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Chuuya is not invulnerable.

He wishes he were though. For all that he has a god inside him, rapid regeneration has never been one of the powers it grants him. He’s sturdy, of course, because anything less and his own ability would crush him, but he heals at a rate that is all too human. The faster side of human, but still very much within human limits. Though when his main comparison for human is, ‘constantly wrapped in bandages from his steady supply of injuries’ Dazai Osamu, his perception of healing rates and body sturdiness can be a bit skewed. Half the time, he can’t tell when the fool’s injuries are healed because he’s covered in bandages all the time.

He really wishes he were completely immune to his own ability. At his normal use, For the Tainted Sorrow doesn’t give him any backlash at all, not even a minor headache. He knows that complete lack of price or condition is something of an oddity among Ability Users, not entirely unheard of, but rare. Well, that’s not entirely true. His powers do have an upper limit, that fine line between For the Tainted Sorrow and Arahabaki, the moment right before his powers ascend into godhood and tries to break free of its mortal container. (He never mentions to anyone on how that limit keeps increasing the more he trains)(He started his life in an experimental lab and he would rather not go back there)

When Corruption activates, everything in his body aches. It’s the ache of overstretching muscle, of yanking on his joints, of blood vessels rupturing under his skin to paint colourful bruises, of internal bleeding that leaves him coughing up blood. Arahabaki tried to tear the world apart, and at the same time tries to twist its prison apart as well.

Soukoku has never had to use Corruption in quick succession, and they never would when the consequences might be too grievous to contemplate. Thankfully, his recovery time from Corruption was not too long, it only a few days for him to return to top fighting form.

The best part of it, though it’s all quite terrible, is the moment right after he’s been neutralized. Dazai bringing him down from his destructive high like an expert falconer with an unruly eyas. It always feels poetic to open his eyes and for the first thing he sees to be Dazai.

The moment No Longer Human neutralizes him, gravity slams down like a heavy weight and he simultaneously feels nauseous and exhausted, a strange feeling that could be summed up as ‘I’d throw up but I’m too tired’. The best part, however, comes from when his legs crumple from underneath himself. He either falls into the warmest, most secure hug of his life, toppling directly onto his partner, or he get to hear Dazai’s yelp as he dives to catch him. Either way, he ends up in a warm hug that delights him down to his soul. After the cold and dark and lonely, it is a welcome relief.

For all he screeches when Dazai teases him about his height (He’s not that short! It’s only that Dazai is freakishly tall!), he likes that Dazai can just tuck him under his chin. In his dazed, disoriented and nauseous state, it feels like the best thing ever. Sometimes, if he’s lucky, he’s still awake those rare times when Dazai lifts him up to carry him to the extraction point. Those are the times when they were not prepared, when Corruption has to be used as their last Ace in the hole and they had not planned an extraction team. For the most part though, their use of it is planned and methodical and they get to sit quietly together and wait for their extraction team to come to them.

His body, limp and worn out like a cooked noodle, gets hauled to rest against Dazai. Sometimes, if the ground is flat enough, he lies with his head on Dazai’s lap as he plays with his hair and hums softly. Sometimes, when it’s been bad and he can’t be laid down for fear of drowning in his own blood, he gets to be cradled on Dazai’s lap half-curled up so that his head could be nestled against the bandages of his partner’s neck. If anything’s injured, usually broken, he gets to sit between Dazai’s legs, tipped back against his chest with his legs splayed out braced against the floor and the rest of his body braced against Dazai’s.

When he wakes, it’s usually to the cold trickle of an IV in his veins and a warm palm in his. To his clothes folded neatly and carefully, by a man who would throw his own clothes in a heap more often than not. To his gloves, coat and hat, always the first things to be lost when he activated Corruption, retrieved and sitting neatly on the pile. Dazai teased him relentlessly about his fashion and hat, but in the end, he never failed to retrieve it.

His recovery bed, safe in headquarters, is as comfortable as they can make it and the brightly patterned quilt cocooning his body is hideously tacky, but he loves it all the same.

They have a procedure for post-corruption.

For the first day, when every muscle aches and even blinking hurts, he stays in headquarters. They hook him up to everything he needs, fluids, painkillers and blood if necessary. He gets cocooned in his absolutely hideous quilt, a gag gift from Dazai that he uses solely out of spite, and barely moves for that first day.

Boss visits for the report and to give him more painkillers if necessary, Kouyou visits to check up on him but Dazai is the only one who stays constantly during this time. The constant physical contact soothes the jittery feeling in his body from overusing his ability. No one else is allowed into the room, much less know where it is located. He’s at his weakest post-corruption and after the first time he was nearly successfully assassinated in his weak state, even Mori agreed to the security changes Dazai demanded.

He sleeps deeply for most of that first day. If the backlash was bad, that first day could stretch into a second and third. As soon as he’s capable for being upright and utilizing For the Tainted Sorrow again, he usually flees to his own apartment, a cosy little nest in a high building not far from headquarters.

If he’s feeling up to it, he flies there, his ability preventing his sore body from jarring but his flight path not as steady as usual. On his not-so-good days, he limps out to a car with the help of Dazai and gets chauffeured home by Hirotsu for added protection.  Either way, Dazai ends up camped by his apartment for the next week as an annoying but helpful guard dog until Chuuya throws him out in a fit of rage.

After Dazai defects, Chuuya doesn’t use Corruption for four long years and he couldn’t be happier. He almost forgets how much it hurts until he has to use it to put down an eldritch god. Seriously, where do they keep finding these people? By this point in his life, nothing less than that would cause him to pull out Corruption. He’s far too competent to use it as a crutch anymore.

It’s not the first time Dazai has left him after he’s used Corruption either, but the number of times could barely be counted on one hand and it’s always been under extreme circumstances. Dazai usual hovers when he’s like this, in an aloof way where his insulting words don’t match his kind hands. The protective paranoia is very much still there though, because the extraction team tells him that they got to him within ten minutes of Corruption cancelling. An extremely short margin helped by Dazai pointedly sending directions directly to the team’s phones.

He rouses briefly, in-transit, to a cheer of victory from the team but he slips under again before he can ask. The fact that he’s able to wake up at all means that Dazai probably succeeded in saving Yokohama. They give him the really good drugs, enough so that when he wakes again, everything is over and Dazai is sitting at his bedside.

The bed is just as comfortable as he remembers, but the pain in his body is much worse than he can recall, and he does not miss the feeling. His faint memories of the agony do not do the experience justice and he’s mildly horrified to realize that with the blur of time, he forgot about the severity. At the first hitch of his breathing he can hear the click as somebody adjusts the painkillers. It takes a few more minutes before the pain recedes slightly and he can pry his eyelids open.

Even after those four years of estrangement, Dazai is sitting by his bedside, dutifully holding his hand.

They are older now. Dazai is even taller and has thrown aside his Mafia Black for a ridiculous tan jacket that somehow suits him. Chuuya’s hair has grown longer and he’s adopted a more formal style of dress, that used multiple layers of cloth and one of Dazai’s old jackets to make himself look more bulky and intimidating without his more intimidating partner by his side.

He doesn’t question how Dazai got in, or why Mori is suddenly so gracious with letting the traitor sit by his bedside. He just grips that hand tighter, closes his eyes and luxuriates in having Soukoku together again.

And if that absolute trashbag tsundere of a human being squeezes back, well, that no one’s business but their own.