A Numbered List of Reasons (Remix)
“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.
“I didn’t join for you,” he says roughly and Dazai looks at him with that thoughtful look he gets on his face when he’s calculating how best to destroy any happiness Chuuya has. (It’s hardly fair, that’s also the same look he gets when he starts calculating how to keep Chuuya happy—which is… new, but a very nice thing all the same.) For someone so intelligent, it’s actually fairly difficult to pound a new feeling through Dazai’s heart, and he’s already made up his mind how he feels about Chuuya.
Chuuya’s exasperated and tired of dealing with this because he doesn’t know how to deal with it, so he gives up and says, “I’m going out.”
Dazai blinks. Then out comes the long, whine, “Chuuuuya!”
“I’ll be back soon. Do some paperwork. Kunikida’s blood pressure needs a rest.”
He doesn’t think it will work, no matter how grateful Kunikida might be for the token effort. It’d backfire anyway, making Kunikida stress out as to why. But it gives Chuuya words to fend off Dazai with when he goes out and tries to figure out how to get it through Dazai’s head that this sanctuary they’ve built together in the city is a by-product of something else Chuuya can’t put into words.
Dazai thinks Chuuya joined the Port Mafia because Dazai betrayed him into it. That’s only partly true, though it certainly started the longstanding grudge of blood between them.
It’s pretty out, sakura blooming, weather pleasantly warm. He pauses just to look at his city Yokohama and enjoy it for a breath.
He’s always known who he is, always known what he wants, and there’s a part of him driven to sort out his own purpose since the god inside him doesn’t have one.
Dazai’s a part of that—a small part of that, though a real one. “Dazai,” he murmurs the name to himself. It sounds warmer than when they were teenagers and mostly wanting to strangle each other. Dazai was the first person to treat Chuuya like an ordinary human being.
His ordinary human being, but the annoyance was immaterial to the point.
Chuuya turns aside into a familiar path to his favorite shops. Flowers, he thinks.
There wasn’t any one thing.
There was a moment when he accused Mori Ogai of murder and the man confirmed it without shame.
There was a moment when he realized he’d destroyed the Sheep unwittingly, his first family, his first people, and Dazai twisted in the knife.
There was a moment when Dazai’s friends were dead or turncoat and Chuuya nearly died from a car bomb. Dazai’s enemies were Dazai’s enemies but that didn’t make him invulnerable, whatever the mackerel thought.
There were all the moments he was able to save and support his Ane-san, and the moments he couldn’t wipe old sorrows from her bearing. The moment Kyouka found happiness and Akutagawa started walking towards it. The moment Corruption left him in Dazai’s lap and it felt more peaceful than anything else ever had.
There was the moment Fukuzawa asked him if he wanted to be a leader like Mori.
Chuuya browses the flowers with a thoughtful hum. In a way he did; in another way, he didn’t and will never manage it; and there’s a part of him that still holds a card up his sleeve and one he feels responsible to play wisely.
He’d destroyed his first family. There was something about Fukuzawa that promised him he might not destroy another.
“These ones.” He lays out his selections on the counter and lets the florist suggest some more.
There is no numbered list of reasons. Chuuya flies on gut instinct and feeling, even if he’s more tactical about it than Dazai will ever acknowledge. But sometimes that means when he’s done following that feeling, he looks critically at the whole thing and wonders what he was thinking.
Dazai’s going to hate it, Chuuya thinks. It looks ridiculous.
He’s strewn flowers from the front door down the hallway of the apartment all the way to the bedroom—flowers that mean something neither of them are any good at saying (if they’d ever stoop to admit they felt it in the first place). He groans. Maybe it says he cares about Dazai, he likes this little apartment, and he likes the life they have together in the Agency, but it doesn’t say much of anything about why he left the Port Mafia that had sheltered him for so long.
It doesn’t bother him, the things he did or the life he had. That wasn’t why he left either.
It doesn’t bother Dazai, the things that Chuuya’s done, when he’s done just as bad or worse. Chuuya didn’t join the Agency for him.
But somehow, this is what his instincts came up with to reassure that Dazai isn’t as omnipotent as he thinks he is, and his whims of wanting Chuuya never sealed the deal on having him.
I love you. I want you. I’m happy. You’re not selfish to want me back.
He swears to himself then throws himself down with a book and a glass of wine to put it out of his mind until Dazai gets back. There’s no point backing down now.
Neither of them back down from anything. There’s no good time to pack up and go home because the enemy’s too strong or the deck that’s been dealt isn’t in your favor. They win against impossible odds because they are impossible odds, and there’s no way on earth Chuuya’s going to admit that trying to navigate a romance with Dazai is the thing that sometimes feels too hard.
But worth it.
He can admit that when he can’t admit the other.
Dazai comes home early from the Agency, a scowl on his face promising the case didn’t go in his favor, then his face blanks out as he stares wide-eyed down the hallway at the floor. “Chuuya.” The way he says Chuuya’s name has always held too much promise. It’s a nice sound now, even if it just kicks the nervous churn Chuuya’s feeling up a notch. “Why are there flowers down the hallway?”
“Why don’t you follow them and find out?”
Dazai looks surprised, as caught out as when Chuuya told Rimbaud he was Arahabaki, and while that is in itself, a certain kind of gratifying, it wasn’t what he planned at all.
It was clear enough in his head when he bought the flowers, talked to the florist, made sure all of them meant what he wanted to say.
“You put flowers on the bed, too.”
He did, but Chuuya sighs now, got up to trail Dazai into the bedroom because there’s still a hint of the puzzle of it all in Dazai’s tone and that’s not what Chuuya wanted at all. He leans on Dazai’s shoulder, who stiffens up a little beneath him.
“I’m happy, Dazai,” he says quietly. “I enjoy being with you.”
“Because we’re working together again?” Dazai’s face is terrifyingly blank, but the words trigger a visceral shudder.
“No! I won’t be your partner again either.” Pawning that off on Kunikida should keep him up at night, but Chuuya sleeps soundly with a free conscience over that. “Because I enjoy being here, with you, and at the agency, and that I don’t regret leaving the Mafia.”
Something like that anyway. Close enough that the words don’t taste like a lie. It’s not a sex thing, though the more Chuuya looks at it, the more it looks that way and Dazai’s clearly thinking something similar, but it’s something. “I was being romantic.”
“Ah,” a soft, long sound of understanding at last. Dazai can slot Chuuya’s ridiculousness into something sensible in his own brain, even if it was entirely a reaction to Dazai being ridiculous. “Can we make it a sex thing?”
Chuuya wants to laugh, or slug him, or kiss him—and technically, Dazai did just ask for a kiss, among other things—but he’s not really sure if he’s managed to get the main idea across: I love you. I want you. I’m happy. You’re not selfish to want me back.
“And how selfish would I be,” he asks, “if I did all the kissing and touching and you just lay back and take it?”
Dazai goes very quiet, eyes wide in something just shy of true surprise, and yet… He clearly hadn’t expected the question. “We could try that,” he says at last, head tilting thoughtfully.
He’s missing the point, but Chuuya lets him miss the point, lets him lay back and take everything Chuuya chooses to give him.
If he chooses to give him everything, it isn’t because Dazai ever asked for it.0