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the obvious truth

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It starts out as an ordinary task on an ordinary day.

With the threat of the Rats already removed, there really isn’t a lot of pressing things to do in his job. Kunikida is just being paranoid and a spoilsport, in wanting him to do things such as paperwork and appearing in the office before noontime.

So, in order to ignore naggings about proper work ethics, Dazai decides to focus on his other (self-appointed) task: Surveillance on Certain Troublesome Yokohama Ability Users, in order to Ensure Continued Peace. A shorter name for this task is simply ‘Chuuya Spying Time’.

After all, there’s only one shorty who’s capable of affecting Yokohama’s economy (whatever his current hobby is becomes a prime source of GDP for the city) and disaster response (whenever he’s too annoyed, he causes mini-earthquakes). It’s only right that Dazai keeps an eye on him.

On this ordinary day, his ears pick up the following bomb while doing his usual surveillance:

“I’m sorry, I can’t go out with you,” Chuuya’s voice is clearly apologetic even through the transmitter attached on his coat. “I’m already in love with someone else.”

For a brief moment, Dazai thinks that he’s somehow succeeded in his suicide attempts, because only in a world where he doesn’t exist can such a terrifying thing be allowed to happen.

…Chuuya?

That oblivious shorty who thinks that Valentines Day is a day for chocolatiers and pâtissiers to showcase their crafts? That idiot slug who thinks that people slipping love letters into his office are actually sending him coded invitations to a secret fight club? That hat-for-brains dog who thinks that someone who tells him ‘I like you’ is someone showing admiration for his fighting skills?

That Chuuya actually understands what it means to be in love…?

That chibi who doesn’t know how to lie, has somehow managed to hide this big piece of gossip from him…?

And on this ordinary day, Chuuya says something very extraordinary: “The person I’m in love with? Obviously, it’s Dazai?”

For a brief moment, Dazai is really, really, really convinced that he’s somehow succeeded in his suicide attempt. Because he could feel his vision whiting out, his ears filled with the roaring of his blood, and his heart exploding in his chest.

Chuuya has actually learned how to lie…? That idiot chibi with such a tiny brain managed to learn a new trick…? Because that’s what it is, right? Chuuya has realized that he’s planted a tracker on him, and therefore is trying to disgust him by claiming such a thing?

He grits his teeth and clenches his fists. That slug… This is how he wants to fight, huh. No matter, he’s going to show him! He’s Dazai Osamu! He’s not going to back down even though he’s still shivering in disgust from hearing such a (fake) confession!

He’s going to fight back and out-disgust this chibi—!!!

…But, first things first. He has to listen to that (fake) confession again. For research purposes. For analytics. He needs to understand every hitch of breath in that chibi’s voice as he claims to be in love with him, that’s all.

-

Someone like Dazai didn’t become renowned for his multistep plans by being sloppy and impatient. He’s the sort of person who takes time to study every single aspect of the situation. If there’s evidence that could be studied, he will analyze it from every feasible angle, and think of every possible move that could emanate from a situation.

…That is to say, that it’s been a week and he’s still busy playing back the recording of Chuuya saying, “The person I’m in love with? Obviously, it’s Dazai?”

Knowing one’s enemy is very important, after all. Knowing each inflection in the chibi’s voice as he utters this (fake) confession is vital to the formulation of his next steps. Plus, it works as exposure therapy.

What if Chuuya confesses to him face-to-face? He can’t have a heart attack when the chibi is around to witness it! He needs to be smooth and have a cavalier attitude upon hearing such a thing face-to-face. And the only way he could be ready to hear such things without collapsing on the spot, is to make sure that he’s so used to hearing it.

…That is to say, because he’s been busy studying Chuuya’s (fake) confession for a week, he hasn’t had time to plan a counterattack yet.

It’s to the point that Chuuya’s already ready with his next move.

On a rather ordinary day, Chuuya shows up in the Agency during lunch time. It’s as if he already knows Dazai’s tendency to never show up when the sun hasn’t crossed half the sky. Or maybe, because he’s a workaholic who would never take advantage of his Executive position to skip work, and only do personal things during his lunch break.

…Anyway, the point is, he arrives at the Agency. People still give him a wide berth, because truce or not, he still exudes an aura of someone about to challenge everyone to a fistfight. Such an aggressive aura, and yet he has a paper bag full of expensive takeout, along with a cutesy bear plush cradled in his arm.

Dazai looks at the bear plush with a laser-like focus. He’s been too busy reviewing the recording of Chuuya’s (fake) confession, that he hasn’t had time to listen to today’s surveillance. Who knows where this plush toy came from? Did someone try to confess to Chuuya again? Did he somehow manage to miss an encore of the (fake) confession of feelings for him?

He pitches his voice high. “Eh, why is chibikko carrying around a stupid stuff toy? Are you finally accepting that you’re nothing but a kid? Or is that a tasteless gift from an admirer?” At this point, he can’t help but clench his fists. Plush toys are dangerous! The chibi is weak for cute, stupid things, so if someone plants a tracker there, then he wouldn’t even notice it! “Impossible, right? Nobody can be so stupid as to fall for a shrimp!”

Chuuya blinks at him. With a gentle smile, he ignores the almost-manic ranting and the crazy-eyed glaring. He places the bear plush on top of the mountain of documents that are still waiting for Dazai’s attention. He then shuffles some of the papers, fixes them in proper piles with ease, even though he’s not an actual Agency employee.

Knowing the chibi, he simply arranged them out of his understanding of how he works when it comes to paperwork. This kind of casual showing-off of their tacit understanding isn’t bad enough. Chuuya isn’t satisfied with such a flimsy attack. He drops a bombshell strong enough that renders any eavesdroppers faint from shock.

“It’s for you.” A straightforward admission. Chuuya doesn’t blush and doesn’t look like he knows the concept of embarrassment—he’s forcing their onlookers to feel doubly embarrassed on his behalf. “I saw it and it reminded me of you, so I wanted to get it.”

The bear has an elegant bowtie that is the same color as the gem on his bolo tie. The bear’s tie is stitched with gold—and knowing the depths of Chuuya’s wallet, it’s real gold.

It’s probably more expensive than an entire quarter’s salary. Dazai can’t sell it, because isn’t that the same as admitting as to the abysmal state of his finances? He’s fine with being poor, but not when it means being poorer than a chibi with an addiction to collecting stupid things!

“I’m cuter than this bear,” is what he eventually says.

Chuuya shrugs and places the paper bag full of expensive takeout over his somewhat-tidied desk. “Comparing your beauty to a toy isn’t a fair fight at all.”

For a moment, Dazai isn’t sure if Chuuya means that he’s obviously cuter than the plush toy. Or if he’s calling him childish for competing with a toy. Or both. Is there a drug in that toy? An aerosol that slows down one’s brains? Or is he just being so disgusted at the sight of Chuuya smiling like a gentleman?

Unable to bear this kind of horrid display when she should be eating lunch soon, Yosano pipes up from a few desks away. “Nakahara. I’ll do a check-up on you. Right now. Free of charge.”

“I can pay,” is Chuuya’s automatic response. He’s always been rather polite, especially since Kouyou likes to instill proper behavior to her charges. But now, he’s very impolite, not even turning to face Yosano. His attention is focused on Dazai, those blue eyes staring at him. “…Wait, check-up for what?”

“If you actually looked at such a cute, expensive bear and thought of Dazai here, I’m afraid there’s something wrong with your eyes,” Yosano explains sagely. There’s a hint of pity, like she finds it a shame for a Port Mafia Executive who’s actually reasonable to die early because of brain damage. “Or something very wrong with your brain. I cannot, in good conscience, allow you to go on with your life with such a sorry affliction. After all, I have made an oath to save dumbasses from themselves, even at the cost of killing them.”

Chuuya frowns, but doesn’t shift his gaze from staring at Dazai. “…You’re right, it doesn’t fit Dazai at all.” Before anyone can cheer about his sudden rediscovery of good taste, he adds, “This bear can’t compare to Dazai at all.”

And so, it begins the back-and-forth of their harassment.

-

By the end of the workday, Chuuya delivers a gigantic mackerel body pillow to his doorstep.

Dazai retaliates by giving the chibi a handwritten poem about slugs, complete with a puzzle that could only be deciphered using several numbers lifted directly from the other’s mission reports.

Instead of being alarmed at this breach of Port Mafia security, Chuuya simply grins and shakes his head. “You took the time to read my reports even though you hate paperwork. I’m rather touched, shitty Dazai.”

The next morning, Chuuya sends over a full breakfast set for everyone in the Agency, and even includes new sofas in the deal. For Dazai, he sends over a massage chair that would help fix his posture while he’s busy trying to procrastinate on his work.

Dazai volunteers to draw calligraphy over Chuuya’s hand during lunch. “You’re my dog for life,” is painted over the other’s wrists.

“Your calligraphy is more beautiful than Akutagawa’s,” is the return praise for his work. “Do you want to sign your name on my hand too?”

Chuuya appreciates it so much that he even buys him cake the following day. It’s in the shape of a crab, and the icing is of different, interesting flavors.

Because disgusting Chuuya using cheap products doesn’t seem to work, Dazai grits his teeth and starts to funnel some money from his super-hidden offshore accounts. He orders a tailor-made tan overcoat that’s a shorter, slimmer replica of his own coat.

“I hope you wear that always so you’re always reminded of me,” Dazai offers the coat along with his sincerest wishes. He really does hope Chuuya thinks of him each time he sees the coat, and hopefully the chibi slug becomes so disgusted that he shrinks even more.

“I already think of you all the time,” Chuuya admits as he takes the gift. “But I’m glad that you want me to think of you even more, shitty Dazai.”

-

Three months pass like this, with them trading gifts intended to harass each other.

Dazai is feeling very harassed indeed. He’s starting to think that the chibi’s thick muscles are also providing extra dense armor to his brain, because how can he continue doing this? It’s like he’s utterly impervious to feelings of shame or disgust whenever he spouts his lines!

In fact, Dazai is starting to think that the situation is more horrible than he’s initially assessed.

What if… What if Chuuya’s actually seriously in love with him?

On one hand, of course that makes sense? He’s such a good catch. His looks are outstanding, his brains obviously are top-tier, and he has a lot of blackmail material on the chibi. He knows his movements, his thoughts, his thrusts… He’s known the chibi for quite some time, so if there’s someone the chibi has to fall for, it has to be him?

On another hand—

Chuuya? Actually? In? Love? With? Him?

How can such a thing happen! Chuuya is so stupid but he suddenly evolves good taste? Then, he can’t call Chuuya’s tastes tacky? Because that would mean that liking him is considered tacky, which isn’t the case at all?

And of course, if Chuuya’s seriously in love with him, then he has to accept his feelings and date him?? He isn’t interested in men, but as previously stated, Chuuya is a powerful Ability User who can affect Yokohama.

If he rejects him, what if Chuuya starts to buy all the bandages in the city out of pettiness? What if he cries hard enough that the whole city is submerged in his tears? What if he becomes so sad that the world enters eternal winter just to commiserate with him?

Winter is nice and cold, but eternal winter means no summer! And no summer means no spying on Chuuya wearing his beach outfit!

Ah, it’s really hard being on the good side, he now has to think of the welfare of other people!

So, on an ordinary day, Dazai holds Chuuya’s hand and declares, “Since you love me so much, I could be convinced to date someone like you. Even if you’re a tiny slug.”

Chuuya holds his hand back and says, “I fell in love with you because you were so pitiful, losing sleep over stalking me and putting trackers on me.” He smiles at him, all benevolent. “Since you love me so much, I could try to accommodate your feelings, shitty mackerel.”

For a brief moment, Dazai debates whether he should insist that the only reason he’s bugged the other man is because he’s concerned for the city. But then, what if Chuuya ends up sad and stops buying him meals and stops giving him heartstopping confessions?

He should let it go and be a very good owner.

“Obviously, it means we should date forever,” is what he ends up saying instead.

“Obviously,” Chuuya agrees, and beams at him.

An extraordinary relationship, born on such an ordinary day.

-
end