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In this lifetime and the next

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It's late. Chuuya burrows deeper into his coat trying to ward off the cold night air. He needs a warmer coat but all the money he earned is already going to his rent this month. A high school student shouldn't be worrying about these things yet but a lot has changed in the months since his mother's death. He never knew his father but he had been happy. His mother had worked hard and he never had to want for anything. He loved her more than anything else. Sometimes he wished... no, he shouldn't think such thoughts. He should be grateful that he was alive.

Everyone said that it was a miracle that he survived the car crash that took his mother's life. Everyone asks how he managed to get out of there without even any scratch when his mother had died on impact but he can't. He can't remember anything but a bright white light and suddenly he's watching the wreckage of their car go up in flames. He wanted to run, he wanted to try and save her but his legs won't move, his body wouldn't obey him. They say it was the shock. They say it was a normal human reaction and that he can't blame himself. But he can't help it.

Technically, he's living with his mother's distant relatives but there are only so much of the disdainful looks and not so discreet comments about burdens to their finances he can take before he's leaving the house, saying he can make his own way. It says something about the nature of that house that no one tried to stop him. He's fine with that. They were never his family. And he can't stand living in that cold empty house. But it's hard. He had to take in a few jobs to help sustain him on top of the meager allowance he gets from his relatives. But then again, he should count himself lucky. He didn't get much in the way of inheritance save for a pretty white pearl. Now, he never goes anywhere without it.

It might sound stupid but it somehow makes him feel safe, knowing that it's inside his pocket. It makes him think that somehow, maybe his mother is looking out for him. The pearly itself probably doesn't have much use but it always looks like it shines under the moonlight and when he holds it in his hand, it gives of a warm and gentle feeling, making him feel safe and protected. But it might only be his imagination.

A series of loud barks snap him out of his thoughts. When he looks around, there's a dog barking furiously at something behind a dumpster. Thinking that it was some poor cat, Chuuya gently shoos away the dog and peers down. What he sees instead is a small white fox snarling threateningly at the dog but the growl dies in its throat the moment it sees Chuuya. It seems to instinctively know that Chuuya means no harm because its expression brightens up, its fluffy tail wagging in happiness. Chuuya chuckles before he makes a move to go. But he only manages to walk a few blocks before he notices that he's being followed and sure enough, when he turns back, there that fox is two steps behind him and looking up at him expectantly. He frowns, attempting to look stern but it doesn't deter the odd little fox that seem to be far too expressive to be normal.

"Shoo!" He says, making the corresponding motions with his hand, "Go off. Back to your home, don't follow me."

The fox is undeterred. Instead, choosing to come closer to Chuuya and nuzzling it's jaw against his leg. He can almost feel his resistance shattering. Chuuya sighs and leans down to pick up the tiny animal.

"Fine, just for tonight." He concedes, "Don't tell anyone I took you in okay?"

Look at him, talking to an animal but still the fox looks incredibly happy, his tail wags a few times as it leans up to give Chuuya tiny lick on the cheek before burying it's head on Chuuya's chest with its eyes closed and shaking almost imperceptibly. Poor thing, Chuuya thinks, he acts far too tame to be wild. Maybe its owners abandoned him? 

"You're completely filthy though," Chuuya says, even as he runs his hand against the fine white fur, "Let's get you cleaned up, you look like some mangy mutt right now."

If anything, the fox looks almost offended, his fur puffing out in agitation and a low noise coming from its throat half-way between a whine and a growl. Chuuya had no doubts that had it been capable of speech it would have protested such an insult. But it can't and it's still comfortably nested in his arms those intelligent looking hazel eyes staring up at its savior in adoration.

"Let's get you home."

*****

The night went by without a hitch, if you don't count the number of times Chuuya had to kick the fox out of his bathroom while he was taking a shower. It only strengthens his belief that the thing must have been abandoned and it doesn't want to lose sight of Chuuya but he had just given it a bath and it was a pain to get it's fur cleaned. But the thing is incredibly intelligent, and time and time again it keeps finding ways to get in, those clear intelligent eyes staring straight at Chuuya at all times. It's almost annoying, creepy even, but Chuuya figures there's no use getting mad at the animal when it doesn't know any better. Maybe next time, they can take a shower together but right now he's not drying his fur again. Somehow, he manages to finish his shower in peace and the fox immediately winds around his legs when he gets out. 

It's almost cute. Almost makes him forgive it for trying to sneak in. Almost.

"Look," Chuuya looks down, he's not sure why he's actually reasoning with the thing but he has a feeling that it understands him, "you can't just barge in like that. You don't want to get your fur wet do you?"

His ears and the fluffy white tail droop down at his words and he can't help but laugh and scratch it behind the ears, which perk it right up.

"By the way, are you a boy or a girl? I can't exactly keep calling you thing can I?"

He makes a move to pick up the fox to check but it quickly darts away. It keeps moving away every time he makes a move to pick it up. It shakes it's head? No, that couldn't be. That's a human gesture and no matter how smart, the fox wouldn't have been able to know. It also covers its face with its two front paws, letting it rest on its nose covering its eyes. It almost looks like its shy. What an odd thing this little stray is.

"Fine," Chuuya says, a little spooked at how human the fox is acting, "I won't check." The fox removes one paw, looking straight at him with one hazel eye, "I'll call you Fluffy instead."

The fox lets out a long whine, trotting up towards Chuuya and pawing at his foot in protest. It really is an odd thing but it somehow makes the room a little less lonely. Almost feels like there's someone else with him. Maybe he'll actually keep the fox if it lets him.

When he lies down in bed, the white fox immediately snuggles in right next to him. He would have made it sleep on the floor, but it's warm and soft and he may also need new, warmer sheets considering the crappy heater installed so instead, he gratefully burrows his face against the clean fur, thankful for the warmth.

It was the most comfortable sleep he can remember since his mother died.

When he wakes up the next day, it's a warm morning and he's completely rested. The morning light is filtering through the blinds and he unconsciously buries his face against the broad strong chest under his head, the arm wrapped around him tightens its hold, shifting into a more comfortable position. He blinks his sleepy eyes open and when he looks up, he's met with a young brown haired man with warm familiar hazel eyes and a soft tender smile.

"Good morning Chuuya."

*****

There's an unfamiliar man in an expensive looking dark blue kimono. He is hunched over in a corner, nursing a bruised jaw and throwing Chuuya the occasional betrayed look. He would have looked handsome even despite the bandages around his arms. No. He is handsome despite his questionable hobbies. But what kind of respectable human being would sneak in someone's room and just fucking sleep in the same bed as them!? His outfit looks expensive enough that he can't be looking to steal from him. And to top it off, he has the nerve to do all those things in godamn cosplay. What the actual hell? On top of the bandages, the guy has a pair of cat ears on his head and a set of tails behind him. Granted, all of it looks really well made but the quality doesn't stop it from being fucking weird. 

On the other hand, Chuuya is standing at the opposite corner of the room wielding a chair and a textbook, the closest things he could get his hands on in his just woken up state. He had grabbed it just after he had screamed and socked the creep in the jaw. He may be a student living alone but he's no push-over.

"That's so mean Chuuya. Suddenly punching me after the wonderful night we shared." The man whines. His voice is low and soothing to the ears but he says his name with such familiarity that it's jarring. Have they met before!? 

"Who the actual fuck are you!?"

"Dazai." The man smiles enigmatically like there's a big joke only he knows. It's pissing him off. "But I think you wanted to call me Fluffy? I must say Chuuya. Your naming sense is horrible."

"You…" Suddenly, he remembers the white fox he had taken in but a quick look around doesn't reveal it, "Okay, funny. Good joke." Chuuya scowls suddenly realizing what's going on, "Did you train your pet to do that? You enjoy pranking innocent people? Well, you had your fun. Now leave before I call the police."

"Prank?" The man, Dazai if he can be believed, looks at him with a pitying expression and Chuuya barely stops himself from hurling the book in his face. "This isn't a prank. I'm telling you that I'm the fox. I'm a kitsune."

"Look you asshole, the joke's up. I know what's going on so drop the bullshit story and get the fuck out of my apartment!"

"And I'm telling you, this isn't a joke. I'm your guardian spirit. You have my Hoshi no tama in your pocket right now. " Chuuya's eyes narrow, hand almost drifting towards the pearl in his pocket, "Honestly, I would have thought that it would have been obvious but I guess I was severely over-estimating your intelligence.

Chuuya snaps and throws the book in the bastard's face.

Except… it stops. Not because the man catches it, not even because it satisfyingly hits the man on the face. It literally stops in the air and drops gently into his hands.

"That was close Chuuya. You shouldn't throw dangerous objects around. Someone might get hurt."

Chuuya gapes in shock.

"How did you do that?"

"Magic. I'm a nine-tailed kitsune. We can normally do that. See the tails?"  All nine tails sweep behind him in what might have been considered a grand gesture.

"Bullshit. All I see is a creep in an overly elaborate costume. Did you really expect anyone to believe that story? Pick something more believable next time."

Dazai sighs in exasperation and isn't that a fucking joke because right now, Chuuya's the one that has the right to be annoyed. He's the one who woke up to a fucking stranger in his bed trying to feed him some bullshit story no one over the age of twelve will believe. Said stranger starts walking towards him and he grips his chair tighter, he's not above hitting him over the head with it if it comes down to it.

"What do I have to do to make you believe me?"

Chuuya stares at him with narrowed eyes. The tails behind Dazai actually moves, sweeping to the side and the ears over his head twitch. Whatever this guy's deal is, at least the tails and ears are incredibly realistic. But still, no matter how realistic, a costume is just a costume. He lunges forward, grabbing a fistful of white fur before the man even reacts and-

"OUCH! My tail!"

-pulls…

It's not coming off. Whatever it is, it's connected really well. The man had stumbled back, eyes wide open in betrayal, protectively hugging his tails to his chest like he's afraid Chuuya would pull at them again. Chuuya is just left with a fistful of white fur in his fists, staring up at a man who might have literal tears of pain in his eyes.

"What is that even connected to!?"

"It’s connected to ME! That's normally how tails work!!"

"You can't expect me to believe that! Let me see."

"See what exactly?" Dazai looks at him in suspicion, tails wrapping protectively around him. The petty side of Chuuya feels vindicated at finally drawing out some expression on his face other than smug and condescending.

"I want to see where it connects."

A leer forms on Dazai's face, ears twitch on top of his head and it immediately sends his senses on high alert. He's only known this man a few minutes but for some reason, he knows that's not a good thing.

"Oh? That's pretty bold of you Chuuya. You know if you wanted to get my clothes off all you had to do was- MY EARS!"

While he was spouting nonsense, Chuuya had approached and pulled down at the white cat ears on his head, dragging the long-legged asshole closer to Chuuya's face. Chuuya might have twisted the ears a bit out of spite. Still, Dazai couldn't exactly pull back not if he wants the ears to pop out from his head, not with the tight grip Chuuya had on it.

Chuuya lifts his other hand, patting down on Dazai's head. He lets go, stumbling back in shock once he realizes something.

"Where's your ears?"

Dazai scowls at him, hands going up to his head stroking down on the ear Chuuya had just gripped. "You just tried to rip it off from my head."

"Wait, then… It's actually-"

"Connected to my head. Yes, it is." Dazai looks at him, expression in a petulant pout, "Do you believe me now?" A perverted glint flashes in his eyes and Dazai grins, "Maybe you want to see where my tail ends as well? Should I take my clothes off for you?"

"That won't be necessary," Chuuya grits out, "So, you're an actual kitsune?"

"I think you proved that with your own hands." Dazai says with a disdainful look at the strands of his fur littering the floor.

"An actual Kitsune." Chuuya feels the need to repeat because this situation is far too unbelievable, "Like in the stories?"

"Well, I'm not sure what kind of stories you're reading but I'd like to think I'm more handsome and incredible than the others."

Chuuya ignores him. Looking straight into his eyes and asking "Well, what do you want?"

For some reason, Dazai looks at him in shock. Well, what did he expect? Did he actually think Chuuya will grovel at his feet just because of what he is? Ha! Don't underestimate him. But even weirder, a small tender smile makes its way to Dazai's face. A smile that's somehow tinged with sadness before he schools his expression back to the self-confident and cocky grin.

"Since you have my Hoshi no tama, then I'm sadly bound to your side." Dazai gives an exaggerated, obviously fake sigh, "Unless you're planning on giving it back to me?"

"No chance in hell." Was the automatic reply, "That is… I can't give you the last memento of my mother." He says apologetically. He knows from the stories how important that is to a kitsune, but he can't, anything but that.

"I won't." Dazai says kindly, his voice soft and understanding. There's a look on his face, bare and honest, that tells Chuuya that he knows what Chuuya is feeling. That he's familiar with that heart wrenching feeling of loss when the person you loved the most is ripped away from you. And then he promptly ruins the atmosphere, "Then I guess you have yourself a permanent housemate. Try not to drool on me when you're sleeping next time."

"You're sleeping on the couch!"

"But Chuuya, you cuddled up against me so comfortably last night."

Chuuya scowls but a blush forms against his will. Give him a break, he thought he was sleeping with a fox. He definitely wouldn't have allowed Dazai to do half the things he did had he known what he really was.

Wait. Last night…

"Were you peeping on me in the shower!?"

Dazai's expression doesn't give him away but his tails wag at the memory.

He earns a matching bruise on the other side of his jaw for his troubles.

*****

The day went by pretty normally considering the craziness of his morning. He did have to persuade Dazai that no, he is not allowed to come with him and "I'm not going to lose your precious ball Dazai. I don't care if you can shift to a fox form, having a white- okay fine - silver fox following me around will still be suspicious. I'm just walking to school. You can't come with me." But honestly, accepting that the weirdo on his bed is an actual to god kitsune is one thing but it's another thing completely seeing a man with cat- seriously, is this actually important- fox ears and tails suddenly transform into the small animal.

 

("You know. I would have believed you sooner if you had just transformed into a fox in front of me."

"And what would Chuuya have done if a random man suddenly morphed into a fox?"

"Probably physically thrown you out the window."

"At least in my half-human form, Chuuya is too tiny to throw me out."

Chuuya kicks him in the shin. "Fuck you.")

 

School was a quiet affair. He hadn't made any friends since he had to move to a different school because of the accident. But that's fine with him; he's fine with the solitude. Besides, it's not like he's being bullied. Or rather, the first and last time someone tried, Chuuya managed to break his arm. The bully was probably too embarrassed to show his face to school after that because he doesn't show up again. Oddly enough, no one asks questions.

He steps out of the school building. There's a bunch of girls huddled over by the gates. He's not sure what everyone is so interested in and frankly, he doesn't care. He walks on uncaring of the tittering, he still needs to get to his part time job. Kouyou-san is pretty understanding of his situation but he doesn't want to trouble her. She's been far too kind to him already.

"Chuuya!"

Oh no. It couldn't be. He wouldn't.

"Hey! Chuuya, I was waiting for you."

Of course he would. He might not know Dazai for long but he has a gut feeling that the guy would absolutely do something just to give him a hard time. He turns. But instead of seeing him in the same dark blue get-up he did this morning, he's in a dark blue shirt and dark pants. There's also no ears and tail anywhere on his person.

"Dazai? Where's?"

"I do have the ability to disguise myself as a human. Honestly Chuuya, do have a little more fate in me."

"I lost any fate I might have with you when I had to save you from a Chihuahua last night."

Dazai's brow twitches in irritation at that. Chuuya could almost imagine his ears pushing back at the offence.

"Dazai-kun? Did you know Nakahara-san?" Chuuya recognizes her as a girl in his class. He doesn't actually know her name and he's honestly surprised that she knows his. He only remembers her because she kept looking at him with an annoying superior look.

Chuuya sees her flutter her lashes at Dazai, her make-up put on perfectly and a few buttons of her blouse undone. He's severely tempted to sweep Dazai's legs from under him as he sees the lecherous kitsune's eyes flickering down to her cleavage before smiling back at her.

"Chuuya and I are living together, actually."

"We're roommates." Chuuya cut-in before the girls get the wrong idea.

"Oh," his classmate says, unsure, "you never mentioned him."

Probably because we never actually talked before? Chuuya thinks, but bites back the remark. He's spared from answering by Dazai suddenly draping himself over him and whining.

"That hurts Chuuya. Even after you made me swear to stay with you forever!"

"What!?" Chuuya cries out, "I did no such thing."

"Of course you did!" Dazai's voice sounds hurt, completely fake Chuuya can tell, but the girls can't, "Don't tell me you forgot? After you held me so tightly last night, you refused to give back my soul. What else can I do but stay with you for the rest of your life?"

"What the fuck!?"

The girls gasp; some of them giggle and hide their blushes behind their hands, some look at them in shock.

"I didn't know you were together with Nakahara-san…"

"It's hard but it's a lifetime commitment and-" Chuuya slaps his hand over Dazai's mouth, preventing him from spouting any more of those damning lies.

"We're not." Chuuya scowls at her, "He's joking but if you'll excuse us, we have to go somewhere."

He grabs Dazai in a chokehold, hooking his arm around his neck and dragging him away. His face burns hot as he hears the girls whisper behind them as Dazai cheerfully waves goodbye.

"Why do you have to lie like that?" Chuuya hisses when they're out of sight.

Dazai doesn't look apologetic at all.

"I don't remember lying. You did refuse to give me back my ball and I am tied to you until you give it back."

"Argh," Chuuya groans because technically he's right but does he have to word it in the most embarrassing way possible, "you didn't have to say it like that."

Dazai smiles, leaning closer to Chuuya and whispering in his ear, "Wasn't Chuuya even the tiniest bit happy? All those girls were vying for my attention but I basically told them that I belong only to Chuuya."

Chuuya tumbles back, flushing. He scowls, swats Dazai lightly at the back of the head before stomping off.

"Don't ever do that again!"

He ignores the sound of Dazai's laughter as it rings delightedly behind him.

The place where he works is a small café owned by Kouyou-san. She's a beautiful and kind woman who let Chuuya work there after school and on his days off. She also frets over him, often voicing concerns over his well-being and health. The other staffs are similarly good people if not a little eccentric. It's the closest to friends that he's got in this city and he honestly loves working there.

He warns Dazai not to interfere. And the time passes without any incidents, he does catch glimpses of brown hair by the window every now and again and maybe a flash of white fur by the door sometimes but Dazai doesn't meddle so he lets it pass.

It's once again late once his shift ends and he's treated to Kouyou-san fretting over how his thin jacket couldn't possibly be enough to ward off the cold. He brushes off her worries with a bright smile and a promise that he'll get a new one soon, promise, before he calls out a goodbye and rushes out the door.

He's not at all surprised when someone is suddenly walking beside him, seemingly coming out from the very shadows.

"She's right you know." Dazai suddenly says, "It's too cold for you to be going out in that."

"Mind your own business." Chuuya snaps. It's not like he has any choice, besides, "you're technically free-loading off me. How can I buy a new coat and still find enough money to feed another mouth?"

Dazai hums in thought, "If its money that you need, then I can give you enough to buy as many coats as you need."

"Oh no," Chuuya says, "I know the stories. I'm not having you steal any money for me. It's just going to be more trouble than it's worth. I'll just take on another job if I have to."

Dazai looks thoughtfully at him but doesn't say anything more. Instead, he steps in a bit closer, wrapping on arm around Chuuya's shoulder. Chuuya tells himself that Dazai is warm and that's the only thing stopping him from pushing the arm away. No one says anything when Chuuya leans against Dazai a little bit as well.

Unseen, Dazai gives a small tender smile and grips Chuuya's shoulder a little bit tighter.

*****

 

("Hey, Dazai, my mother used to say that she found your ball shortly after I was born. Does that mean that you were already there when she was still alive?"

"Well, my life is tied to my Hoshi no tama, I would have thought that it that would have been obvious. But I must have been overestimating Chuuya's intelligence."

"Shut up!... Then… Does that mean that during the night of the accident you- "

"…."

"No, never mind. Forget I said anything."

"I'm sorry Chuuya. Someone like me… I'm still completely powerless. There was no way that I could have saved her.")

 

*****

Chuuya wakes up in Dazai's arms the next morning as well. He can vaguely remember throwing him off the bed the night before but the wily fox must have sneaked right back in.

He gets up, carefully untangling himself from the jungle of arms and tails, leaving a still sleeping Dazai on the bed. At least he gets to shower in peace without having to worry about a certain someone peaking. Dazai joins him in the kitchen, lured in by the smell of food, he slaps his hand away from the Inari sushi he's making, sternly telling him that it's for Dazai's lunch and "If you want to go hungry, go ahead but I'm not making you any more for later."

Dazai's ears fall flat on his face and his tails droop down low, mournful eyes turning up at to look at him and damn it, against his better judgment he passes Dazai one piece. For someone who claims to be a centuries old kitsune, he's far too happy in accepting a single piece of sushi. His tail swish around him happily, almost appending some chairs and making Chuuya throw him out of the kitchen.

The rest of the day passes by, he doesn't see Dazai by the gates and the girls waiting around to flirt with the handsome stranger gives him accusing looks. He doesn't need that kind of attention and if those girls knew how Dazai normally acts, they wouldn't be so head over heels for him. But he just ignores them, he only misses walking with Dazai because the winds are getting colder and if anything else, Dazai has his uses as his personal heater.

The bells over the door chime a tune as he enters the familiar café. He's removing his maroon scarf when a bright "Welcome!" greets him. But no, it can't be. Scarf in hand and eyes wide, he looks up.

Dazai is there in a dark blue plaid shirt, the café's uniform, and an apron over it. He's wearing a smug smile as he looks at Chuuya. No one else seems to find the situation odd and they only look over for a bit when Chuuya suddenly grabs Dazai by the arm and hauls him to the backroom.

"What are you doing here?" He hisses.

"I couldn't bear being away from you! " Chuuya threateningly grabs Dazai's ear, "Ow! Okay, fine. I'll tell you. Let go!"

Chuuya steps back, giving Dazai a look, prompting him to continue. Dazai still looks at him suspiciously before sighing, "I asked for a job. It seems one of your co-workers saw us going home together so they gave me the job once I said I'm trying to help you out with the bills."

"What!? Why did you have to but in? I could have handled it myself."

"You look really tired Chuuya. You know, you can depend on someone else for once. You don't have to do everything alone."

Him? Depending on someone else? He never had to rely on anyone except his mother and now that she's gone… To have relatives pass him around like he's a burden, to have people look at him pityingly, no, he'd rather stand on his own feet. His mother and he never needed help from anyone, not from the relatives who didn't want him, not from the father he never knew and it's not changing now. There's no way he's going to take help from a fox who probably just wants to make sure that he keeps his mother's keepsake safe.

"I don't need-"

"You need some help." A voice cuts off his protest but it wasn't the Dazai who spoke. It's Kouyou-san who steps out from her office and is looking at him disapprovingly. Despite himself, he feels chastised with one look from her. "You can't go about life without some form of help boy, and if you're not going to accept mine then might as well make use of your boyfriend." She spares Dazai a critical look, "For the record, you can do better."

Dazai bristles at the insult but Chuuya just nods meekly. He never could go against Kouyou-san, he owes her far too much for that. 

And with that, Kouyou strolls to the door, roughly opening it to show various staff trying to listen in.

"And you, shouldn't you be working?" They scurry off to whatever tasks they had, throwing looks at Chuuya over their shoulders. Only one other employee remains, a kid a year or so younger than Chuuya who had been incredibly helpful during his first days here.

"Uhm… Chuuya-san, I didn't know you had a boyfriend?"

What? Suddenly, he recalls Kouyou-san's words and hell no, "He's not my boyfriend! He's just a friend who's staying with me for the time being."

Tachihara's expression brightens as he bows his head before leaving to do his own work; Dazai gives the kid a dark threatening look but Chuuya doesn't notice any of this as he was busy groaning with his face buried in his hands. Kouyou does, and she hides a small smile behind her sleeves before going back to her office leaving them alone once more.

"Why did you have to meddle in this?"

"As I see it, it solves your problem. You can even think of it as rent if you want. I can accept payment in canned crab and Inari Sushi. And see! Kouyou-san even gave me my pay in advance so now we can buy you a new coat."

"You shouldn't have bothered Kouyou-san!" Chuuya chides, peaking up at him to give him a glare, "Why are you even doing this? Why do you even care what happens to me?"

He's not sure what he said but Dazai's expression turns incredibly sad, "I made a promise once." He says quietly, Chuuya instinctively knows that Dazai is being completely honest, imparting a terribly painful secret, with him and frankly, he doesn't know why this powerful being is baring his soul to him of all people, "I lost something precious to me, something more precious than the world, and I couldn't do anything to stop it. So I swore, I'll never let that happen again."

"You don't make any sense you know." Chuuya says after a while, but still, he runs a hand through Dazai's hair, stroking the fine brown strands, Dazai closes his eyes and leans against his hand.

"That's okay too." Dazai replies, "You can just think of it as payment then, for saving me. For taking in a helpless little fox a few nights ago, we yokai pay our debts."

Chuuya smiles, "Fine, then thank you."

They go to work, Dazai seamlessly working together with him and the others and when their shift ends, they go home together, Dazai's arm once again wrapped around Chuuya's shoulder keeping out the chill of cold.

His far too grateful to Dazai to kick him off the bed, besides, he's warm and soft, and his tails are comfortable to snuggle against and for another night, he sleeps in a strong embrace with soft tails wrapping him in their warmth.

The next day, Dazai barges in on his shower, raving about him being late for work and "How about showering together with Chuuya? It will save on water and time."

Chuuya, knowing Dazai wouldn't actually care less about being late and red faced as he frantically wraps a towel around him, throws the perverted fox out, threatening to have him neutered if he tries that stunt again. "Don't think I won't do it Dazai!"

He can't believe that this is his life now. But still, there are small blessings, at least Dazai never tries to peak in on him in the shower again.

*****

"Do you want it? Come on; tell me how much you want it. I'll give it to you if you beg."

Chuuya's face is flushed as he looks up at Dazai. The expression on the fox's face is set on a devious smirk hovering over the smaller form.

The other people around the mall keep staring and he's torn between pretending he doesn't know him or dragging him away.

"Well, too bad. You can curse your pitiful existence. It simply means I'm better than you."

Chuuya looks on in horror as Dazai opens his mouth and shoves in a fistful of dog treats unmindful of the looks of disgust of the people around him. The dog Dazai had been teasing whimpers. It had been happily wagging its tail at Dazai when he was dangling the tiny bone shaped treat over its head. It turns bright watery puppy dog eyes at him and his heart practically melts.

"What are you doing Dazai? Knock it off." He hisses, swiping the box of treats from Dazai's hand. They were supposed to be buying some clothes but Dazai got side tracked making him buy a box of treats and teasing a Shiba Inu sitting at the corner waiting for its owners to finish their shopping.

"Foxes and dogs are natural enemies." Dazai explains, trying to snatch back the box, "I am simply showing him that we're the superior species."

"You know, I'm beginning to think that all the lore about dogs hating kitsune is just because you guys are massive assholes."

Chuuya leans down patting the dog on the head and giving him a dog treat. The dog wags his tail and gives him a happy lick on the hand.

“Hey! That’s mine!”

“You should learn to share.” Chuuya says pointedly grabbing Dazai’s arm and dragging him away before someone gets bitten. It’s ridiculous that he’s not exactly sure who’s going to bite who, Dazai or the dog. 

 Dazai turns and gives one last snarl, earning a growl in return. “Smug asshole.” He mutters.

Chuuya decides he doesn’t really want to know.

“Don’t pout Dazai. I’ll give you back the treats once we get back.”

“It’s not that.” Dazai says seriously, turning Chuuya so he’s facing him, “Why does he get a kiss and I don’t?”

“Huh?”

Dazai sighs, leaning down and next thing Chuuya knows, Dazai’s lips are on his cheek in a spot near just next to his lips. He hears a group of girls giggle and sigh. Dazai pulls back, smile on his face as he’s left gaping at the taller man.

“Don’t just stand there with a stupid look on your face Chuuya. Come on, I want to get back home early so you can cook dinner.”

“Dazai!”

*****

The shopping could technically be considered a success. Well in a sense that they did manage to buy some winter appropriate clothes eventually.

 

("It's fine! It's fine! Just get into the dressing room Chuuya; I'll make sure to hand you clothes that would look really good on you!

"I swear Dazai, if you try to peak-"

"I won't. Don't you trust me even a little?"

"I don't trust you at all.")

 

 Even though Dazai was a complete pest the entire time and more trouble than he's worth.

 

("I'm not wearing a fucking dress you bastard!")

 

It's was exhausting. But, he can admit it that it was even a little bit fun.

 

("Let's try out that store!"

"For the last time Dazai, I'm not wearing a dress and that's a store for weddings!"

"Well, if Chuuya insists, I'll wear the dress for him. I don't really mind being his bride."

"Just go home already!")

 

But still, there are far too many misunderstandings for his peace of mind.

 

("Oh my, you and your boyfriend sure are lively. It reminds me of me and my husband when we were your age."

"Ma'am! Please don't jump to conclusions."

"My darling little Chuuya is really adorable isn't he? I keep saying he'll make a lovely wife."

"Stop giving people the wrong idea! And I'm not little, you're just freakishly tall.")

 

But then again, he also realizes that there's so much about Dazai that he still doesn't know.

 

("Huh? Why do you even need that much bandages for?"

"Chuuya shouldn't have to look at ugly things."

"I don't understand."

"It's better that way."

His eyes look pained and Chuuya doesn't have the heart to prod any further.)

 

He wants to, though. For some reason, he wants to know about Dazai. He wants to know what Dazai is seeing when he gets that sorrowful look in his eyes.

*****

Their days together continue, Chuuya goes to school while Dazai does whatever it is he does when Chuuya's not babysitting him. Never it be said that living with a man with more than the normal number of appendages is easy. He's lost count of the number of times he woke up with fur in his mouth and no amount of cleaning will probably rid his clothes of all that hair sticking on to it.

 

("Don't pretend you don't find my tails comfortable, Chuuya. It wouldn't keep getting in your mouth in the first place if you don't cuddle with it every night. Besides, think of how I feel. I keep waking up with someone drooling on me.")

 

And then there's the number and size of those tails. Dazai might be proud of those things because it shows how powerful he really is or something like that, but it doesn't change the fact that it also gets in the way a lot. Dazai hates keeping them hidden when they're at home but Chuuya's apartment isn't exactly large. He keeps suddenly getting hit in the face, or worse, when his tails starts wagging and it topples over various things in Dazai's joy. He's lucky that Chuuya doesn't really have anything breakable or valuable because those things are a hazard. Dazai glares and sulks at the comment but it doesn't make it any less true. But it's still ridiculous, considering how often Dazai brags about being such a strong yokai.

 

("Oh no, you do not get to turn puppy-dog eyes at me Dazai. You know what you did."

The fox-form kitsune looks up at him with wide hazel eyes, ears drooping low and letting out small whimpers.

"Don't you have any shame? You're supposed to be a centuries old kitsune! Now, get out from under the bed before I sweep you out from there with a broom."

The fox makes a loud keening noise, covering his face with its tail but not coming out.

"When I said those were for lunch, I meant it! You're not getting any more food from me today."

The supposedly powerful yokai gives a long mournful whine.)

 

And then there's work, Dazai is charming and suave and completely infuriating. He flirts blatantly with all of his customers and while they all seem to love him this is a café not some host club. It doesn't help that half the staff still seems to think that they're dating despite all of Chuuya's protests. He's always greeted with some variation of "That's not nice Dazai-san, you shouldn't flirt with someone else in front of Chuuya-san." or "If you keep that up Dazai, Chuuya will get jealous." 

For the last time, he's not jealous. And he's not even dating the bastard in the first place so he does not deserve those pitying looks "Dazai, you bastard, stop fueling the fire! We are NOT dating."

But all in all, Dazai is pretty likeable. All their other co-workers seem to accept him pretty easily except Kouyou-san who still looks at him with suspicion because she was obviously the only other person with brains in this place. He doesn't understand why they like Dazai so much when he's still a mischievous kitsune at heart and keeps playing pranks on everyone. No one could ever pin the blame on Dazai but Chuuya knew better. Poor Tachihara, he doesn't know what the poor boy did to earn Dazai's ire but he's more often than not the subject of Dazai's pranks. He doesn't deserve it, really. Tachihara had always been incredibly helpful to Chuuya unlike a certain kitsune but the last time he tried to confront Dazai it only increased the number of pranks.

The weeks pass and he does eventually learn more about Dazai, like what it is he's hiding behind those ever present bandages in his arms.

*****

He hadn't really planned on it but it was a combination of coincidences. For once, Dazai had forgotten to lock the door while Chuuya was too exhausted to check around the apartment for Dazai. He stumbles into the bathroom and he sees Dazai with his top off in the process of redoing his bandages. He can admit to himself that he might have run his eyes across Dazai's chest but more than anything, he notices Dazai's arms.

"I keep telling you Chuuya, if you wanted to see me with my clothes off you should have just asked." Dazai teases but there's a tension in his shoulders, an obviously forced smile on his face.

Dazai's arms are filled with painful looking burn marks and Chuuya can't form a witty response. He just looks at Dazai in shocked worry.

Dazai sighs, "They're really old, don't worry. I just didn't want you seeing them."

"Where… How did you get those?"

"Remember? I told you before; I once lost someone very important to me. What I didn't tell you was that I was so consumed by rage, I burned everyone responsible. This was my punishment. If given the chance, I'd do it again." Dazai gives a wry smile, throwing Chuuya an apprehensive look, "I'm really scary don't you think?"

Chuuya looks at Dazai and he sees it. Dazai is worried. He's scared that Chuuya would throw him away. But he doesn't understand, why tell him the truth if that's the case? Why not just lie? Dazai is such a complicated creature, both infuriating and annoying but still, there are times where he treats Chuuya with such gentle care it's almost heart breaking. And he knows that he can break Dazai now, all he needs to do is turn him away.

"Who would ever think you're scary?" Chuuya scoffs, "I once saw you lose a fight with a cat for the last piece of Inari sushi, stupid. You're not scary at all."

Dazai looks at him in wonder, and if that's not the least bit insulting, did he really think Chuuya would get scared of him that easily?

"That's really mean Chuuya," Dazai gives a shaky chuckle a few seconds later, "That cat was clearly evil and you just laughed at me."

Chuuya slowly, carefully goes near Dazai similar to how one would approach a wounded animal. Tenderly, he touches a scar with his fingers. "Does it hurt?"

Dazai shakes his head. Chuuya looks him straight in the eye and tells him, "I have and never will be afraid of you Dazai."

Due to their nearness, he can see Dazai try to compose himself, he can see him swallow a lump in his throat.

"Do.. Do you need help with the bandages? I… No. Never mind, I'll leave you alone."

He makes a move to leave but a hand grips the sleeve of his shirt.

"Stay." Dazai says offering a roll of bandages, "Please."

Carefully, Chuuya takes a seat beside Dazai and he gently starts wrapping his arms.

"I'm really glad that I met you Chuuya." Dazai whispers almost too soft to hear. He's not sure if he was meant to hear it in the first place so he doesn't respond.

Me too, he thinks but the words don't leave his mouth. Instead, they sit together, human and kitsune, in blissful silence.

*****

But not every day can be as blissful.

*****

He didn't have a shift in the café that day. Kouyou-san knew that it was examination week for the students and she had explicitly forbidden him to even step foot in the place. His other co-workers wished him good luck and teased him saying that they'll keep an eye on his "boyfriend" for him, make sure he doesn't flirt with too many customers. Not to say that the past few days were any less stressful. Dazai had kept making jokes about being a hard-working husband coming home to his dutiful wife and that added to the stress of non-stop studying made him hit throw a pot at him on more than one occasion. Not that it was ever any effective, the stupid fox just made it float in midair anyway.

Today was especially bad. He hadn't been getting much sleep and he's been stuck on this problem for hours now. His head had been throbbing like hell and he can barely stop himself from falling asleep.

"Honey! I'm home."

He doesn't answer. He just sits there on the kitchen table with his hands gripping his hair. He's so tired, everything hurts.

"Chuuya?" Dazai peaks in, "Hey, are you okay? Have you eaten?"

He doesn't speak, doesn't even look at him. He just so frustrated, everything he does feels so useless. All he can do is struggle, when will it all just end?

Dazai comes near, pushing back the sweaty hair from his face, Dazai frowns worriedly at the touch, "Chuuya, you're burning up. You have to get to bed."

"I'm fine." Chuuya snaps, slapping away his hands, "I just need to finish this and get dinner ready."

"No. You're not doing anything but resting."

Chuuya wants to protest more but next thing he knows, he's being carried to his room. He knows he still has a million things to do, he knows there are still pages and pages he hadn't read. But he's just so, so tired. He passes out even before they reach the bed.

 

(He's so stupid. Gods, how can he be so stupid. Chuuya was suffering but he didn't even notice. He was so caught up with playing house with Chuuya, spending day after day with him that he forgets to be careful. He forgets how fragile humans are.

Chuuya's temperature is far too high. Right now, he has a basin of cool water at the bedside table, as he gently wipes Chuuya's brow with a damp cloth every now and again. Had he eaten? Should he wake him up? He doesn't know what to do. He never knows what to do when it comes to Chuuya.

"Don’t leave me Chuuya." He whispers, pleading, "Please, don't leave me again.")

 

Chuuya's eyes flutter open, his throat is sore and everything is still too hazy. He might have been sicker than he thought because his vision is still blurred and every part of his body aches. His eyes are falling shut against his will; he can't keep them open for long. He just wants to sleep.

"I'm sorry." Someone whispers beside him. Dazai? Its Dazai isn't it? He's gripping Chuuya's hand with both of his, whispering soft words against his fingers. Why is he apologizing? "I'm so sorry. Even now, I don't have the power to help you. I'm so useless."

He wants to grip Dazai's hand, tell him it's okay, tell him it's not his fault. Don't worry, he'll get better soon. His stupid little fox, it's going to be okay. It's not like the last time. Huh… the last time? What was that again? There's something important, something that he can almost remember. There's a memory, deep in his subconscious, the cool mountain breeze against his hair, the laughter of children, a white fox smiling down on him, warm arms around him, and soft lips on his. What a beautiful memory, how could he have forgotten? There are words on the top of his tongue that he can't get out, words that are centuries too late. Dazai, don't cry. The days I spend with you… where the happiest I've ever been.

He wakes up with no recollection of the previous night; but there's a kitsune beside him with bags under his eyes gripping him tightly, seemingly afraid to let go.

*****

There have been other close calls but that one time was honestly completely Dazai's fault.

Tachihara had given him a slice of chocolate cake from a pretty well-known shop, as congratulations at the end of his exams. His co-worker was really such a good friend; it only makes it odd that Dazai seems to have a personal vendetta against him. But then again, the kitsune was really weird.

He had been looking forward to eating it so of course, when he finally gets back home, he sees an empty box with a fox-form Dazai blinking up at him with a smear of chocolate around his muzzle.

"Dazai!" He shouts. The fox's ears prick up and he quickly tries to dart outside. Too bad for him Chuuya has excellent reflexes and easily grabs him by the tail before he can hide. Dazai's cry of pain is dwarfed by Chuuya's shout. "What's that in your mouth!?"

Chuuya wraps his arm around his flank, his free hand trying to make the fox open its mouth.

"Spit it out you mangy mutt! Spit it out!"

Dazai shakes his head and struggles to get away.

Chuuya is undeterred; he shoves his fingers down Dazai's throat making the fox yelp, trying to make him throw up the cake.

"Chocolate is bad for you! If you get sick, I'm not taking you to the vet you stupid little dog."

Later, Dazai in human form is glaring at him huddled at the side with a glass of water trying to wash the taste of bile from his mouth.

"I'm not actually a dog you stupid human!"

"Well, if you look like a dog then can you actually blame me?"

"I do NOT look like a dog. You must be blind on top of having tacky fashion sense!"

"Dirty mutt!"

"Tiny midget!"

Much later, Dazai curls up with a horrible stomach ache making him unable to sleep the entire night. Chuuya doesn't hold back on the I told you so.

*****

Months later, Chuuya grows used to having Dazai stay with him. They just seem to work. Both of them understanding when it's fine to tease and when they need space, it's like there was never a time when they weren't together.

But still, months later and it comes to that day, the day that changed his life forever.

Chuuya's sitting alone in his room, he doesn't have the energy to get up and turn on the lights, so instead, he sits on his bed, watching the lights from the cars on the streets below. He doesn't want anyone with him right now and Dazai seems to sense it, giving him as much space as he can.

The door opens a fraction and he turns to glare at Dazai, maybe throw him out but he's not met with the larger form of the kitsune. Instead, the small fox slips in noiselessly, the handle of a plastic bag clamped between his teeth. The tiny fox jump up on the bed but it's unused to the weight of the bag and it doesn't quite reach. Its hind legs dangle at the side and it struggles to pull itself up.

Chuuya chuckles, his voice rough with disuse. But sill, he lifts the fox up and settles him on the bed.

"You know, I said I wanted to be alone today. So what are you doing here?"

The fox tilts his head to the side and stands on his hind legs, putting his front paws on Chuuya's chest. He licks away a stray tear on Chuuya's face and nuzzles its head against the juncture of his neck and shoulder. Chuuya laughs, "You silly thing." He says but it ends in a sob. Dazai doesn't react as Chuuya wraps his arms around his fox-form's tiny neck and cries into his fur.

It's the anniversary of his mother's death and despite everything that happened this year, the pain hasn't diminished.

*****

They go out to eat because Chuuya doesn't really want to cook anything and he'd rather die or more likely, he'd probably die, if Dazai steps foot in the kitchen. The staff, once again, mistake them for a couple but strangely enough, he doesn't feel the need to correct them as much.

They had a pretty good dinner. They talk about work, the pretty ladies who apparently keep asking for Dazai, Chuuya's school, Dazai even managed to draw out a few stories about Chuuya's mother. And somehow, it made Chuuya smile instead of making him sad.

They walk together back to the tiny apartment they call home. Dazai had gotten into the habit of wrapping his arm around Chuuya's shoulder when they walk together and after a while Chuuya no longer tried to make him stop. It wasn't uncomfortable in any case.

He was just looking up at the clear night sky when he feels Dazai's arm tense around him. When he turns his head, there's a bright light and people screaming. There's a flash of white light, a feeling of vertigo and suddenly, he's sitting on the pavement with Dazai sprawled on top of him. There's now a car right where they had just been standing in. The man inside rushes out in panic, eyes wide in fear and worry.

"Kid, are you okay? I'm sorry, I lost control. Are you hurt anywhere?"

Dazai untangles himself from Chuuya and throws a furious glare at the man, the single look makes him stop in his tracks.

"Chuuya? Are you hurt?"

There are murmurs around him but his head is throbbing. He's not hurt but…

"Kid, you're lucky. How did you even move so fast?"

"I didn't even see him move."

"Someone must be looking after you."

 

("You're very lucky Nakahara-kun. It should have been impossible to survive that crash. You should count yourself fortunate.")

 

It all clicks. How can he be so stupid?

Dazai walks him home, arm wrapped even tighter around him. Chuuya doesn't say a word and Dazai is obviously getting worried. There's a click as Dazai closes the door behind them and Chuuya walks the few steps towards their living room.

"How long have you been lying to me?"

"I don't… I've never once lied to Chuuya."

"Then, that night,” Chuuya looks to him with furious eyes, "that night when I asked you if you were there during the accident."

"I didn't lie. There really was no way I could have done anything to save her."

"But you were there weren't you? The day of the car crash."

"…."

"Dazai, answer me!"

"Yes."

"I remember!" Chuuya says quietly "You were there weren't you? You took me out."

Chuuya says nothing for a while, just staring at Dazai. His arms are starting to hurt, scrapes and bruises from the fall but he doesn't pay it any mind.

"Why did you let her die? Why did you save me and just let her die?"

Dazai meets his eyes then, desperate and pleading. "I'm not all powerful Chuuya. I tried but I can’t save everyone. No matter how…I'm powerless Chuuya,  not when it mattered the most, not when it meant saving your mother."

"Then you should have saved her instead of me." Chuuya spits out, Dazai flinching at his words.

"I couldn't do that."

"Why!?"

"I can't let you die Chuuya. I'm sorry. But it's the one thing I can't do."

"Do you know how much it had hurt? How much I wished that I.." Chuuya trails off, biting his lower lip to stop himself from anything more.

"Chuuya." Dazai whispers, trying to come closer but Chuuya steps back. He grabs the Hoshi no tama that he still keeps in his pocket and shoves it into Dazai's hand. Dazai looks at him in shock and confusion.

"Leave"

"Chuuya please. Isn't this a memento from your mother? Please don't do this. I can keep out of your way; you can pretend that I'm not there. Just… please keep it."

"I don't want anything that reminds me of anyone involved in her death."

"I couldn't-"

 "You could have saved her but you didn't." He whispers, voice filled with anguish, "It should have been me. You should have saved her instead."

"I love you."

Chuuya flinches, but refuses to look at Dazai. He's not ready to look into those eyes who's only ever honest when he's looking at him.

"Goodbye Dazai."

He wakes up to a cold morning. There's no fur in his face, no soft snoring by his hear. For the first time in a while...

It feels lonely.

*****

It was quiet with Dazai no longer there to bother him. The people at the café look concerned but they don't approach him with how stormy his mood is. They probably think they got into a lover's quarrel or something; maybe they'd patch it up in a few days. But the next day came without Dazai and Kouyou-san ends up calling him to her office.

"You look down child." She says, pouring him a cup of tea.

"It's nothing, Kouyou-san."

"Hmm," She hums, looking at him, no matter how he tries to pretend otherwise, she can see right through him. "The past few months, you were looking more lively than I've ever seen you. I admit, I never thought that boy was good for you but he always looked at you like you hung the moon on the skies."

"It was never like that."

"You were never together? I know." Kouyou says, he looks at her in surprise, "But still, he looked like you were his world. He loves you, boy. Is whatever it is that he did wrong so bad that you can't move past it?"

Chuuya gives a dry chuckle, "It wasn't his fault. It was mine. He didn't do anything wrong. I just… I hurt him. I was hurt and it was so painful that I took it out on him. Even when I knew that he couldn't have done anything to prevent it."

"Well, then it's simple." She says, "You go and apologize. And if he doesn't forgive you, I'll drag him over by the ears myself."

Chuuya laughs and finishes his tea, "Thank you, Kouyou-san."

She smiles and nods her head, before he leaves she offers a final word of advice, "Don't let anything stop you from being happy."

He spares one look at her before he closes the door.

Her smile looks sad.

*****

He tries looking for Dazai when he gets back, but he can't find even a single trace of him. Some blocks away from his apartment, he spots a group of dogs near his residence barking at something in an alley. He hurriedly shoos them away, and looks around hopefully. There's a glimpse of white fur and he almost cries out in relief but it gives a small meow, dashing away at his hopes.

Eventually, he had to go back. He trudges back to his apartment despondently. He almost misses it but there's a flash of white in an alley and he runs towards it.

"Wait! Please!"

There, he sees a miserable looking white fox looking at him worriedly. It was about to run away and hide before Chuuya caught up to it. Dazai probably thinks that Chuuya would make him leave for good and he feels the harsh stab of guilt at the words he had uttered.

He reaches out a hand and Dazai looks unsure but he obediently crawls towards him, his white ball clenched carefully between his teeth. Chuuya strokes his head once, scratches behind the ears before he picks him up in his arms.

"Let's go home Dazai."

Just like before, he scrubs him clean and carefully brushes out his fur. Afterwards, he goes into the kitchen to prepare dinner. There's a larger shadow by the door and he calls out, "What do you want to eat, Dazai?"

"You're not going to kick me out?" He asks unsure.

"You would have just kept following my around anyway. Besides, a few more days and you'd probably end up getting chased by dogs."

"Chuuya," Dazai whines playfully, carefully, "that's really cruel."

Chuuya chuckles even as his hands keep moving to prepare dinner.

"I really am-"

"I'm sorry." Chuuya cuts off his apology; he drops the ingredients in his hands, clenching his fists tightly. "I'm really sorry for the things I said. I'm glad you saved me. I shouldn't have said those things and hurt you. It was my fault. I'm sorry."

Dazai doesn't say anything for a while and when he does, "Can I stay then?"

Chuuya looks at Dazai in shock. What did he ever do to inspire such loyalty from Dazai? Why does he care so much about him? Why was he forgiven so easily?

He nods and holds out his hand, Dazai's lips forms into a warm smile and he comes closer, dropping the white ball in his hand.

"I'll stay with you for the rest of your life if you let me. I swear to protect you from all harm and love you until your last breath. All I ask is you let me stay by your side, always."

"It's not like I can do anything to stop you anyway." Chuuya grins, leaning closer and giving him a soft kiss on the mouth.

Dazai's eyes widen. It's almost funny. But he can't laugh, not after Dazai's face forms into the most beautiful heart wrenching expression of joy he has ever seen.

"Welcome home Dazai"

Dazai lunges at him, wrapping him in an embrace, hands and tails surrounding Chuuya in the warmest hug he had ever had.

"I'm home." Dazai mutters, nuzzling his face against Chuuya's hair, "I'm home, Chuuya."

  

-----

 

"Ouch! Chuuya, why do you keep twisting my ear?"

"What did I tell you about playing pranks on my co-workers?"

Chuuya glares up at him sternly, frown on his face. Dazai pouts petulantly, refusing to apologize.

"But he was asking you out, Chuuya's mine!"

"For the last time, Tachihara was not asking me out Dazai! He was just being friendly."

"That was not being friendly! I know that Chuuya's not really that smart but even you should be able to tell when someone's flirting with you."

Chuuya flushes, "He's not flirting! And stop insulting me or I'll hit you over the head with a broom."

"You’d need the broom because you wouldn't be able to reach my head otherwise- Ouch! You weren't supposed to actually hit me. Ow! Stop that!"

Dazai grabs the broom handle before Chuuya can hit him again. Chuuya glares at him but doesn't try to wrench his weapon free.

"Fine, then I'll go and eat dinner with Tachihara."

He turns but a pair of arms around his waist stops him from taking another step forward.

"Don't go."

"Stupid fox," Chuuya mutters, face red in embarrassment, "You're the only one I'm in love with."

Dazai smiles as Chuuya turns to face him. He meets him half-way drawing him in close for a tender kiss, one of many more to come. 

May these days I have with you never end.

"In this lifetime and the next, I love you always."