“Even I’ve coughed up flowers a few times,” Oda says, as the bartender pours him another drink.
Ango raises his eyebrows, while Dazai asks, “You? You’re the most honest person I know, Odasaku. You mean to tell me that you’re repressing your feelings?”
“There are some things you just can’t tell people. Especially if they’re children,” Oda replies. It doesn’t surprise Dazai any that it’s the kids who bring out an overflowing emotion in him. “…It doesn’t happen during assignments, so you don’t need to be concerned about my efficiency.”
“You could complete your missions with both hands tied behind your back and a paper bag over your head,” says Dazai with a snort. “Ango, on the other hand - I don’t need to ask whether he’s had this problem!”
Ango looks mildly embarrassed, but doesn’t deny it. They’ve both seen him swallowing back his flowers while they’re at the bar together, though Dazai has never caught a glimpse of what flowers they actually are. “Coughing flowers everywhere is unbecoming for an intelligence agent. We’re trained to not be visibly emotional.”
“I heard that swallowing your flowers all the time is bad for your health,” Oda says, turning to Ango. “Some of them are even poisonous.”
Dazai’s face lights up. “Does that mean I could make my own hemlock to die from?”
“Not that poisonous,” Ango says, rubbing the bridge of his nose. “You might get one that makes you feel nauseous or itchy, but even the mildly poisonous ones are rare.”
“I have one,” Oda says. “Yellow jasmine. It irritates my throat every time I cough it up, but I wasn’t close to dying.”
“That one’s ‘separation’, isn’t it?” Ango asks. His expression turns into something more sympathetic. “…There’s nothing that can be done about it, since you can’t tell your children how much you’re worrying.”
Indeed, there’s nothing to do about it, and there doesn’t have to be. Flower disease is only an annoyance, no worse than the common cold and just as inevitable to catch for anyone but Dazai.
While he jokes about hemlock, he knows better than anyone else does that a disease that comes from an excess of repressed feelings will never touch him.
It’s not a particularly unusual moment for them. Nothing overwhelming or even that worthy of note.
It’s just this: Dazai has had a long day of tiring missions, and when he arrives at the bar, Ango and Oda are already there, and sitting at Dazai’s usual place is a plate carrying crab korokke pan.
The korokke is lopsided and slightly overdone, and that coupled with the dish not being sold at this bar means…
“Homemade?” Dazai asks, frozen in the doorway.
“I made it.” Oda’s voice is somewhat raspy today. “You never like today’s kind of missions, and you’ve cooked for us, so I decided to cook for you. I hope it’s okay.”
Slowly, Dazai takes a seat, but doesn’t get as far as taking a bite before he starts coughing, and coughing, until he hacks up purple petals that are easily recognizable as lilacs.
Oda’s eyes are wide, but he doesn’t say anything as he passes Dazai his glass of water.
Dazai takes a gulp of water to soothe his throat. “Th-thanks. You know I really love crab, ha… ha…” Another coughing fit seizes him immediately after he says that, and this time he spits out an entire flower.
“You’ll wreck your voice if you keep doing that,” Ango says with a sigh. He looks to Oda, who is still silent, and opens his mouth like he’s going to ask him to provide a response - before instead plucking a tiny white flower out of the nearby trashcan and setting it next to Dazai’s lilacs, leaving the two of them to take in the arrangement as he exits the bar.
Lilacs and peppermint. First love and warmth of feeling.
For once, Dazai doesn’t understand how to manipulate the situation to his advantage, nor does he really want to. And Oda, always so direct and honest, only reaches out to brush his hand against the back of Dazai’s.
That’s more honest than any words could be. Dazai turns his hand around to hold Oda’s tight.