Extras: Break Lines

Extras from Gold Lines.

I.

Dazai never expected that Chuuya’s trauma would limit itself to the boundaries of sex. Chuuya himself seems to believe it does, that outside of the occasional attempts they make at fucking the other way around, all memories of his rape are stored away safely; but Dazai already knows that Chuuya has skin-deep responses to seemingly innocuous things. The taste of white wine, having both of his wrists held at the same time.

Pet names.

There hasn’t been an attack as strong as the first, though Chuuya has frozen up during sex and will continue to do so for a very long time. Each occurrence leaves Dazai feeling empty as if to echo it, as if all of his substance has left to fill Chuuya instead, to keep him warm. But Chuuya is better now at recognizing his discomfort early and telling him to stop—though he never says it in so many words. He can’t bring himself to say stop in the midst of the act. Instead he pushes Dazai away or turns to his side or gives another sign, another hint that Dazai needs to look up from whatever he’s doing and let go.

Dazai wishes he would just voice it, but that’s the thing, isn’t it. Chuuya once told someone stop who refused to obey, and now he can’t say it anymore. He can’t escape the certainty that he will not be listened to.

Dazai hasn’t killed someone in a very long time. He’s more or less persuaded that he can’t, now, not without feeling Odasaku’s ghost breathe down his neck in disappointment. This is not something he usually regrets—learning to value human life has healed him more than he can explain, is slowly teaching him to value his own life.

He thinks, staring fixedly at the ceiling of Chuuya’s bedroom as Chuuya himself shakes next to him, that there is one person he could still bring himself to murder.

Chuuya gets nightmares as often as Dazai does. Most of them are the kind that wake him with a gasp and then a groan, once he realizes that he’s safe. Those are the kind he can shake off with habit alone, traces of a violence he’s grown up with, grown so attuned to that it barely feels like trauma anymore.

The other kind of nightmares, Chuuya didn’t use to get before Dazai started sleeping with him.

Dazai waits now, having woken up the moment Chuuya did. He waits for Chuuya’s muffled panting to abate in silence, not daring to touch him. He still has come crusted on his stomach from the both of them grinding naked against each other, Dazai on top of Chuuya in the sheets, his mouth spilling damp breaths into the crook of Chuuya’s neck. He scratches at it absently, counting every second that goes by until finally Chuuya doesn’t sound like he’s choking on his own air.

“You’re awake, aren’t you,” Chuuya rasps a minute later.

Dazai touches the back of his shoulder. It’s warm under his palm, twitching noticeably. “Yeah,” he replies. “You okay?”

“No.”

The fact that he can admit it now is poor consolation.

“Wanna talk about it?” Dazai asks lowly.

Chuuya doesn’t immediately answer. He can’t stop his body from arching into the shape of Dazai’s palm wherever it travels on his skin. Dazai traces his shoulder blades with the full of it; he trails down Chuuya’s spine with the tips of his fingers, feeling shivers erupt on his way.

“I—can you—”

Chuuya’s struggle to ask for what he wants now has more to do with his usual embarrassment in the face of non-sexual intimacy than it does with bad memories. Dazai smiles as he scoots closer to him, as he fits himself to the line of Chuuya’s back until his mouth is at Chuuya’s nape and he can feel him all over his front. Chuuya is still shaking, still tense, but he leans into Dazai’s embrace with a sigh.

“I wonder what everyone would say if they knew you love being the little spoon so much,” Dazai says, kissing Chuuya’s nape.

“Shut the fuck up,” Chuuya replies weakly. “I wonder what they’d say if they knew you like to have my dick for breakfast.”

Dazai grins into his hair.

He loves holding Chuuya like this, in the dead of the night and with absolute freedom, loves feeling him breathe against him and feeling his skin grown uncomfortably warm with contact. He splays his palm over Chuuya’s chest to feel his heartbeat, crooks his knees into the angle that Chuuya’s make, breathes as fully as he can to try and make Chuuya follow his pace.

There’s nothing in the world he wants more than the chance to hold him like this until the day he dies. And it is not a quick, youthful death he imagines in those fantasies—he sees himself grown old, retired somewhere quiet. A book in hand and Chuuya by his side.

“I love you,” he murmurs.

Chuuya exhales shakily.

They both knew it already. Dazai has made no secret of how fondly he views Chuuya since the first time they kissed. He’s just never said it in so many words before.

“Sorry,” Chuuya says. His hand comes to rest above Dazai’s on his chest. “Ah, shit, I don’t know what to say.”

“It’s okay, Chuuya.”

“It’s not.”

Dazai tightens his hold on him. “It’s fine,” he repeats. “You don’t have to say anything. I just wanted to tell you, and I’ll tell you again later, it’s okay.”

Chuuya’s breathing is calm now, though his body still trembles inside Dazai’s hold. He lets out a huff, half-amused, half-desperate.

“I don’t feel very lovable right now,” he admits.

“You are. You’re always lovable.”

“I can’t stop thinking about—”

Dazai waits him out, stroking his sternum with his thumb, not saying anything.

“I just want to be over it,” Chuuya says. He’s straining all over, his breaths coming out fast once more, his shoulders shaking with his frustration. “Why the fuck am I not over it? I’m with you, I’m happy with you.”

“You know it doesn’t work that way,” Dazai says softly.

Chuuya is a silent crier. He’s as messy as anyone else while doing it, but his sobs are voiceless, his breaths almost buried down to nothing. It’s the reason Dazai noticed too late that he was panicking on the first day they touched, and the reason he had to train himself to even notice that Chuuya sometimes wakes in the middle of the night and shakes, alone, without telling him. This is a habit that probably comes from a very long time ago. From his lonely childhood. Now he folds unto himself in Dazai’s hold, tears running down his face in silence, and Dazai fits himself around him, keeping him close.

“I just want to understand,” Chuuya whispers, heaving, “what was so attractive about me lying there knocked out that he couldn’t resist shoving his dick in me.”

There’s no answer that Dazai can give him. No answer that anyone can give him.

 


II.

“Chuuya.”

Her tone startles him out of it. Chuuya blinks at the spot he has been staring at for—for however long he has, and he isn’t quite quick enough to hide that the first conscious breath he takes then comes with effort.

“What?” he replies snappishly.

He glances quickly to his side. Kouyou instantly tries to meet his eyes, looking insistent enough about it that it almost tears a smile out of him. He isn’t used to seeing her so flustered. That she is flustered because of his behavior only makes him want to punch himself across the face harder for it.

It isn’t surprising that she noticed if even Akutagawa did, but it still simmers angrily in him. Against himself.

“Sorry,” he amends. “I’m just tired.”

“Is Ougai-dono making you work nightly again?” she asks.

“Yeah.”

It’s a lie, but not one he feels particularly bad about. It’s better than admitting how out of it he is.

It takes effort not to grind his teeth in frustration; instead he leans backward into his seat, ignoring the twinge of pain that shoots up his back entirely. “You were saying?” he prompts.

“I was saying that I heard about your next mission,” Kouyou replies slowly. “Don’t you think a month away is—a bit much?”

“Why? It’s a lot of work. I’ll probably end up staying one week more than that—”

“Chuuya,” Kouyou cuts in. “It’s unheard of for executives to stay away from Yokohama for so long. I don’t understand why you’re even allowed to do it.”

Chuuya doesn’t answer.

“Are you sure you’re—”

“I’m fine, ane-san,” he says, automatic.

Automatism is also was brings his glass up to his lips. He tastes none of the whiskey, though he knows it was a brand they both enjoyed. Swallowing it down is a simple mechanism, one that allows neither heat nor flavor.

He feels a little sick when he put down the glass. Alcohol-haze is something he has always welcomed, but now it seems he can’t help but tense through it. He threw away a whole bottle of Chablis only two nights ago, after a single sip had caused his belly to squirm.

Chuuya breathes out slowly. He tries to look to his side—tries to look Kouyou in the eye—and horror blooms through him at the instantaneous burn he feels, the unmistakable heat and wetness which threatens to spill over his eyelashes.

By sheer luck, Kouyou’s phone picks this moment to buzz loudly. She bends down over the table to look at it, and Chuuya blinks the tears back quickly.

“I just want to travel for a bit,” he says once she is done—before she can ask again. “Boss has been planning this gig for a while, said he needed someone trustworthy for it, so I thought, why not? It’s hard work, but I can do it.”

“I don’t doubt it,” Kouyou replies.

He can feel her peering at the side of his face. He is nauseous again, like his insides are being squeezed by the human hand, his entrails wrung dry of blood. He licks his lips rather than let her see him bite them.

She never likes to see him bite them. She’s probably annoyed at him for the scabs he sports now, but he couldn’t help it when it happened.

“Are you wearing makeup?” she asks suddenly.

“Yes,” he hisses, immediate and unstoppable.

“There’s no need for that attitude.”

He feels instantly cowed.

Kouyou raises a hand. Chuuya follows it with his eyes, and his body feels hot-cold again, like a fever, like it has for the past six days. But he can’t refuse her when she asked, “May I?”

He nods.

She isn’t kind. Her fingers drag harshly through his hair when she rubs the concealer away with her thumb, digging painfully into where he knows his temple blooms with bruises. He expects her to be exasperated, or angry perhaps, but instead she falls silent, and it is somehow infinitely worse.

“This looks terrible, Chuuya,” she says eventually. He allows her to tilt his head toward the light so she can see better. “My word—did someone hit you with a baseball bat?”

He doesn’t know. He didn’t bother to check. “Something like that,” he replies.

“What happened?”

“Just a fight. I got careless.”

“A blow like that would’ve knocked you out cold—”

“It was nothing,” he says, forcing the words through the impossible tightness in his throat, through the suffocating stillness of his lungs. He pushes Kouyou’s hand away and smiles in her vague direction. “It’s just a fight, ane-san, you don’t need to baby me.”

It does the trick; Kouyou hates being accused of being motherly with him or anyone else. She let him go with a sigh.

He isn’t lying. Essentially, it was a fight, one which Chuuya won. His injuries are far fewer, far less severe than that of his adversary of the time. He walked away on two legs, conscious, after the man fell through two different walls and bled out on the hotel floor, as still as the dead. Any bleeding he had suffered had been his own fault for underestimating his enemy.

I won, he thinks.

For six days now, this mantra has turned his head over ceaselessly.

“Lad,” Kouyou says.

Chuuya grabs his glass. He doesn’t drink any of it. “What is it?” he asks.

“Are you sure you’re okay?”

He feels his lips curl back, baring his teeth. “I told you I’m—”

“Chuuya, please look at me.”

He knows he is holding his glass too tightly, that if he doesn’t relax his grip, it will break like so many things he has held the past few days have broken in his hands—out of stupid carelessness. He sets it back atop the table and turns his head toward Kouyou.

It isn’t good enough for her, of course. She clicks her tongue impatiently and grabs his chin, forcing him to face up, and he knows he will look to her how he truly feels if he doesn’t meet her eyes now.

So he does. The burn is more manageable this time, though Kouyou’s concern feels like an arrow through the chest still.

“You’ve been angry,” she says.

“I’m always angry,” he replied. “You’ve complained about this many, many times.”

“You’re never angry like this, boy,” she chides him. He wants to scream at her, or to fold into himself with shame, he isn’t sure. “Not since you were a child. Did something happen?”

“Nothing happened.”

Her fingers tighten under his chin, almost to the point of pain; but then they relax, and her eyes grow eager, worried rather than just concerned. Chuuya can’t look at her anymore.

“Chuuya,” she says softly. “You know you can tell me anything, don’t you.”

“I know,” he mumbles, staring at her chin.

“I mean it. Anything. Be it plans for treason or erectile dysfunction—”

“Ane-san,” Chuuya groans, pulling away from her, blushing furiously.

It makes her laugh gently. It almost makes him laugh, too.

And in that single second, that hint of warmth and reassurance and familiarity, he considers telling her. He imagines himself taking hold of her sleeve as he used to, once; he imagines spilling that single, stupid memory over, in the hope that perhaps it will stop holding by the throat at every shifting shadow, every man wider than him who moves too fast in his blind spot; he imagines telling her—I let someone fuck me, and I hated it, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

He imagines admitting, It was my first time.

He imagines allowing himself to shake and weep as he has wanted to for a week.

Saliva gathers in his mouth, bitter and overwhelming, burning when he swallows it back. He feels faint. Ill.

“There’s nothing to say,” he tells her roughly. “I’m fine.”

One has to wonder why the truth tastes so poisonous.

Kouyou stays silent for a long time. She doesn’t touch him, doesn’t touch her own glass either. When she moves, it is to gather the folds of her clothes around herself again.

“Very well,” she says. “Then I believe you, if you say that nothing’s wrong.”

That’s fine with him. If they can both act as if nothing is wrong—and nothing is—then it is enough.

It has to be.

 


III.

There are very few things Chuuya likes better than to kiss Dazai until he’s entirely breathless. There are very, very precious few things he enjoys more than the way Dazai holds him when the mood strikes to draw things out. It’s like flipping a switch, like hitting a target; Dazai’s mouth may hold open and warmth against his, his air may come with awkward hurry, but his hands linger. His hands brace.

Chuuya’s sweatpants are low enough on his hips that they hide very little anymore, and Dazai has long lost the soft tank top he wore to sleep, but he hasn’t made a move to undress either of them outside of this. He never does.

One of his hands is in Chuuya’s hair, and the other is at Chuuya’s hip, and in those moments Chuuya aches for him.

He’s the one who has to rise up to cut their kissing short. His lips are wet, and Dazai’s are flushed full with blood.

“Enough?” Dazai breathes.

Chuuya splays a hand over his chest. He trails his fingers over the worst of the scars there and says, “No.”

Dazai has a beautiful smile. Chuuya had never realized it as a child because Dazai had never smiled, then, not like this. Now he thinks he would fall for it again if he weren’t already in love.

He’s helpful as Chuuya squirms out of the pants and underwear—uses the space given by Chuuya kneeling over him to struggle out of his own as well—and Chuuya grasps him by the hair, licks into his open mouth even as he pats around the nightstand for the handle of the drawer, then for the items stored inside.

“Don’t you have work?” Dazai asks slickly. His mouth is so warm still, so close to Chuuya’s own that his tongue delivers the words directly to Chuuya’s.

“Don’t you?” Chuuya replies, dragging lube and condom back toward them.

“No. It’s Sunday.”

“Then it’s fine.”

Dazai kicks the blanket away from their tangled legs. He tries to spread his, then, tries to shuffle backward on the mattress to make room for Chuuya to kneel.

He stills when Chuuya flattens a hand over his stomach.

Chuuya doesn’t look at him. He watches the skin of his belly rise and fall with each breath, the shadow of ribs not as defined as they once were, the fine hair leading to the inside of his thighs, where his cock is as red as his mouth.

They haven’t talked about this. They rarely do. Chuuya know that Dazai expects him to lead any intimacy they share, because he enjoys it and because Chuuya can tell better than he does and because, Chuuya thinks with ever-present regret, of the mistake he made the first time they tried to have sex. Because he scared Dazai even more deeply than he scared himself.

He never tells Dazai in advance when he wants to try, and Dazai never asks. This is one thing neither of them knows how to approach.

“Chuuya,” Dazai says.

Chuuya relaxes his grip on the lube and scoots forward on his knees. He throws the one caught between Dazai’s legs over his hips so he can sit on him. Only then does he look up.

Dazai isn’t smiling anymore, but his eyes are still drowned in black, his face still pink from proximity and want. It takes him a long time to be able to push forth the words Chuuya knows he wants to say, but he does, without a single edge of humor. “Are you sure?”

It’s not an empty question. It’s not the first time he asks it.

Still Chuuya replies, “Yeah,” and puts the condom in Dazai’s open hand.

He misses the warmth at his hip the moment Dazai takes back his other hand to tear open the foil, but by then his own are busy opening the cap of the lube and spreading it over his own fingers. This is nothing he hasn’t done dozens of time. He still shivers when Dazai, once wearing the rubber, takes them both in hand and strokes upward tightly.

“Fuck,” Chuuya says through clenched teeth; he has to catch himself over the mattress with his dry hand, has to resist rutting against Dazai’s palm. “Don’t do that if you want to get anywhere.”

“I wouldn’t mind,” Dazai replies.

There’s more to his tone than simple teasing.

Chuuya doesn’t answer. He bends forward, angles his wrist to reach the cleft of his ass the way he has a few times already. This is still familiar enough that he feels nothing more than vague anxiety, the kind to tighten in his stomach and further the heat gripping his loins. The press of his own finger inside himself is only a little hasty. It’s only a little much.

He closes his eyes when Dazai’s hand reaches his face. He lets it stroke his cheek, lets it push back the hair he forgot to tie back and which has been falling in front of his eyes. When he pushes a second finger in, when he breathes out through his teeth more harshly than necessary, Dazai’s other hand comes to rest at his thigh.

“Do you want me to—”

“No,” Chuuya snaps.

Dazai’s fingers spasm over his skin.

Chuuya forces himself to halt. He takes in a forceful breath; realizes how fast his heart is beating, like a drum at the hollow of his neck, too visible for Dazai not to notice; opens his eyes.

Dazai’s face is painted over with concern. Any longer, and Chuuya knows memories will flood him—them—too much to continue. So he bends the arm holding him upright until his elbow touches the sheets. He bends down over Dazai’s body to press their lips together again and clenches his fingers into the soft hair framing the side of Dazai’s face.

“Please,” he says against Dazai’s mouth. “Let me do this.”

The hand at his thigh travels to his hip, then to his lower back. Dazai opens it here as if to brace the whole of his spine. “Alright,” he replies.

It’s easier, after that.

With Dazai’s mouth against his, with the smell of him in Chuuya’s nose and the feel of him between his thighs, the tension holds off. The queasy knot in his stomach loosens. Dazai accommodates each kiss, never tries to do more than stroke Chuuya’s back lightly, as Chuuya works himself open on two fingers. The third goes in a little awkwardly; the stretch is just enough to keep him alert, to prevent him from remaining completely hard; but Dazai doesn’t complain, doesn’t demand that they stop, and Chuuya trusts him to notice which limits have been crossed better than he trusts himself.

The thought almost makes him laugh.

It feels like an eternity later that he takes his hand out of himself. Dazai never pulls his eyes away from him as he gathers his breath and presses a little closer—and Chuuya doesn’t look away either, not as he takes Dazai’s cock in hand and not as he lowers himself onto it.

Dazai’s fingers pull at his hair, pull at his scalp; his eyelids flutter, his face flushes, his mouth opens with no air.

Chuuya uses all of his will to focus on that sight and not on the slight ache of penetration. He uses all of his breath to keep the surge of stress at bay.

The balance is too thin for too long. Dazai can’t keep himself suspended in a second of pleasure forever, and Chuuya knows this isn’t enough time to school his expression into one meant for pleasure. There’s a phantom weight at his back that seems to join where Dazai is inside him; there’s a wide shadow at his nape, the weight of a hand making him bite the sheets, the echo of bright pain at his temple.

“Relax.”

“Chuuya,” Dazai says, his voice covering the memory.

“Hold on,” Chuuya replies faintly. “Just—give me a second.”

It takes more than a second. Dazai is utterly still under him, hard where they are joined but almost as pale as marble. Chuuya doesn’t want to look down at himself and check if he even shows sign of excitement anymore.

The weight on his back won’t go away.

“Fuck,” Chuuya says, this time shakily and with no heat at all. Frustration constricts through his ribs, makes his voice erupt, loud as a gunshot, “Fuck!

“Chuuya—”

“Fuck, I’m sorry—”

“Don’t say that.”

Chuuya opens his mouth again, though he knows no word will come out that will make this okay. He watches Dazai’s face shift into understanding, into undemanding sorrow, and feels his own eyes burn.

He bends down to kiss him rather than let himself cry.

There’s no hiding how soft he’s gone, how much of his skin has chilled over. Dazai strokes his hair away from his face and collects every apology on his tongue, gives them back with unending patience. Chuuya has never felt so undeserving of love in his life. He crushes the frustration out between their lips and lets their shared breaths dissolve it to nothing.

It isn’t until Dazai’s hand at his back starts caressing up and down his spine again that he truly calms down. Then his heartbeat abates; then his tears fade away. He stops tasting salt into the part of Dazai’s mouth, starts feeling warm again.

He moves.

Dazai tenses immediately, Chuuya’s name on his tongue in askance and worry, though he can’t help the moan that rips itself out of him.

“I’m fine,” Chuuya says. He shifts his hips. Rocks back into the pressure of Dazai’s cock in him. “I’m fine, it’s fine.”

“Relax.”

“Please don’t say that just for me,” Dazai breathes onto him, “you know I’m perfectly fine bottoming.”

His hand finds Chuuya’s nape, force his head back so their eyes can meet, and suddenly the weight is gone.

Chuuya smiles. “I’m not doing this for you,” he says.

He presses his face into the crook of Dazai’s neck and moves again.

It takes a while for Dazai to reciprocate. Chuuya suffers a second of free-falling fear the first time Dazai thrusts up inside him, but he fills his nose with the scent of his skin, with the soft hair at his nape, and—

It’s fine. It truly is. Chuuya can feel each shuddering breath that Dazai draws crushed under his own chest; he can hear every moan, every heartbeat, can feel each drag of heat in his backside now that pain has made way for friction. He rolls his hips to the rhythm that Dazai gives, too slow to achieve anything near completion but still enough, somehow, in that moment.

He feels the pressure of Dazai’s hand at his nape. He feels the weight of his fingers through his hair, hears the shape of his name through his parted lips.

He’s hard again, vibrating with heat, his veins stinging with it.

“Look at me,” Dazai says, half-moan and half-plea.

Chuuya pushes himself up with his elbow, leaving one last kiss into the crook of Dazai’s neck. He is surprised to see Dazai do the same until they are both sitting upright, until Dazai can frame his face with both hands and kiss him again feverishly.

Dazai is always gorgeous naked, no matter what he thinks. He’s always a sight with sweat glistening over his heated skin, with his mind taken by pleasure rather than pain; yet Chuuya doesn’t think he has seen him look quite this good yet. He doesn’t think he has seen him look so stricken.

I love you, he thinks.

“I love you,” Dazai says between pants, hips stuttering under his despite how little strength he can give then, how little effort Chuuya makes to move out of the trance of seeing him like this. “God, Chuuya…”

“Come on,” Chuuya replies.

He doesn’t realize that he’s panting too until then.

“Come on,” he repeats, tugging Dazai by the shoulders. “I want—”

He can’t finish the sentence, but he doesn’t need to. Dazai’s eyes widen with surprise. His mouth softens.

He kisses Chuuya all the way back down onto the mattress. His hipbone digs into Chuuya’s thigh painfully when they roll sideways, and his cock slips out of him, but Chuuya never makes a sound. He lets the bed hit his tense back with a shudder. He allows Dazai’s weight to settle between his open legs, his hands to brace themselves at his waist.

“Relax. You’ll like it.”

Dry sheets in his mouth, a hand pushing his head down through the soul-shattering back-and-forth.

“Chuuya,” Dazai calls.

He’s not on his front in a tacky hotel room, not drunk off the ringing ache at his temple. He doesn’t have the taste of cheap white wine on his tongue from kissing a stranger.

A hand is on his face, tracing the swell of his cheek, pressing at the very corner of his eye. “Earth to Chuuya,” Dazai says softly. “Do you know who I am? Can you still count to ten?”

Chuuya opens his eyes.

Some of Dazai’s hair sticks lightly to his forehead. The rest falls down around his face as he looks at Chuuya from above.

“I know it’s you,” Chuuya says. “Bastard.”

Dazai smiles faintly. “Do you want to stop?” he asks.

He’s red all the way down to his torso, fast-breathing and erect, a short way from orgasm. Yet Chuuya has not a single doubt that if he were to say yes, Dazai would step off of the bed and not utter a word of complaint.

He links his hands behind Dazai’s back and pulls him in.

This time there is no fear, no pain as Dazai slips into him. Something about it feels as though he’s meant to be there, caught between Chuuya’s thighs and breathing into Chuuya’s neck; and Chuuya cannot help but remember all the time he has felt the same as he was making love to him, all the ways in which their bodies fit together, moved together. Dazai is laid all over his front, his hair in Chuuya’s face, and Chuuya moans at each snap forward of his hips.

“You feel so good,” Dazai mutters. Chuuya can feel his thumb dig into his hipbone, where it’ll no doubt leave a mark, a proof of its passage. “Fuck, I love you so much.”

Dazai is never not vocal during sex, but Chuuya has never before had the experience of hearing his words transcend time. He has never before been so close to the memory of that night, of that minute of half-consciousness which stripped his dignity away, and felt it be written over.

“Relax,” the man says, and Dazai replies, “Does that feel good?”

“Fuck you,” the man growls as Chuuya starts struggling, and Dazai says, “I love you.”

The man calls him baby, gorgeous, darling. Dazai calls him Chuuya.

Dazai strokes the underside of Chuuya’s thigh; he lifts it slightly; he presses forward, his angle steeper and his intent clear, and heat flashes up the length of Chuuya’s spine like lightning striking earth.

Shit—”

“You look so fucking good right now, Chuuya, you have no idea.”

Chuuya laughs deep within his chest. Grabbing Dazai by the hair is the most natural thing in the world, as is squeezing him between his thighs to press him deeper inside, to angle his cock and his mouth both toward pleasure.

“Don’t get used to it,” he mutters against Dazai’s wet lips. His words are all but air.

He feels Dazai smile against him, feels his reply like yet another kiss. “I could never get used to you.”

Dazai is the first to come. This isn’t surprising considering how hard-fought Chuuya’s own want has been all along, but the surprise comes in the way he groans, in the wetness on his lashes that Chuuya can feel when they kiss afterward. He’s careful as he pulls out, his bracing hands latched onto Chuuya’s hips as if afraid that he’ll fall. Chuuya would berate him for it if he weren’t so out of the moment.

He moans the very second he feels Dazai’s lips around his cock; it is habit that has him thrusting into the soft of his mouth, into a wetness he has known for months now. Dazai has never not managed to drag him to completion this way, and he doesn’t fail now. Chuuya arches off the bed, burning more deeply than usual, both of his hands gripping Dazai’s hair.

The nausea comes back as his body cools down.

When the bed dips under Dazai’s weight, he realizes that he was gone at all. He watches him clean them both through half-lidded eyes, his heart thrumming in his chest and his throat caught with the need to either laugh or puke. The latter only fades away when Dazai lies down next to him and throws an arm across his stomach.

“How do you feel?” he asks, almost conversational.

Chuuya should lie. He doesn’t want to tell the disappointing truth—that he’s not sure this single moment of raw pleasure was worth the anxiety of reaching it, that he doesn’t know if he’ll ever want to try again even after finding out that he can—but one look into Dazai’s eyes dissuades him.

Dazai has been nothing but open since the start. Secretive Dazai, introverted Dazai, who hates admitting to feeling anything, has not once hidden a truth away from Chuuya since they started sleeping together.

“I don’t know,” he replies.

Dazai’s smile turns down at the corners.

“I didn’t…” Chuuya bites his lips. “I didn’t dislike it or anything,” he says. “I enjoyed it. I just, I don’t know how I feel.”

“That’s fine,” Dazai murmurs. His hand strokes up Chuuya’s chest and neck until it reaches his face again. His thumb settles over his cheekbone. “As long as you don’t regret it.”

“I don’t.”

This, Chuuya can say with certainty.

Something inside him has turned brittle in the year and a half since he woke up on that hotel bed with a man he said no to fucking into his lifeless body. The weight and shape of it varies from day to day, can vanish almost to nothing one morning and have him soaked with the remnants of nightmares the next, and Chuuya knows, as he knows how to breathe, that he won’t ever get rid of it. That this is a shadow that will stick to the soles of his feet like Corruption sticks to the corners of his mind. He will carry both for as long as he lives.

Right now, though, his chest feels lightened. His head feels clear. Dazai’s hand stroking his cheek is just the right side of too warm, a little damp from the cloth he used to clean them and from Chuuya’s own sweat-drenched hair; Chuuya turns his face into it fully.

“Love you too,” he says. His lips collect salt on the soft of Dazai’s palm.

Dazai chuckles and pulls him close.

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