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The Fox and His God

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Chuuya’s weight is heavy on Dazai’s back, skinny legs shaking from exhaustion and effort as he hauls his partner through streets slicked by the light rain falling. The water plasters his bangs to his face and stings his already-cold skin, the chill of the air and the endless water seeping cold all the way into his bones, making his toes and fingers numb, and seeming to slow his mind.
The only thing on Dazai’s mind is getting Chuuya to safety, and his entire being is focused on the steady thump of his feet on concrete, the muted pain of walking on bare feet over pebbles and debris, dulled by the cold and his own exhaustion. But he knows where he’s going, even if it is a long walk, and he is determined to make it there. He won’t die - can’t die - but Chuuya has no such safety. Chuuya is human, humans are fragile, especially when they’ve been taken over by a god and essentially ripped apart from the inside out by power that is far, far too strong for them.
So Dazai keeps walking, ignoring stares and offers to help, just making his way towards the Armed Detective Agency.

.oOo.

Ranpo had a weird feeling about today when he woke up. Something just felt off, and he couldn’t put his finger on what it was - which disturbed him, because with an ability like his, he really shouldn’t be stumped like this.
But he couldn’t do anything about the feeling creeping up his spine, save for keeping a keen eye out for anything out of the ordinary and watch his back carefully as he makes his way into the ADA office building. 

Nothing happens, and Ranpo is full of nervous energy as he sits at his desk, unable to focus on anything, not even hungry for the breakfast pastry he got himself. He drums his fingers on the desk and pouts, and then he gets up and invites himself into Fukuzawa’s office without knocking. Fukuzawa looks rather unimpressed with that, but he doesn’t say anything, because he can tell when Ranpo is on edge, and he knows that the boy’s hunches are never wrong. The kid may only be nineteen, and seriously lacking in life skills, but he’s smart as a whip and plenty sharp enough to trust his gut when it tells him something. So Fukuzawa just tells him to sit down and tell him what’s wrong.

Ranpo complains that he’s felt off all day, like he’s waiting for something to happen but he doesn’t know what, and Fukuzawa frowns. That doesn’t really bode well, but if Ranpo doesn’t have any more information, all they can do is wait, and be careful.

 

It’s just past lunchtime when that something finally happens.
There’s a tremendous boom from somewhere in the city, and a shockwave rattles the furniture moments afterwards. Ranpo bolts to his feet and peers out the windows, eyes wide as Yosano rushes over to look as well. There’s a brief glimpse of a crackling, purple dome near the sea, and then it shrinks out of view. Yosano and Ranpo run to Fukuzawa, joined shortly by Kunikida, but the man just shakes his head. The government has already claimed that as their task, not the ADA’s.

And then Ranpo goes back to waiting, pouting and fidgeting because he is incredibly curious about what the hell that was. Kunikida snaps at him to sit down and quit that, but Ranpo’s only response is to petulantly open a bag of chips as loudly as he possibly can, and then chew them as noisily as possible, until Kunikida practically begs him to go back to fidgeting quietly.

 

And then comes the knock on the door.
It’s a heavy knock, sounding like the tired knock of someone who can barely manage to lift their hand to the door, let alone leave rapid taps. A thud, a pause, another thud, another pause, and one more thud before there’s a light rasping sound as the hand slides down and away from the door. Kunikida is first to his feet and first to the door, though Ranpo is right behind him, peering around the taller man while Yosano peeks down from the top of the stares, holding a knife just in case. Kunikida has a page from his notebook ready, and he swings the door open - to a pair of kids (though Kunikida would be pissed off if he knew Ranpo still thought of him as a ‘kid’). They look young, certainly not any older than Kunikida (fifteen), and one of them is unconscious.

Ranpo examines them closely, concluding aloud that they’re no threat, at least not at the moment. The one who knocked is swaying on his feet, clearly at the end of his rope. His right eye is closed and caked with blood, some dried, some being slowly washed away by the steady dripping of rainwater from his soaked bangs. His other eye is dull and blank, like staring into a black hole, and his skin has an unhealthy pallor to it that denotes blood loss and malnutrition.
The other one is equally as pale, and also just as bloody, though he has strikingly orange hair, also matted to his head with rain. He’s draped over the brunet’s back, body limp and arms over his shoulders, legs being held by the brunet to keep him on his back.

Kunikida demands to know the newcomers’ names and their purposes here at the ADA, and he receives a curt, flat answer.

“My name is Dazai Osamu. This is Nakahara Chuuya. We want to join the Armed Detective Agency.”