Dark. It's dark, and it wasn't as though Chuuya was unused to being in the dark, but at the same time, it'd always been easy enough to just look out of a window and see the lights of Yokohama's mainland shining in the distance. And closer to home, it wasn't like the residents of Suribachi had completely shut down once the sun set. There was nearly always something-
But right here, right now, Chuuya could barely see his hand in front of his face, and it wasn't something he wanted to think about, the idea that he was only thinking he could see even that much.
Dazai was right next to him, but his shitty partner hadn't said a word since he'd essentially locked them in the dark, waiting for... something. A sign. Gods only knew.
Chuuya's ears, often quicker at catching slight sounds than Dazai's - which'd had Dazai threaten to test dog whistles on him, which'd had him threatening in return to play his loud music all through the night so the brat couldn't sleep even if he wanted to if he so much as tried - caught the faint sounds of whispers.
He tries not to make it too obvious that he wants nothing more than to get out, tries to ease his breathing out. He doesn't know how well he's doing, but none of it is helping the way his stomach rolls, and he clenches his fists just to feel something-
Dazai nudges against him with his shoulder, and the breath he lets out shudders just a fraction too much.
He feels Dazai stop moving, just there next to him.
Eyes already closed, he can already imagine what it's going to be like once they get out of here - Oh, so Chuuya's afraid of the dark, is he? A childish fear is fitting for someone so small. Or something like that.
He feels a hand wrap around his wrist, bandages scraping where they were wound halfway up Dazai's thumb, which came to rest on Chuuya's pulse point.
Like this, Dazai couldn't just deduce his fear from the small signs he gave away by accident, but the way his heart raced when reminded that his eyes weren't sure that they were open or closed, when he hears the whispers and the talk and he isn't sure if it's because of distance or because of-
The way Dazai's touch grounded him and reminded him that he was human, as human as anyone was, and that he had a body, that he wasn't just floating aimlessly in the dark.
He breathes, and if it comes out a little calmer, then he can deal with what that means later.
Later, when it comes, the only others who'd know anything about this are dead.
Later, as it turns out, Dazai teases him relentlessly for it, saying that he'd even had to hold Chuuya's hand - but if he's going to be grateful to the piece of shit for one thing in his entire life, it's that he only gives him grief over this in private.
Dazai hadn't been thinking, when he'd dragged Chuuya into the side room that was basically little more than a closet. Not daring to turn the lights on, and no windows, either.
In fact, he only understands what he's done when he feels the darkness settle around them like a heavy blanket - as though No Longer Human had decided to apply itself to all of their other senses, and not just abilities.
And Chuuya, for all that he spent so much time mouthing off at him and calling him such rude things as traitor and telling him to go die a long and painful death, bastard, made no move to free himself of Dazai's hand, still on his wrist.
Reminding him of that first time he had been stuck with Chuuya in a similar situation, it was almost nostalgic.
Except this time, he let his hand slip - felt Chuuya tense as he did, heart rate speeding up - but only a little. After which he tightens his grip again.
"What are you doing?"
The words come out in a single breath, quieter than a whisper. Dazai still catches them, loud to his ears in the silence and darkness.
"Holding Chuuya's hand," he whispers back, just as quiet. "What else would I be doing?"
He remembers how scared he had been, to the point that he had felt himself shake, at the reasonable conclusion that Chuuya had held onto him back then. Not because it was Chuuya - all right, not just because it was Chuuya, he could be honest enough for that, this many years and that much more understanding on - but because Dazai Osamu was not, and had never been, someone that anyone went to for comfort.
He wasn't that sort of person.
He was, in fact, the very sort of person that society hated.
And yet - there had been Chuuya, yet again, to shake his world and the foundations it had been built upon.
Chuuya, who had relaxed the moment he had touched him, who hadn't let go, hadn't shaken him off, hadn't... ever done as he was supposed to, and had always found new ways to surprise him, no matter what, just by being himself.
"This is mortifying," Chuuya's now hissing into his ear.
Dazai wishes he could laugh, but if he did he doesn't think he'd be able to hold it all in, and he'd bring their tail down on them. That, and Chuuya would hate being laughed at right now, and he doesn't think he has the heart to go that far now, just as he isn't sure if he did all the way back then, with the strong idea of just why Chuuya didn't like the dark that he'd had in his head.
"You can let go whenever you want," he says instead.
And it's true. He might be holding Chuuya's hand in a not so loose grip, but if Chuuya wanted or needed him to let go, then he would. The slightest twitch of gloved fingers, and that would be it.
He thinks that it might perhaps even be the first time he's properly held Chuuya's hand just for the sake of holding it, not counting the few times when they had held onto each other purely to ensure Dazai's ability would work, that were usually a part of his plans.
He hadn't planned this, though. Not an accidental foray into one of Chuuya's only real weaknesses and that unless he was wrong, the number of people who knew about it could probably be counted on one hand.
Chuuya doesn't let go.
Dazai finds himself relieved that he's had experience since the last time this has happened, in dealing with people who would need reassurance, where Dazai, as a detective with the Agency, was the only one who could give that to them. So, he doesn't tremble. He doesn't shake.
And yet at the same time, this isn't just a client, who he's never going to see again. This is Chuuya.
Chuuya, who is infinitely more valuable.
So, of course he isn't about to let go either.
(He's always felt that darkness like this might be what it would be like to be buried, either already dead or slowly suffocating. Under normal circumstances, this doesn't bother him one bit, and he finds the thoughts peaceful.
But with Chuuya's hand in his, it feels like a double suicide, and although the darkness doesn't discomfort him, he can feel how tense Chuuya is, and can't help but want to be able to be out of here as soon as possible, because somehow, this one vertically challenged slug with hands that would probably be sliming his own up right now if it weren't for his gloves, has always been someone he hasn't wanted to see die.
He wonders if, perhaps, to feel fear on this level is a form of death, taking a person away and replacing them with someone else, someone quiet and unlike themself. Then again, perhaps it is simply because he's so used to Chuuya being fearless, that Chuuya being paralysed by such a thing is alien to him, and more than a little terrifying itself.)
Chuuya is pale and twitchy when they come out and they can see again, which he's come to expect, even if he'd wondered if he would be granted the privilege of such a sight after four years apart, and the realisation that hadn't done anything to deserve even one of the good things Chuuya gave him.
And then those wide blue eyes look up at him, they widen, and a faint pink tinge comes to pale cheeks before Chuuya stalks off, leaving him wondering what he could have seen - what he could have had on his face - to get that sort of reaction.