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filthy, filled up with woes

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Today is the third day that Chuuya has refused to come out of his room, and it doesn’t seem like any progress is being made.

To be more specific, he locked himself in his room after returning to the library late on Christmas evening. That in itself was a little concerning, but Chuuya is always a little concerning.

Him not coming out for breakfast the next day, even when given extra time to account for hangovers, was more concerning than usual. By the time lunch rolled around and there was still no sign of him, people were worried enough to knock on his door.

Niimi was first. “Chuuya-san, it’s time for lunch.”

No answer. Only a very quiet shuffling sound was proof that Chuuya was inside.

“They made beef tongue, and it’s really good, and you’ll miss it if you don’t come out…”

No answer.

Wakayama tried later that day. “Hey, man. Wanna have a drink together? It’ll be on me.”

No answer for that. No answer for Kenji asking nicely if he would come out because everyone was worried. No answer for Dazai offering to drink with him. No answer for Mori telling him that staying inside with no food or drink for days at a time would only make things worse for himself.

Hagiwara, after returning from Chuuya’s door, said, “I thought that perhaps I heard him crying, but I could have been wrong…”

It’s the third day that Chuuya has refused to come out, and at this point more drastic measures are being brought up.

“He’ll still die if he doesn’t get any water,” Kenji says, wringing his hands together. “We have to do something.”

Dazai shakes his head. “There’s bathrooms attached to our rooms. He could get it from the sink, the water’s safe.”

“What makes you think he’s taking care of himself enough to remember to drink water from the sink?” Ango asks.

Dazai doesn’t seem able to answer that question in a way that he can accept. Instead he asks, “…Hey, Ango, when was the last time you talked to him?”

Of course it’s a question he’d be asked. Everyone knows that Ango and Chuuya are dating and have been dating for some time. If there’s anyone who could be asked about Chuuya’s behavior, Ango would be the natural first choice.

It doesn’t mean he likes answering, but he won’t lie. Not about this.

“Christmas night, before we came back to the library.”

“Did you go on a date?” Kenji asks. “That’s what people do on Christmas now.”

Ango nods silently.

“…Ango,” Dazai says. He’s looking at Ango, and Ango is the first one to cast his eyes away. “Did something happen?”

“It was mostly a normal date and we had a good time. At the end…” There isn’t any talking around it now. “I proposed to him.”

Kenji’s eyes go wide. “What did he say?”

“He told me that was a shitty prank to pull and stormed off before I could stop him.”

Of the many reactions to marriage proposals Ango’s seen - shock, overwhelming joy, nervousness - the sheer hurt on Chuuya’s face stands out as one he’d never seen before and never, ever wants to see again.

”Pulling this kind of shitty prank on somebody, what the hell is wrong with you?”

“No, I really-”

“Shut up! This isn’t funny! I thought you of all people wouldn’t make fun of me like this…!”

“Chuuya - Chuuya, wait!”

Dazai winces. “Have you tried talking to him after that?”

“I think that might just make it worse,” Ango says with a sigh. “Apologizing would mean it was a joke in the first place, trying to convince him I was serious and failing would just upset him more… Normally I’d talk to him anyway, but normally things aren’t this bad with him. I usually only have to worry about you trying to die.”

While Dazai grumbles to himself, Kenji speaks up. “But we can’t just leave him alone. Maybe we could break down the door?”

It’s a plan that has some merits. They run it by the alchemist librarian, who nods and tells them not to worry about the cost of repairs: this is more important.

Rather than try to cut the door open, they enlist Rohan’s help, since he’s been anxiously jiggling the handle of Chuuya’s door every few hours. The door isn’t wide enough for more than one person to ram it, but it doesn’t matter: after a few attempts, Rohan breaks through.

Ango’s eyes are immediately drawn to Chuuya lying on his bed. He looks ghastly; his earlier assumptions that Chuuya wasn’t bothering to drink water were probably correct, or at least not near as much water as he should have. His chest is barely moving, and only that his eyes track Rohan’s entrance shows that he’s alive and awake.

The words Chuuya barely manages to croak with a dry throat, the first words he’s spoken in days: “Go away.”

“No.” Rohan scoops Chuuya up in his arms, ignoring a barely audible sound of protest. Ango reminds himself that it would have been effortless for him even with Chuuya at full health.

Chuuya’s eyes are shut when Rohan carries him out of his room. It’s for the best that he doesn’t see Ango standing there. Kenji is following them, and Kenji will have an easier time talking to Chuuya when he’s convinced to talk.

Dazai stays close to Ango’s side. He’s quiet until the others are out of sight, and then asks, “So… now what do we do, Ango?”

“Wish I knew.”

Breaking things down is always much easier than fixing things up.