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A Dance Beneath the Mistletoe

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Odasaku had never been one for the Port Mafia’s celebrations.

But a dear friend in the form of Dazai Osamu had insisted for the past few weeks. At first it had been a simple request, one easily fielded and rejected without an excuse, but as the date approached, Dazai’s efforts had renewed, and with a dramatic flopping across the bar counter, a pout, and an insistence that he couldn’t do this without Odasaku, he had caved and agreed to go.

Come to find out, the Port Mafia was unmatched in their ability to throw a party.

The hotel was under their protection of course, so it wasn’t a dime out of the boss’s pocket to reserve it for a night filled with drinking, dancing, and surprisingly good company; a night’s reprieve from the bloodshed that three certain friends often sought on their own in a dimly lit underground bar.

The walls were lined with glittering red and gold from floor to ceiling, the artificial stars twinkling in the pale light and casting bright glares all around the ballroom. Tables covered in satin cloth and home to a wonderful array of food and drinks, alcoholic and not, sat up against the walls and offered their wares to the mingling bodies, some clearly looking for a convenient excuse to not get out of bed in the morning as they went from one glass of wine to the next. Beside one, Chuuya proudly presented a bottle of wine to Hirotsu, proclaiming the price to the tune of some fifteen-thousand American dollars.

Perhaps the most ambitious of the decorations tonight, however, was the forty-foot spruce tree in the middle of the ballroom. No other light in the room needed to be on with the lights circling all around it, flickering to their own tune and casting everyone in a pale golden glow. Large round ornaments the size of a man’s head climbed their way to the top in a vast rainbow of colors, some bathed in glitter and others a polished sheen that reflected the scene below them. Odasaku caught his reflection in one such orb as his gaze traveled up the tree to the golden star that sat upon its tip, suspended from the ceiling by steel cables to not let the tree bend under its weight.

To say Odasaku felt out of place would be an understatement.

His own saving grace, however, found him with honed instincts and trained eyes. Dazai flashed him a toothy grin as he pulled up by his side, holding out a glass of champagne that Odasaku eyed for a moment before taking it. He was also never one for fancy drinks, much preferring the burn of whiskey to anything else, but Dazai had gotten it for him, and so he took a sip before flicking his gaze back to the tree. Dazai followed him.

“Odasaku…” he murmured after a moment. Odasaku tilted his head towards him, noting the way his grin had fallen into a smaller, thoughtful smile. He hummed a question for his friend to continue on whatever train of thought he was riding.

“Do you think, if that star were to fall on top of me, it’d crush me, and I’d die?”

Odasaku blinked, trying to determine if the boy was kidding or not. Dazai didn’t like to be a burden to others, and so it was easy to conclude that yes, he was indeed joking; fantasizing about a death he would never have the pleasure of experiencing. He shrugged.

“Probably, it looks heavy enough.”

“You really think so?!” Dazai turned a sparkling eye on Odasaku, a hopeful, fantastical glimmer. Odasaku stared at him for a moment, his chest lurching as he was hit with the sudden realization that he wanted nothing more in this world at present than to ensure his friend made it unscathed through to the new year. It was that spark of determination that propelled him on his heel to the nearest table, setting his drink down and plucking Dazai’s out of his fingers in a similar fashion. Without a word, he curled their fingers together, coaxing him back again towards the middle of the room. Dazai followed so easily and without so much a questioning look.

“Do you know how to dance, Dazai?” Odasaku finally asked as he turned to face his friend, a rare smile curling his lips up. Dazai looked to consider for a second is answer before he shook his head.

“Only a little bit.”

“Good.” Good because it allowed Odasaku the perfect opportunity to pull him forward, coaxing his hands to rest on his hip and shoulder. Good because the way Dazai smiled caused his exposed eye to twinkle with a rare childlike curiosity and sense of joy he didn’t often feel so genuinely. “Just follow me.”

Unsurprisingly, Dazai was a borne expert at this too. Anything his dear friend tackled he had a tendency to succeed in, save for his apparent greatest dream to depart this world. For that, at least, Odasaku was grateful. It allowed him to watch Dazai’s growing list of other achievements, from his cooking to the time he played the piano in the bar like a classical composer would. His steps now seemed practiced, flowing in tune with Odasaku’s like they had always been dance partners.

It was times like these Odasaku allowed himself to think that maybe they were made for each other.

“Odasaku,” Dazai breathed after a few minutes, and Odasaku finally noticed the way they had stopped moving in favor of a gentle sway. Odasaku hummed gently as Dazai continued. “You know the American tradition of the mistletoe, yes?”

“That’s the one where if two people end up under the mistletoe, they have to kiss,” Odasaku answered quietly, a small surge of pride in his gut when Dazai nodded.

“It’s also said that star-crossed lovers often end up under the mistletoe by the grace of some unknown force.”

“Is that so?”

“No. I made that one up.” Odasaku couldn’t help but let out a small laugh at Dazai’s playful smirk. “However,” he hummed, tilting his head back to look up at the tree beside them. “Don’t you find it funny, Odasaku…” he trailed off as Odasaku followed his gaze. Among the ornaments and lights, in the dark green of the pine needles, stood out a far more vibrant green leaf, accented by what looked to be red berries. Odasaku had never seen a mistletoe before, but he knew without needing to ask what they were looking at.

And it was also times like these that Odasaku realized that everything Dazai did was with a reason. He never left anything up to chance.

When he turned back to his friend, Dazai was smiling softly, a splash of color across his cheeks and creeping up from the bandages on his neck accented by the golden lighting he was cast in. He said nothing, he didn’t have to, he knew, and it was this confidence in his conclusions that had him closing the gap left between them, a hand placed over Odasaku’s heart as he tilted forward.

Odasaku met him halfway, tilting his head to meet him, Dazai’s soft lips gracing chastely over his. In the next moment, Odasaku had brought up his hands to take Dazai’s face in them, coaxing him up as he curled their lips together in an actual kiss, one reserved for lovers and for only them. Dazai’s warm breath spread out across his cheeks as they parted, reluctantly by the way the boy remained close, their noses brushing.

“Dazai…” Odasaku may not often have had the words to say, least of all did he have them now, he thought.

“Yes, Odasaku?”

“I’d like you to stick around for Christmas.” Dazai nodded against him, smiling against his lips before kissing him again.

“That won’t be a problem, Odasaku.”