Golden moments strung together, sweet and glowing in the light of every good memory Khun had. (more…)
Chuuya is crimson, the color of blood and destruction. Dazai runs his hand through his sleeping partner’s red hair, when he can’t protest (likely with a fist) nor think it means something it doesn’t.
It doesn’t mean friendship, but it is partnership. They share the blood, but not the wine.
Dazai is fascinated by the conundrum of Chuuya’s humanity versus his inhumanity, his equal passion for life and bloody violence. It’s a reason to keep living, to keep looking. Chuuya straddles the line between life and death more closely than even Dazai.
It’s almost odd that he never realizes it.
They weren’t people, they’d told him over and over. They were windup dolls. They didn’t live.
Accelerator wasn’t supposed to defeat them. He was supposed to kill them, or none of this would actually work.
It made him be creative. He had to find something to enjoy in all this, solving a problem differently, in a new way, with a new application of his power. He hurt people who deserved it to find some taste for the damage he was going to inflict, leaned into the adrenaline rush each time.
He spoke to them before each experiment, tested the theory again, and time and again, they failed to respond because they weren’t people.
So this wasn’t cold-blooded murder.
1. Damage the enemy. If you can’t bring the power, don’t bother showing up. If you can’t hurt your enemies, then stay home and out of the way. Villains do damage.
2. Be ruthless about those who get in your way. If you can’t be heartless and hard-hearted, then go be a hero instead. Villains get the job done, no matter what, no matter who they have to hurt.
3. Commit to your goals. If you’re going to cause mass destruction, destroy it all. Be powerful enough to leave the rest unhurt. If your goal just happens to be that no one lays a finger on your sister… Well.
“I’ll show you a real villain aesthetic!” He throws back his head and laughs.
“The thing is, Chuuya himself couldn’t spell out a numbered list of his reasons for leaving. He didn’t weigh up the good and the bad and make a logical choice. He saw an opportunity, received an offer from Fukuzawa, and he took it because it felt right.” — Find I’m Between Love And Anguish by geckoholic
Dazai thinks he knows why Chuuya joined the Port Mafia, and because he thinks he knows that, he also thinks he understands why Chuuya left it for the Armed Detective Agency.
He’s a work of art, Dazai—most beautiful when he’s bruised, bloody, with the faint curve of his scheming smile to match the glint in his eyes.
Chuuya buries his hand in Dazai’s hair to pull him closer, grinning fiercely. His blood is pounding. Every nerve ending feels alive and on edge. There aren’t many feelings that can compare.
This is what a job should feel like. Like despite the superfluous chains on Dazai’s arms, despite the clear power difference, each wears equal strength and provocation on their tongues, in their faces, in their bodies.
“After all, I’m your old partner.”
Grace dances because she’s good at it. It’s the only thing she’s good at.
She doesn’t know how to be a good person or how to love. She doesn’t know how to be a good friend.
(She does know. Only it doesn’t last after the jealousy rises up inside her to fight against being abandoned again—and again, and again, and again.)
Her mother fractured under the weight of her own genius, and they’re waiting for Grace to do the same. (Is she manic to suit them? To perform?)
She dances because there, at least, she knows exactly what to do.
“What is the point of living?” Dazai demanded with a sigh.
“How should I know?” Chuuya demanded right back.
They were both fifteen years old and neither of them had a very good grasp on being human. Chuuya though, Chuuya was intent on figuring it out by doing everything that made him feel alive. Dazai seemed to flirt so strenuously with death in an effort to figure out what being not alive felt like, the better to see a contrast he could make sense of.
Dazai studied Chuuya out of one eye.
Chuuya shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. We just live.”
The days are cold. He shrugs on his jacket and steps out into the chill winter air, knives under his clothes, up close against his skin. They’re sharp but they keep him safe. He’s used to sharp edges.
There used to be warmth and heat burning beside him, welling up inside when he thought of violence. Now it feels cool and crystal clear, except where he reaches up to scratch at the itching scar on his chest. There used to be heat beside him, near him, throwing an arm over his shoulders because he used to walk with Misaki. It used to burn inside him because there was no cool blue aura to outweigh the flaming red.
Now, both simmer and lie below the wind-kissed cool of his skin, and he feels the sharp electric buzz that goes with electricity and technology and change. He fingers a knife with knowing fingers, feels the eerie light of jungle green welling up across his knuckles, through his palms. Anna had looked at him years ago and known he’d never stay red.
The days are cold. There is no Misaki beside him. The fire within is banked. It’s time to go to work.
For nine years, she absolutely had been a grief-crazed AI, though she couldn’t fully discern whether she was grieving more for Lieutenant Awn or for herself as she used to be. But somewhere along the way, that had ceased to be true. She wore her grief like her phantom selves—not only her core but also all her segments, all at once—but it no longer drove her to the anguished state that anyone could call “crazed.”
That could be quantified. She could look at her data and say this is when that changed.
What she couldn’t quite define is when she ceased to be “it” and became a “person.” Even now, the words were fluid, not quite fitting whichever she chose, but for better or for worse, this too had changed.
There were a lot of people that said only kings could truly understand each other. Mikoto wondered if those people had ever met Totsuka Tatara.
He’d find himself staring at his own hands, feeling the weight of violence and power burning inside him, and then Tatara would appear with his soft, gentle smiles and his eyes that saw right through everything Mikoto never found it in him to say, finding the words Mikoto couldn’t, that made everything make sense.
Mikoto stared at Tatara in wonder sometimes, an almost incomprehensible person who understood Mikoto better than anyone else, even another king.
Saruhiko isn’t afraid of shadows when he walks through the city on missions he despises, climbing Jungle ranks like it comes easy. (It does come easy. He had a thorough training in malice and sadistic behavior before he ever encountered the clans.)
He has nothing to fear from the members of the Green Clan or the King he knows he will come to meet. He’d been afraid of the Red King once, all flame and power, but he’s not afraid of shadows, not anymore.
That guy had occupied the shadows, malicious, sadistic. He’s dead, and now it’s Saruhiko owning them.
Simple pleasure, taken in a night, left behind in the morning.
Dazai isn’t immune to pleasure, and he sees no reason to deny himself a night of soft, warm woman and beauty that doesn’t inspire him to pursue something that lasts.
Things that last are delicate. Things that last are prone to breakage and loss, pain piling upon pain, suffering piling upon suffering. Family gone, innocence broken, his only friend dead, and his partner something he won’t even reach for when he comes with a blaring bullseye in the middle of his Ability and an expiration on his life.
Mikoto had never had alignment testing. It was usually obvious from appearances whether someone needed comfort when hurt or needed to give it when someone else was.
But his family hadn’t cared and neither had he, and somewhere along the way he realized he didn’t feel either.
But he let them comfort him, Tatara and Izumo, when they noticed him brooding, let Tatara try and amazingly succeed at drawing him out of his worst aftermaths. And he let them draw comfort, Anna sitting next to him, claiming his attention with a small hand.
He didn’t feel broken for the lack.