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Warming Up

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It had become something of a routine for Dazai to be pulled out of whatever suicide method he was attempting (even the less serious ones) by the short, angry hat-rack. Despite daily threats to his existence and promises of murder every other sentence, Chuuya continued to play the good dog and kept him from harming himself too dangerously. Hmm, that choker he’d gifted him as a “birthday present” last year seemed to be pretty accurate.

It was a surprise, then, as he fell fifteen stories towards the wet pavement, to see a golden glow from behind his eyelids instead of a red one. He tried opening his eyes, brow furrowed, because this wasn’t according to plan. The raindrops thwarted his attempt to see what was going on, as he was blinking too much to get a good view of the figure beside him. Only a few feet from the ground, he felt several things happen in quick succession: thin hands grasped his figure, his trajectory halted for a breath as his ability kicked in, and then the feeling disappeared. The remaining fall of a few feet to the puddling sidewalk below knocked the wind out of him, but didn’t cause much more damage. Confused that no one was underneath him to break his fall, Dazai managed a confused noise, before the rain suddenly ceased over his face.

Kouyou-ane-san stood over him, umbrella open over the two of them, giving him an unimpressed look. Dazai blinked up at her, still prone on the pavement as he tried to remember how to breathe.

“I can see why Chuuya-kun gets so tired out around you,” she commented dryly. “Get up, lad.” Golden Demon may have disappeared from catching Dazai, but Kouyou was no less formidable in the absence of her ability. Dazai struggled to get his bearings again, arms shaking just slightly from the cold of the late autumn rain as he pushed himself up.

Kouyou’s umbrella was big enough for both of them to fit comfortably underneath, especially as she tucked an arm around his shoulder, long sleeve skirting around him like a blanket. She didn’t seem to mind that he was getting the expensive silk dirty and wet. As they walked together away from the tall buildings of central Yokohama, Dazai felt a strange sense of security walking next to her, and figured this must be why Chuuya would let her do this to him as often as he did. A small smile started to show on his face and he ducked his head slightly so she wouldn’t see.

“Ane-san’s too soft on the kids~” he sang, though his voice wavered a little more than he’d intended. Kouyou said nothing, though he was sure she’d noticed.

“Ugh, I’ve told you both I’m not old enough for you to call me that.”

~~

Kouyou lived in a set of apartments on the third floor above one of the Port Mafia’s more elaborate tea houses. The entrance was around the back, which kept them out of sight of most of the patrons. Dazai grimaced slightly as his shoes squelched on the wooden steps as they climbed the staircase – he’d apparently been out in the rain a lot longer than he’d thought. Beside him, Kouyou made no noise, as always.

It was as he stepped into the entraceway of Kouyou’s home that Dazai remembered something important.

Chuuya lived here too.

He stiffened for a moment, Kouyou’s hand tightening on his shoulder as she gestured with the other hand to remove his shoes. “I’m home!” she called into the corridors, voice just loud enough to carry. Dazai held onto a faint hope that she was in the habit of calling out to an empty house.

“Welcome back!” came the answering call, and Dazai felt that thread of hope snap.

“I bought your favourite flavours!” the deeper voice continued, getting closer as Chuuya made his way towards them. “I figured we could have them after the pizza and-” he stopped short as he rounded the corner and spotted Dazai dripping by the door. His surprised face turned indignant in a split-second and he turned to stare at Kouyou like she’d personally offended him. She cut him off when his eyebrows knit together and he opened his mouth.

“Get us a towel, please, lad.” She said it with such finality that he snapped his mouth shut and turned on his heel to the hall closet, bringing back a towel and throwing it with all his ability-enhanced strength at Dazai’s head before stomping back into the house. Its trajectory was nullified as soon as the first thread brushed his skin, and he let it just drape over him.

“You are both too troublesome,” Kouyou tutted at him, taking the towel from him and unfolding it to scrub his hair dry. Under the thick cloth, Dazai bit his lip as he bore her attempts to get most of the water out. “Get out of those shoes and I’ll find you something of mine that should fit you.”

Dazai padded after her after removing his wet shoes and socks. “It’s not like I’ll fit into Chuuya’s child-sized clothes anyways~”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

“Chuuya, language!” Kouyou admonished the shout from the other room. “I would let you put your things in Chuuya’s room, but-”

“NO HE CAN’T!!”

“-but that’s what would happen. You can put the wet clothes in the bathroom for now, I don’t think you managed to get too soaked anyways.” They reached the bathroom, and Kouyou gestured him inside before continuing down the corridor.

Closing the bathroom door halfway, Dazai slowly started working on the buttons of his blazer, not at all interested in being naked, even for a brief moment, in a house belonging to not only another Executive but also his partner. He looked around the bathroom as he dawdled, waiting for Kouyou to return with other clothes.

There was an obscene amount of beauty products in the room.

Everything was organised, as he’d expect from Kouyou, but the sheer volume meant that they didn't just belong to her. And nothing was overtly masculine, Dazai was thrilled to note, meaning that Chuuya was definitely using the girlier smelling things. He filled that tidbit of information in the “things to blackmail Chuuya about” folder in his brain, which he was always eager to add to. Still though, why did they need six different kinds of shampoo?

A polite knock drew him away from his investigation, and he turned to see an amused Kouyou standing in the doorway. She held a bundle of clothes out to him.

“Here,” she said, depositing the soft clothes in his arms. “These should fit, I looked for the longest things I had. I’ll leave you to change while I try to placate Chuuya-kun.”

She shut the door fully behind her, and Dazai breathed out a little more relief than he realised he’d been holding. Stripping himself out of the damp clothes, he reached for the clean ones and was surprised when two new rolls of bandages fell out. He stopped, and then let out a soft, surprised laugh.

The bandages were a higher quality, somehow, than his regular cotton ones. The gauze was extra fine, or something. Dazai wasn’t really surprised, considering the tastes of the people who lived in this house, but he re-wrapped himself , dropping the damp bandages in the trash, and laying his wet clothes over the towel rack.

Kouyou had brought him some long pyjama pants that reached his ankles, and if he wore them a little lower on his hips, didn’t look too funny. The other thing in the pile was a large, baby blue, super soft hoodie, that when he slipped it over his head, the sleeves reached almost to his fingertips, and the hem hit him mid thigh. It was probably more comfortable than Dazai felt he had any right to wear. He ran his hands up his arms, relishing the plush feeling. Looking at himself in the mirror, he almost didn’t recognise the face looking back.

He slid into the slippers she’d left outside the door when he was finished in the bathroom, and made his way to the living room, where he could hear voices. Apparently Kouyou and Chuuya had planned to have a movie night tonight, and they’d bought junk food and had planned on lazing around all evening - a rare treat. Chuuya was clearly unhappy about having to share it with anyone else.

They were sitting on the couch, both also casually dressed in oversize hoodies (Chuuya in red, Kouyou in a dark purple) and matching ponytails, and it was such a drastic change from their usual put together appearance that it stopped Dazai in the doorway.

Chuuya looked up first from where he was letting Kouyou fix his ponytail - a short, stubby thing sticking out of the back of his head, his bangs and other short pieces falling out despite Kouyou’s attempts to contain them. For a brief second, Dazai imagined it longer, falling in curls to his nape, but Chuuya’s sharp gaze drew him away from those thoughts. Dazai stared awkwardly back; neither of them had spent a lot of time in each other’s company outside of specifically work related occasions, even the times they had shared hotel rooms it had been for a mission. Kouyou broke the silence when neither boy had said anything to the other after a few moments.

“Ah, this is Chuuya’s ‘I don’t know whether to laugh or be jealous’ face.” She poked him in the cheek and he jolted back to the present.

“Nee-san!”

She yanked on the ponytail she'd just finished. “There, all set. I'll get the pizza and drinks, if you want to put on the first film? And Dazai-kun, you can have a seat on the sofa too.” The two boys watched her move away into the kitchen, and stared after her until Chuuya huffed, and shifted over to sit in the middle of the sofa. Dazai took the seat offered, curling against the arm. He didn't meet Chuuya's eyes when the other looked over at him, critically.

“Why are you here, bastard?”

Finally choosing to look over, Dazai found Chuuya's expression to be mostly the same, angry chibi he knew pretty well, but there was an undercurrent of concern that was relatively new. Usually he saw it post-mission when he'd been pretty severely injured, and needed Chuuya to drag him back to headquarters (sometimes literally).

It took him a moment to respond, choosing his words carefully. “Because Ane-san brought me.”

Chuuya narrowed his eyes at that answer, but seemed to read something in Dazai's face that satisfied him for the moment. He jumped up to fiddle with the TV and get the film started. He popped the disc into the player before grabbing the remotes and hopping back on the sofa. Dazai generously didn't mention the way he had to use one hand to help him scoot towards the sofa's back, or the fact that his feet didn't touch the floor before he'd pulled them up to sit cross-legged on the cushion.

Kouyou returned with the pizza, placing it on the table in front of the sofa, with the bags of chips and sweets they planned to consume before the night was over. She disappeared again to grab the drinks, before settling in the armchair, leaving the teenagers to fight over the space on the sofa.

“Chuuya, get me a piece with crab on it~” Dazai waved one hand towards the pizzas. Chuuya looked like he was this close to throwing it at him, but wouldn't as long as Kouyou was watching.

“I'll give you one with anchovies, that's close enough for a mackerel like you.”

“So mean~” But the toppings did actually look pretty good. Chuuya slid back on the sofa with his own slice.

“Why were you all wet, anyways?” the smaller redhead grumbled, but scooted just slightly closer on the couch. Dazai shuffled so he was pressed into its back, their knees just brushing. He took a bite of his pizza before replying.

“Hm, does chibi care about me?”

Chuuya scoffed, but didn’t move away. “Nee-san wouldn’t have let you stay unless you did something stupid. So don’t, okay? Also shut up because the movie’s starting and I don’t want to hear your idiot voice anymore.” He bit into his own slice in finality.

Dazai paused, not sure exactly what to say to that (admittedly kind of cute) admonishment anyway. With Chuuya distracted by the film’s opening (something anime with rock music and lots of fighting, clearly his choice) and Kouyou passing them blankets for later on, he was feeling the most content he had in many years. It wouldn’t last, of course, but it was.. nice to tag along to their sibling dates. A small part of his mind was devising a plan on how to get invited next time.

~~

He woke up in the middle of the night, blearily seeing Kouyou standing to turn off the TV and the lights after a marathon four movies. Or he thought there was four? He could hear Chuuya’s snores in his ear, feel a small, heavy weight on his chest and something tickling his cheek, but Kouyou’s long fingers brushed over his hair and covered his eyes soothingly. He felt something warm envelope him just before he fell back asleep.

~~

Kouyou smiled down at the two boys tangled together on the sofa, Chuuya sprawled in the crook of Dazai’s neck after passing out somewhere in the middle of the fourth film. It was fairly cute, actually, and though she considered waking them up, the rational part of her brain knew that would just end in a fight about who would sleep where. So instead she just covered them with the blankets, brushing her fingers through Dazai's hair as he seemed to stir slightly at her movements. He settled back further into the sofa, letting Chuuya sprawl a little more over him.

Kouyou yawned, pleased with the state of the evening, and left to fall into her own bed. She did snap a bunch of shots of Chuuya’s drooling face and Dazai’s clingy limbs before she left, though. She'd enoying showing the two of them when they woke up in the morning.