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operation ground and pound

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Fire raged across the building, burning the evidence of their presence. Two people stood, watching – a slim, tall woman with dark skin and long, white hair that billowed like a frozen waterfall, and a giant person in pitch black armor. Nothing was said, until the armored person spoke, his voice rumbling over the sounds of the flames, “It wasn’t there, as expected.”

The woman looked up from the tablet she was tapping on, displeasure written across her face, “Our employer won’t like that, Fury.”

She cast him a sideways glance as he replied sharply, “This was your plan, Alexandria. I will not be taking the fall for your failure.” He crossed his arms, the silhouette of flames licking his armor, “It’s my turn now.”

“Is it wise to go after him? I mean, he is the youngest mob boss in history.”

“Just because you fear him,” Fury started, “does not mean I do. I know how he works, and I also know that he is not the same man he was four years ago. He is, of course, still a threat, but at this point, he is our best bet for finding the book before the Russians, British, and Americans.”

Alexandria seemed surprised, “The Americans are still in the running? I thought they went back to their country with their tails between their legs.”

Fury said dryly, “They’re Americans – they never give up.” He then turned, his cape twisting around his legs, “Give me a few months. I will break the enemy so severely, they will never be able to put themselves back together.”

“Anything you need me to do?”

The armored man returned without pause, “Keep the stray dogs off my coat tails until I have the book. Make sure they do not find out anything, nor that they find me before I’m done.”

With a look of disgust, Alexandria says, “So this time I’m the guard dog. Alright, I’ll play this game of yours. You better not drag your feet like today, or I’ll kill you myself.” She tapped a few more times on her tablet, and the flames were fanned by a helicopter touching down. She and Fury loaded on, and the empty eyes of Fury’s helmet gleamed against the light, “This is the end of the age of the dogs ruling the world. A new age dawns.”

Alexandria finished with a smirk marring her face, “The age of the Cyclops.”

The air was still, then it was disturbed with a snort from Fury, “That just doesn’t sound good anymore since we changed from Hydra. I understand the whole we have our eye on the world thing but it just doesn’t sound imposing at all.”

His companion huffed, “Since those Marvel movies came out, we very well couldn’t broadcast ourselves as Hydra, or the world would assume we’re a bunch of Nazis.” That didn’t stifle Fury’s laughs, which rang out over the cut of the blades through the air, lifting them away from the burning building.


 

New day, new assignment. A warehouse burned down on the outskirts of the city, and Kunikida and Atsushi were on the case. Usually, Dazai would have been hanging around somewhere, probably looking for a river to drown himself in or a ledge to jump off of, but the resident maniac waved off the case, stating that he had lazing about to be doing. That only fueled Kunikida’s anger, and finally Atsushi coaxed the older man out of strangling Dazai by bringing up that they were going to be late if they didn’t hurry.

The police gave the report as soon as they arrived – the warehouse belonged to a lowly gang who was arming themselves to take on the Port Mafia. However, someone else got to them first, massacred everyone, and burned the warehouse down. Kunikida examined the few pictures they had of the epicenter of the warehouse as Atsushi made his way closer. Burnt bodies littered the ground, and Atsushi wrinkled his nose some at the smell of burning corpses. Kunikida called him over, and the young man returned to his elder’s side.

Kunikida said, “This definitely isn’t the mafia, which means someone else is moving in here.” They were still attempting to deal with the Rats, which meant if another organization was moving in, that wouldn’t bode well for the Agency at all. They would probably get caught in another massive conflict at this point, and they were currently stretched to capacity.

Atsushi looked back at the carnage, then Kunikida broke his thoughts, “Let’s get back to the Agency. The Director will want to hear about this.”

When they returned, Dazai was nowhere to be seen. When asked, Ranpo said nonchalantly, “He said he had something to do.” Everyone had long since decided never to inquire what Dazai did in his past time so they could preserve their sanity.


 

Dazai walked down the street, his hands tucked away in his pockets. His abdomen still stung from where the bullet entered before, but it hurt as much as a distant memory. It was clear that Fyodor and the Rats were the least of their concerns. That’s why Dazai scheduled this meeting.

At the café stood Chuuya, mafia clothes gone for a more casual outfit of ripped skinny jeans, a pair of light brown boots, a pale blue tee shirt, and a hat of matching color to the shirt perched on his ginger head. It was strange seeing Chuuya in anything but his usual wear.

As Dazai approached, he called out in a teasing voice, “I almost didn’t recognize you, Chibi, without that ugly hat of yours, but then again, you replaced it with something almost as ugly.”

Chuuya’s eyes narrowed as he turned to the other, “I will shove my heel through your chest, bastard.”

“That wouldn’t be a very painless way of dying,” Dazai replied cheerfully, the two walking into the café. They sat down, and Chuuya asked with irritation, “So what was so important that I needed to ruin my day off with the sight of your ugly ass face.” He leaned back, his arms crossed over his chest.

Dazai answered, his eyes diverted from Chuuya’s in favor of examining the café they chose to meet at, “Does the mafia know who burned that warehouse down?” He noticed Chuuya shift, and smiled just a little more than he already was. His former partner was so easy to read, “I take that as a no. Well, not shocking.”

The shorter man snapped, “What is that supposed to mean?!” Ah, always took everything as a personal insult.

“It wasn’t supposed to mean anything,” Dazai said coolly, “Except that I have suspicions that our enemy is totally different from anything we’ve faced before. We can’t let our guard down; especially since there’s still the Rats to deal with, and the Guild will return eventually.”

“A five way war,” Chuuya continued, his face wrought with concentration, “that would tear the city apart.” He locked eyes with Dazai, and for a moment, anger and teasing melted away into understanding. Chuuya continued, “I have my doubts, though. It could be just a meaningless lower gang squabble.” However, he looked otherwise, which Dazai voiced in, “We both know better than that.”

Silence fell, and Dazai leaned his elbow against the table, “Watch yourself, Chibi. I feel like things are going to get ugly again real soon.” That sentence brought up memories of the Guild’s attack, and when they used Q.

Finally, the two stood up, Chuuya’s usual fiery attitude doused, “Go away, shitty Dazai. I have a day off to enjoy.” They hesitated for only a moment, and then they parted. Dazai didn’t care to think of why he didn’t want to leave Chuuya’s side.

He was walking back to the Agency when he noticed some men following him. Not deterred, he turned into an alley, a carefree smile on his face. He stopped in the middle of the alley, turning to his stalkers. They were generic thugs, so he wasn’t too worried. Not even trained assassins worried him.

The thugs drew out knives, but before they got a chance to attack, Dazai felt a pinch in his neck. Turning quickly, he was blindsided by a giant man in imposing black armor. Ok, how did he get there? Adrenaline was fueling Dazai as he opted to escape, but already, his limbs were feeling heavy. Damn, they drugged him. He collapsed against the wall, sliding down it to the ground. The captors moved in on him, and he briefly thought that perhaps this was the best thing to happen. Now he could find out who was attacking Yokohama. One thug picked him up, and they left the way that the armored man came in, throwing Dazai into a waiting truck and shoving a bag over his head. The rough texture of the bag was the last thing Dazai saw before he succumbed to the darkness.

Chapter Text

Chuuya walked down the street, his eyes scanning the crowds. He backtracked to speak to Dazai about something important, but now he couldn’t find the bastard. Typical, of course. Deciding to abandon his search, Chuuya returned to his apartment. It was cold in there, so Chuuya turned down the air and left his shoes by the door. Pouring out a glass of wine, he made his way over to the couch and turned on the tv, relaxing for the second time that day.

However, the relaxation wasn’t meant to last. His phone blared noisily, and Chuuya scrambled for it, recognizing the number as Atsushi’s. After the two organizations made peace, Dazai took the liberty of somehow convincing everyone to share phone numbers in case of emergency, or in Chuuya’s case, plaster it on the wall of the Agency. He picked it up with a gruff, “This better be important.”

There was hesitation, then the young man spoke, “Mr. Nakahara,” Chuuya almost snorted at that, “is Dazai with you? We, um, thought he might.” That rang a few alarm bells as Chuuya replied with a sharp question, “He isn’t there?” The Agency was only a few blocks from where they met, and Chuuya chose that place in mind of that so perhaps there wouldn’t be so many obstacles for Dazai to kill himself with.

“No, he isn’t,” Atsushi answered. “So he was with you?” Chuuya could hear a declared “told you so!” in the background, but he wisely chose to ignore it in favor of replying, “We had a few things to talk about. Anyway, I wouldn’t worry about that waste of bandages. He’s probably just trying to drown himself again.” Without stopping to hear what the man tiger had to say, Chuuya hung up.

He went to unpause the tv, but then he stopped. What if Dazai actually succeeded this time? A dreadful fear went through Chuuya and before he knew it, he was abandoning his plans in favor of pulling his boots back on and heading back out. When he finds Dazai, there will be hell to pay.


 

An hour later, and the search proved fruitless. There was no sign of the bandaged man, and Chuuya was starting to worry. Sure, this was Dazai he was talking about, but even former mafiosos could be caught off guard. Their conversation dredged up thoughts that maybe Dazai was hurt somewhere, or even dead, but Chuuya quickly shook them off. Even if Dazai was captured, he was probably kept alive for the sake of information.

Finally, Chuuya rounded back to the café where they had met up. He was about to cross the street when, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a glint. Turning around, he walked cautiously into the alleyway, then kneeled down. There, in the dirt, was a familiar bolo tie, which Chuuya picked up and dusted off, exposing the green gleam of the jewel. It was Dazai’s tie, although there was no Dazai to accompany it. The man stood back up, the jewel clenched in his hand. He then stormed out of the alley and all the way to the Agency.

The mafia executive barged in, and all hustle stopped in favor of staring at him. His face got red when he remembered what he was wearing, but he held himself to his usual pride, moving past the stunned workers. Atsushi stopped him, staring at the tie in his hand, “What happened?” The others noticed, and moved closer as well, while Kunikida went to fetch the Director.

He waited until the Director came out, his steely gaze on the younger man, and then he explained what happened, “Dazai called a meeting about the warehouse fire, and we both thought that a new organization was moving in on the book. It seems we weren’t far off, because I found this in an alley near the place we met.” He held the jewel out, then pulled it back, feeling strangely possessive of it. “I can only imagine that he was captured. We had been followed, but I thought that Dazai could handle it.” Shame on him, he supposes.

There was a moment of silence, then a slow turn to Ranpo, who wasn’t paying any attention. Instead, he was reading through a book supplied to him by Poe, but he was jerked out of it by the feeling people were staring at him. He looked up, and then questioned, “What?”


 

After convincing the genius to find Dazai, they all stood crowded around him. They didn’t have much of anything – the jewel and the description of the men who were following Chuuya and Dazai. It seemed even the great detective Ranpo was stumped. Chuuya tied the bolo tie around his own neck for safe keeping, and then grabbed Atsushi, “We’re going to go keep looking.” He then dragged the boy out without getting permission.

As they walked, Atsushi asked, “Mr. Nakahara, what do you think we’ll find?”

Chuuya wasn’t sure himself.

He must have said it out loud, because the other replies, “We’ll find Dazai – don’t worry.”

He scoffed, “Me, worry about that waste of space? As if. I’m just worried they won’t do me a favor and kill him.” Atsushi saw through the bravado, however, and merely smiled.

As they walked, Chuuya paused, looking behind him. He felt like someone was watching them. However, there was no one. Atsushi asked, “Mr. Nakahara?”

The feeling wouldn’t leave, but Chuuya wasn’t going to dwell. He said, “Alright, I’m coming.” They then walked away, unknowing of how close they got to the truth.


 

Cold water splashed against Dazai’s face, and he gasped awake, coughing as water dripped down his face. He was stripped to only his boxers, all his other clothes nowhere to be found. He looked around, his hazy mind trying to figure out where he was. Before he could, however, the man in armor stepped forward.

The light of the room gleamed off of the spotless black armor, nearly blinding Dazai. Then, the man spoke, his voice loud and imposing, “Welcome, Dazai Osamu.”

Never to be underestimated, Dazai replied in a teasing voice, “I had no idea I had fans. Want an autograph? Maybe I could write it right on that ugly armor of yours.” His needling didn’t affect the man at all, who soldiered on as if Dazai had never spoken, “I am Fury, and you’re in my custody now. Tell me everything you know about the book, and I may kill you quickly.”

So now, Dazai had a name to put to a face… sort of. He lifted his chin defiantly, “I’d welcome death.”

The soulless eyes of Fury’s armor moved closer as he did, allowing Dazai a few quick details of the metal that covered him. Fury’s armor was more than sheets of blackened metal – there were designs of dragons and phoenixes, of sun rays and stars. The biggest detail Dazai noticed when Fury reached for him was that the undersides of his hands were completely uncovered. He would consider this more if Fury didn’t yank on his hair, jerking his head forward. Dazai didn’t let it show that it hurt just a little, staring Fury down as the other said evenly, “Believe me, I know about your need to die. I also know how to break you, Dazai Osamu, and I will enjoy making sure nobody will ever be able to put you back together again.”

Chapter Text

Another day, another basin of water to the face. This was getting on Dazai’s nerves really fast. So far, Fury hasn’t laid a hand on Dazai, only engaging in some psychological warfare by denying Dazai food and water save what is required to keep him alive. However, the detective held strong, having a new set of insults prepared every time Fury walked in. Though, Dazai would be lying if he said he wasn’t tired, hungry, and thirsty.

He calculates he’s been here for around a week, and there has been no sign of an end. Fury was a patient man; Dazai had to give him that. However, this was now stripped down to a battle of wills, and Dazai refuses to lose.

Once again, Fury enters, but this time, he’s tailed by a mousy young girl with messy brown hair and downcast hazel eyes. She stopped beside the armor wearing man, dwarfed by his massive size. Fury then said, “As expected, this is not working. You gain more respect from me every day, Osamu.” He then motioned to the girl, “Monica here is not much different from you. She too has an Ability.

Dazai quipped back, “You’re boring me, Fury. Everything you do is so by the book, it’s a wonder you have a personality at all.”

If his comment pierced that thick armor, Dazai has no idea. However, Fury responded, “You are all wit, Osamu. However, not even you will be able to resist this.” He stepped back, allowing Monica to move forward. Their eyes locked, and Dazai could tell that she didn’t want to do whatever she was about to do. All questions regarded her Ability were immediately silenced when her small hand brushed his skin. Suddenly, agonizing pain shot through Dazai’s body, and he barely restrained his yell of pain.

Allowing Dazai a moment to breath, Fury motioned with his hand, and Monica touched Dazai again, but this time for longer. It seems she causes agonizing pain with her touch, and the longer she holds the contact, the worse it hurts. Fury said over Dazai’s pain, “I can tell you’ve figured out how Monica here is special.” He twitched his head, and Monica obediently stepped back. Dazai panted out, pain still pulsating through his body.

Fury then stepped forward again, his uncovered hand going to Monica’s shoulder. When skin touched skin, Monica seized, then fell to the ground. A helper rushed over and picked up the little girl, taking her away. When that was over, Fury continued, “You see, I also have an Ability. I am a mimic, and I can copy the Ability of anyone I touch.”

Mimics were practically unheard of in their community, the brand of Ability being almost as rare as the healing Ability. This didn’t bode well for Dazai, which he lamented as Fury’s cold hands came in contact with his skin. Fury held the contact for a good minute, apparently enjoying watching Dazai writhe, then he drew back, “That is only a taste of what will come if you do not tell me where the book is.”

After a few stabilizing breathes, Dazai spits, barely recognizing his own tired, scratchy voice, “I won’t tell you where it is, no matter what you do to me.” Sure, he didn’t know where the damn book is, but after Fitzgerald’s obsession with Atsushi, Dazai would gladly shoulder this agony instead of someone else getting caught in the middle.

Fury was silent, then he grabbed Dazai’s hair, the contact with his scalp searing pain through his entire body, “Nobody can last forever, Osamu. Sooner or later, you will break, or you will die, and I will move on to someone else. Perhaps that man tiger apprentice of yours, or maybe your former apprentice? I could even take the gravity manipulator – although I’m not sure how long any of them would last.”

White, hot anger overrode the pain, and Dazai yanked against his restraints. Apparently the threat of freedom was enough to discourage Fury, who stepped away as soon as Dazai moved. The armored man then said with disgust, “Dose him, then throw him in with the rest. We’ll resume this tomorrow.” With that order in place, Fury clamped out of the room, and one of the helpers shoved a needle into Dazai’s neck. Afterward, a few others came in to unhook Dazai, then drag him out of the room he had been acquainted with for a week. The halls were all old brick, and smelled of decay, and that was the last thing Dazai picked out before his consciousness blurred out again.


 

The atmosphere was tense now that a certain red head took it upon himself to lead the search for Dazai. Chuuya seemed to have forgotten that he had an actual job in favor of haunting the Agency. Atsushi would have believed that love drove the older man to search so obsessively for Dazai, but then Chuuya shot that down with a scowl, “The bastard owes me a lot of money, and I aim to collect. Plus, nobody is allowed to kill him but me.

However, Atsushi wasn’t too far off. Chuuya put up a bravado, but internally he was worried sick he would never see the detective again, and for some reason, that sounded very unappealing. He spent night and day looking, until Kouyou made him sleep for a bit so he didn’t pass out. So, yea, it was easy to see that a lot more drove the executive.

For now, Atsushi stuck with Chuuya, the both of them finding kinship in their worries. The two walked down the street, hoping to find anything that would give them a clue. However, as the trend that had been set over the last week, there was nothing. On the way back, Atsushi noticed Chuuya’s hand grasped tightly around the tie he had been constantly wearing – Dazai’s tie. He then asked softly, “Chuuya, what if we don’t find him?” Atsushi definitely didn’t want to think of a world without Dazai, but perhaps that was the world they would have to get used to.

Chuuya answered, barely concealed rage in his voice, “We will find him. We fucking will.” Silence fell, and Atsushi shoved his hands in his pockets, looking at the ground. Though, just as they were about to cross to the Agency, Atsushi stopped dead in his tracks. Chuuya stopped as well, looking back at the kid, “Hey, come on.” The man tiger didn’t move at first, but then he said softly, barely being heard at all, “We’re being followed. I think it’s the same guys who took Dazai.”

Fire erupted in Chuuya’s eyes, and he pushed past Atsushi. True to what he said, there were men there trying to backtrack, but Chuuya refused to let them go. The earth around them shook, and people started filing away in a desperate attempt to get away. His sights were set, though, and the three men found it impossible to escape the clutches of the pissed off gravity manipulator.

About twenty minutes, and a barely held back Chuuya, later, all three men were tied up at the Port Mafia headquarters. Mori stood there watching them, his gaze unnerving, while Kouyou stood next to him. In the next room, a few of the invited detectives were trying to calm Chuuya down, and by the way the walls shook, it wasn’t going well. However, the men were none the wiser of their attempts, and perhaps could be persuaded to speak under threat of Chuuya.

Thirty minutes after that entire mess, the men were blabbing everything they knew, begging not to get sacrificed to Chuuya. They told how they were supposed to grab Chuuya and Atsushi for their master since Dazai had been killed during interrogations. Them speaking didn’t save them, for now Chuuya wasn’t the only pissed off person.

Dazai, dead? It was barely registering for Chuuya as the men begged for mercy under the onslaught. He couldn’t be dead, just… couldn’t be.


 

Alexandria watched as the camera she placed on one of the decoys broke, and she switched the tablet into sleep mode. A delicate smirk ran across her face – they fell for the trap. Now, they would stop searching for Dazai, allowing Fury some space to work.

The dark skinned woman sat down on a couch, tablet sat neatly in her lap, her gaze going to the man in front of her, “You see? They didn’t suspect a thing. Now, about that alliance, Mr. Dostoyevsky…”