Gold Lines (Part II – End)

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Warning: discussions of rape and pedophilia.

Gold Lines
Part II

Dazai knows he can’t go to Chuuya again without doing some handling on his side. He spends the night after Chuuya’s confession avoided by even the hint of sleep. It might have been a good thing, considering the simmering anxiety in him at the time. The somersaults of his hearts alongside each intrusive thought. Dazai stares at his ceiling for hours without daring to blink, because Chuuya’s fear-struck face is burned inside his eyelids; he breathes in careful, slow inhales, the focus necessary to avoid imagining him wearing the same expression under his rapist’s hands.

He doesn’t want to think about it, but he’s starting to realize that he would have thought about it anyway, even if he had not asked to know. Dazai has always been cursed with an imagination he has little control over.

He won’t find a guide anywhere to tell him what to do. He knows that. As things stand, his only certainties are that he wants to see Chuuya again, wants to press him against his mouth and witness him come apart; that he needs to see Chuuya more now than he did before discovering the way he kisses, discovering the way he looks; that he needs to talk to him. Dazai doesn’t allow himself to reflect on fixing anything—Chuuya would resent him for considering him something to be put back together. Chuuya doesn’t think of himself as broken in the first place. Dazai will not insult him by failing to understand that.

It doesn’t mean he can’t ask questions.

Dazai takes refuge in Yosano’s office on the third day. It’s a heavy August afternoon that finds him sitting in one of the empty beds of the infirmary, half-completed paperwork over his lap, twirling a pen between his fingers. Yosano herself only laughed when he handed her a bottle of good sake, gesturing vaguely toward the back of the room, accepting his excuse of wanting to avoid Ranpo and Kunikida.

Now it is hours later, with the heat of summer slick on his skin despite the rumbling fan making the air move around. There is no one except them in the room, no noise but for the fan and the shudder of cars down in the streets. Yosano’s chair creaks when she leans back in it to stretch her arms above her head, and she says, “Out with it,” with a sigh.

He’s the only one she could possibly be talking to. Dazai stops staring at the empty half of the card he’s supposed to fill to stare at her instead.

“Out with what?” he replies.

Yosano huffs. “You’ve been sitting here since before I arrived,” she declares. “Obviously there’s something you want to ask me.”

“Maybe I just wanted the pleasure of a beautiful woman’s company, sensei.”

“That’s sweet,” she says dryly. “Bullshit, but sweet.”

Dazai chuckles.

“Not that I don’t appreciate the bribe.” Her fingers wrap around the neck of the bottle, her other hand pushing up her glasses so she can read the label once more. “Either you’ve been saving some serious money or you’re getting paid more than me, Dazai.”

“I wouldn’t know.”

“Still,” she continues, placing the bottle back on top of the desk. “Forgive me, but you look like a man with a purpose right now. You were here before I arrived—you’re not avoiding Kunikida. And you’re working, which means you’re trying to avoid doing something else.”

“I really am an open book to you,” Dazai comments. His eyes are still on the bottle, but he’s making no effort to focus enough not to make the sight of it blurry.

He should’ve worn his glasses.

Yosano huffs gently. “You’re not,” she says. “You don’t need me to tell you that either.”

Dazai doesn’t try to come up with a lie in answer.

His legs unfold over the side of the bed. They ache slightly from the strain of keeping the same position for hours, from knee to thigh to lower back. His spine cracks when he straightens it up. The air caught in his lungs escapes from between his teeth at the release of tension, dragging fatigue out, letting anxiety spread once more.

Yosano watches him the entire time.

Now more than ever, he wishes he had words for the way he values her. Her attitude toward him hasn’t changed since learning of his previous occupation, something he expected, logically, knowing the accusations leveled against her in her past; but there is quite a difference between expecting and experiencing. Dazai hadn’t been able to breathe right after being arrested, not even with Kunikida’s own acceptance, not until Yosano had looked him in the eye and asked, “Are you injured?” with complete lack of judgment on her voice.

Yosano is the reason Dazai learned to stop fearing medicine and its practitioners. She’s the reason he can get hurt now and think I need to get that fixed instead of I wish this would kill me.

“I do have questions,” he says slowly. Behind his ribs is a knot of tense regret, of helpless wishing, that hasn’t untied for a moment since Chuuya apologized for his own fear. He has to swallow to get it to stop constricting just so he can speak again. “I’m not sure who else to go to about it.”

“Are they medical questions?” Yosano asks, frowning.

“Sort of.”

She nods quickly. Her chair turns to face him more fully, and she pulls her glasses away from her nose, rummages through her pocket to find the piece of fabric she usually wipes them with. “Shoot,” she says. “You know the drill—technically anything you say to me in here is under doctor-patient confidentiality.”

“I wish you’d extend that to the dorms,” Dazai can’t help but say.

It makes her laugh for a second. “Still mad about me telling Kunikida you were the one to put that fake snake in his sink?” she drawls, not glancing up from the glasses in her lap. “You should’ve been less obvious about it.”

“You should’ve stopped me while I was doing it if you were going to betray me anyway.”

“And miss hearing him scream at you during my evening cigarette?” She lifts her head to smirk at him. “Ask your question, Dazai,” she says, putting her glasses back on her nose. “Don’t think I can’t tell you’re trying to delay.”

He masks the uneasy jump of his heart behind the smile he gives her. If she sees it, she doesn’t say anything. “It’s about…” he has to pause for a second before continuing. “It’s about rape. About what to do after it happens.”

He can’t quite look at her. Can’t quite look away from her either. Yosano’s smile relaxes into something suddenly a lot more hesitant, and Dazai has just enough time to think that maybe this was a bad idea before she opens her mouth.

“Dazai,” she says carefully. “Did someone—”

“No,” he cuts in, meeting her eyes once more. “Not me, Yosano. This is one thing I haven’t had to deal with.”

She doesn’t look like she believes him.

Dazai licks his lips. He feels nervous in the body-wide way, like every one of his muscles is ready to start pulsing under his skin. “Someone I know recently told me that they were assaulted,” he says, in spite of the tightness in his throat that makes him feel every word as a knife wound. “I’m not sure if there’s anything I should do about it.”

“Someone you know,” she repeats.

He can read what she’s thinking as well as if she had said it, so he adds, “It’s not anyone from the agency.”

This much is already too close to breaking Chuuya’s privacy. Dazai and Yosano have very few common acquaintances, even fewer when discounting their colleagues. Dazai can only hope that she took his words to mean it’s no one you know, but judging by the way she stares at him, she’s smarter than this.

The sigh she lets out then is nothing at all like the previous one. She doesn’t relax in her chair or distract herself with anything—her glasses, or the shiny bottle still sitting on her desk. If she was looking away from him earlier, now Dazai doesn’t think he could escape her eyes if he had the power to turn himself invisible.

“This sort of thing greatly depends on the circumstances,” she starts. He’s not looking at her anymore, has taken to staring at his hands instead, but he nods to let her know he’s listening. “Immediately after, it’s mostly a question of checking for injuries, which there aren’t always. Then managing potential disease transmission or pregnancy. Do you know when it happened?”

“I don’t,” he admits.

Chuuya hasn’t given him anything to go by. No way to identify either rapist or date. It was very probably deliberate on his behalf as well—Dazai isn’t as good as Ranpo when it comes to deducing based on a pool of evidence, but he thinks even Ranpo would’ve had a hard time trying to squeeze anything out of what little Chuuya explained.

It could’ve happened a month ago, or it could’ve happened when Chuuya was eighteen. Maybe even younger. Dazai has never looked back to the memory of Chuuya as a teenager with anything other than fond irritation, and his mind recoils anew at the thought that he might need to append this knowledge to it. He knows how terribly off he was himself in the months before Odasaku’s death. His missing or dismissing any change in Chuuya’s behavior at the time is a definite possibility.

He feels a little sick when he says, “They aren’t injured now, but they’re definitely not over it.”

“Of course they’re not,” Yosano replies softly. “This isn’t something you really ever get over.”

Dazai nods unseeingly. “I know it was someone they were involved with,” he continues. “I know that—there was violence involved, on top of the rape itself, though I’m not sure how much.”

It’s so weird to speak of it in those terms. As if he’s talking about some anonymous victim instead of Chuuya—the boy he grew up with, the man he came to regard as the closest thing to an ally and friend as he’s ever going to get. The man he was kissing only days ago in his own home, whose body he watched with want crashing into him, whose warm mouth has left bruises at the crook of his neck. He can still feel them now, every time he brushes the bandages at his throat with his fingers.

“I don’t know what to do,” he murmurs. This admission costs him more than anything in this entire situation. “They don’t think of it as something important, but…”

He can’t carry his thought to the end.

“I know you know it,” Yosano says in the quiet, “but the only way to truly deal with this is therapy.”

It makes him smile briefly. Therapy isn’t an option for an executive of the port mafia. Even if Chuuya wanted it, which he never will, he would have to jump through loop after loop to acquire it. He would never be able to be truthful either. He would always run the risk of being reported for his activities, just as Dazai was.

“I’m sorry,” he says, looking at Yosano once more. There’s no pity on her face, only concern, and Dazai strengthens himself with it. “This isn’t really your area of expertise, I know.”

“I’m not a therapist,” Yosano agrees, “but I’ve worked with victims before. Usually in the direct physical aftermath. I’m afraid there’s not really anything to do unless your friend is injured or seeks psychological help.” She marks a pause before continuing. “And it may seem harsh, Dazai, but you’re not a therapist either. Even if there’s nothing you can do about it, it’s okay. You don’t have this sort of responsibility over anyone. Don’t beat yourself up about it.”

“I know,” he replies.

He’s never wanted this sort of responsibility over anyone in the first place. He’s certain that Chuuya would never speak to him again if he knew Dazai was even asking those questions now.

Yosano is silent for a while longer, just looking at him. Unhappy but sympathetic. “You’re very affected by this,” she comments eventually.

Dazai’s shoulders tense a little. “Isn’t it normal?” he replies.

“Not really.” Yosano meets his questioning glance levelly, and she says, “Don’t get me wrong—plenty of people react in odd ways to rape, their own or their loved ones’. It’s the sort of thing no one knows what to do with.” She breathes in carefully. “But most people generally prefer not to think about it except as a joke, even at the expense of victims. You… you look like this is very personal to you.”

There are many things Dazai could say to that. He could tell her that he knows Chuuya as well as he can get to know anyone; that he cares about Chuuya, he knows, with a depth that encompasses more than the nostalgic and the physical.

That he hasn’t gone through an hour without remembering feeling him clench on his fingers, trying not to flee, too afraid to exercise his right to say no.

Instead he turns cold with apprehension himself. “Is there something you want to say, Yosano?” he lets out.

She doesn’t answer immediately. Her eyes flick toward the locked drawer of her desk, where he knows she keeps her cigarettes. This is how he understands that she wants to admit her thoughts about as little as he wants to hear them—that she feels she has to anyway.

“I don’t think you realize it,” she starts hesitantly, “but you’re always a little too aware of these things.”

“Of what things?”

Her lips thin. “You’re kinder to some of the clients we get sometimes,” she says. “Some of the women, especially. You don’t flirt with them like an idiot, you don’t try to touch them in any way. You’re more polite too.”

“Am I really such a bad flirt?” he quips, because something is starting to uncoil at the base of his spine that feels a lot like fear.

Yosano doesn’t grace him with a reply. “These women—some of them are the ones who come to us for this sort of abuse. I know it because I’m generally the one they talk to in those cases. But you shouldn’t be able to know that unless you’re breaking into my files, and you shouldn’t be able to just guess it for the ones who were assaulted in their lives but come to us for entirely different things. You’re able to pick up on signs that most people can’t, because you’re hyper-aware that they might be there. You’re always looking for them.”

The only thing Dazai feels at her words is confusion. He’s never noticed any difference in the way he treats clients at the agency, besides occasionally liking one more than the rest. Yosano isn’t smiling at him anymore.

“You act like you’re carrying some sort of trauma of your own, Dazai,” she says gently. “Sexual trauma, I mean.”

“I’m not,” he replies numbly. It’s the only thing he can think to say.

He’s never been assaulted, never been so much as flirted with insistently by anyone he didn’t want to. No lingering hands in crowded bars. No invading looks. He hasn’t had a sexual encounter that he didn’t wish to have. Outside of Chuuya breaking down while he was touching him, Dazai’s never had an experience with sex that he would qualify as bad. Awkward and weird, yes, but never in a negative enough way to linger.

“You know,” Yosano says. Her voice seems even fainter now, and she isn’t meeting his eyes anymore. “The medical community here is quite a small world. It gets even smaller when you consider only people with links to less-than-legal affairs like myself, or gifted practitioners.”

It’s the first time he’s ever heard her mention it, never mind that they all know, now, thanks to Dostoyevsky. Yosano seems only faintly regretful that she has to speak of her past at all.

She says, “I heard all sorts of rumors about Mori Ougai long before learning that he practically raised you. He’s not exactly discreet about what he is.”

Dazai’s mouth is so dry now that he thinks his tongue might break into pieces if he touched it to his teeth. Just fade into dust in the box of his own skull.

“He’s never touched me,” he says. It comes out as a whisper. “Not even once. I think he thought I was too valuable for—for that.”

His heart is a vivid bruise in his throat, his eyes a burn he doesn’t recognize until his sight blurs and he realizes—he’s about to cry.

“I guess that answers the question of whether you knew about it,” Yosano mutters, not saying anything of the way Dazai’s head snaps aside so he can blink the tears back, his fingers digging into his own thighs. “How old were you met him?”

“Ten or eleven,” he replies roughly. “I think.” His recollections of that time are all faded together, but he is certain of one thing at least. “I appreciate your concern, Yosano-sensei, but he’s really never done anything to me.”

“I don’t think he needed to,” she replies.

Dazai doesn’t look at her.

“You knew he could,” she says. “Even if he never did, you knew it was a possibility. For a kid that young, that’s traumatizing enough.”

Dazai has fever-bright memories of the violence he discovered before the age of twelve. He has even brighter ones of the violence he enacted from the age of twelve. He can close his eyes and recall with picture-perfect clarity the sight of the old boss’s blood on the wall of his bedroom, after Mori was done slitting his throat and turned to him to call him his witness.

Through all of his youth the murky awareness of Mori’s pedophilia is like a bug’s buzz in his ear, something to be dismissed with a wave of the hand; he can’t remember ever worrying for himself in that way around him, though he knows he was never completely at ease in Mori’s presence. But then again, Dazai was never at ease in anyone’s presence back then, except for Chuuya and later on Odasaku. Even Hirotsu made him wary. And there’s only one person in the world who isn’t afraid of Kouyou.

Silence stretches through the room. It’s hard to remember that only two doors separate Dazai and Yosano from the rest of the agency. He feels shaken through, all the way to the softest of himself, the dim-lit corner of his soul where the last of what he called a childhood hides.

“How long have you…” He has to swallow to make his voice smoother. “Have you been thinking about this for a long time, then?”

Yosano leans back in her chair with a soft sound. “Not really,” she replies. “I don’t spend my time trying to analyze you, Dazai. I’m not Kunikida. I don’t care how you got to be who you are, I don’t care about what you used to do as much as what you’re doing now.” She smiles. “That would be a little hypocritical of me, don’t you think?”

Loyalty among murderers, is what he thinks. Something he might as well call friendship.

He hadn’t realized just how much he craves it.

“I do care about you, though,” Yosano goes on, unaware. “This is just stuff that I’ve noticed over the years. I didn’t think I’d ever talk to you about it, but you brought up the topic, and I thought… I thought you might want to know. I apologize if I overstepped.”

“No,” he says. “No, you didn’t.”

It burns now, electric, not something he can touch without hurting himself, but the ache has always been there anyway. He just hadn’t noticed it before.

“Thank you.” The words come out lighter than he expected. Yosano nods quickly in his direction, looking a little awkward now, and Dazai smiles. “I’m definitely not ending today sober, though,” he adds.

She flicks a nail against the side of the bottle on her desk; the sound it makes rings cleanly though the room, a high, crystalline note, full of the promise of languid oblivion. “Meet me in my room tonight to try out this baby?” she asks, raising an eyebrow.

“That was the plan all along.”

Dazai knocks on Chuuya’s door two days later, his hair wind-swept and his tongue dry, with the taste of salt at the back of his throat. It’s a night of high wind over the harbor, one that has every pleasure boat’s sail tightly wrapped to their masts. The rows of them near the center of town look like gleaming sticks in the moonlight.

Chuuya opens within thirty seconds, dressed down for the evening but with his knife in hand—and every half-made word that Dazai has been twisting around his mind for the past few days dies swiftly on his tongue.

He finds himself kissing Chuuya’s open lips before the door even closes behind him, stumbling out of his shoes to press him against the back of his couch and lick sweetness from his mouth, some sort of pastry he must have been eating and which Dazai doesn’t care to look for. He finds himself moaning against Chuuya’s grin when Chuuya grabs him between the legs over his clothes, rocking into him, peeling away every layer he must to get to his skin once more.

Chuuya’s body is lined with scars, hurt by bullet and blade more often than the mere human hand. Dazai laps at every one he finds on his torso, falls on his knees to tongue under his belly button, where an attempted gutting has left behind a jagged pink line—he flushes with heat at the sounds Chuuya makes, busies his hand with unbuckling Chuuya’s belt and pulling his clothes down so he can finally put his mouth on him. He sucks him the rest of the way to hardness feeling like a man on the brink of death; and Chuuya reacts beautifully, hips canted and tongue full of swears, his bare hand grasping Dazai’s hair to press him closer still.

He’s hot on Dazai tongue, hard and bitter, soft-skinned. Taking away most of his air, making his mouth water again, sliding in and out to the oldest tempo on Earth.

I could do this all my life, Dazai thinks drunkenly.

He’s equally gone a few minutes later with his bare back on Chuuya’s mattress and Chuuya’s fingers inside him, gasping every time they push explosive pressure along his spine. Chuuya hasn’t stopped smiling once since the moment they kissed—he mouths nonsense over Dazai’s belly now, breathing hotly onto his skin, his eyes alight with amusement.

Dazai can hardly breathe by the time Chuuya is sinking into him. Chuuya is heavy, with muscle and with life, pressing down between his legs and biting at his collarbone. Dazai wants nothing more in that moment than to be crushed under him until he’s brought down to absolutely nothing. He links his fingers behind Chuuya’s head, dislodging some hair out of the tie he’s put it in—and Chuuya moans when he clenches down on the roll of his hips, whispers, “Fuck,” so lowly that Dazai feels it vibrate through his ribs.

“Greedy bastard,” Chuuya breathes, and he feels immense. “Should’ve known you’d be like this.”

“If you weren’t so short you could kiss me while you—”

Chuuya snaps his hips forward, right into the centerpoint of Dazai’s heat, making Dazai’s words break into hot air.

“That’s better,” Chuuya smirks as he gasps for a breath.

Chuuya is a giving lover, not selfless so much as limitless. He feels everywhere at once; his hand on Dazai’s cock and his mouth in Dazai’s neck, thrusting into him, slick and wonderful. His eyes are sharp on every reaction Dazai gives even as he seeks his own pleasure, and Dazai isn’t used to having so little control, prefers to be the one making sure things run smoothly, but for once, there’s nothing else he’d rather do than let Chuuya fuck every thought out of his mind.

“How flexible are you?” Chuuya asks, straightening up, halting his pace.

Dazai has to take a second to catch his breath before answering. “Probably not enough for what you’re planning.”

“We’ll just have to try.” He pulls out of Dazai entirely, taps Dazai’s knee with his fingers. “Lift that for me,” he says.

Dazai does so without question. Chuuya catches him under the knee with one hand and pulls his leg up the rest of the way, stretching it till the fold of his knee rests somewhere above Chuuya’s breast. He straddles Dazai’s other thigh with a thin smile, flushed red all the way down to his neck, before fucking himself back in slowly.

Dazai’s mouth opens on nothing at all.

“Good?” Chuuya murmurs, like he needs any confirmation.

Every time he rocks forward is searing, deeper and fuller than he was before, the length of his cock seemingly completely inside Dazai. Dazai can feel the motion of Chuuya’s hips in his chest, feels as though every push is the only thing keeping his heart beating, as though if Chuuya were to pull out, his blood would still out of motion. He clenches his teeth on every quiet moan it pulls out of him, licks the sweat off his lips and closes his eyes, better to appreciate the clench of Chuuya’s fingers around his lifted thigh, the press of him at the crux of his legs, at the center of his heart.

He starts cramping too quickly, the pain turning to too much for pleasure to sweep him away. “Enough,” he lets out, and Chuuya laughs as he pulls out once more and lets him fall spread-eagle on the mattress.

“Shut up,” Dazai pants. “Not even you could stay like that for long.”

“I absolutely could,” Chuuya replies. He does lean down to kiss Dazai’s lips quickly, though, almost in apology. “You just suck.”

“You didn’t mind me sucking earlier.”

Chuuya pats his hip patronizingly.

Dazai has no protest at all for the way Chuuya pushes him to his front. He’s strong enough physically that there’s a light-headed quality to being manipulated by him like this, to be made to kneel on the sheets and folded over by his hands. Dazai’s forehead is on the mattress when he’s entered again, his lips closed tightly when Chuuya’s hand wraps around his flushed cock.

“I want to hear you,” Chuuya says into his shoulders, stroking him alongside every slow thrust forward. His lips are a brand over Dazai’s spine, his words fire onto his skin. “Come on, Dazai, let me hear you.”

So Dazai does.

Chuuya’s weight rests entirely on Dazai’s own elbows; the hand he doesn’t have jerking Dazai closer to orgasm is into Dazai’s hair, soft and sweet, the contrast mind-numbing against his grinding motions. Dazai’s every breath is a thrum of heat, one that starts at the point where they join and travels up his spine hotly, and his lungs don’t have time to fill themselves before he has to let everything out. There is wetness in his eyes at the way Chuuya whispers his name, ghosting it over his skin, a reminder of who he is, of who Chuuya knows him to be.

He comes with Chuuya breathing down his lungs through his back, with him stretching him open, with his hand rubbing him out until he can’t see anything at all. He’s panting, the sheet damp under his mouth from breathing onto it too hard. Chuuya stills behind him without pulling away. His fingers let go of Dazai’s head to caress his shoulders.

It takes tremendous effort for Dazai to strain his head sideways and look at him, but he doesn’t regret the ache at all. The way Chuuya stares at him now makes all the warmth in him linger for far longer than necessary.

“You okay?” Chuuya asks with a smile.

“Yeah,” Dazai breathes. And then—”You haven’t come yet,” he adds, blinking slowly.

Chuuya is still hard in him, still overly present the way only he could ever be.

“I wanted to try something.” It doesn’t take more than that for Dazai to understand what he means, and he gasps at the first roll of his hips, his entire body shaking. “I can pull out if you want.”

“No,” Dazai says immediately. “No, do it.”

Chuuya squeezes his thigh.

It’s too much, even as slowly as Chuuya goes—the drag of him post-orgasm is fire, molten and overwhelming, the pressure of his cock against Dazai’s prostate like a blade between his thighs, one that rips moan after moan out of him, that turns every exhale into a gasp.

“You’re so good like this,” Chuuya says, strained and stunned at once. “All fucked out. God, you should hear yourself. Lovely.”

He doesn’t fall over Dazai as he did a moment ago, doesn’t do more than rock into him slowly and press a hand at his pelvis, not touching his spent cock, just bracing him. Dazai’s scalp is running with shivers so great he feels like he’s buzzing, like his mind has come to a stop and will never start again. It’s not a minute before Chuuya moans above him, hips stuttering painfully against Dazai’s backside, breathing loud into the silence.

He’s careful as he pulls out. Massaging Dazai’s thighs, helping him down onto the bed. Dazai doesn’t move as he steps out to get rid of the condom and get himself cleaned up. It’s all he can do to open his eyes again and watch him approach, towel in hand.

“Want me to do that for you?” Chuuya asks softly.

Dazai shakes his head. He pushes himself up and takes the cloth with murmured thanks, wipes the come off his stomach and the lube off his thighs. Chuuya is already slipping back into the bed when he rolls the towel up and throws it across the room. He hears him groan.

“Too tired,” is all Dazai says.

For a second he hovers on his knees, looking at the place where the towel fell, not knowing whether he should look back at Chuuya or just leave.

Chuuya takes the choice away from him by grabbing his wrist and pulling him in. “Stop being an idiot,” he mutters.

Dazai falls onto him with a smile, his head onto Chuuya’s shoulder, Chuuya’s hand in his hair.

“I thought you’d want to shower,” he says.

“Tomorrow,” Chuuya replies. “I need to change these sheets anyway, so who cares.”

“As I thought.” Dazai brushes his nose against Chuuya’s collarbone, smiling. “You’re gross.”

All he gets in answer is a sharp tug at his hair.

With the heat seeping out of him second by second, it’s easier for Dazai’s mind to run again. He hasn’t felt this clear-headed in a long time, he realizes; he hasn’t been fucked in a long time, either, and never quite so pleasantly.

It’s so easy to imagine himself staying like this for an endless number of days. Pressed into Chuuya’s side with sweat cooling off his back and Chuuya’s taste still on his tongue.

“Let’s do this again,” he says.

“Sure,” Chuuya replies easily. “The whole staring without touching thing was getting tiring anyway.”

“You only needed to ask.”

Chuuya doesn’t answer.

There’s more that Dazai wants to say. There was never just physical need between them, and Dazai knows Chuuya knows it, knows he can remember longing just as clearly as Dazai can. Chuuya is so much more than just someone to have sex with that it aches to consider him like this even in hypotheticals.

Chuuya is something Dazai doesn’t have a name for; not just a friend, though he was; not just an ally, though he is. He’s a current that runs deeper than anything Dazai has wanted before, something that cannot abate even now, after feeling him in and around him. Dazai doesn’t think he’ll ever stop hungering at the sight of him—for sex, for proximity, for the love they developed in the worst circumstances and which he wants to have now, fully, as someone finally in charge of his own life.

But Chuuya will not ask.

“Chuuya,” Dazai says. His lips brush against the skin of Chuuya’s chest as he speaks. “If we do this, you’re going to have to talk to me.”

“Doesn’t today make up for last time already?” Chuuya mutters. “I said I was sorry. It won’t happen again.”

Dazai’s chest aches. “Why do you think there’s anything to make up for?” he asks, though he knows the answer.

For a moment there is only silence, and then—”Fuck,” Chuuya growls, “I knew I shouldn’t have told you about that crap. I fucking knew you’d get weird about it.”

He sounds composed, if annoyed, but Dazai has an ear pressed over him, can hear the rush of his heartbeat as loudly as his own. Chuuya’s tells the rhythm of fear, of shame. He’s is a lot better at pretending than anyone gives him credit for.

“Then why did you tell me?” Dazai asks.

Chuuya doesn’t answer that. “I’m fine, Dazai.”

“You’re really not.”

“I am.”

Dazai lifts his head to look at him. There’s a second of hesitation, a fraction of time during which Chuuya looks as if he wants to turn away, before his pride gets the better of it and he settles for glaring back. The skin under his eyes is darker than it was when they met days ago. He hasn’t been sleeping well.

“Were you ever going to tell me to stop?” Dazai asks heavily.

“Yes,” Chuuya replies between his teeth.

They both know he’s lying.

“When?” Dazai presses anyway. “After I’d put my cock in you? After I came?” He doesn’t wait for Chuuya to find a way out, not with his face superposed with the one he was making then, not with his lips still scabbed from being bitten through. “Chuuya, you were going to let me fuck you through a panic attack rather than admit that you didn’t want it. You’re not fine.”

“So what,” Chuuya replies hotly. “I don’t like bottoming. Big deal. I know that now, I won’t try again if it freaks you out that much.”

Dazai can feel his mouth soften with misery as he says, “You know that’s not the issue here.”

Chuuya’s lips curl back to expose his teeth. He’s starting to itch now, Dazai knows, for expiation of some kind, for something to punch; Chuuya has always been the kind to deal via physical strain, and Dazai can’t help but wonder how many times now he has reddened his hands in one of the port mafia’s training halls, punching dummies until his knuckles bleed, in the hope that it will be enough to chase this hurt away.

“Have you even told anyone what happened to you except me?” he asks.

“Nothing happened to me,” Chuuya replies evenly.

Dazai closes his eyes. His chest feels too tight to allow air.

“Right,” he manages, lying back down. Chuuya’s hand doesn’t come back to touch his hair this time. “Nothing happened to you.”

Chuuya doesn’t move, doesn’t speak. If he didn’t have the side of his face pressed against his chest, Dazai would think he isn’t breathing either. Dazai doesn’t know how to push the topic more, though he knows he has to, at least if he wants to make this work.

“Look,” Chuuya says eventually. His voice is quiet, but his heart is beating twice as fast as it should against Dazai’s ear. “I’m not—I get what you’re thinking. I know it wasn’t just any normal hook-up. But it just doesn’t matter compared to everything else.”

“Everything else,” Dazai repeats. “Like what?”

“You know. This is nothing compared to my job, to all the shit I’ve done and been through. It’s just bad sex.”

“You can’t even call it what it is.”

“Fuck you, Dazai.” Dazai can feel the need to run away from the conversation in every shift of Chuuya’s shoulder, every minute reminder that if not for the weight of Dazai on him Chuuya might already have bolted out of the room—might still, in a minute or a second. “It’s not that bad. I’ve seen the girls who work with me, I’ve seen what some of these fuckers do to them—you can’t compare this and that. You just can’t.”

“If it were anyone else,” Dazai says slowly. “Anyone you know. That Higuchi girl, or Gin, or any of your subordinates—if you learned that someone knocked them out and fucked them while they were unconscious, what would you call it, Chuuya?”

The breath Chuuya sucks in then is audible, almost a whistle, painful and shaking.

“You know what you’d call it. And you would be right to call it that.”

“So maybe I was,” Chuuya retorts. His voice is thinner now than Dazai has ever heard it. His next inhale is drawn out, forcibly slow, never mind that Dazai can hear every aching beat of his heart directly through his head. “Maybe I was raped. It still doesn’t fucking matter, it’s still nothing.”

Dazai tries to rise again, but Chuuya’s hand is on his head almost instantly, keeping him down, the order clear as day.

Don’t look at me right now.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Chuuya says shakily. “It was unpleasant, it hurt, but bullet wounds hurt more. I froze when I woke up and realized what he was—” he hisses at the memory, as if he has just burned himself on it. “But it’s still not as scary as seeing my people get killed or tortured, or as scary as Corruption. This was just one guy. He didn’t even get to finish, I knocked him out as soon as I managed to move.”

Dazai feels him swallow, feels him brace himself for what his next words will be, and doesn’t say anything at all.

“I’ve gone through so much worse physically, this doesn’t even compare,” Chuuya goes on, and he almost sounds like he believes it. “I was barely even bleeding. He was at least smart enough to use a condom, so it’s not like I caught anything either, and trust me, I checked.”

“When was it?” Dazai asks.

He feels hollow again, like every sound he produces echoes through him endlessly. This awfulness is the numb kind; hearing Chuuya rationalize this in terms of worse or better than leaves his mouth dry, his lips unfeeling. His fingers tingle in an almost painful way.

Chuuya takes a while to answer. Dazai wants to hope that he’s composing himself, but he knows Chuuya is hesitating to let him know more, in case he tries to use the information to find the man who hurt him.

“Last year,” he says at last. “About a month before you showed up again.”

Dazai thinks back to Chuuya as he had been back then, to the sight of him in the underground cell of the port mafia’s headquarters; haloed by the red light, rougher and finer-boned and more beautiful than before. He remembers the bruises under his eyes and the nervous fury he exuded—remembers thinking that Chuuya must be more angry than usual because of Dazai himself, remembers saying, You haven’t changed at all.

“You weren’t okay back then,” he says painfully.

“No, I wasn’t.” It’s more of an admission than Dazai expected out of him, and Chuuya speaks again before he can question it. “I think I was concussed at first. Couldn’t stop puking. Then I had these weird few days when I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. I snapped out of it when Akutagawa asked if something was wrong with me.” Chuuya takes a short, settling breath. “I got Mori to give me an overseas mission so I could get it out of my system in peace. You know the rest.”

The rest is a spiderweb of events, is the Guild encroaching on them, is Chuuya standing at his back as they fight a common enemy. It is Dostoyevsky’s shadow onto everything Dazai touches; the dark of the cell he was put in for three hundred murders. It is looking at Chuuya after being freed and realizing that he doesn’t care at all whether or not he should want him—he only cares that he does.

It is Chuuya finding creative ways to minimize what happened to him just so he doesn’t have to think of himself as hurt.

Dazai drags a hand up from under the cover and sets it over Chuuya’s belly. His skin has cooled now from the furnace it was while they had sex. “And you didn’t tell anyone,” he says. “For a whole year.”

“No,” Chuuya replies. “There’s no point in telling anyone.”

“Not even Kouyou?”

“She doesn’t need to hear about that.”

Kouyou would move heaven and earth for Chuuya. This is as true now as it was when they were children. If she spent even a second in Chuuya’s presence in the days that followed the assault, there is no way she didn’t notice that something was amiss. Not if Chuuya couldn’t look her in the eye from the shame.

“She tried to ask me if I was okay,” Chuuya says, no doubt following the same trail of thought. “I thought about telling her, but…”

He doesn’t finish, but Dazai doesn’t need him to.

Chuuya has spent his whole life in self-sufficiency. The only thing he holds more powerful than his trust is his need to prove himself. He couldn’t tell the woman who raised him of something he finds so debasing and shameful, not even when those qualities only apply to himself, never anyone else it could happen to. Chuuya would not call someone else weak for seeking help, but he would have died without telling anyone if Dazai hadn’t figured it out first.

Chuuya shifts lower on the pillow. He shakes Dazai off of his shoulder so he can lie on his side, his back looking as solid in the faint glow of his window as it does in sunlight.

“I’m tired,” he says uselessly.

Dazai reaches out with his hand. He splays it open between Chuuya’s shoulder blades, presses the hollow of his palm where Chuuya’s spine swells.

“You didn’t deserve it,” he says into the silence.

Chuuya’s torso fills with air, fits itself to his touch fully, reaching out against his will.

There is nothing in Chuuya for anyone to fix. He is cracked open in different ways than Dazai, by the life he lives, by the lives he’s taken, by his own ability. But Chuuya is much more than the mafia’s killing machine. He is as much the boy Dazai once saw bloody his hands with dozens of murders as he is the man who folded himself around Dazai’s body earlier, who whispered Dazai’s name in affection and desire, who kissed him within an inch of breathlessness.

Chuuya has always made himself better for everything that told him he shouldn’t. Every piece of him that was once broken is already held together with gold.

You’re not fine now, Dazai thinks, but you will be.

“Go to sleep, Dazai,” Chuuya murmurs.

 Dazai wakes up to the smell of coffee in his nostrils and the shift of Chuuya’s body on the sheets every time he moves. He wakes up, once his eyes open, to the sight of Chuuya halfway dressed for the day, sitting in bed next to him. A mug in one hand, a tablet in the other.

He can do nothing at first but watch him.

Chuuya’s eyes flicker to him. His mouth curls into a smile once he notices that Dazai is awake. “Made you tea,” he says, nodding toward his side of the bed.

Dazai rolls his shoulders until they crack, until the ache of the night’s activities flares up his hips warmly. He sits up as well, accepting the mug Chuuya hands him with a whisper of thanks.

Chuuya doesn’t look perturbed now. Dazai fell asleep quickly after their conversation was put to an end, still drowsy from being fucked and exhausted by his own misery, with the vague thought that Chuuya probably wouldn’t be able to relax enough to rest. But Chuuya looks as though none of the anxiety he manifested happened at all.

Dazai takes a sip of his tea. “What time is it?” he mumbles.


He’s going to be late for work if he doesn’t leave now, but the thought of getting out of Chuuya’s immediate vicinity feels like a wound. The sight of him alone, in this domesticity, is worth Kunikida’s anger.

Chuuya lets the tablet fall onto the blanket between them. He doesn’t meet Dazai’s eyes as he drink from his own cup, just stares at the opposite wall of the room as if it can tell him the answers he’s looking for. Dazai doesn’t move closer. He doesn’t try to touch him.

“You know,” Chuuya says. “After you left the other day, I was… I was angry. Frustrated.”

“That’s understandable,” Dazai replies mildly.

Chuuya shoots him a brief glance. “I’d always thought—I never thought about it that much. Not since it happened. It didn’t incapacitate me, it didn’t stop me from having sex with other people, a few days later it didn’t even hurt anymore, so why the fuck should I feel anything about it? Corruption almost kills me every time I use it. This is nothing.”

Dazai doesn’t answer.

“But after you left, I felt like crap. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I can’t—I can’t even describe how that felt, I kept blinking and seeing it happen again, and thinking about how pathetic that was. How pathetic I was. And I kept thinking about…” Chuuya flushes, his teeth catching on his bottom lip for a second before he lets it go and licks the scratch away. “I kept thinking about you,” he admits. “About… you inside me. I was so frustrated with myself for freaking out on you like that, so I went out and I bought—”

It’s too easy to picture it, and Dazai smiles fondly, resists the urge to let the gentle taunt at his lips slip out into the air. Chuuya’s face reddens as if he can hear it anyway—his next glance is a warning.

Dazai wants to kiss him.

“Anyway,” Chuuya breathes. He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand as if to chase his blush away. “I tried, and it was okay. I was fine on my own with my fingers and the toy, I liked it even, and I realized—” He marks a shuddering stop, looking for words, looking at Dazai. “It didn’t incapacitate me,” he repeats. “But it still messed with me. It still made me scared of stuff that I shouldn’t be scared of.

“And I want to be with you again, Dazai. This was never about a one-time thing, I always pictured having sex with you many times—and I know you feel the same.”

There’s no point in denying it. Chuuya may still be figuring out the words for it, but Dazai knows he’s halfway in love already, little as he deserves to be.

“So you’re right,” Chuuya says. “This isn’t just about me not liking something. I want you to fuck me, and I can only do that if I talk to you.”

“I don’t want you to do anything you don’t enjoy,” Dazai replies lowly.

Chuuya is silent for a long second.

“I think,” he starts. Dazai can see him struggle to push the words out, can see the bite marks on his lips even with the damp of his coffee’s steam; in the end Chuuya takes another sip, licks the corner of his mouth and says, “I think more than just having something inside me, it was the position that set me off. On my front under you—it’s, it’s how that man did it.”

His heartbeat is hurried under Dazai’s fingertips when Dazai reaches for his wrist, holding it in his hand. Chuuya allows him the touch without comment.

“There was one time,” Chuuya continues. “A few months ago, a guy I picked up from a formal event in Tokyo, he tried to ride me. He was sweet, but I freaked out the moment he was on top of me. Just completely panicked. I almost blacked out. He let me go immediately, asked if I was okay and everything, but I felt—”

He breathes out harshly, letting his empty mug fall onto the cabinet next to his side of the bed and rubbing his forehead roughly. His wrist twitches in Dazai’s grip. He doesn’t try to escape it.

“I think I just don’t like being under anyone,” he admits. “At least for now. But I still want you to be the one taking me one day.” He licks his lips nervously, but his eyes are focused when he turns them to Dazai again. “I want to try riding you,” he tells him. “I think I could do that. Probably.”

There’s really no answer Dazai can give to that except for a kiss.

Chuuya embraces with all of his body no matter how soft, how short-lived; even now he twists sideways on the sheets to face Dazai fully, bringing their joined hands up to cup Dazai’s nape, pressing their mouths together with abandon. He doesn’t need to turn it wet and messy. Any contact with his lips already leaves Dazai breathless.

“We can try,” Dazai says, pulling away. “But you can’t push yourself. Not with this.”

“I’m not fragile. I can handle a little fear.”

“Chuuya,” he replies, “this isn’t just about you. How do you think I felt when I saw you like that?”

He can read on Chuuya’s face, plain as day, that he hasn’t considered this.

“I was planning on making you feel good,” Dazay continues, and the memory continues to be painful, continues to feel raw, every time he visits it. No matter that Chuuya himself is in front of him now to remind him that it’s over. “I wanted you to enjoy it, I wanted you to just relax and let me take care of both of us, I never imagined that you would react like that. How do you think I felt when I noticed that you were so terrified you couldn’t even ask me to stop?”


“Don’t apologize. Please, stop apologizing for that.”

Chuuya’s mouth opens silently. It closes with a snap. “I don’t know what you want me to say,” he replies at last.

“I just need one thing,” Dazai says.

He still has Chuuya’s hand around his nape and the taste of him on his lips, coffee-warm, sweet and bitter. Dazai brushes their mouths together once more. He pulls back before Chuuya can lean into it.

“I never want to see you like this again because of something I did,” he says. Chuuya doesn’t looks away from his eyes as he speaks; in the cradle of their arms, loosely attached to each other, is a place meant for honesty. “So if I do anything you don’t like, you have to tell me. If you’re uncomfortable, you tell me. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, even if you can’t figure out why something sets you off—you have to tell me.”

“You’re never gonna get to top me if I stop at every little thing,” Chuuya says.

“Then I never will,” Dazai answers. “I don’t care, Chuuya. I just really don’t care how I have you as long as I have you.”

Chuuya’s mouth twitches, some hint of a grin so rough that for a second, Dazai feels as though they’re meeting again for the first time. There’s a childish quality to the way Chuuya smiles—never gently, never calmly. As an adult, all it does is make him look handsome.

“At least you didn’t decide that you don’t want to fuck me anymore,” he says. “Or something stupid like that.”

“Oh, that could never happen,” Dazai replies easily. “I have a whole list of things I want to do to you. Bullet points and footnotes.”

“Yeah?” Chuuya purrs. “I’ll have to see it to believe it. You’ve never been organized a fucking day in your life.”

He drags Dazai in by the chin, so that Dazai’s chuckle will die directly on his lips. Warmth unfurls at the lowest of Dazai’s throat while they kiss, and the curl of Chuuya’s tongue in his mouth is like a hook into his very soul. This already feels like they’ve done it for years instead of days, like Dazai has been kissing Chuuya since the moment he realized he wanted to. So long ago now.

He doesn’t regret the way he made to where he is. Leaving the mafia would have probably been harder if he had allowed himself to act on his attraction rather than antagonize its recipient. He thinks Chuuya might feel the same. In the downtime of violence their organizations are not at war, even if they are at odds; Dazai doesn’t feel like he’s betraying anyone, not even himself, by having this.

He’s never felt a better ache than that of Chuuya’s lovemaking in his hips, never held something he’s wanted quite as much. Chuuya breathes into the kiss, and the air he expels travels along Dazai’s cheekbone and chin sweetly, warmly.

This is already a better start than the first.

Previous chapter | Index | Extras: Break Lines

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