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There he goes again. Chuuya grits his teeth as he watches Dazai cross the conference room. He doesn’t move from his station near the door and even keeps his hands at his sides. Since Mori is sitting at the head of the table, nothing too bad will happen. Probably. Dazai isn’t wearing mafia blacks, which is a sign for even more trouble than normal. Instead he’s wearing dark gray slacks, a white button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up that show off the crisp white bandages wrapped around his wrists. The bandages extend down across the palm of his right hand, they also extend up his neck as well. The eye patch that should have been over his ruined right eye hangs around his neck, loose. No good, Chuuya thinks, bracing himself. Other people in the room see it too, the drooping eyelid and empty socket, the angry red that still mars the skin around what used to be Dazai’s right eye, along with the purple from a bruise, and puckering that would someday become a scar. Even Chuuya isn’t sure what happened to the eye, for all that he’s supposed to be Dazai’s bodyguard, just that one day it was gone.

“You’ve been plotting without me.” Dazai exclaims, cheerful. He isn’t visibly armed, which means nothing.

“My, what a dramatic entrance, Dazai-kun.” Mori spreads his hands in welcome, gestures to the vacant seat next to him. The chair to Mori’s right was always left open, the left usually occupied by Elise.

“Nonsense, you planned this.” Dazai seats himself, stiffly, which is contrary to his animated face. “You’re thinking that one,” and he points to one of the ambassadors to a mafia in another city. Chuuya honestly can’t tell them apart and they’re all essentially irrelevant at this point. The Port Mafia will have their territory, it’s only a question of how much blood is shed before then. “That one, needs to go first.” And then Dazai leans forward, elbows on the table.

It’s an act they do often. Mori is logic, Dazai is chaos. Even though everyone in the Port Mafia knows that Dazai’s chaos is just the knife being wielded by logic just as brutal as Mori’s.

“Tsk, you can’t just interrupt negotiations with that.”

“Mori-san, Mori-san, this is tiring! We already know the result.”

“Listen here, you brat —” and that’s when the man that Dazai pointed out interrupts the Mori and Dazai act. It’s a mistake and everyone in the room knows it. Chuuya tenses, places his hands against that door. It would only take a few seconds to propel himself across the room if needed, but that’s seconds this man likely doesn’t have if Dazai’s mood turns, as if often does.

“Brat?” Dazai asks, eye wide and almost innocent.

“Taneda-san, you must forgive Dazai-kun, he’s young and impulsive.” Mori waves a hand.

Dazai tilts his head a little, towards Mori. Chuuya can see it before anyone else (except maybe, Mori), the way that Dazai’s eye flits to Taneda’s throat, back to the table between them and the fountain pen resting on the stationary being used to draft up the territory contract.

“Keep your heir on a shorter leash.” Taneda snaps.

Shit — Chuuya thinks but he knows he’ll be too late. Dazai isn’t the strongest fighter, but he’s deceptively fast when he wants to be, especially once he’s picked the path his body will take. While Chuuya can feel through physical confrontation and his instinct guides him, Dazai plots out every movement, knows which is most efficient and which is quickest.

Which is why Dazai is able to pick up the fountain pen and drive it into Taneda’s neck before Chuuya is even halfway across the room.

“Now, any other arguments on our terms?” Dazai asks, sitting back down in his chair as if Taneda wasn’t gasping like a fish out of water as blood pours from his neck.

The rest of the contracts were signed promptly.

After, it’s only Dazai, the pool of blood on the table (Taneda’s body had been marked with mafia execution post-mortem wounds, to send a message, and shipped back to his home), Chuuya and the neat stack of contracts.

“Tch, had to go and make a big scene.” Chuuya grumbles. He isn’t convinced one of Taneda’s allies or cronies won’t make an attempt at Dazai. It’s happened before and Dazai, the idiot, just stands there with his arms spread wide, inviting it. Chuuya isn’t sure if Dazai is actually suicidal or just enjoys making him do extra work. He’s never sure about anything, with Dazai — what’s spite, what’s tragedy, what part of Dazai can be really trusted.

“It served the purpose, didn’t it? The swiftest path to the intended result.” Dazai sounds sleepy and he leans on the table with a kind of exhaustion that makes Chuuya think — Dazai is human, that he’s just eighteen like Chuuya, that he doesn’t like this life and he isn’t dangerous at all.

Those are all dangerous thoughts.

“C’mon, we’ve got places to be.” That’s a blatant lie. Mori hadn’t given Dazai any assignments, Dazai wasn’t even supposed to be at this meeting, as far as Chuuya knew.

“Chuuuuuyaaaa,” Dazai whines and holds both hands out towards him.

“No.” Chuuya definitively refuses.

“Chuuuyyyaaaa,” Dazai whines again.

“Get up.” Chuuya scolds.

Dazai gives him a look through his bangs, and it’s either a plead or a judgment. But he straightens up, pushes back away from the table and cracks his neck. The motion is fluid, too smooth and all signs of exhaustion vanish from his body language.

“Chuuya’s so mean.”

“Since I have to keep your dumb ass alive I’ll be as mean as I want.”

“No one told you to do that~” Dazai chimes but finally moves himself back towards the door of the room. Chuuya breathes a little relief when they exit. For reasons unknown to him, none of the Port Mafia windows are bullet proof. It’s his job to consider that, a sniper taking aim at the back of Dazai’s head through the windows that will too easily shatter.

“It’s my job anyway.”


Dazai had saved Chuuya’s life, when they first met. They had both been fifteen and somehow Dazai had already been ingrained in the mafia, was already Mori’s right hand, was a terrifying teenager with insight.

But to Chuuya, Dazai had been a lifeline.

In over his head with a rival gang — his own ‘gang’ hadn’t even really been a real gang, just a group of lost children that had rallied under Chuuya’s ability to fight and under Chuuya’s determination to keep them all safe — every single friend Chuuya had was killed. He had been alone and the last to be hunted down, tied to a chair and already beaten with a baseball bat.

And then there had been Dazai, he walked straight through the gang’s doorway, already in mafia blacks. He had smiled.

“I’ll tell you something that will make you run, and then in seven minutes you’ll all be dead.” Dazai announced. Chuuya had only barely heard the words, the blood in his eyes and ringing in his ears blocking almost everything out.

The gang leader had laughed at Dazai, told his men to kill him.

“You thought you hid her well, but your aging mother isn’t doing so well, I’ve heard. The private doctor you hired to keep her alive through her illness isn’t as close lipped as you would like.” Dazai didn’t even flinch as guns were drawn.

And it was exactly as he said. The gang leader started running, presumably to try and make it to his mother, or something. Chuuya wasn’t exactly clear on the following events, except that everyone had been killed by the Port Mafia men that Dazai had brought. And, that Dazai knelt down in front of him, put a finger under his chin and tipped Chuuya’s face up so they could look each other in the eye.

“I’ll give you a reason to live, Nakahara Chuuya.”

Chuuya owed Dazai his life.

Dazai has only ever asked one thing of Chuuya: when the time comes, I’ll ask you for a favor, do it without question. The duty of being a bodyguard is Mori’s request and Chuuya’s obligation.


“The Armed Detective Agency is. . . how do we put it, a thorn that needs to be removed.” Mori speaks with the kind of personal fond-bitterness that he only has for the ADA. Chuuya isn’t exactly sure where it comes from but even he can pick up the dynamic. It’s something that seems to bring Dazai mirth and he’s confided in Chuuya before that Mori-san has a little crush on the director, see! Fukuzawa-shachou is the only person to ever outdo him, even if the director’s not terribly bright. It sounds like the kind of joke that Chuuya doesn’t get, nor could he imagine taking such glee in the boss’s misstep, nor could he really understand why Dazai said ‘Fukuzawa-shachou’.

“Maybe we should try some tweezers.” Dazai supplies. He’s supposed to be in this meeting, dressed properly in a suit with the cotton eyepatch hiding his empty socket. The executive coat of his is draped across the back of his chair. He’s leaning back in his chair, feet on the table, chewing bubblegum loudly.

“Alas, I’ve tried that, but Fukuzawa-dono’s sword is much longer than anything in my surgical kit, as you well know, Dazai-kun.”

Dazai sits up properly at that, leaning forward on his elbows then.

“Ah, that speaks with some kind of tacky ominous atmosphere.”

“Nonsense, it’s only the truth.”

“I have a proposal then~”

“Please share with the group, Dazai-kun.”

“The ADA is a nice little group of ragtag ex-military and concerned civilians doing their best to put order in the city and they seem to think that we’re not very orderly. So I have two proposals. The first is that we tutor them on our sense of order and the second is infiltration!”

Everyone knows ‘tutor’ means ‘murder them all.’ Mori seems to consider both options seriously, but Chuuya is fairly certain that if they were going to murder the ADA they would have done it already.

“Do expand on the second option.” Mori’s smile grows a bit wider.

Dazai grins. “They’re only a thorn in your side because of the ADA’s involvement with the train station. It isn’t even a stranglehold but the director is prone to giving you trouble every time we try to move too much merchandise through it. It’s kind of silly, to be so wary of a simple detective agency, with their office above the train station, isn’t it?” His voice is sweet, but laden with a threat.

“Since it’s so simple then would you solve it for me, Dazai-kun? I would very much enjoy that.”

“Second option it is, I only have one requirement.” Dazai waggles his finger at Mori, “Chuuya works with me.”

“Well, he is your bodyguard.”

“Aw, thanks!”

Chuuya isn’t sure what is going on, but he knows there is something more than what’s being said. Dazai looks like the cat that got the canary and Mori’s expression has darkened by a single increment.

“Don’t worry, I’ll get you the results you want, Mori-san. I’ll have the agency out by the end of the year.”

“I’m counting on you, Dazai-kun.”


The preparations from there were simple. Dazai and Chuuya got an apartment, swapped their mafia blacks for civilian clothes and created their own backstories. Chuuya wasn’t sure it would work, after all, didn’t they have a reputation? Chuuya had made a name for himself beating men to death and Dazai was the ‘demon prodigy’.

“It’s simple,” Dazai explains, checking himself in the mirror. He looks out of place in the khakis and brown coat. Somehow he looks softer. “The agency is well known for taking in ex-war criminals and unusual people. Our history doesn’t exclude us from joining.”

“So they’re just going to welcome us with open arms.” Chuuya snorts. He feels too stiff in the jeans and sneakers, and feels juvenile compared to Dazai.

“Well, no. I’ve done my research, there will be a test. I suspect we’ll be found out.”

“And you’re okay with that?!”

“Did you think we were actually going to fool them?” Dazai hums, pats down his pockets and finally turns to look at Chuuya. “The idea of obscuring your goal isn’t necessarily to lie about everything. Don’t be stupid.”

“Maybe loop me in on these things.”

“Ehhhn, but Chuuya’s innocence is one of the better traits for this kind of mission.”

“Shut up.” Chuuya is tempted to pick up the waste basket and chuck it at Dazai, but it won’t change anything. Dazai will continue to hold the cards close to his chest, as he always does, throwing up walls between them just because he can.

“Anyway, we’re a couple right? So we’re looking for a place we can be ourselves and Mori-san doesn’t approve~”

“A — you &mash;” Chuuya coughs on the words.

Dazai’s eye is wide and his smile is reflective. “Chuuya’s the only one for me, after all.”

They’d fooled around, of course. Dazai was simultaneously easy to reach with physical affection and too distant all at once. They had collided in hallways, alleys, Dazai’s bedroom, the battlefield and late night fast food joints. Kisses, gropes, the adrenaline fueled instinct that their bodies had called for.

“Don’t joke about that.” Chuuya grumbles. He can’t read too much into it, not with how Dazai turns away from him again, to his suitcase. They had both brought one bag and it had become painfully obvious neither truly new what to do with the apartment. Chuuya was a collector, his own apartment had trophies and knicknacks, luxuries he almost never used. Dazai’s apartment was simply empty. But in this sham home, they both continued to live out of their suitcases.

“And if I’m not joking?” Dazai asks, voice muffled as he rummages in the suitcase.

“Then I won’t kick your ass.”

“But who is Chuuya if he isn’t mad at me!”

“See! That’s exactly why I don’t buy that bullshit!”

“It’s healthy for couples to argue.”

“Not like this it isn’t! We’re not a couple!”

Dazai is suspiciously silent for a moment after that, and Chuuya wonders what exactly is going on in that brain until Dazai spins around, holding what looks like a garden gnome.

“But I even brought our adopted son!”

“Shut up!”

They continue to bicker and Chuuya can’t help but feel like it’s familiar, like they could settle into this kind of ‘life’. It’s funny, perhaps he wouldn’t miss the blood and bullets, in the end.


Dazai doesn’t sweet talk Fukuzawa and Chuuya almost has an aneurysm when his partner marches straight up to the Director of the ADA and simply says: “I’m here to spy on you, on behalf of Mori-san.” Which is a far cry different from the story that Dazai had told Chuuya they were going to spin.

The Director gives them such a stony look that Chuuya is fairly certain that he’s going to draw a sword on them. Dazai grins and spreads his hands wide, the movement causing the entourage behind the Director (Chuuya only counts one of them with concealed weapons, so he’s not exactly certain what they intend to do against him) to square and flinch, ready to jump on them.

“Is that so.” The Director finally speaks.

“Mori-san and I have a disagreement, so I’d like to turn it around on him.”

“They’re mafia.” Some blonde guy that Chuuya immediately discounts as not a threat says, “And suspicious.”

“He’s not lying,” the only person who hasn’t joined the group behind the Director but has decided to stay lounging, popping sugar stars into his mouth puts in, “But that doesn’t mean you should trust him, of course.” Crunch.

“I wouldn’t trust me either,” Dazai shakes his head, “but I would like a word with you privately, Fukuzawa-dono.” Unlike the title Director that Dazai had used before he switched to ‘dono’ — it was the same way that Mori said that name.

There’s protests, of course, except from the candy eating guy but in the end it doesn’t matter. Fukuzawa and Dazai disappear into a back room leaving Chuuya to shove his hands into his jeans pockets rather awkwardly.

“Yo.” He says, after a long moment of silence.

The single woman seems amused, raising an eyebrow but he also knows she has at least two weapons on her, probably in her doctor’s bag. The blonde man looks stressed and exasperated, like he’s ready to break down the Director’s door and the nervous kid just looks. . . nervous. Chuuya can’t really believe this is the Agency that’s causing Mori all these problems.

“We’re not going to play nice with the mafia.” The blonde guy says, and starts to write something down in his notebook.

“Don’t worry, I’m definitely afraid of papercuts.” Chuuya replies easily with a wolfish grin. He can’t help himself, really. He doesn’t have any negative feelings towards them either, but he’s spent his entire life putting his fists up against people who thought they were better than him. The man continues writing and then turns the notebook around, showing Chuuya an impressive array of notes that honestly didn’t mean anything to him. “Hah?”

“You don’t recognize these names and dates?”

“No. . .?”

“Callous as expected.”

“You know, we’re not really here for grudges.” Chuuya shrugs, “If you wanna though, we got time to burn apparently.” He feels his words slip, slide down to something more casual. The careful politeness and language he learned from Kouyou and Mori ending up back more towards his roots. A rudeness that usually only came out with Dazai coating his tongue as he talks.

“No, you’re here to try and trick us.”

“Jeez, why would we want to trick you? The Port Mafia could exterminate you easily.” Chuuya shakes his head.

“And yet,” the lady doctor speaks up this time, but her tone is more measuring and less judging. The smile she gives Chuuya seems genuine enough, which really only couples with her next words well: “If they come calling, I wouldn’t mind cutting them to pieces.”

He laughs. Medical professionals were so violent in Yokohama. His response is cut off by Dazai and Fukuzawa’s return. Dazai has a spring in his step, but there’s a nervous fidgety way that his eye darts around the room before settling on Chuuya.

“We’re in~” he chirps, much to the blonde’s dismay.

It’s boring, Chuuya finds out. The Agency doesn’t do much of anything, as far as he can tell. They take cases as they’re offered but mostly people seem left to their own devices. The blonde, Kunikida, is obsessed with taking notes, he has a book that Dazai unkindly calls the Book of Regrets which is just a list of names and dates and another, the Book of Rules that Dazai is pretty sure they should steal and write funny things in it. Chuuya hasn’t consented to the latter idea, of course.

Dazai drags Chuuya around on the small tasks they’re allowed to do. Robberies, clogged gutters on old ladies’ roofs, maintaining the train tracks and all the miscellaneous errands that Chuuya is fairly certain an Armed Detective Agency doesn’t need to handle. The only things of note are the afternoons that Dazai disappears into Fukuzawa’s office and the biweekly calls with Mori.

It turns out that Kunikida ends up ‘liking’ them well enough. He and Chuuya develop a kind of alliance in making Dazai do paperwork. Yosano, the doctor, is easy to get along with but Chuuya knows to toe the line carefully, she could take off his fingers with the flick of her wrist. The nervous boy, Dazai told him, was named Atsushi and he was actually quite wonderful in his own way, even if Chuuya hadn’t seen any evidence of it.

“Are they playing us,” Chuuya finally asks. Their shared apartment hasn’t gotten much more lived in. Dazai has taken to collecting bottlecaps and the tabs from soda cans, lining them up on the unused kitchen table. Chuuya stocks their cabinets with wine and instant noodles and cans of crab. The refrigerator is barren, save the one and a half bottles of white wine. Their trash, on the other hand, needs to be emptied twice a week due to the number of take out containers. Chuuya doesn’t trust Dazai to sort it properly, so he always has to do it.

“Eh? They’re honest hardworking people, Chuuya!” Dazai replies without missing a beat, carefully setting out the three new tabs he swipe from his coworker’s lunch drinks. “But if you must know, unless they’re meddling with the mafia, this is what they normally do. Well, all other large horrific sorts of disasters not counting.”

“So, what’s the plan.”

“What plan?”

“The plan! You told the boss you’d fix his train station problem!”

Dazai looks at him with such a guileless expression that if Chuuya didn’t know better, he would think that Dazai was actually innocent.

“Soon.”

“That’s not a fucking answer.”

“Next week, then.” Dazai smiles serenely and Chuuya has an awful feeling.


“We’ll meet with Mori-san first, give him the full report and then the mafia can make its move~” Dazai hums. He is dressed in blacks, but not mafia blacks. His trousers are dark but his shirt is white and the jacket slung over his shoulders is navy and short, not the long black one. The bandages around his neck and wrist peek as normally but again, he’s neglected to wrap his eye or cover it in any way. The scarring is almost healed and Chuuya can see the thin sharp lines that are around the eyelid and corners, barely visible against Dazai’s skin. He’s still not asked about how Dazai lost it.

“Just like that.” Chuuya snorts. “You make it sound like a cakewalk.”

“Oh no, it’ll be very difficult. How do you feel about being a getaway driver?” Dazai asks, pats down his pockets as if making sure he has something.

“I drive better than you do.”

“Mmhmm, naturally~. Do you know why Mori-san’s so peculiar about this train station?”

“It’s transport and transit.” Chuuya can remember that much.

“That’s right, but why this one? There’s other trains and Yokohama is a port city, isn’t it?”

“Just tell me already.”

“This train station is what you would blow up, if you wanted to take control of Yokohama. It’s perfectly position as you said for transport and transit, but underneath it runs one of those transinternational internet cable things, I don’t know the specifics really, but it’s an important information highway, see? Fukuzawa-shachou has been really keen on keeping it untampered with, but there’s a lot one could do with it~. If it were me I’d play the stock market, to be honest.”

“Hah?”

“Information passes through it, to be honest, while one could skim off of it, it’s probably less suspicious just to delay it a few fractions of a second. . .” Dazai continues talking something about how money moves in the stock market and how millions and millions of dollars could be made, but Chuuya gets the gist. It’s valuable to the Port Mafia and valuable to the world to remain untampered. Or that’s what those at the ADA might say. In an odd sort of way Chuuya understands them. Choice and growth, Yosano-sensei had told him with a bit of a quirk to her lips. Another chance, Atsushi had said. A better society, Kunikida like to tote. (Seeing more than just the pleasure in front of your face, Dazai taunted.) “As it turns out, somehow! The ADA has rights to half of it and the Port Mafia half of it. How this happened, I’m not sure, but I bet the government did some meddling. So all we have to do is get the ADA’s part of the deed and give it to Mori-san.”

“Well, easy enough.”

“Yup! First lets get a look at the one Mori-san has so I know I’m looking at the right thing.”

“You’ve never seen it?!”

“No way, I don’t like property decisions, booooring.”

“That’s a lie.”

“Do you know how many train stations the mafia owns? Just humor me~ I’ll need Chuuya to watch my back.”

He doesn’t ask why Dazai needs his back watched. The sinking feeling he’s had since the week prior when Dazai announced the date of their plan had only grown larger. But he owes Dazai his life, still.

Breaking into the mafia isn’t difficult and it barely constitutes as breaking in. Dazai insists that they should sneak around and use the service elevator that leads into the back halls, but every man they encounter already knows who they are. Chuuya shadows Dazai, listens to the smalltalk conversations Dazai has with everyone and wonders when the Port Mafia headquarters ended up feeling so foreign. It’s as though the time spent pretending to be part of the ADA made him more aware of how tense Dazai’s shoulders are when he’s with the mafia, or how heavy the black all around them feels. When he looks at the grand paintings on the wall or the more ornate art that is arranged around the headquarters he finds himself thinking how out of place those decorations would look in their apartment. Dazai gives him a truly impish grin, beckons with his hand and presses his back up against the wall.

“Surprise, I need you to hotwire Mori-san’s car and we’ll meet in the alley behind HQ.”

No.

“Somehow I knew you’d say that, fine. There’s a bike out back, I just need you to be ready~.”

And it’s then that Chuuya grabs him by the jacket collar with both hands, pulling Dazai down to his level.

“You’re not fooling me.”

“I know.”

“I know you’ve been bullshitting me.”

“I know.”

“Then — just drop the act!”

“Is this really the time and place for it. . .” Dazai trails off and then offers Chuuya that kind of fragile smile that’s so rare. Chuuya’s only seen it a few times before, and one time it was after Dazai had beaten a man’s head in with a paperweight and then just said: Ah, isn’t that a real luxury. . .? Seeing death like that, I could almost feel it. They had been fourteen. “I think we should elope.”

“We’re not going to marry.”

“You’re denying me even that. . .!”

“Dazai.” He grinds out the name, tightening his grip. The feeling of betrayal has already coiled in his gut and wrapped around his spine. He could shake Dazai until the truth comes out but he also, already, thinks he knows what it is.

“I didn’t want to ask you to turn your back on the mafia, so I thought I’d kidnap you.” Dazai folds.

“You idiot.”

“Well, it’s not like you’d’ve come anyway.”

“So your solution was to force me to?”

Dazai shrugs, and Chuuya feels the movement more than he sees it. The jacket Dazai’s wearing is too big for him, it’s the right length for someone Dazai’s height but it’s far too broad. He must have borrowed it.

“If I wanted to force you, I’d call in my IOU. Chuuya’s the honorable type who’d have to adhere to it, right~”

“Then?”

“This is your chance to back out. I won’t lie, I got you in this deep because I don’t want you to go.” Dazai sticks his chin out, like a petulant child. Even though his tone is as light as ever and his face wears a much broader grind, Chuuya knows it’s a liar’s smile.

“You’re going to steal from the boss.”

“Mm. . . well. . . I guess you could say I’ve been a spy all along. . .?”

“You’ve been mafia since we were kids.”

Dazai raises a hand, Chuuya doesn’t bother shifting. When it comes down to a fight, he always wins. But instead of moving against Chuuya, Dazai touches his own cheek, just under his missing eye.

“How about, a spy for a while?”

“I fucking hate you.” Of course, Dazai had known all along what choice Chuuya would make. “We’ve been partners too long, but if I go along with this then you owe me an IOU.”

Dazai shuts his eye and he slumps and Chuuya wonders if this is genuine relief.

“All right. Lets steal from Mori-san~”

Chuuya didn’t realize, of course, that Dazai had no idea that Chuuya hadn’t ever really been loyal to the Port Mafia. Not when it had been Dazai who’s extended hand had saved his life.


It turns out, Mori like many people, just keeps files in filing cabinets. And it also turns out that Dazai, as always, is full of shit and knows exactly which folder they’re looking for. It takes him under a minute to walk the rows of filing cabinets, pick the lock and pull out the correct one.

“Copies don’t matter, you see, since it needs an uncopied version with the official seal.” Dazai explains, waving the folder at Chuuya. And then he tilts his head, “I really think you should have gone to hotwire Mori-san’s car. . . we’re definitely out of time!”

“What do you mean?”

“Silent alarm.” Dazai smiles.

“You fucking idiot!” Chuuya scowls and grabs Dazai’s hand, dragging him out of the room and down the hall. There is certainly no way that they could jovially talk to the guards now, not as Dazai clutches the folder to his chest and they’re clearly robbers.

“How is it that Chuuya runs so fast with such short legs?” Dazai asks between gasps of breath as they dash down the hall, to the stairwell. Chuuya doesn’t respond to that, but he can hear footsteps behind them and the telltale sound of guns.

“We’ve been branded as traitors for how long?” Chuuya snaps instead.

“Mm. . . two weeks?” Dazai helpfully supplies. “It obviously hasn’t made it all the way down the ranks, and it was really just me, you’re not counted, see, because Chuuya —”

“Shut up, run faster.” Chuuya urges him on faster, around the corner as a bullet zips past them into the wall. He can’t — he can, really — believe that Dazai simply waltzed in and struck up conversation with people who might have known he was a traitor. All together too foolhardy and idiotic and yet it hard worked.

“Don’t — worry, I planned for this — the bike out back!”

Of course he had planned for this. Chuuya swears and tucks his head a little as he leads with his shoulders through a window. They crash out onto the fire escape, the cold bars catching Chuuya in the stomach and Dazai bangs inelegantly against them. It takes them a little too long to descend down the fire escape, Dazai catches his sleeve on the railing, trips, twists an ankle between the stairs.

The bike that Dazai spoke of is small, it’s not really built for two Chuuya can tell at a glance. He wants to laugh, even as his lungs burn and he’s sure he’ll be aching for a week from the bruises. It’s just like Dazai to be so perfectly calculated about everything and yet.

“You didn’t think I’d come with you.”

Dazai leans on the brick wall, head tilted again as he listens to the Port Mafia men clatter down the fire escape as well. They’re lucky — or not lucky, as Dazai certainly planned it this way — that a small overhang protects them from being shot at above.

“This is where I cash in my IOU, Chuuya.” Dazai beams at him and holds the folder out. “This goes to Fukuzawa-shachou. Without me.”

Chuuya stares. He’s fairly certain he hasn’t heard Dazai correctly, except the way that he’s unsteady on his feet tell him that he has. The whole set up, the ‘infiltration’ of the ADA, the fake apartment, Dazai’s cajoling and the single seat motorcycle.

An unusually kind plot, and so Chuuya never saw it coming.

He doesn’t take the folder.

“Idiot.” Instead he grabs Dazai by the shoulder and yanks him forward. “Then I’ll use mine too. Like hell you’re leaving me behind.”

“That’s the opposite of what it would be. . . “ Dazai protests weakly.

“Your ass is skinny enough, come on.” Chuuya climbs on the motorcycle and looks over his shoulder.

Dazai hesitates and the fire escape rattles, their pursuers will be close enough to drop down onto the pavement beside them soon. The folder is clutched close to his chest and he looks down at his shoes. “I’ll be 23 this month. I didn’t plan on living that long.”

“Too bad.” Chuuya starts the bike and only turns forward when Dazai carefully climbs on behind him. “I’ll give you a reason to live, so don’t you dare let go.”