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i can't leave the darkness behind

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Dazai Osamu is the only person in the Armed Detective Agency who knows how life in the mafia is, being a former member of the Port Mafia himself. He's probably the only one in this organization who understands how hard it is for someone whose hands are dipped in blood to live in a world of light.

So, it's fitting for Kyouka, who has gone through the same life as Dazai before, to seek him out when she feels like she doesn't belong with those people who thrive in light. Dazai must have felt like that several times before, right?

"It's hard, isn't it? Sometimes you feel like you don't belong with them, do you?" Dazai takes all the words right out of her mouth. Kyouka isn't surprised. Dazai used to be the youngest executive of the Port Mafia and the boss' most favoured subordinate before, after all. Kyouka doubts he'd get those titles if he isn't perceptive. 

"Does it ever get better?" Kyouka asks softly, not looking at Dazai, and instead at her hands; her hands that are trembling for some goddamn reason. Usually, Kyouka would have a better control on her body, but she finds it hard to control her show of weakness at the moment.

"It doesn't, not really." Dazai's voice is distant, void of any emotion. "Even after four years, there are times when I don't feel like I fit in among them." Kyouka sneaks a glance at the older man. His expression is unreadable, but there's something in his eyes that tells Kyouka that he seems… wistful?

"Oh." Kyouka doesn't know what to say. She has already guessed that much, but it is still rather disconcerting to have her thoughts confirmed, especially by Dazai who knows full well the answer, having gone through four years of it.

So, she'd forever feel like an outsider?

That… doesn't sound reassuring at all.

Does she really belong in the darkness, after all?

Before she can ask that, she feels Dazai's hand on the top of her head, ruffling her hair lightly. "But that's just me though. It might be different for you, Kyouka-chan. We're different, after all." Kyouka looks up once more, and sees Dazai smiling at her, supposedly trying to reassure her.

If she is less perceptive, Dazai's attempt at reassuring her would have succeeded. However, when she was still under Kouyou's tutelage, Kyouka is trained to be sharp and perceptive. It was what made her such a good assassin, after all.

All she can hear from Dazai's words is that Dazai still thinks that he doesn't belong with the light; that he and his mafia black blood belongs to the darkness still.

Dazai is known to always be right when it comes to his predictions. Dazai takes pride in that. Kyouka has no doubt that Dazai thinks that he is right and that he has no place in the light; no place with Atsushi and Kunikida and the rest of the Agency; that he's merely an outsider allowed to be among those in the light just due to some pure luck.

Kyouka hopes. She hopes that, for once, Dazai is wrong. Hopes that one day, Dazai will know that he does belong in the light.

The grueling war against the Decay of Angels is finally over. The combined effort of the Armed Detective Agency and the Port Mafia, with the help of Sakaguchi Ango and his trusted subordinates, has bore fruit. The Armed Detective Agency members have proven their innocence. Peace sets in Yokohama once more.

Or at least, that is how it looks to the people at large. Kyouka is not people at large though. Kyouka is part of the Armed Detective Agency, the same agency who is in the brink of losing one of their members to the Port Mafia due to the deal made between the president of the agency and the mafia's boss. 

Everyone has equal chances of being chosen by the mafia boss to be the member traded for the help the mafia had given during the Decay of Angels' fiasco. After all, each of them have a unique and powerful ability. 

People who have a past with Mori Ougai though, have a more likely chance to be chosen. At least, that is what Kyouka thinks.

She takes a look at all her co-workers, taking in their expressions. Most of them are scared. Yosano is terrified, Kunikida is on the verge of panic. Tanizaki is clinging onto his sister and likewise. Atsushi is the epitome of nervousness, Ranpo is frowning, and even Kenji seems worried.  Each scared expression only makes Kyouka's worry increase. 

Then she turns to Dazai, only to see him perfectly calm. Kyouka isn't sure why she's so surprised by the fact that Dazai manages to stay calm even in the midst of his co-workers' panic. Dazai is the master of masks, it wouldn't be hard to pretend that he's calm.

Well, it's either that, or…

"Dazai-san," She finally speaks up, breaking the tense quietness that has been blanketing the room for more than thirty minutes already. "Did you know already who Mori-san is going to choose to…" go to the mafia as per the deal doesn't left her lips, but everyone knows what she meant to say, anyways.

Dazai's answer isn't surprising. "Yes."

Several members quickly snaps their attention to Dazai, and the 'oh' that escapes Ranpo's lips informs Kyouka that the great detective has figured it out too.

"You guys don't have to worry." Dazai continues, smiling reassuringly at them all.

… Ah.

"D-Dazai-san, do you mean that you have found a way so that none of us will have to go there ?" Atsushi asks, voice filled with hope. 

It's incredibly naive of Atsushi, to hope for something like that. Either that, or Atsushi is too deep in denial, because surely even he has figured out what Dazai doesn't say.

Dazai doesn't say anything, instead directing his gaze towards the room where Fukuzawa and Mori has been holed up for the past thirty minutes, just right in time for the door to be pulled open, Mori walking out smugly while Fukuzawa looks defeated.

"Well then!" Mori smiles, clapping his hands. "Let's go then… Dazai-kun!"

Kyouka hears various disbelieving gasp coming from her co-workers, but the man aforementioned stays calm, if a bit put out. Dazai stands up fro his seat nodding. "Yes… boss." Kyouka can hear the distaste Dazai feels by the way he emphasize the last word.

Dazai turns to them, smiling. Usually, he'd be able to mask his smile enough to make it seem genuine and happy, but this time, all Kyouka can see is a brittle smile decorated by sadness.

"The time I have spent with you all are nice." The words are sincere, the most sincere Kyoka has ever heard coming from Dazai. "Goodbye."

No one says anything as Dazai turns his back and leaves with Mori. No one says anything despite the fact that the next time they meet, Dazai is going to be their enemy. No one is saying anything, because they are too shocked.

And Kyouka? Kyouka couldn't say anything, because she is reminded of their conversation in the past, where Dazai implied that he believed that he doesn't belonged in the light.

She had hoped that one day, Dazai would prove himself wrong.

However, it doesn't seem that that day is ever going to come, after all.

She hates it.