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A Helping Hand

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The office was unusually quiet, everyone going on about their work. The reason for this was the absence of Dazai. Nobody seemed concerned over his disappearance, all except for two people.

‘’Where’s Dazai-san?’’ Atsushi finally spoke up, Kyouka beside him nodded fervently.

Kunikida didn’t look up from his typing. ‘’He disappears sometimes and returns like nothing happened. Don’t worry about it, Atsushi.’’ Even Kunikida didn’t seem as annoyed without Dazai around.

Atsushi wasn’t sure he could take that as answer though. He looked to Kyouka sitting beside him and saw the worry in her eyes. She frowned and nodded. She probably knew what he was planning already.

***

‘’I’m worried about Dazai-san.’’

Akutagawa’s hand around his tightened slightly but relaxed soon after. They’d gotten over their rivalry for Dazai’s attention for the most part. He was as good a person as any to ask for help regarding him; after all, who knew Dazai better than Akutagawa?

The water under the pier lapped at the concrete shore. The setting sun reflected in the waves with ripples. The clouds reached across the sky to encompass the horizon.

Akutagawa’s voice was soft when he spoke, ‘’what happened?’’

Atsushi shrugged, ‘’nothing really, he just stopped coming to work for a couple weeks. The staff say it’s normal but I’m worried.’’ He hesitated, ‘’...is that wrong?’’

His hand was squeezed in reassurance. ‘’Of course not.’’

They’d also gotten over Atsushi caring about others being wrong. The person in question being Dazai probably helped that as well.

Atsushi turned to him and looked into his grey eyes. He could see the similarity between Gin and him in them. ’’What do I do then?’’

Akutagawa looked down in thought, then looked up and cupped Atsushi’s face with his free hand. ‘’I have an idea.’’

Leaning into the hand, Atsushi murmured, ‘’an idea?’’ That warm hand was distracting.

With a small smile he agreed, ‘’trust me.’’

***

The apartment was quiet when Chuuya entered. The blinds were drawn over the windows, leaving it dark. It almost seemed abandoned.

Akutagawa had gone to him asking about Dazai. He said he’d gotten a lead that something was wrong. He could easily guess who this ‘’lead’’ was but he wasn’t about to shame the poor boy about his feelings.

He left his coat and shoes in the entryway, predicting that he would be staying a while. He made his way through the place, checking every room for Dazai. He sighed when nothing came up, just dirty dishes and takeout boxes.

There was still the bathroom though.

He had a hunch he knew what he’d find and he was right. In the bathroom, slumped on the edge of the bath, was Dazai, arms in the bath. Chuuya sighed and went to brush Dazai’s hair from his face. His eyes held no light.

‘’What happened this time, bandage wasting machine.’’

He muttered under his breath as he helped the decrepit man sit on the toilet and got the supplies he’ll need to help him. He had cuts on his arms, some dried, some trickling blood.

Chuuya got a wet cloth and crouched in front of Dazai, leaving his gloves on the counter. Seeing him this lost wasn’t unusual but it was always jarring. ‘’Hey, you’ll be okay,’’ he said as he started wiping at the wounds gently. They looked horrible but after cleaning them, the cuts looked less severe. The cleaned blood revealed numerous old scars.

He put tissue on the wounds so they wouldn’t stick to the bandages and wrapped them up. When he was done, he expected to have heard at least one complaint or taunt but nothing came. He looked up to those blank eyes, that expressionless face. He cupped it with both hands and lifted it so he could look Dazai in the eyes.

‘’Look, Dazai. You’re okay. What’s wrong?’’

He looked up at Chuuya at least, but said nothing. There was a spark of thought in his eyes though.

Chuuya sighed again but continued caring for the silent man. He picked up Dazai and carried him to the bedroom, not minding his home clothes smelling like he hadn’t changed in days.

He laid Dazai down and tucked the covers around him. He probably hadn’t eaten anything good in a while but he needed rest first and foremost.

His work done, Chuuya turned to leave. He was stopped by a hand reaching for his wrist weakly.

‘’Chuuya…’’

He barely heard it but he was sure he did. He turned back to Dazai looking at him imploringly. With a sigh he left his hat on the nightstand, took off his jacket and waistcoat and climbed under the covers with Dazai. Chuuya let him put his arms around him as he tucked Dazai under his chin and stroked his hair.

‘’Your tiger was worried about you, thank him when you get better.’’