If Chuuya ignores him, maybe he’ll go away.
It’s late. Late late. There are only two reasons why Dazai would make the trek to Chuuya’s apartment at this hour, through wizened, darkened alleyways, and underneath a starless sky - either he wants to get drunk, or he’s already drunk, and needs help with one of his alcohol-fused schemes. Often it’s the latter.
Too often, the latter involves murder.
Chuuya, curled up on his futon, does not want to deal with this right now. Does not want to smell the alcohol on Dazai’s breath, or watch his hands, slim and practiced underneath the bandages, pour too-expensive wine into a pair of twin glasses. “Come on, Chuuya,” he’ll say, nudging a glass suggestively. “Just one, Chuuya. Just one drink.”
The knocking resumes, louder, and Chuuya swears under his breath and rolls reluctantly from his futon. Sure enough, when he opens the door, Dazai’s cat-got-the-canary smile blazes in Chuuya’s face.
“Drink?” he says, proffering a bottle.
Chuuya closes the door.
“Oh, Chuuya,” complains Dazai, weight settling, painfully loud, against the doorframe. “Don’t be like that. Let me talk to you, at least.”
Talk. Chuuya’s face flames without his permission - he’s perfectly aware of what talking means between the two of them, and he knows Dazai knows, too.
“Okay, maybe not talk,” Dazai amends. “Although I wouldn’t be seriously opposed - “
Chuuya opens the door again, just a crack, and Dazai manages to wiggle through. “You’re already drunk, aren’t you?”
“Unfortunately, no. This bottle is for you.” Dazai raises it again, letting Chuuya read the label this time - vintage and French. Chuuya raises an eyebrow. “You are drunk.”
“Awww, can’t I do something nice for my partner?”
Dazai steps further in the room, setting the bottle aside as he casts a critical eye across Chuuya’s unmade futon; his overflowing desk, books spread-eagled across the ground, and dirty clothes hastily discarded atop any available flat surface. “I should’ve told you I was coming over,” Dazai says, scrunching his nose at a stack of empty dishes. “This place is a mess.”
“You can’t just - “
As usual, Dazai ignores him, instead plopping down on a clean-ish corner of Chuuya’s bed. “You should dim the lights.”
“I thought we weren’t talking.”
“We’re not,” Dazai says cheerfully, “yet. But I look better in low lighting, don’t you think?” He props his chin on his hands and looks at Chuuya from underneath long eyelashes.
For the second time that night, Chuuya flushes. “What do you want from me?”
“Oh, a candlelit dinner and some rose petals.”
“Take a joke, Chuu.”
Chuuya is thisclose to pulling out his own hair. He figured he’d regret letting Dazai in the door - drunk-Dazai, that is, or scheming-Dazai or insomniac-Dazai or, really, any of the versions Chuuya has had to deal with because Dazai always comes to him. That’s what partners are for, after all.
But something about Dazai tonight is...different.
He’s still dressed, an impeccable black suit and coat, despite that it must be past midnight. The bottle he’d brought Chuuya sits untouched. How’d he get his hands on it in the first place?
“I asked nicely,” Dazai says, evidently far more attuned to Chuuya than Chuuya is to him. “Come on, Chuuya, sit down. You’re driving me crazy just standing there.”
“I’m driving you crazy?”
“Oh, Chuuya, it’s not like you were asleep when I knocked.”
“I was trying to be.”
“And I brought you wine, so all in all, I think it’s a pretty fair trade.”
“Not everyone in the world,” Chuuya says, although he finds himself sitting down on the arm of his couch, facing Dazai, “is an insomniac waste of medical tape.”
“I took care of Chuuya after plenty of nightmares, didn’t I? The least you could do is return the favor.”
“So that’s what this is about, then?” When Dazai doesn’t respond, Chuuya elaborates. “You can’t sleep, can you?”
Dazai worries at his lower lip, eyes a million miles away. “Not exactly.”
“Well, for fuck’s sake, Dazai, can’t you just tell me?” Chuuya knows what Dazai is like when he can’t sleep; had known from the beginning this wasn’t one of those times. But if it’s not insomnia, and he’s not drunk or scheming or (as far as Chuuya can tell) horny - then what is it?
A funny expression begins to grow on Dazai’s face. “Were you angry when I became an Executive?”
The lamplight sputters once, briefly. “Were you?”
Chuuya remembers that day. Remembers watching Dazai smile, the stark impression of fanged, bloodstained teeth; of a skeleton crawling out of Dazai’s chest. And Mori-san, of course, looking as though he’d just crowned Japan’s new emperor.
And, naturally, Chuuya remembers that night. Whispering it into Dazai’s skin - Executive, proud and bloody, laying it into the delicate curve of Dazai’s neck. They had been so messy, lacking finesse; half-drunk off their own victories, of a new title to whisper in bated breath. All across Yokohama.
“I don’t remember,” Chuuya says now.
“Fuck off, Dazai, I don’t. What does it matter? You know I’m close, too.”
“It should’ve been you instead of me.”
Now Dazai’s just spitting nonsense; dripping caramel and chocolate fudge, the kind of things that are only ever said in low lamplight. In bodies brushing up against each other, so fragile and easily known.
“It should’ve,” repeats Dazai stubbornly, catching the look on Chuuya’s face. “Which ability do you think is more efficient? To silence everything around you, or to amplify it until only you remain unaffected? The Port Mafia knew your Corruption was the most powerful ability in Yokohama - why didn’t they choose you?”
Chuuya’s had this argument before. With himself, with Kouyou-nee - hell, in every dream he’d had for weeks after Dazai’s Executive ceremony, a poisonous snake slipping through his head. Why didn’t they choose me?
Now he knows why.
“The ability doesn’t matter,” says Chuuya tiredly, “if the user is misguided, inexperienced, or inefficient.”
“You’re none of those things, Chuuya, and you know it.”
“Yeah?” Chuuya scrubs a hand across his face; feels his body protest, but slowly begin to grow accustomed to the prospect of another night without sleep. “Go bring that up with Mori-san, then, and see how well he reacts.”
“Soukoku would’ve never been possible without you, Chuuya.”
“And you sound like a fortune cookie, Dazai.”
Dazai’s eyes flare unexpectedly in the lamplight.
“Do you think this is a game, Chuuya?” he snaps, voice painfully, bleeding-edge sharp. “After everything we’ve done together - after years of double black, and you still don’t trust me to know what I’m talking about? The way you’re so loyal, it’s no wonder people mistake you for an Executive’s dog. You’re not just my dog, Chuuya, but you will be if you let yourself go like this - “
“Let myself go?” Chuuya’s rising from his perch on the couch before he even realizes it - crossing his room in a handful of strides, getting right, right in Dazai’s goddamned unreadable face. “What was I supposed to do? Beg Mori-san for a promotion? Kill one of the Executives - “ he pauses, sucking in a breath - “like you did?”
Dazai’s mouth thins. “Even if I did,” he shoots back, “this is exactly what I’m talking about. So what if I killed an Executive? You’re soft, Chuuya - too soft for the Port Mafia, and you’d better grow out of it fast because if not here, then where else are you supposed to go?”
Chuuya closes his eyes. Partly because he doesn’t want to be this close to Dazai - right now, at least - but partly because all the fight is draining out of him like an unstoppered drain. Chuuya knows this punchline well.
“Wherever you go,” he whispers resignedly. “Partner.”
He is painfully aware of the shift of Dazai’s clothing - of feather-light fingertips brushing across his cheek. “Chuuya,” says Dazai, and then he stops. Swallows audibly. “I’m sorry.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“It mattered to you.”
“To the Port Mafia,” Chuuya corrects, and he feels like he’s spitting from a manifesto. “I was glad Mori-san made you an Executive.”
“Even if I killed the previous one?”
Chuuya shivers. “Even if you killed the previous one.”
When Dazai’s lips finally brush his, it feels long overdue. Between the two of them, there’s no harsh, lingering taste of alcohol or nicotine; instead, the unfamiliar taste of sobriety, of something so Dazai it makes Chuuya’s chest hurt. He presses forward - maybe a little too hard, bruise-hard, hands coming up to grip at Dazai’s jaw. Dazai tilts his head in response; opens his jaw wider, dirtier. Lets Chuuya lick into his mouth, chasing the taste, the hot, curling burn in Chuuya’s own stomach.
He had known something was different.
But now that he’s certain, it hurts too much to consider letting go. To even contemplate the possibility of pushing back, getting to his feet; pretending he had fallen too far forward, out of his league, out of his depth. The idea tears Chuuya’s heart in two. He wants to press against Dazai’s skin, hard enough to leave imprints; bruises. Wants to swallow him down in every way; wants to feel like he’s walking the line, tipping from a tightrope.
Wants that awful, desperate, swooping sensation before he falls.
Chuuya - in that moment, the one before Dazai stands up and pins Chuuya to the bed, caging his smaller body with long limbs and sharp elbows, before Dazai draws inconceivable noises from Chuuya’s throat, mouth brushing across every exposed inch of skin; an angel, a devil in disguise bringing Chuuya to the moon and back with just his hands and lips and clever, clever eyes -
In that moment, Chuuya wants to be in love.
A murderous, violent, drowning love.
He thinks that Dazai could slaughter the entire Port Mafia, and Chuuya would still remain, ever faithful, next to Dazai’s bloodstained, decaying side.