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Find I'm Between Love And Anguish

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Dazai is asleep at his desk again. From what Chuuya gathered, that is both a regular and an irregular occurrence. The bastard spends more time sleeping in the office than he does in bed at night – Chuuya can attest to that, now sharing both with him – but he usually at least finds himself a flat surface to nod off on. Office naps on the couch, for example, are normal. Office naps bent over on his desk are a sign of exhaustion.

That's Dazai for you; it's all in the details, nuances shifting something from odd but annoying to odd and concerning. The difference to before is that, now, Chuuya is paying attention. And he's not the only one.

Kunikida has been muttering under his breath, throwing side-glances at Dazai's sleeping form, but he hasn't yelled or tried to wake him up. Nakajima keeps hovering with that uncertain, worried expression, and brought Dazai's coat over half an hour ago to drape it over Dazai's back and tuck it in around his shoulders, at which Dazai stirred but didn't wake. Yosano glances over every now and then, her gaze analyzing, like she's trying to decide whether she has a reason to step in, drag him into her office, make sure he's not sleeping so much because he's hiding a sickness or an injury. It's heartwarming, really.

Yosano is also the one who takes him aside when it becomes time to clock out. More precisely, she pulls him into her office before he gets around to waking up Dazai so they can go home.

She looks him up and down, then cocks her head, hands on her hips. “Is everything okay between you two?”

Oh, so their concern extends into his and Dazai's love life. Either that, or this is the overture to a much belated shovel talk.

“Yes?” Chuuya replies, can't help that it comes out like a question. The thing is, now that he's thinking back on it, Dazai has been a little off at home, too, the last few days. He shrugs his shoulder, sighs. “I don't know.”

Yosano's expression softens. “I'd advise you to ask him what's wrong, then, but... Dazai.”

“Yeah,” Chuuya says. They share an eyeroll and another sigh, both glancing towards the main office in unison, and suddenly it all it feels wonderfully conspiratorial. Chuuya likes her. They get along well. That might be why she's been assigned the task of bringing this up with him.

“Please take care of him for us,” she says, smiling. Her hand briefly squeezes Chuuya's shoulder, then she walks back into the main office ahead of him.

Chuuya follows her, bee-lining it towards Dazai's and Kunikida's desk and squinting at Dazai for a moment, thoughtful, before he leans in and blows into Dazai's ear, neatly sidestepping the hand that comes up, if sluggish and slow, to swat him away.

 

***

 

When hurt in any way, Dazai behaves much like a cat: he hides himself away, prefers to lick his wounds in solitude and does his best to avoid encountering predators in his weakened state. Except that his interpretation of predator applies more to the people around him than to outside aggressors. Chuuya figures it makes a sick kind of sense: Dazai rarely encounters enemies that he can’t best one way or another, but he spent years under the thumb of a self-proclaimed teacher and benefactor that taught him weakness must be punished, vulnerability must be eradicated, and that he can’t afford to show either around anyone.

All of the above is why he doesn’t expect an honest answer when he asks Dazai, after dinner, while they’re both curled up on the couch and Dazai is busy picking at his fingernails way on the other side from him, “Are you injured?”

Dazai’s head whips around, staring at him wide-eyed. Which is a clue on its own; if he’d indeed been hiding a physical ailment, he wouldn’t be surprised at the question. “No,” he says simply, and the nonchalant smile is slow to pull together on his face. “Why would you ask that?”

Chuuya abandons his comfortable slouch and pulls his legs underneath himself, offering Dazai more room – trying for an even playing field. He doesn’t intend to corner Dazai, and he wants to make that clear. “Then tell me what’s on your mind.”

And oh, now Dazai is catching on. He cocks his head, eyebrows drawn together, and looks at Chuuya down his nose. “Ah, chibi. Dishonesty doesn’t suit you. Where did you pick that up?”

Maybe not, but it succeeded in throwing Dazai off course and making sure the lies that follow will at least be a little bit easier to decode. “Don’t change the topic. I asked what’s got you in a twist.”

The attempt at a smile vanishes from Dazai’s face. He turns away with a pout, braces his arm on the armrest and half-buries his face in the fabric of the backrest. “Nothing. Leave me alone. Can’t I just be in a bad mood?”

Chuuya snorts. “I’ve seen your bad moods. They mostly involve pranks and being extra petulant to everyone who catches the misfortune of having to work with you. I have been a prime target of those bad moods from the day we met, remember?” It’s a rhetorical question, but Chuuya pauses regardless, giving Dazai the opportunity for a rejoinder. Dazai stays silent, and Chuuya presses on. “You’re sleeping even less than usual. You’re taciturn and quiet. You’re tearing yourself up about something, and I’m asking you to please tell me what it is.”

It's a valiant effort. Dazai even twitches a little, shifting nervously, but he just ends up snuggling up tighter against the couch. Chuuya reaches out to tickle Dazai's calf, which is sticking out so invitingly in his direction, and lets out a fond laugh when Dazai whines and kicks at him.

Although patience still doesn't come easy to Chuuya, he did, in the last year or two, grow a thicker skin where Dazai is concerned. At least in matters like these; he understands, now, that Dazai isn't always riling him up on purpose and that shutting down, shutting him out, doesn't always mean a lack of trust. It's a defensive mechanism, a survival strategy. And maybe their conversation will give him something to think about. Maybe he'll come out with it in time, when he's comfortable, had an opportunity to roll it over in his head and decide that there are more benefits than consequences in telling the truth.

 

***

 

The next morning, Dazai is, of course, already awake when their alarm rings. Chuuya yawns and stretches, ruffles Dazai's hair because he can, still stuck far too deep in early-morning-autopilot to notice the lack of retaliation. He hits the snooze button and reaches for Dazai, attempting to tug him close for ten more minutes.

Dazai evades him. Chuuya grumbles, still sleep-drunk, and reaches for him again. In one smooth motion, Dazai scoots entirely out of reach and sits up, legs crossed and hands playing with the edge of the blanket.

It takes some effort – patience, patience, and also it's too fucking early for this shit – but Chuuya waits him out. Dazai sighs, gaze stubbornly trained on the damn blanket. His face is blank, save for a pensive crease between his eyebrows, and it makes him appear strangely vulnerable. He looks lost, for want of a better word.

"I'm selfish,” Dazai declares, apropos of nothing. He offers no further explanation, doesn't meet Chuuya's eyes, and Chuuya blinks at him.

The other evening's attempt at a conversation floats back into Chuuya's mind ever so slowly. Still, it takes him a second to wake the rest of the way and stomp down on the urge to snipe an agreement at Dazai – while occasionally true, that would be counterproductive, and also Yosano might castrate him – and parse the statement in that context. His brain is stuttering online with some delay; he could kill someone with his little finger seconds after waking up, but coherent thought takes a minute.

For the moment, all he manages is a mumbled, “What?"

“I'm selfish,” Dazai repeats, and his toneless voice sends chills down Chuuya's spine. He knows it's a sign of trust, for Dazai to lay himself bare like this and not play pretend, but it's still eerie. “I wanted you with me, here and in the agency, and I never even asked if that's also what you wanted.”

Chuuya is, admittedly, a bit perplexed. “You... It's not like you abducted me out of the mafia and keep me chained to the bed. Where's this coming from?”

“No,” Dazai says. “I didn't. I don't. But I thought about it, and I fail to understand your reasons for leaving the mafia. You were treated well. You liked your subordinates. There's Kouyou, and you might even have had a shot of becoming the next boss after Mori.”

The thing is, Chuuya himself couldn't spell out a numbered list of his reasons for leaving. He didn't weigh up the good and the bad and make a logical choice. He could say that the very knowledge that Chuuya could have been next in line for the throne left him in a dangerous position, but that's not true either. Mori started grooming him for that position after Dazai left. Chuuya would never have staged a coup, and they both knew it. He was safe and comfortable and respected. Yet, all in all, he had a feeling. He saw an opportunity, received an offer from Fukuzawa, and he took it because it felt right. Acting on instinct and a vague gut feeling, however, is almost impossible to explain to someone with as analytical a mind as Dazai.

Perhaps Dazai wants to hear that Chuuya chose the side they could share, like they used to share the mafia, but that wasn't the case either. This they started separately. Switching sides helped, sure, but ending up with Dazai is a perk of his decision, not its motivation.

He might have taken too long to come up with a reply, because Dazai finally lifts his gaze, looking at him expectantly, and... dare Chuuya say he looks unsure? Nervous? Afraid?

Chuuya cobbles together a smile. “Do you honestly think I would be here if didn't want to be here?”

Dazai shakes his head. He does, however, not look the least bit reassured.

Someone else, someone with a better understanding of relationships and emotions and all those things, might find the right words to wash that horrible expression off Dazai's face right here and now. But that person isn't Chuuya. He'll come up with a way to fix this, he will, but he'll need a bit more time. He needs a plan, needs to find a gesture that speaks loud enough.

For right now, he nods towards the kitchen. “Are you hungry? Since we're already up, we might as well have a decent breakfast.”

Dazai visibly pulls himself together and gives Chuuya a theatrical, overdone grimace and a shudder. “No vegetables,” he says, definitive, lips curling in disgust at the mere possibility of being fed healthy food. “Chuuya. I want something sweet.”

 

***

 

There's a slight chance Chuuya has gone overboard. It seemed like a good idea at the time, sneaking away to the flower shop while Dazai's away on a case with Kunikida, but now that he's done decorating the apartment he's besieged by second thoughts.

He's also too stubborn to go ahead and clear up the flower petals he's spread down a path from the front door to the bedroom and around their bed. He did the work. He won't switch lanes and undo it. That would be ridiculous.

Well. Even more ridiculous.

His phone chimes with a text message; Dazai announces that he's on his way home, the case stagnating for the day. Chuuya sends a quick confirmation back and then pulls a random poetry collection from the shelf, settles on the couch, and tries to actually concentrate on the poems while he waits for the doorknob to turn with Dazai's arrival.

About twenty minutes later, said doorknob does turn. Chuuya's hard-won concentration shatters on the spot, but he forces himself to keep still, not turn, when he hears Dazai stop in the doorway. He makes a confused little noise, takes a delicate stop forward, his footfall light and hesitant, and throws the door shut.

“Chuuya,” he inquires, “why are there flowers in the hallway?”

Chuuya closes his book with a thud and steels himself for... everything. Anything. He hasn't the first idea how Dazai will react to this, so he ought to be prepared for the whole range, from mocking to defensiveness to a stunned strategic retreat.

“Follow them and you might catch a hint,” Chuuya says, impressed with how even he manages to keep his voice. Not quite deadpan, but pretty damn close.

The look Dazai gives him as he passes the couch is priceless. If nothing else, Chuuya can jot this day down in their shared calendar as the day he truly and thoroughly surprised Dazai, an achievement that seems to unsettle the other quite a bit. Under normal circumstances, Chuuya would cackle to himself and never let Dazai live that down, but as it is, his seconds thoughts intensify.

Utter confusion isn't quite the emotion he was going for.

Because it's not like he possesses the ability to get the words that would make all this so much easier past his lips. He doesn't know how. He was hoping the arrangement of red roses, red lotus, and red camelia would get the message across for him. It doesn't seem to be working out that way though.

“You put flowers on the bed, too,” Dazai notes from the bedroom. From the tone of his voice, he hasn't pieced it all together yet, his supposedly brilliant mind still coming up empty. Typical. He can plan battles down to the minute, but he can't parse a simple romantic gesture.

“I did,” Chuuya replies, finally getting up, and heads for the bedroom.

He finds Dazai standing in front of the bed, eyes roaming across the entire display, back and forth, like he expects new information to spring up eventually if he just keeps looking hard enough. Chuuya sighs and closes up to him, reaches out and puts his hand on Dazai's cheek.

“Look at me,” he says, and Dazai's gaze darts in his direction, meeting his own. Looks like confusion makes him obedient. Who knew. “I wanted to do something nice for you, and for us to have a good time together. This wasn't meant to be a riddle, okay? I wanted to show you that I enjoy being here, with you, and at the agency, and that I don't regret leaving the mafia.”

Still not exactly what he wanted to say, but eh, close enough. Hopefully.

Dazai looks back at the bed, then squints at Chuuya. “So this is a sex thing?”

“No!” Chuuya defends, bristling immediately, although in light of the fact that he put the damn flowers all over the bed, too, he can kind of understand how that thought might suggest itself. He feels his cheeks heat with... it's not quite embarrassment. “I was being romantic, dammit. They're all flowers symbolizing – “

“Love.” Dazai watches him, head cocked. “I know.”

And this is really the worst moment ever for Dazai's facade to grow impenetrable again. He eyes Chuuya, then the bed, then Chuuya once more, and Chuuya can see the wheels turning in his head, but he can't get a read on the conclusions that are falling out.

After maybe a minute, his focus returns to Chuuya.

“Can we make it a sex thing?” he asks, straight-faced, sounding almost analytical, like he does when he's suggesting the best course of action before a mission.

Chuuya knows it's brought on by his nervousness and uncertainty, because Dazai has a hard time handling emotions and the blank face is easier than trying to figure out which expression goes with which mood. Chuuya also knows that suggesting they have sex is a diversion, because that is easier than weathering the moment and talking through things neither of them really knows how to explain.

He should say no. Make sure they communicate and that Dazai knows what's being said, even though it's not actually being said in so many words – or so few – and make sure that he understands how Chuuya chose him. Not initially, not as his reason for leaving the mafia, but he has become Chuuya's reason for staying out. He and the agency are Chuuya's new home.

“I would really like to make it a sex thing,” Dazai repeats, now giving him a sheepish grin that's maybe half-honest. He leans down so their lips are maybe a hand's width apart and flutters his eyelashes, mouth parted a little, waiting, offering, asking. “Please? This is a gift for me, right? So, we should do what I want, shouldn't we?”

There's some logic in that, of course there is, and that's why Chuuya doesn't protest any further when Dazai leans down the rest of the way and kisses him. He lets Dazai walk him the remaining couple of steps to the bed and tip them over so that Chuuya lands on his back and Dazai hovers above him, kneeling, both his legs bracketing Chuuya's torso. He's eager, demanding, unusually forceful, and part of Chuuya hopes that's because this whole display did hit the right spot, that he does understand, somehow, instinctively, what's going on here.

The kiss lasts for what feels like an eternity, and it's good, Chuuya would very much like to do that for a long, long while, but also, they're still wearing far too many clothes. He grabs a fistful of Dazai's coat and pulls, and thankfully Dazai gets the hint and sits up, starting to undress. Getting rid of all their layers of clothing takes some rearranging, some room to move, but it's rewarded with the unique and wonderful sensations of being skin to skin. Chuuya uses their change in position to take charge, laid half on top of Dazai, and reaches between them to wrap a hand around them both. Dazai sucks in a breath when Chuuya starts to work them together, none too gently, and they're both quick to grow hard in his grip. It's fast-paced and rough, pent up energy and worry and desire and yes, that other thing as well, and Chuuya feels a bit like an inexperienced teenager – something he hasn't been in a some time – when he comes within minutes.

He lies there, panting, breathing Dazai in, come cooling on his fingers and both their cocks, his own softening, and he never wants to move again. Somehow this has become his sanctuary: Dazai, their little apartment, the knowledge that the blood on their hands will never go away but might now have led to something better, something that lets them protect their city with minimal bloodshed. It never did bother him too much, the bloodshed, similarly to Dazai, but there's still a difference. It means more. It makes him sleep better at night.

His sappy afterglow gets interrupted when Dazai taps his shoulder. “Chuuya. Hey, Chuuya.”

Chuuya lifts his head and raises an eyebrow.

“I haven't come yet,” Dazai points out. He moves his hips, much as Chuuya's weight pinning him down allows, thereby jarring Chuuya's now oversensitive cock, and Chuuya hisses in disapproval. He sighs, extracts himself, and yes, okay, fair. It'd be a bit mean to just leave Dazai hanging now, and it would kind of defeat the main goal here, which is giving Dazai something nice, making him feel wanted and loved.

Chuuya wipes his hand on the sheets and abandons his comfortable spot atop Dazai, instead crawling between his legs. He grins at Dazai – if he asks for attention, that's what he'll get – and hooks both hands in the crook of Dazai's knees, pushes them back until Dazai is spread out before him, cock still at attention, blood-heavy and beautiful, balls drawn up tight to his body, hole exposed.

He rubs Dazai's balls and perineum a few times, just because, and earns himself a scandalized little whine when he abandons Dazai and rolls over to retrieve the lube from a box under the bed. He waves with the latter, grinning, and Dazai presses back into the mattress, wriggling his ass, muttering something unkind under his breath.

“Yeah, keep cursing me out,” Chuuya says, tsking. “See if that gets you your orgasm any quicker.”

Dazai snaps his mouth shut and glares, which in turn makes Chuuya snicker. Ohh, he's going to enjoy this. He has already come once, after all. Unlike Dazai he has all the time and patience in the world.

He presses one slicked finger into Dazai, still mostly a tease, but Dazai's eyes fall closed on a moan anyway. Seems he's really sensitive; it leaves Chuuya wondering just close to coming he was when Chuuya was stroking them both. Not like it matters. In any case, Chuuya plans on playing with him for a while before he lets him come.

With his unoccupied hand, Chuuya makes a loose ring around Dazai's dick and strokes him lazily, only just enough to keep him hard and wanting, the tip all red and swollen with deep arousal, precome leaking down the length of him. Chuuya's mouth waters at the sight, and he sees no reason to deny himself the indulgence.

He has to shift a little in order to find a good angle, but then he's able to lean down and lick the latest spurt of precome from Dazai's cock head and, when Dazai cries out with pleasure, take just the glans into his mouth. He swirls his tongue around, across the slit, over the sensitive spots just below the ridge. Dazai moans, moving his hips against the mattress again but not thrusting, and as a reward for that show of consideration and restraint – neither of which come naturally to Dazai – Chuuya works a second finger into his hole and ventures in search of his prostate.

Because this is the part that requires Chuuya's full attention though, what with Dazai's lack of a sensor for when pleasure turns into the bad kind of pain, it also means the end of the oral teasing. Chuuya hollows his cheeks and sucks one more time, the way he knows Dazai likes best, and then plops off him with a lewd, wet noise.

He lets Dazai breathe through the sensation, pleased to find his face flushed red, his eyes glazed over. A third finger and some more well-timed jerks on his cock should do the trick, then.

Except Chuuya looks down after he adds said finger, to where all three of them now disappear into Dazai's body, and he has an idea. Dazai is loose and relaxed, Chuuya's fingers meet no resistance at all. He looks so damn beautiful like this, lost in the pleasure Chuuya is giving him, absolutely no shame in showing how affected he is, how needy, how close to the edge.

And Chuuya wants more. He wants to see more of that.

“I bet you could take more than three fingers,” he says, and Dazai looks up, blinks at him. His pupils are blown wide, his hairline getting a little damp with sweat. He's panting, every breath rocking through him like he's near the finish line at a marathon, exhausted but determined, and Chuuya smiles at him, gently, smitten. “Can I – “

“Yes,” Dazai manages. He nods emphatically, hips bucking to fuck himself deeper on Chuuya's fingers. “Yes, more.”

What they're about to do is nothing that should be attempted on a whim, but Chuuya's done it before – just not to Dazai. He knows what to do, what to look out for in a bottom. He knows Dazai. They'll just try, see how far they'll get.

Working the fourth finger inside is easy. Dazai's body is completely unwound for once. Dazai himself is eager, urges Chuuya on to go further while Chuuya works on opening him up enough to get past the knuckles. Refusing to be rushed, not with this, Chuuya pauses once that's achieved and focuses on giving Dazai's prostate some special attention. The most difficult part is right ahead, and Chuuya wants him absolutely lost in arousal and need for that. He considers narrating what he's about to do, but decides against it; too many details might spook Dazai. That just means Chuuya will have to take extra care, monitor him closely for any sign of pain or discomfort.

“You’re taking it so beautifully,” he praises, searching for Dazai's gaze, and smiling again when Dazai zeroes in on him. “I’m so proud of you. Just a little bit more, yeah? We’re almost there.”

Dazai nods, and Chuuya pulls his hand back out a little, folding the thumb as closely as he can against into the closed palm. He takes his time working it back in, rotating his wrist to find the best angle, and holds his breath when he feels his hand slipping past the leftover resistance of Dazai's inner muscles.

“Still okay?” he asks, and Dazai nods again.

Chuuya moves his hand back and forth in careful, shallow little thrusts. He presses the heel of his other hand against the base of Dazai's cock, and Dazai shudders, moaning even louder than before. He's close, Chuuya can tell – he's seen him approach orgasm plenty of times.

“Touch yourself,” he says, and for a moment Dazai stares back at him, uncomprehending. Then he shakes himself a little and reaches down, wrapping a hand around himself.

It takes three, maybe four strokes, and then he's coming. He arches off the bed with it, thighs quivering like he's only now noticing the strain of his position, and he moans, voice breaking on Chuuya's name.

Chuuya murmurs soft assurances at him as he waits out the aftershocks, making sure Dazai's body doesn't clench around him involuntarily anymore when he pulls out. While Dazai comes down, Chuuya hurries into the bathroom, cleaning himself up and returning with a wet towel to do the same for Dazai, despite the latter's hissed complaints. More than a little over-sensitive, Chuuya would guess.

He gathers Dazai close once he's done, and something in him softens beyond what he ever deemed possible when Dazai exhales and cuddles closer. One of the things Chuuya learned in the past months is that a content, tired, sex-happy Dazai will allow himself to seek out physical contact. It came as a surprise, but Chuuya certainly isn't opposed to indulging him. He runs a hand through Dazai's hair, smiles when Dazai shudders at the touch even as he leans into it.

“So,” he starts. “Did you understand what I was trying to tell you?”

Dazai lifts his head – notably not enough to dislodge Chuuya's hand – and opens one eye to peer at him. He grins, and Chuuya knows that whatever words are tumbling out of his mouth next will be another diversion. “You’re staying with me because I’m willing to let you put your whole hand up my asshole?”

Chuuya rolls his eyes and lightly swats the side of his head. “Ugh, you’re such an idiot.”

As he nudges Chuuya's hand, like a cat asking for more pets, Dazai's expression sobers. He opens the other eye, too, a sign that he's ready to take things at least somewhat seriously. “You're happy with how things turned out.”

That's a rather impersonal, diplomatic way of putting it. “I am,” Chuuya confirms. “But most importantly, I don't want you to worry. I chose this. Me. We both know you had a thing or two to do with Fukuzawa reaching out to me, but it was still my choice. I wasn't under duress, you didn't do anything to force my hand, I could have walked away from that offer with zero consequences.”

Dazai frowns and glances at a cluster of the flower petals that are still littering the bed. He picks a few of them up and then angles his hand so that they sail back down to the bed, out of his open palm. “Okay.”

“Okay?” Chuuya parrots. “That's all you have to say? Just okay?”

“Yes,” Dazai says. He nods solemnly, and then his face contorts into a big yawn. “Chuuya, can we go to sleep now?”

He nudges Chuuya's hand again, eyes gleaming, and sinks down so that his head is pillowed on Chuuya's chest. Chuuya snorts and shakes his head at him, but he does take the slow caresses back up, fingers combing through Dazai's hair. “Sure,” he says. “Let's go to sleep.”