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Really, I Loved You

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“Chuuya~!” Dazai yells out, wrapping his limbs around the smaller male as he clings onto him, burying his face in the red locks. Chuuya simply ignores him, carrying on with reading his poetry books. “Pay attention to me!”

He feels a vein snap when Dazai gets off of him, taking the book out of his hands and proceeding to read it as he held it up in the air. “Eh, chibikko reads love poems?” the dark haired male teases, leaning down to pinch his lover’s cheek gently. The smaller male fumes, convinces the red in his cheeks is from anger and not embarrassment as he kicks Dazai in the shin, grabbing his book when the latter crouches down.

“Chibikko’s so mean! I just wanted to see what you were reading! You read so many of those books, you should try writing your own.” There goes Dazai’s whining again, and Chuuya leans up to plant a brief kiss on his lips, effectively shutting the other up.

He mutters under his breath, averting his focus back to the pages scribbled all over though he knows it’ll be useless when he feels Dazai’s fingers slipping under his chin, forcing him to look up, “If you wanted a kiss, you could’ve just said so.”

Chuuya sighs as he drops his book down on the couch, arms wrapping around Dazai’s neck as the latter rests his palms on Chuuya’s waist and squeezes lightly. The brunet leans down to capture the smaller’s mouth in a longer kiss, one lingering even after he pulls away. And so, they do it, over and over; intensity growing with each time that Chuuya’s lips are red and swollen when finally they part.

It’s the small moments like these that Chuuya relishes in; where it’s just them, hearts in each other’s holds and heartbeats matching as one. A bitter thought comes to mind, but Chuuya brushes it off; it’s not the time. Not right now, when Dazai’s still right there in his arms.

Dazai’s right there.

He’s right there, Chuuya, he convinces himself.

He is right there. Just not in my grasp.

 

In retrospect, Chuuya should have seen this coming. What did he expect, after all? He was only given a chance to be with Dazai after Odasaku had went, but there was no body found in the rubble of the building, so what were the chances that the man was still alive?

He just… hadn’t prepared himself for this. Now that he’s sitting right in front of Dazai like this, he knows it’s too late to back out. It’s now or never.

 

It starts with something small. Passing thoughts, tiny chimes from the back of his head here and there before they thread themselves into this large blanket of overthinking that eventually engulfs Chuuya’s whole being. But was it truly overthinking when it was simply facts? They were all laid out right in front of him, dots already connected. So why did he keep denying it?

He’d heard stories of the man, most from Dazai’s own mouth, some bits from other colleagues in the Port Mafia. How Odasaku deserved better than he had; the story of a selfless and kind man who left his past as an assassin behind to care for a few children. The story of a man who Dazai looked at the same way Chuuya looks at him.

Speaking of looks, it started with small observations that probably meant nothing. How Dazai’s eyes would glimmer with a certain affection when he talked about Odasaku, the utter grief in them whenever he visited his grave, the nights Dazai would cry over the man while whispering soft sobs of ‘I miss you’. Then it clicked.

Dazai could never, never, love him like he loved Odasaku.

Not once did Dazai ever look the same at him. When they’re cuddling, all he sees on Dazai’s mien is the typical, teasing look he often shows. He holds no weight behind his words when he tells Chuuya he loves him in the middle of sex. Maybe he does, simply not as much as the ‘I miss you’s Dazai sobs into their pillows.

But that’s alright. Chuuya brushes it off. It’s just a chip on his shoulder; surely, it won’t affect their relationship that much, right? The feeling of knowing that he’s just a replacement stings, but at least Dazai’s still his, no? This is better than pining after him from afar like he used to.

Funny how he’s a mafioso, yet he acts like a pirate instead. One eye closed with an eyepatch to blind him from the overbearing feelings that haunt him and overthinking that strikes him. The parrot on his shoulder is the thoughts in his head, repeating saccharine sweet lies to reassure himself.

 

It starts with something small. It starts with one date being blown off. Then two. Then three. Suddenly, the chat history between Chuuya and Dazai is simply a cycle of ‘are you free’s and ‘no, I’m busy’s. And Chuuya doesn’t mind, he knows Dazai wouldn’t turn down a case if it gave him a lot of money; and the male had told him beforehand that his schedule would only get busier from then on.

Dazai goes home late and leaves the house early, doesn’t even talk to Chuuya when he gets home and proceeds to just pass out on their shared bed, leaving the smaller male to tuck him in. That turned into a routine now. So did Chuuya’s heart wincing in pain when he hears Dazai’s small mutters in his sleep. Proclamations of his love for Odasaku was what they often were, occasional mumbles of how much he longed for him.

Sometimes Dazai smells like someone else’s perfume when Chuuya tucks him in, sometimes Dazai leaves in the middle of missions and leaves Chuuya to fend everyone off on his own because he knows Chuuya would be able to handle them.

But it doesn’t make it hurt any less.

Another date blown off. That’s fine. It’s alright, maybe tonight, Chuuya can go to the bar and get drunk out of his mind. It’s been a while and he misses drinking somewhere that isn’t the same confines of his apartment’s four walls. So his feet drag him to a bar he hadn’t known yet somehow had known existed, he’d heard about it in Dazai’s stories before; how he, Ango and Odasaku drank there often, making small talk and joking around.

The bell chimes lightly, though it isn’t heard over the noise of the customers inside. Neither is it heard over the sound of Chuuya’s heart being thrown onto the ground and breaking apart like fragile glass. His throat burns, head feeling like something was pounding on it from hurting as he held back his tears. Neither of them had noticed him, thank God, because he’d hate to interrupt their little moment. Not when Dazai was practically beaming as he leaned into Odasaku’s touch, how he smiled so brightly as the other leaned in to kiss him.

Dazai’s happiness is everything to him, and if it meant him finding it with someone else other than Chuuya, by all means. Chuuya doesn’t mind, at least… Dazai was still his, in a way? They were still in a relationship, after all. Right? That was a toxic way of thinking, sure, but Chuuya was desperate for anything at this point.

So he fixes his posture, walks back out the door and heads to his apartment. He’d suffered through stab wounds and bullet holes, yet why did this hurt so much more? He felt his head being ripped in two, heart taken out of his chest and replaced with a hollow organ that meant nothing while knives dug themselves into his back. Maybe he’s hallucinating, but he sees his heart being drained of blood, no longer red but white from the scars that litter it. It’s cracked, hollow, meaningless, yet he still sees Dazai’s hold around it and something tugs on his soul.

He’s grateful when he spots the door to his apartment in his peripheral view, his legs feel like lead, his arms are shaking and he doesn’t know whether it’s from Arahabaki or Dazai taking a toll on him. He stumbles inside, almost tripping over his own feet before catching himself on a wall. He closes the door behind him and locks it, taking off everything but his shirt and boxers as he walks over to the wine cabinet, taking out the first bottle he sees. A Petrus 1889 bottle. How funny, the same one he’d opened when Dazai left the mafia.

 

He wakes up to a cold spot next to him and a pillow drenched in tears.

 

It’s only two days later that he sees Dazai again, the male rummaging through his fridge for food and immediately whining when he senses Chuuya stepping into the apartment. Dazai turns to him, and Chuuya barely holds back the sob building up in his throat. The first thing he spots is a small hickey he knows wasn’t made by him, considering the fact that it was fresh and he hadn’t seen Dazai in days. But he ignores it, walks over to the fridge and pulls out some ingredients to cook. Maybe he’ll cook Dazai some canned crab, that was his favourite, as atrocious as it was.

Dazai doesn’t hear him calling out to him when he finishes setting up the table and cooking, focus averted completely on his phone even as Chuuya drags him to eat. A smile paints Chuuya’s mien, despite it being fake, knowing exactly who he was texting that has him so distracted from everything else.

He sits Dazai down on the table, watching as the male eats his food without looking away from the screen, not even noticing that Chuuya had cooked his favourite. A heavy tension hangs in the air, heavier than gravity when Chuuya used his ability. So many words left unspoken, and Chuuya can’t handle it.

“Dazai,” he starts off, trying to catch the said male’s attention just the slightest, “You know how you told me I should try writing some poems of my own? I tried it out, do you want to read them?”

His voice cracks at the end of it, but Dazai doesn’t seem to notice, only nods and says, “Sure, read it out for me?”

 

‘Five things I’d use to describe me and you. One, you’re the horizon whereas I’m the sun. My day starts with you and ends with you; I’ll always come home to you even if I’m not physically there, but my heart and soul will always be with you.’

At least, that was how it used to be. Chuuya waking up to Dazai and sleeping next to him. How at the end of the day, despite all this, Dazai still held his heart in his hands and Chuuya still found home in the man, he had nowhere else to run to, after all.

‘Two, how you’re like an asymptote in those graphs kids drew in school that I was envious of because I wanted to be like them. I’m the curve, and I’m constantly getting closer, closer, closer and closer to you, yet we never meet. We simply were not meant to collide.’

How Chuuya could only reach so far within Dazai’s heart but would never truly have a place within it. Not when Odasaku kept his place untouched with barriers surrounding it even after all these years. Or did Dazai keep it away? He doesn’t know, but either way, he’ll never truly mean anything to Dazai.

‘Three, the moon comforts the stars that she is never gone, simply out of place before she comes by and graces them with her presence once more. She’s there for them even if she isn’t, like how it is when I’m left with only a sliver of your being.’

He hated the fact that he relied so much on Dazai for comfort because no one else would understand his worries without him having to voice them. How Dazai knew every single part of him and his thoughts, all his quirks and habits no matter how minute. The fact that he depended so much on Dazai for things like reasons to keep himself alive and used him as one when he couldn’t seem to find anything else.

‘Four, you’re the hot green tea I drink on cold nights, often burning my tongue as it scorches down my throat but you give me warmth and I can’t seem to stop taking you in. How it tastes differently when you add something else to it but its originality shines through, like how you seem to change around everyone you meet yet a bit of whom you truly were is always there.’

And Lord, did Chuuya’s throat scorch from swallowing back his proclamations of love towards the other man, especially knowing that they would never be returned.

‘Five, you’re reading a book containing your entire life story from beginning, to middle, to end. In one of the pages, you see a footnote containing my name. You look it up and find all these poems upon poems dedicated to you, ink spilled as they painted pages with you-- isn’t it funny, how you’re my entire novel whereas I’m just a brief mention in yours?’

Especially after this entire fiasco ended; he would mean nothing to Dazai. The man’s lived without Chuuya before and he sure as hell can do it again. Chuuya, on the other hand, is a whole other story.

 

“Dazai, let’s talk,” Chuuya sighs, taking the man’s phone away and placing it down as he makes eye contact with him, ignoring the pools that sting like acid rain. “I have a favour to ask of you, and I need you to hear me out, okay?”

“Alright, do tell.”

Dazai doesn’t need to know that Chuuya’s been asking Yosano for check-ups nor his shortened lifespan, is the first thing Chuuya decides to omit out. He reaches across the table, holding Dazai’s hands in his like they were his lifeline. “I know what you’ve been doing, I know you’ve been seeing Oda-kun, and I’m happy for you. I really am.”

The brunet looks like he was at a loss for words, mouth opening as if trying to explain himself yet nothing comes out; and as soon as he finally pieces his words together, his (ex-)lover cuts him off, “So I have one final request for you before I let you go, okay? I know you could at least do this much. It won’t be much, I hope not, but if it is, then tell me, alright?

“My final request for you is… for this next week, can you… pretend you’re still in love with me? Let us act like lovers again, back to how we were only months before this. Just for the next week, then you can leave me behind,” Chuuya tells him, smile ever-present despite the sobs that slip past his lips and the tears that streak down his cheeks, “It’s just a week, Dazai, please; I need this.”

Dazai seems to be contemplating, every last possibility playing out in his head before he comes to an agreement; this was a win-win situation for him. Chuuya wouldn’t hurt as much, and he and Odasaku could finally tell all their friends. So he says ‘yes’ and the first thing Chuuya does is reach over the table and pull him into a kiss.

 

Day one, Chuuya asks him out to a carnival that happened to be in town, and Dazai follows after him. Chuuya forgets that all this is only happening because of an agreement between them, too caught up in planting kisses on Dazai’s forehead on the ferris wheel and holding his hand tightly on the rollercoaster. He’s brought back to reality when Dazai receives an incoming call from Odasaku. Chuuya starts coughing.

Day two, Chuuya drags Dazai to the arcade where they’d bumped into the Sheep when they were younger and challenges him like they used to. Of course, Dazai wins again; when would Chuuya ever win against him? Chuuya’s limbs start feeling like lead.

Day three, Dazai attempts to cook Chuuya breakfast in bed and almost burns down the redhead’s apartment. And this wasn’t the first time it’s happened. They proceed to just order take-out and cuddle in bed the whole day. Chuuya’s skin is turning deathly white.

Day four, Chuuya breaks into a panic attack early in the morning and the whole day is spent with Dazai taking care of him because of the side effects, stays next to Chuuya when the smaller male flinches and jumps at every foreign thing besides the brunet, when Chuuya proceeds to break down into tears a few more times throughout the day and offers him reassurances that Dazai was there, is there, for him. There’s a blood stain on the pillow when Chuuya wakes up the next morning.

Day five, Dazai asks Chuuya about the poems he’s been writing and he spends all day reciting them to Dazai in exchange for the brunet reading him one of his favourite novels to put him to sleep. Chuuya sleeps hours earlier than he usually would.

Day six, Dazai drags Chuuya out to a cafe, where they go cafe-hopping and spending away Chuuya’s credit card--not that he needed it after all of this ends. They take pictures at tourist spots and Chuuya’s phone storage is filled up; but at least he has a new wallpaper. He hasn’t eaten anything the whole day.

Day seven, the two spend it in bed after Chuuya wakes up sobbing, begging for Dazai to hold him one last time, crying out ‘I love you’s like a mantra as Dazai took care of him, asking for the brunet to leave his marks all over him so he’d remember that he at least had him for a night before he was gone the next morning. For the last time, Dazai kisses his tears away.

 

“Good morning.”

Chuuya’s up early, preparing a final bento for Dazai to bring to work and as a parting gift. He hands it to the taller male, leaning up to press a final kiss against his lips before he pulls away and pushes Dazai out the door.

“Thank you for everything, Dazai. I hope you’ll be happier now,” he mutters, voice shaking if he were to go anywhere louder than a whisper. He gives the taller one last smile and a notebook filled with all his poems, letting Dazai say a few more words.

“Thank you to you too, Chuuya. You have my number if you need anything, alright? Take care of yourself!”

Chuuya watches the man’s retreating back before slamming the door closed and practically collapsing against it, cries wrecking him as he curls in on himself. He spends the rest of the day in bed, breathing in Dazai’s scent as he scrolled through the pictures they’d taken together, playing old voicemails of the man telling him he loved him. It had to be this way, it was better for Dazai to leave him now, without a single trace of loving him, than stay by him and watching him succumb to Arahabaki.

 

Chuuya never gets up from that bed again.

 

Dazai doesn’t understand why there’s this tugging feeling on his chest. Like something seemed to be off or odd, when he finally had Odasaku again. It’s been a week since he last saw Chuuya and hasn’t heard anything from or regarding the male. He did seem sick, though, so maybe Dazai should drop by and bother him.

So that’s what Dazai does, dropping by Chuuya’s apartment right during lunch. He steps in, surprised to find it unlocked and is greeted by a mess of papers all over the floor, incoherent scribbles and stains all over them. But he knows Chuuya would want them as they are, so he carefully steps around them and heads to Chuuya’s bedroom, noticing a trail of flower petals as he did so. Did Chuuya find a lover already? Why were there so many?

He hadn’t prepared himself for the sight of Chuuya’s body lying flat on the bed, bloodied flower petals and thorns jutting out of his neck and chest, some even on the side of his face while Chuuya’s skin was pale white, like it were drained of blood and had been there for days, which it probably has. A dead body was supposed to reek, yet Chuuya’s smelled so homey and fragrant. Ironic, was it not? How the vessel of the God of Calamity died so beautifully.

He tries shaking the man several times, not realising how he’d been screaming when Chuuya refuses to open his eyes. He collapses next to him, knees weak as sobs escape him like how quickly he was breathing in. He’d never felt this grief, this sorrow before. Not even when Odasaku had ‘died’, so why--?

His own sobs are drowned out in his ears, he can’t hear anything but his heartbeat, desperately trying to calm it down so he could hear Chuuya’s, instead but it wasn’t working. Eventually, he blacks out.

 

When Kouyou comes by to visit Chuuya a few days after, she’s greeted by the sight of two bodies painted in flowers, tightly holding each other’s hands and refusing to let go.