Katai. "Let's go, Kunikida-kun," He races through the door without checking to see if the other's followed.
"Wait up dammit," Kunikida snaps. Dazai ignores him, distantly he hears yelling, "And you need to return to the 3D world!" Footsteps hurry to catch up with him. They rush through a few alleys and down a side-street and nearly stumble right into their target.
The two duck behind a dumpster and watch Atsushi pass by none-the-wiser. "Now, where are you off to, Atsushi-kun," Dazai whispers. They slip from behind the dumpster and out of the alley, staying just behind Atsushi's back. He turns to look in a shop window and they both hide behind a bush. He stops to give a tourist directions and they have to huddle in the doorway of a candy shop.
"Dazai-kun?" A disgustingly familiar voice wonders.
Dazai grumbles, "Fancy running into you, Mori-san." He turns to look over his shoulder at his former boss and the nasty little Elise standing at his side. "Now please leave us alone we're on a very important mission." Kunikida's frozen beside him and trying to process how to act in this situation.
Mori looks past the two of them and spies Atsushi, "I see," He says almost under his breath as his lips turn up in a wicked smile "Could it be that you're wondering what he's been up to lately?"
It's not possible.
"I'm surprised, I thought it was obvious, but I suppose you specifically not noticing makes sense," Mori says happily directing the last part at Dazai.
"You're lying," Kunikida says finally finding his footing in the conversation, "There's no way you know and we don't."
Mori frowns and raises an eyebrow, "You really think that I don't keep tabs on all of you, how naive." Of course Mori knows, he knows and Dazai doesn't. Dazai growls and digs his fingers into his head.
"This is the worst, how could Mori-san know and I not know, what has corrupted my cute little Atsushi that he would hide something from me, aren't I his mentor, aren't I the one who found him by the river-" Technically Atsushi had pulled him out of the river, but if anyone still thought that was coincidence Dazai would laugh. "Doesn't he look up to me as a caretaker and older brother figure?"
"I hardly think all that's accurate," Mori deadpans.
Dazai looks at him wildly, "You won't tell me will you?"
"Of course not, that would be an invasion of privacy," He replies.
"Fine then, we'll do this the hard way," Dazai says. He turns back to Atsushi-
Atsushi who has disappeared, "You made us lose him," He shouts at Mori who just looks back at him with a smug smile. "On purpose," Dazai realizes.
"Well," Mori turns away not willing to disclose his motivations.
"I hate you so much," Dazai growls.
"I second that," Kunikida adds, "But we don't have time, Dazai, let's go," He hurries off in the direction Atsushi was walking before they lost sight of him. Dazai takes a look at the tracking application on his phone and sees their heading the right way. He catches up to Kunikida and they both rush, scanning the crowd as they go.
"He's heading to the pier," Dazai realizes as he watches the little tiger make it's way across his screen. "We can head him off," He grabs Kunikida by the collar and takes him down a shortcut to the pier. After passing through another series of darkened alleyways they stumble between a souvenir shop and a pizza parlor and into the dimming twilight of the pier.
A quick scan of the crowd is all Dazai needs to spot Atsushi walking towards their location from the opposite direction. He tugs Kunikida back between the building as Atsushi nears. "It's getting late," Kunikida says, "Only couples are here now."
"Couples?" Dazai's eyes widen, "Could it be?" He turns to Kunikida, "Our little Atsushi's found himself a someone?"
"Why hide something like that?" Kunikida wonders.
"I can't wait to find out who it is and tease him about it," Dazai gushes.
"Nevermind," Kunikida sighs realizing the answer to his question. He straightens himself and turns away. "Anyway, now we have a probable conclusion we can head back-" Dazai snags the back of his collar and holds him in place as he chokes.
"Aren't you curious who it is?" He asks, "Atsushi-kun might be getting tricked into thinking he's dating someone when their really making fun of him behind his back."
"Or he might be the victim of a scam."
"Or an enemy of the agency is using him for information."
"If we're going to do something we need to see it through to the end," Kunikida concludes returning to Dazai's side. How easily he's manipulated.
Atsushi stops by an ice-cream cart obviously waiting on someone. Dazai can barely breath with the anticipation as he scans the crowd. Could it be that pretty girl with the red hair? Or maybe the cute boy with the glasses? What's Atsushi's type anyways? Dazai hadn't even thought to ask, he'd always assumed it was Kyouka or Lucy, perhaps that's why those two were so agitated? Looking back on it this should have been the obvious conclusion, no wonder Ranpo was disappointed.
"Shit," Kunikida breathes, snapping Dazai out of his thoughts, "We've got a problem," Dazai follows the finger he's pointing with and, honestly, he's surprised Kunikida recognized him without his coat.
Akutagawa is walking along the pier. He's wearing casual clothes and looks to be just enjoying his day, but if he spots Atsushi it'll be a disaster. "He'll ruin Atsushi-kun's date," Dazai ponders. On one hand, it would be interesting to see how Atsushi handles the situation, on the other Dazai really wants to embarrass Atsushi about his new significant other.
"We have to stop him?" Kunikida asks like he's reminding Dazai that they're supposed to be looking out for the younger members of the agency.
"Of course, you're right," Dazai replies trying to look innocent. "It looks like he hasn't spotted Atsushi-kun yet, so if we intercept him maybe we can just turn him away!" He leaves Kunikida behind and skips from between the buildings. He steps right up to Akutagawa who stops in shock.
"Dazai-san?" He gasps, "W-what are you doing here?"
"I can't come to the pier and enjoy a beautiful sunset like this?" Dazai says, "And then of course I spot Akutagawa-kun and think how rude it would be to ignore a familiar face," He adds and throws an arm around the boy.
"I-I see," Akutagawa stutters, "Well, it's nice to see you, but I need to go," Unusual, Akutagawa would normally jump at the chance to be anywhere near him. Dazai's eyes narrow and his hand latches onto Akutagawa's shoulder.
"And pass up this chance to enjoy the end to such a lovely day?" He asks somewhat darkly.
"Well- you see- it's just-" People sure are stuttering around their excuses today, people who have no excuse for not having better excuses. Akutagawa's phone chimes and he startles. His shoulders tense.
"Oh?" Dazai raises his eyebrows and picks the phone from his pocket, "And who might be messaging you right now?"
"No one," Akutagawa snaps and tries to snatch the phone back. Again, unusual, he's never so defiant. "Just- Dazai-san, I'm running a little late, and well, if you could, just excuse me," He stumbles over his words again. Dazai frowns, he can lie better than this so what's got Akutagawa so nervous?
He opens the phone and looks at the recent messages. His eyes go wide with delight seeing the most recent message from someone who's contact is set as a heart icon with no name. "Isn't this exciting," He giggles, "Akutagawa-kun has a lover, who might it be?"
Footsteps approach him from behind, he recognizes Kunikida whose hand lands on his shoulder, "We need to hurry, Atsushi's looking around," Kunikida says.
"Just one moment, it seems we have two little lovebirds here tonight," Dazai says happily only to be hit with a feeling like having cold water dumped over his head. "Two... both... two lovebirds..." He looks down at Akutagawa who's huddling into himself and looking pointedly away from Dazai and Kunikida. He coughs. Dazai gasps.
Kunikida snaps, "No, absolutely not, I forbid it, you're obviously just using Atsushi for information!"
Dazai smile feels like it's going to crack his face.
"D-Dazai-san, Kunikida-san?" Atsushi's shocked voice reaches them as he jogs over from his place beside the ice-cream vendor. He probably heard Kunikida's loud declaration.
"And you," Kunikida's rage turns to Atsushi who startles and falters as he reaches them, "What are you thinking meeting up with a known enemy, how could you be so naive, and keeping this a secret from-" Kunikida stops, "The president knows?" The question sounds more like a concern.
Atsushi shrinks, "He does," He confirms, "Um- that is to say, well, it's been about two months now so." He rubs the back of his neck shyly.
Not two weeks?
Wait... "You've been able to hide this from me for two months?" Dazai cries, he turns back to Akutagawa who's gone stiff, "This is your fault," He says, "My Atsushi was a good boy, and now he's dating a bad influence and look at what he's become!"
"Dazai-san," Atsushi's voice is low and dark, "I'm the one who hid all of this, because more than anyone I didn't want you to find out," He says with narrowed eyes.
"Why-ever could that be?" Dazai looks at him innocently.
"You're already planning on how to make fun of us for this aren't you?" Atsushi says with a dead-eyed stare.
"I'm sorry Dazai-san, I wanted to ask your permission-" Akutagawa starts.
"How many times to I have to say you don't need his permission, Ryuu!" Atsushi snaps and Dazai blinks. 'Ryuu' who's that? That couldn't possibly be the mass murderer that Dazai is currently restraining? He couldn't possibly allow such a cute nickname?
"I'm going," Kunikida says weakly, "I'm just- I don't know where I'm going- but I can't be here anymore," He staggers away.
"Atsushi-kun," Dazai sings, "What's Akutagawa-kun's contact name in your phone?" He reaches out to try and take Atsushi's phone. "You're just a heart in his, isn't that sweet, who knew Akutagawa-kun could be so cute?"
"I'm leaving too," Atsushi says and turns away before Dazai can get to him.
"Wait, Atsushi," Akutagawa calls.
Dazai turns to him with a feral smile, "Oh, it's 'Atsushi' now is it?" He says. Akutagawa shrinks. "Atsushi-kun, you shouldn't just leave in the middle of a date," Dazai calls after him, "Atsushi-kun, you're going to make your Ryuu-kun cry!"
Atsushi ignores him.
Akutagawa seems like he's trying to erase his presence and disappear.
"No, no, two months, you've somehow hid this from me for two months," Dazai says, "I'm not letting you two get away so easily."
Mori's sitting on the couch giggling like a schoolgirl as he watches TV when Fukuzawa arrives at the apartment. He takes the seat beside him after putting away his weapons. On TV Dazai is waving happily at the camera as he's hauled out of the ocean. "You could have just told him," He says with a small smile at the other man's glee.
"Where would the fun have been in that?" Mori asks scandalized, then turns serious, "He should have figured it out long ago, they weren't exactly clever or thorough about hiding their relationship."
"They're young," Fukuzawa replies as he takes Mori's hand and places a gentle kiss on his knuckles, "They'll get better."
"Or maybe they won't," Mori muses turning away from the paramedics trying to force Dazai into the ambulance and looking into Fukuzawa's eyes, "Maybe we will." He reaches out to thread his fingers through silver hair and pulls Fukuzawa into a kiss. Slow, soft, and as familiar the thousand other times.
"You don't think we're too old and stubborn, Rintarou?" Fukuzawa asks playful and soft once they part.
Mori pouts, "We're not the least bit old, Yukichi." Fukuzawa chuckles at his ire and Mori leans into his shoulder as they watch the scene unfold. "Though I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, Dazai-kun is dense about these things after all," He sighs, "I feel sorry for Chuuya-kun."
"You say that as if Nakahara's any better," Fukuzawa murmurs into Mori's hair which still smells faintly of bleacha, "Were you hiding bodies earlier?"
"Do you really want to know?"
They settle into each other and let the day go, they can discuss what to do about their subordinates later.