As he let himself fall from the tall bridge over the ocean, it felt like he was just hanging there for several seconds. The only hint of him falling was how the wind built up around him and almost took his breath away.
Always first, came the sensation of weightlessness.
The chill air of autumn ruffled his unruly locks and made them fluttered freely, tickling his cheeks and shadowing his vision.
This feeling was so familiar to him now, that he didn't even feel the need to flail his arms and legs in fear as he fell- floated- on his back towards the water's edge.
No “life passing before your eyes,” no spontaneous conversion to religion and no panic.
Just a rather boring and accepting realization of what was about to happen.
It was not until his back hit the water’s surface, that Dazai's expression morphed into anything even remotely implicative of giving a fuck.
The ice-cold water welcomed him, swallowing him down greedily as he slowly sank into the blackness of the dark abyss. The way life on the surface sounded muffled underwater filled him with fuzzy, warm anticipation.
Anticipation for death.
He offered himself fully, letting the arms of Poseidon reach out- surrendering completely, letting himself be dragged down as air bubbles rushed past him towards the small, flickering lights above.
The average person can hold their breath between 30 to 60 seconds. The breaking-point comes after 87 seconds- even if it's sort of a neurological optimism. One's instinct to not breathe underwater is so strong, that it will overcome the agony of running out of air- no matter how desperate you might be as you feel like you're drowning- you won't break until you don't have any other choice.
Not until your body is telling you that the lack of oxygen is killing you and breathing might not, so... might as well inhale.
And that's what Dazai did. He knew the final breath would be the ticket he needed; the ticket to the mercy of a life beyond.
As his lungs filled with water, he felt something grip firmly around his wrist.
Just before unconsciousness called him in, he felt himself being rushed upwards. Someone was gripping his arm tightly, tearing him relentlessly away from his release.
The last thing he noticed before his world turned to obscurity, was the gleaming glow of the surface, coming closer, and closer, and closer.
Dazai heaved in a violent breath just as water spurted out from his lips, hurling himself to the side, feeling gravel and grass beneath his grasping hand, panting desperately.
Gutteral coughs ravaged through every inch of his body and his lungs stung fiercely from the lack of oxygen. There was also a dull ache to his ribs which he reasoned as the outcome from heart compressions--
Which meant that he had almost made it.
Behind him, he sensed someone; someone catching their breath. His “savior”- goddamn, good samaritans, who he ignored in favor of laying still, looking dully at the dirt beneath him and wondering if there was any way to roll back into the water without being noticed.
“What the hell-” the someone behind him begun sharply- and Dazai frowned at the realization of who it was.
Not only was he going to get reprimanded for trying to kill himself again, he was also going to get shit for ruining this man's 'oh so holy' schedule.
“I saw a crab,” Dazai interrupted idly. “I felt like a snack.”
He tried to quelch a few coughs, but water still spilled from his mouth.
“Don't... even try that bullshit with me!” Kunikida growled, clearly forcing his own restraints, giving Dazai a light punch in the back.
Dazai only shrugged, curling tightly in on himself with a blank expression.
He didn't want to deal with this. Not now, after another failure. No wonder the Agency didn't take him seriously when he said he wanted to die.
Not that it mattered anyway. The whole point of committing suicide was to be in charge of his own fate. Death was inevitable, and up to this point in his life, far too many people had had his life in their hands.
Death had been an everyday threat- an endless technique of domination used by whoever had their claws closest to his young, fragile form, late into his teens.
This was his way of showing that he was finally his own master.
Something shifted behind him, tearing him away from his musings as Kunikida's tan khakis and brown shoes came into sight in front of his vision, which was still littered with black dots that almost resembled static on an old television screen.
Dazai's ears were ringing, and he felt strangely nauseous, but it didn't seem to distract him from the feeling of absolute defeat.
The soaked loafers squeaked as the pony-taled man crouched down beside him, grabbing a tight hold around his wrist.
Dazai flinched a little at the touch before he realized that his partner was checking his pulse.
So, he tried to relax, kind of hoping that the idealistic man wouldn't find any- that he actually was dead and just too slow to realize it- too stupid to accept it.
He groaned softly as he felt the slow beating against the firm grasp, and closed his eyes while waiting for the minute to pass.
Kunikida frowned before he let go. “We should get you back to the agency and let Yosano have a look at you,” he said gravely, getting ready to hose Dazai back up.
“No,” Dazai croaked, giving no sign of letting the bespectacled man help him up.
“What?” Kunikida asked, holding his hand out and looking genuinely confused.
Dazai shook his head with careful movements. He had a headache. But that was not a good enough reason to go see a doctor, even if it was only in their own infirmary at the Agency.
“I'm not seeing Yosano,” Dazai murmured expressionlessly.
“Of course you are, you almost drowned!”
Kunikida was growling now, appalled, trying his best to keep his voice from rising.
“She... Nobody needs to know,” Dazai eventually said flatly, unable to tear his gaze away from the ground he rested on.
Automatically, Kunikida's face warped into a furious grimace and he took a deep breath, getting ready to heave out all or any knowledge he had about near-drowning experiences and how utterly stupid his bandage-wasting partner was to even suggest that... that...
But then, the tone of Dazai's voice registered in his mind, as well as the doleful expression on his face; the dark, half-lidded eyes absolutely refusing to meet his own.
Why did he never seem to remember that Dazai was actually suicidal? That it wasn't some grand scheme to annoy them or get attention- to be a nuisance and cause disorder.
Dazai hurt. Dazai hurt really bad and he had once again failed to recognize it.
Discouraged, Kunikida sighed, sitting down slowly by Dazai's side, folding his hands, resting them on his knees while he looked at the setting sun on the horizon.
For a while, they didn't talk, not a single word. Dazai honestly preferred it that way and Kunikida had no idea what to say.
“...I'm sorry,” he finally managed, downcasting his head in shame.
This time, it was Dazai's turn to be confused. He furrowed his eyebrows skeptically before he hoarsely asked, “What?”
“I said, I am sorry,” Kunikida responded slowly. “I am sorry that I don’t understand how you feel. That, I keep forgetting how hard all of this... actually is for you.”
Dazai shifted in his spot, a bit too fatigued to actually get up. The blonde man noticed his efforts and leaned back a little to help him sit up.
Dazai's vision immediately swam in a sudden dizzy fit, making the nausea worse and he felt like he had to barf for a moment. He let his head fall down, his balance with it. Without meaning too, he sank to the side, abruptly resting wearily on Kunikida's shoulder.
He felt his senior jostle as he bumped into him, but he couldn't help it. His energy was drained, he had a hard time breathing and he couldn't keep his eyes open. The evening and its darkness were closing in on them and the wind sent chills down his spine as he realized that it was getting pretty cold.
He wasn't sure when his teeth had started to clatter.
Half-expecting for Kunikida to shrug him off, which would result in him collapsing back to where he had lied before, Dazai braced himself.
But- nothing happened.
Kunikida sat still, sturdy as a rock, even though Dazai could feel his skin getting cold from the soaked fabric of his clothes, just like him.
It made him feel bad.
“Okay,” Dazai finally said roughly, his voice breaking halfway through the word.
He felt the shoulder he was resting his head on changing a little, assuming Kunikida had tilted his head to the side to look at him.
“Hm?” Kunikida hummed patiently, uncharacteristicly for the strict man, which only made Dazai feel even worse.
“We should get back to the Agency,” was all Dazai managed to say, still resting his head on his partner's shoulder.
“Sure, that’s... we...” Kunikda was searching desperately for the right words. He seemed nervous and unsure, again making Dazai’s stomach churn angrily in regret and a guilty conscience.
Kunikida sighed finally.
“...We don't need to tell Yosano what happened. I'll say I pushed you, or... something,” Kunikida shrugged, feeling Dazai shake lightly while croaking out hoarse chuckles at the fairly plausible explanation.
“Okay,” Dazai whispered with a faint smile, moments away from sleep.
Kunikda shifted, getting up while simultaneously dragging his partner up with him, guiding his hand across his shoulders and steadying him as they began their slow ascent up towards Kunikida's car from the small bay.
Dazai was hardly able to move his feet, sluggish footsteps bearly able to move across the coarse sand. Kunikda walked slowly, patiently, carrying more than steading the man.
Finally on top of the steep hill, Kunikida helped Dazai into the passenger seat and buckled his belt for him, before closing the door and returning to the driver’s seat.
He buckled his own belt before he turned the ignition.
“Kunikida...” Dazai breathed weakly, fumbling one soaked, bandaged hand for something, finally locating it on the gear stick.
Kunikida's cold hand was pressed firmly by a different, freezing one.
Narrow eyes looked at the scarred grip on his own hand before he looked up and met a sickly pale, shuddering expression. Dazai was clearly fighting to stay awake, but his hold on his hand didn't falter for a second.
“What, what is it? Are you okay?” Kunikida asked urgently, stopping the car.
Dazai's expression warmed considerably as the corners of his mouth rose into a tired smile and his eyes once again rested shut.
Weakly, he nodded his head, letting it fall tiredly onto his own shoulder, while still keeping his hand where it was.
“I just... I just wanted to say thank you,” Dazai said softly, lastly, letting his hand slide off the gear stick and back onto his lap, letting the current drift him far, far away into the far depths of unconsciousness.