Gold Lines (Part I)

Index: Part I – Part II + Extras: Break Lines

Rating: E – NSFW

Length: 15,500

Warnings: discussion of rape and pedophilia.

Gold Lines
Part I

Dazai has always been good at preventing things from coming to the start they should. His life is an art piece of it, his avoidance masterful down to the last dot; the only thing that can rival his hesitance is the bleak depression he lives in, and for so long the two were so instrinsic he couldn’t tell, wouldn’t tell, where one ended and the other began.

He’s recovered from that. Somewhat. Now only the mastery remains, honed and fined, sleek as a fish’s scales.

The problem rises when it comes to Chuuya himself. The problem, he knows, is that for once he doesn’t want to stop this from going where it will. This when they were teenagers was only a matter of the heart, the first inklings of attraction, daydreams turned to dreams, burned out through arguing. So very easily dismissed.

This now is the sight Chuuya makes in the clothes he’s grown to fully inhabit. It is the stride of his legs, the fierceness he carries himself with; it is the steel-glint of his eyes from the side of the battlefield, the exhilaration of having him at his back that turns adrenaline to a very different kind of energy; that has Dazai taking his cock in hand in the steam of his shower stall regardless of his bruises, gasping breath after breath, heat searing up his spine. Chuuya is so thoroughly present in his mind when he strokes himself to orgasm that the aftermath leaves him shattered more often than not.

It is the blown-open black of Chuuya’s pupils when they stare at each other for too long. It is gleaming leather of his gloves, which Dazai wants to peel off his hands with his teeth. It is the surreptitious flick of Chuuya’s tongue wetting his lips before he looks away, resolved to ignore it because he knows Dazai will.

Chuuya understands him a lot more than Dazai likes to admit. He’s not being stubborn so much as self-preserving in this case. If he were to make a move, to open himself up like that… he can’t be sure of Dazai’s reaction, and what little he can be sure of inevitably leads to rejection and ridicule. It doesn’t matter that Dazai himself doesn’t know if he has the strength to reject him. Chuuya is excessively private about this aspect of his life. The fact that now his interest is openly set on Dazai is both dizzying and sweetly ironic.

Dazai doesn’t want to hurt him like this. He’s never wanted to hit this particular spot and was never given the chance to anyway. But he’s never said so out loud, never made an effort to prove that he wouldn’t, and so Chuuya is careful. He’ll wait this out rather than risk his dignity. Dazai can’t fault him for it at all.

Dazai’s saving grace is that he doesn’t spend much time with him now. With Dostoyevsky dead and Yokohama free of war for the first time in more than a year, the port mafia has mostly gone back to doing business away from the agency, and vice-versa. That they cross paths in the streets sometimes and can’t help but comment snidely at each other until Chuuya is red with irritation and Dazai wants to bite with more than words is inevitable, however.

He’s not the official liaison with the port mafia because he asked not to be after Dostoyevsky. This has little to do with Chuuya; Dazai just can’t stand to be too close to Mori, because he abhors the man and because Mori’s words have a way of slithering under his skin and draining out of him everything remotely good he has filled himself with. So Dazai hears from Chuuya more often than not because Kunikida mentions him in passing, after the occasional meetings he holds with Kouyou.

Kunikida and Kouyou get on each other’s last nerve spectacularly, but they work like a well-oiled clock, somehow.

“She reminds me of you,” Kunikida has told him, with the voice of someone trying to insult.

Considering the memories of her that Dazai keeps, all it does it make him feel vaguely flustered. He’s never been likened to anyone but Mori before.

Things do come to a start, after all.

It is accident and will at once that carry Dazai closer to the port than he usually likes to be. It’s definitely not accident that has him noticing Chuuya talking with the crew of one ship, already loaded full of crates and ready for departure; and after Chuuya glances in his direction, it is nothing at all except will that makes Dazai fade behind the high walls of a row of containers.

Chuuya joins him quickly enough.

“What are you doing here?” he asks.

Dazai cranes back his head until he can see him, standing against the side of the wall about two meters up. Chuuya looks better now than he has since Dazai met him again; gone are the marks of exhaustion, the overly rough quality of his voice. He looks composed. Well-rested.

“Just taking a walk,” Dazai replies mildly.

“This is mafia territory.”

“The view is nice.”

“Yeah,” Chuuya huffs without heat. “That’s why it’s fucking mafia territory.”

Dazai can’t help but smile.

Chuuya lowers himself to the ground slowly, without flourish. His shoes barely make a noise as they touch the floor. The red glow of his ability vanishes, taking with it the last hint of pallor from Chuuya’s skin. Sunlight is kinder on him than anything else, Dazai thinks, watching as Chuuya takes off his hat to run a hand through his hair. He rubs his own fingers together by his side until they stop tingling.

“Did you really come here for the view?” Chuuya asks nonchalantly.

“I did,” Dazai replies.

It’s not technically a lie. The port is beautiful mid-summer. Chuuya is beautiful mid-summer.

Chuuya has one leg folded at the knee, foot planted against the side of the container that faces Dazai. They’re not exactly in front of each other; when Dazai looks toward the opening of the row at his left, he can see the sea, and he can see the side of Chuuya’s head, who is also staring at it. Dazai stops looking at the sea altogether.

“Things’ve been pretty boring lately,” he comments. “We get a lot of smaller cases, but there hasn’t been anything remotely exciting in weeks.”

“Speak for yourself,” Chuuya mumbles. “I can’t afford to skip work just to take a goddamn walk.”

“Aren’t you skipping right now?”

“I’m taking a break. This is technically my day off.”

That might explain why he’s done without the extra layers. Chuuya’s coat is on his shoulders, but the waistcoat, tie, choker are gone. For him, that borders on public indecency.

“Only you would work on a day off at all,” Dazai says with a smile.

“Oh, shut up.”

“Really, Chuuya.” Chuuya looks at him again at the sound of his name, and Dazai isn’t quick enough to pretend that he hasn’t been watching him all this time; he licks his lips quickly, elated when Chuuya’s eyes drop to his mouth for that single second, and he says, “You’ll age even faster if you keep going.”

“What the fuck do you mean, even faster? I’m twenty-three years old, not an old man.”

“Youth is in the heart.”

“I guess that explains why you sound like you’re already all dried up, asshole.”

He looks so good, playing at being fired up when all of his body is relaxed against the side of the crate, his head tilted sideways in lazy challenge, his lips almost smiling. Dazai wants to see him like this divested of all clothes, spread over his bed, cocky to the end. He wants to lie down onto him with all of his weight, until Chuuya can’t feel anything but him, can do nothing but writhe under him. The need to press his mouth to Chuuya’s bare throat is so heavy on his tongue he can almost taste him. He straightens up and walks closer because he can’t not, and Chuuya watches him approach without moving an inch either way. He seems tense, though. Suspicious.

“At least I don’t look old,” Dazai says. “I have it on good authority that my youthful features are very popular.”

It makes Chuuya’s mouth twist into a smirk. “Until you open your mouth and ruin it?” he replies.

“You’re not denying it.”

It’s more forwardness that he’s allowed himself yet. Chuuya doesn’t miss a second of it, if the confusion on his face is to be believed. He’s very careful in how he stares at Dazai now.

“There’d be no point,” he says eventually. “You were always flirting around. Badly. No one would give you the time of day, but they still liked you, God knows why.”

“I’m still not hearing denial.”

Chuuya frowns. His next words are a warning, lower, a lot less playful. “What are you doing?”

Dazai doesn’t heed it. He takes another step, and Chuuya unfolds at last from his lean against the crate, both feet firmly on the ground. He doesn’t step away.

“All I’m doing,” Dazai says, “is trying to find out if that still holds true.”

Chuuya just looks at him with the same wary confusion. He’s so close now that there’s no need for more walking or steady approach. Dazai leans down with his heart beating steadily in his throat, with the realization that his decision had been made the moment he woke up this morning with Chuuya’s face still lingering out of his dreams. He sees Chuuya’s eyes widen, feels his next breath stutter at his chin, when their noses brush together; he puts the back of his hand between them against Chuuya’s belly, just so Chuuya will know that it’s here.

“I might be a bad flirt,” he says. “But do you like me anyway?”

There’s a second of nothing after that—just the sound of Chuuya’s teeth knocking together, the abrupt, small movement of escape he aborts before bringing his head forward again. Dazai pulls back enough to meet his eyes more easily.

“Are you fucking with me, Dazai?” Chuuya asks. His own hand has shot up to hook into the line of Dazai’s collar, not to pull him in but to hold him steady, as he works through his own thoughts.

Dazai can tell that he’s not meaning it as an insult. This is very much an instance of Chuuya assessing danger and wanting to protect himself.

He drags his hand up from where it rests loosely against Chuuya’s middle. Slowly enough that Chuuya can think about whether or not he wants to stop it. He doesn’t, though, just watches Dazai with unreadable eyes until Dazai’s palm comes to rest against the side of his neck, slipping under his hair to touch warm skin, fingernails dragging light as feathers at his nape.

The pad of his thumb digs gently under Chuuya’s chin. Just enough to feel his pulse.

“I’d like to,” Dazai replies. “Fuck with you, that is.”

He knows how he sounds with obscenities on his lips, after a lifetime of making a point not to be vulgar; it’s another thing entirely to see the way Chuuya reacts to it, to feel the harsh pull at his collar that presses him downward, that leads him directly to Chuuya’s mouth.

Tilting his head to press further in is instinctive and immediate, as is the way he opens his mouth to welcome Chuuya in, the way he lets himself be pushed against the wall in Chuuya’s stead so Chuuya can relax his grip on his collar and grab his nape instead. Chuuya smiles at the low, thrumming noise Dazai offers. His fingers tighten in Dazai’s neck and drag on the bandages there so that they press gently at his throat. His free hand settles at Dazai’s hip, and he licks slowly into his mouth, dragging back to suck on his lip until all the blood in Dazai’s body feels like it’s gathered there, in this single edge of flesh caught between Chuuya’s teeth.

Chuuya is a great kisser. Dazai expected it, has dreamed about it, but he was never going to be ready for it. Chuuya takes the lead without ever needing to be rough, and Dazai cannot for one second think of trying to wrestle it back. He doesn’t kiss a lot even on the rare occasion he has sex, prefers to get down to business without this sort of ceremony, too intimate for what he wants, but Chuuya…

Chuuya feels like he could do this for hours. He feels like he has done it for hours in the past. Dazai very much wants this sort of intimacy with him.

“Okay,” Chuuya murmurs. His smile is palpable, malleable under Dazai’s lips. He drags them together for a moment longer, without tongue but with just as much heat, before pulling away. “Okay,” he repeats. He looks as riveted as Dazai feels. “Let’s take this to my place, yeah?”

“Yeah,” Dazai replies breathlessly.

Chuuya’s eyes are dark with heat, his mouth red and swollen, his hair mussed by Dazai’s hand. They’re alone in the thin path that separates the rows of crates, where no one can see them now but anyone could, if they walked by. And Chuuya still kissed him. Right here, in spite of all his privacy.

Dazai feels light-headed. There’s not enough oxygen in the world to give him back his bearings, and he doesn’t want there to be.

Chuuya still lives in the apartment he took when they were seventeen. It’s a spacious and well-lit thing on the eighth floor of a building right by the harbor, the windows of which give out to the sea. Dazai hasn’t been inside it in years, and the last time he was the décor was very different than it is now.

He barely has time to take it in, though.

Chuuya pushes him against the door right as it closes behind them. Dazai has just enough presence to twist around at the last second and press him against it instead, and Chuuya allows it with a fleeting smile before dragging him down once more.

This time there is no lapse of hesitation. Their kiss turns messy the second they touch lips, Chuuya’s exhales hot against Dazai’s cheek and his hands gripped so tight around Dazai’s hips that he thinks he might leave marks there, where Dazai will feel them for days. The thought makes him a new kind of desperate, makes his teeth sink into the soft of Chuuya’s lips and makes him push a knee between Chuuya’s legs until he finally, finally hears his voice catch, almost a moan.

“You want this so bad,” Chuuya grins into his mouth. “Not so fucking smart now, are you.”

His words are breezy with the pressure of Dazai’s knee against his groin, and he drops Dazai’s hips to bring his fingers to his throat. He tears off the wrappings there and slides his mouth down with a quick, heated glance up, sucks a bruise right under the joint of Dazai’s jaw that makes Dazai’s entire back erupt with shivers.

Dazai wants to give it right back, to bite as Chuuya is doing now, but Chuuya’s neck is too low for him to achieve that without dislodging him. He contents himself with rutting slowly against Chuuya’s hip and rubbing him up with his knee, and Chuuya sucks another bruise under the first, his mouth scorching in Dazai’s neck, humming senseless things into his skin.

Eventually they kiss again, open-mouthed and aimless; Dazai’s hands have been busy holding him up against the door, but he drops them down under Chuuya’s thigh; he digs his fingers into the hard muscle there, imagines Chuuya’s legs around his hips as he fucks into him.

“Fuck,” he moans.

“My training’s not so stupid anymore, huh?” Chuuya says, like he can read his every thought.

Chuuya’s training has never been stupid, no matter how many times Dazai has insulted him for his single-mindedness over it. It’s made him into a weapon, made him terrifyingly self-sufficient, made him look like sculpted stone come alive. Dazai grabs him under the thighs and hoists him up, and Chuuya follows suit after a second of hesitation, linking his calves behind Dazai’s legs so they can be level.

He drinks the breath out of Chuuya’s mouth after that. Lets Chuuya’s fingernails crawl down his scalp and leave trails of permanent goosebumps behind them. There’s nothing else to think about with his tongue in Chuuya’s mouth and the line of Chuuya’s cock catching against his every time he rocks forward.

“I want to take you,” Dazai breathes, grinding into him with no finesse at all; Chuuya doesn’t seem to mind, if the way he throws his head back and makes an offering of his bare neck is to be believed.

“Yeah?” he replies.

“Yeah.” Dazai kisses his throat. “Just like that, on your bed, take you like I should’ve done months ago, Chuuya—”

“Fuck,” and this time Chuuya doesn’t bother with lips at all, just tugs Dazai’s head up by his hair and bites his mouth, shaking every time Dazai’s hips roll forward to meet his. “You better make it memorable, Dazai,” he pants, “I never let people fuck me.”

Dazai’s eyesight goes white from the rush of his words alone. It’s a struggle to manage to say, “I will,” but the promise is sincere all the same. The confidence is real.

Chuuya is so responsive, so attuned to him even after all these years—Dazai knows he can make it good for him. He knows Chuuya will make it good for him as well.

Chuuya brushes their lips together one more time. It feels like formal permission, and Dazai is giddy with it as he lets Chuuya’ legs fall to the floor once more. He almost wants to laugh.

Their coats are abandoned at the entrance. Chuuya disrobes himself as he walks to the bedroom much the same, leaving his shirt on a chair of the kitchen and his pants at the foot of his bed, baring himself limb by limb; the ridges that muscle and bone draw under his skin are a map in relief, the narrow line of his hips is one that Dazai wants to follow with his mouth like a starved man lapping at wet stones—he is parched, he realizes, wrung dry by the heat singing through him, desperate for a sip, a drop, anything Chuuya will give him.

“You’ve never let anyone fuck you?” he makes himself ask, instead of Please let me suck you off or something equally shaken.

The glance Chuuya gives him is knowing. “Not usually,” he replies. “I’ve done it before, I just didn’t like it.”

Dazai has to stop at that, to wonder for a moment. It’s surreal to think of Chuuya having bad sex with anyone, though he knows, objectively, that it happens to most people.

He stops thinking when Chuuya steps out of his underwear and turns around to look at him.

“C’mere,” Chuuya says, gesturing toward himself.

There is no man on Earth who could say no to that. Dazai shrugs out of his own clothes quickly, almost tripping on the leg of his slacks before he manages to peel it off, and then Chuuya is the one locking their mouths together and tugging down his boxers one-handed, dragging his rough palm against his hipbone and taking him in hand.

Dazai bucks into it immediately—Chuuya’s hand is too dry, thin and short-fingered and callused, but his grip is light enough that there is no discomfort at all. Or at least not enough to make it unbearable. Dazai pushes him toward the bed with a huff anyway, regardless of Chuuya’s smug smile. “Lie down,” he says.

Chuuya doesn’t quite do as he’s told. He throws away the blanket and sits in the middle of his bed, yes; but he only lowers himself down fully when Dazai kneels above him and pushes him into it with his mouth. Kissing his chest, licking the beginning of salt off his skin directly. In the end Dazai does end up taking Chuuya in his mouth, though he has no intention of blowing him now—he just wants to, for a second, for the pleasure of Chuuya’s gasp and the way his hips shake to hold still with his cock caught between Dazai’s palate and the flat of his tongue. It hardens between his lips a little further, hotter than his own blood.

Dazai lets it go with a gentle, drawn-out suck. He kisses inside Chuuya’s thigh next, right where his muscles tense. “You have lube and condoms somewhere, I’m guessing,” he says.

“Bathroom,” Chuuya replies with too much air. “Drawer left of the sink.”

Dazai nods. He leaves the bed with a parting caress at Chuuya’s thigh, at the flat of his belly, around the flush weight of his cock, still wet with spit.

Chuuya is still laid on the bed when he comes back, loosely holding himself with his hand. Dazai pauses at the entrance of the bedroom to take in the sight. He no longer has to picture how Chuuya must touch himself on his own, and Chuuya knows it, stares back at him with suggestion in his eyes, his fingers tightenings around his cock for a moment before he lets go entirely.

Dazai feels reverent when he kneels onto the bed once more. Weighed down into humility with the way Chuuya looks at him, heavy-lidded and appreciative. He takes the time to unravel the loose bandages around his throat completely; he doesn’t do it with the ones on his arms, and Chuuya doesn’t comment on it.

“Turn around,” he murmurs, stroking the side of Chuuya’s face.

Chuuya takes a moment to comply. His gaze is searching, maybe the tiniest bit apprehensive. He nods eventually, though, and pushes himself up with his elbows to twist over the mattress and come to rest on his front instead. Dazai brushes away the hair that has fallen in his face for him and then crawls back between his legs.

It is criminal, he thinks, that Chuuya has been splayed open like this for someone before and not been made to enjoy it. For a moment he can do nothing but press his mouth to Chuuya’s shoulder blades and flick his tongue at every one of his vertebrae, his hands trailing down his sides in tandem until they reach his hips. Dazai kisses his tailbone, he massages the dimples there with his thumbs, until Chuuya relaxes, and he tries to imagine anyone having Chuuya under them and wanting to focus on something other than making sure Chuuya feels good, on anything other than making him arch with pleasure like Dazai intends to.

He tries to imagine kneeling between Chuuya’s open thighs without wanting to worship him.

Chuuya jumps when Dazai sinks his teeth into his ass. He can’t help but smile again, and he kisses where he has bitten right onto already-red skin.

“Bastard,” Chuuya mumbles.

“You gave me hickeys,” Dazai replies. “This is only justice.”

“Yeah, hickeys you’re gonna be able to hide easily.”

“Do you not hide your ass?”

“I sit on it, fucker, I don’t want bruises there.”

Dazai snorts into his skin. It’s a different kind of struggle to resist baring the cleft of Chuuya’s ass and licking directly into it, but he manages.

He wants to do this again. He wants to make Chuuya want to do it again. He’ll get the occasion to rim him another time.

Chuuya lets out a careful breath at the sound of the lube’s cap opening. He turns his head on the other side to look as Dazai slicks his finger—has to push his hair back again, something they probably should have anticipated. Dazai is sure he saw hair ties in the bathroom, but he doesn’t feel like getting out of bed and fetching them now, with one hand slick and the other resting at the lowest of Chuuya’s back.

“Spread your legs a bit more,” he says.

Chuuya does, after a second.

He’s beautiful like this, all of his back bare for the eye to consume. Dazai is so hard by now that he fears he might come the moment he sinks into Chuuya, but there’s nothing to do about it but wait and hope. He rests his wet fingers at Chuuya’s rim, pressing lightly at first, just enough to twist a knuckle in.

He pauses. “You’ve really done it before?” he asks again.

Chuuya’s hand is a fist by his thigh, clenched into the sheet, but Dazai only has eyes for the opening of him, the sight of his middle finger pushing slowly in. “Once,” he says eventually.

“Must’ve been a while ago.”

Chuuya says nothing.

Still, it’s a wonder, the feeling of him opening like that, second by the second. Dazai has to pour more of the lube on his hand before thrusting in with two fingers instead of one—he brushes the back of his free hand along Chuuya’s spine when Chuuya tenses more, says, “Relax,” softly.

Chuuya’s head turns to face forward in spite of the strain it must put on his neck, away from Dazai’s direct line of sight. Dazai frowns but makes himself go slower still, rubbing inside him as gently as humanly possible, until finally he feels his middle and ring fingers are deep enough in Chuuya, the rim of his entrance stretched enough, that he can curl down to press a bit harder.

Chuuya’s entire body ripples at the feeling. His back curves in a way that dries all the water in Dazai’s mouth, his thighs clench, he becomes so tight around him that for a second Dazai cannot move his fingers at all one way or another; and it should be encouraging, would be, if not for the fact that a loud tearing sound drags Dazai’s eyes back to where Chuuya’s hand is fisted into now-torn sheets.

It’s shaking.

Dazai stares as the tremors run all the way to Chuuya’s shoulder and spread over the upper half of his back. It’s only then that he notices that Chuuya’s heavy, want-filled breathing is gone, has been replaced with quick-paced panting, so faint it’s practically inaudible—and then he sees that Chuuya’s face has slipped back to its side, that his lips are bitten open and bleeding, that his eyes are wide and unseeing, and Dazai freezes.

He ices over. Belly and lungs and mouth, all at once. He takes his fingers out of Chuuya—and Chuuya whimpers at the feeling, eyes closing tightly, his body so tense it looks like his spine might snap, he’s trying so hard to keep himself from fleeing.

All the air around Dazai suddenly feels suffocating.

There’s nothing to do but wait it out. He doesn’t dare touch Chuuya at all, doesn’t dare move away either. He doesn’t think he could anyway. His chest is so cold that every beat of his heart seems a struggle, pushes more of the ice down every single one of his veins. He watches, dry-mouthed, as Chuuya rides out the terror written on every line of his body.

It takes so long for him to calm down. Realistically, in the faraway place where his reason has gone, Dazai knows it can’t have been more than a few minutes; but it feels like hours since he’s heard the sheets tear open and kneeled up to realize what was happening. Chuuya’s panting is so fast-paced he should be passing out, but he’s shaking too hard for it. The line of his shoulders keeps twitching, jumping, shifting under his skin as if trying to escape. He never stops gripping the sheets.

Chuuya collects himself piece by piece. His breathing first, which he has to quiet so, so painstakingly. His movements, next, by licking the blood off his lips. He can’t seem to get rid of the shaking no matter how long he waits, so in the end he pushes his hair out of his face and then pushes himself upright until he can sit, facing the wall—facing away from Dazai.

Dazai hasn’t moved at all. His hands rest on his thighs, on either side of where he has gone completely, utterly soft with shock. The fingers of his right hand are still wet.

“Chuuya?” he says.

His own voice feels very distant from him. As if it’s had to travel through fog to reach him at all.

Chuuya glances at him over his shoulder, which is still twitching faintly every few seconds. His face is red. “Sorry,” he rasps. “Ah, that kinda killed the mood.”

His attempt at a smile is so pathetic that all it does is make the pit of viscous guilt in Dazai’s belly squirm.

Dazai shifts from his knees to his behind. He crosses his legs after that, because he feels too bare, mentally, to stand not putting something physical between himself and the rest of the world. It has very little to do with the fact that he’s still as naked as the day he was born.

“Why didn’t you tell me to stop?” he asks.

Chuuya doesn’t hunch in on himself or whimper again. He doesn’t show any sign of being surprised or shaken anew. All he does is rub his face with one hand and stretch his shoulders a bit, to make sure they’re almost done spasming, and it’s worse somehow than if he had started sobbing or yelling or kicked Dazai out of the bed.

“You should’ve told me,” Dazai continues. He feels completely hollow, exhausted to the bone, as if he’s the one who just spent several minutes hyperventilating. “If you didn’t want me to—”

“Fuck, Dazai,” Chuuya snaps. Dazai’s words die instantly. “I’m sorry, all right? I wanted to try, but I guess I just don’t like it.”

It’s such an understatement, such an outrageous way of saying it after what Dazai has seen, that he can’t help but reply, “Chuuya, you just had a panic attack. This isn’t just not liking it.”

Chuuya swears under his breath, his irritation as sharp as it can be considering how weak he sounds. He turns on his behind to sit sideways, so he can meet Dazai’s eyes more easily but still look away if he wants to. Still run away if he wants to.

The thought is like a bullet to the guts.

“Look,” Chuuya says. He raises one knee to put his elbow on, rubs his face again. “I didn’t mean for that to happen. Feel free to make fun of me later, or just… I don’t know, never talk to me again, I guess.” He goes on before Dazai can even embrace how egregious the idea is and realize that Chuuya is actually serious, “I feel pathetic enough right now, so just don’t rub it in. Please.”

“I’m not going to make fun of you,” Dazai says.

Chuuya gives him a skeptical glance. Usually those only cement how close they are, but right now Dazai feels nothing of the kind. That Chuuya is convinced he would mock him for what just happened is nauseating—he has to swallow back bile, has to breathe in a little more harshly not to let his words become sharper in his own defense. He’s never felt so far away from Chuuya in his life, not even while he was on the run.

He knows what is going on. He wishes he didn’t, he has never wanted to un-know something more in his life, but he does. He knew the moment he saw Chuuya’s face reflect fear instead of pleasure. Were he a better man, he would be attempting some sort of comfort or reassurance, or leaving Chuuya alone entirely so he can compose himself and come back later, at a calmer time, to talk…

But Dazai is not a better man. And he knows himself too much to think he can do the right thing—leave and come back—instead of doing the cowardly thing—leave forever. If he doesn’t ask now, he’ll never ask again.

He looks at the door of the bedroom, one hand against his own shoulder, forearm braced over his chest. This is the only armor he has. “You said you had a bad experience before,” he says. A lifetime of pretending to be something he’s not—not quite—makes the words come out even and disinterested. “How bad, exactly?”

Chuuya snorts faintly at his side. “It’s nothing,” he replies. “Just a really shitty lay one time. I thought I was over it.”

He sounds so matter-of-fact about it that Dazai lets himself hope, for a second, that maybe this is it. Maybe he’s reading too much into Chuuya’s panic. Maybe one bad hook-up can lead to this sort of trigger response.

He knows the whole idea is a lie before he can even finish having it.

“What happened?” he asks hollowly.

He can feel Chuuya looking at him in disbelief, but he doesn’t meet his eyes. He can’t force himself to witness just how little Chuuya thinks of what was done to him.

“Who I sleep with is none of your business,” Chuuya replies curtly.


He must sound far more vulnerable than he thinks, for Chuuya to break his oath of privacy.

“It was nothing,” Chuuya says again. His voice isn’t even subdued. Dazai’s fingers scratch under his jaw, where Chuuya has dragged up his blood with his teeth and tongue not an hour earlier. “This guy wanted to have sex, and I was up for it, but he wanted to be the one fucking me and I wasn’t up for that. He started being all pushy about it and pissing me off, so I thought I’d just leave and go home.”

“I’m guessing he didn’t let that happen,” Dazai comments weakly.

“Yeah.” Chuuya’s voice doesn’t betray anything at all. He continues much the same, with boredom, only tired because of the earlier panic’s toll on his body. “It’s kind of embarrassing—I turned around to get my coat, and the bastard hit me in the back of the head. Turns out he was a lot stronger than he looked. I must’ve fallen badly and passed out for a few minutes, because when I woke up he had his dick in my ass. I practically destroyed the whole floor when I kicked him off me.”

There’s nothing he can compare to this, Dazai thinks. Nothing at all in the portfolio of his awful memories that he can compare with sitting here as Chuuya narrates his own rape like it hasn’t affected him, after witnessing him fall apart in terror on two fingers. The experience stands in a whole new category of horrible, of gut-wrenching.

“What happened to him?” he asks. It comes out as nothing more than a breath.

“No idea,” Chuuya replies. He leans forward to pull open the drawer of his bedside table and takes a pack of cigarettes out of it, one of which he sticks between his lips. It gets lit with a scratch of match on paper. “Probably spent a week in the hospital meditating on his flaws before crawling back home,” Chuuya adds, exhaling the smoke. “I don’t keep track of lousy partners, Dazai, I have more self-respect than that.”

It almost makes him laugh.

Then he has to press a hand over his mouth to repress—something, bile, again, or a sob maybe, the first tears he’s spilled in over a decade perhaps—and the sound he makes as he breathes in has Chuuya startling.

“Dazai?” he calls. He sounds worried.

Dazai looks at him.

He’s no-longer the wide-eyed, stricken part of himself he was on the bed earlier. He looks much the same as always, fierce and dangerous, no less confident for being naked. No less impressive for it either. But his hold on his cigarette is almost too loose, the stub threatening to fall onto the sheets from between his fingers. Dazai can’t ever remember Chuuya smoking in bed before.

You should’ve told me to stop, he thinks again, for the thousandth time. You should’ve told me no when I said what I wanted to do, you should’ve kicked me off when you started panicking, you shouldn’t have let me hurt you

It could’ve gone on for even longer. If Dazai hadn’t noticed him shaking or seen his bloody mouth—he could’ve kept fucking Chuuya on his fingers, maybe even on his cock without realizing—though he wants to believe that he would have noticed, wants to cling to the thought that of course he would have noticed before it got that far. But Chuuya himself doesn’t even realize. He’s taken such care to keep himself from realizing, out of the same self-preserving instinct that has rendered him unable to make the first move on Dazai.

Chuuya is not stupid. He’s never been stupid. He knows what happened to him, and he’s categorized and compartmentalized it in a way he thinks can’t hurt him. It is denial of the most straightforward, honest kind. It’s so like Chuuya himself that Dazai wants to smile.

The guilt is alive in him, like a great and growling creature, swallowing everything. He knows he will find this in his nightmares: Chuuya regaining consciousness to someone violating him, Chuuya speaking of it like it’s just an embarrassing anecdote, Chuuya breathing silently through his panic rather than let himself say stop.

Fingers grab his shoulder gently. Dazai lets himself be turned sideways.

“I’m sorry,” Chuuya says earnestly. He’s scooted closer on the mattress. “I feel—shit, I really wanted to sleep with you. I still want to sleep with you. Make it good and everything. Just don’t put anything in my ass, all right?”

Dazai doesn’t know how to make him understand that there is absolutely nothing here that he should apologize for.

He leans forward instead of speaking, kisses Chuuya slowly, coaxes his mouth open. It takes no more than a second for Chuuya to fall into it and part his lips; and he only tastes like the tobacco still burning between his fingers, nothing at all like fear or resentment, so Dazai calms himself on the feeling of it. He closes his eyes to better appreciate the slide of Chuuya’s fingers from his shoulder to his nape, where they tangle with his hair.

Chuuya smiles into it. Some tension melts out of him under the press of Dazai’s mouth. The still ice in Dazai’s body thaws at that, letting warmth unfold through him so far as to allow him to breathe.

“I’m gonna go,” he says, pulling away. Chuuya’s eyes open slowly, bracingly, to meet his. “But I’ll be back, later. We can talk about it.”

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Chuuya replies.

His tone is conversational, but there’s a hint of steel in his posture regardless, a cutting edge to his words. He knows what Dazai means.

So Dazai smiles and says, “Have a good day, Chuuya.”

He parts from Chuuya with a stroke of his thumb at the corner of Chuuya’s mouth. Chuuya allows it without a word.

Next chapter

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