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the glow of the cities below leads us back

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He’s pleased to see the open bottle of wine waiting on his desk, two glasses placed to its side.

 

He’s less than overjoyed, however, to see the man waiting for him behind it.  There’s no way he should have been able to get into the building without Chuuya being notified of it - but then, doing what he shouldn’t be able to is one of Dazai’s greatest, and most infuriating, talents.

 

Chuuya closes the office door behind him, the sound echoing through the room; it feels oddly empty, now, without his predecessor’s armed guards or the crayon-and-picturebook detritus of his ability. “I don’t even want to know what you’re doing here.”

 

“That’s an odd way of thanking me for coming to congratulate you on your promotion, but okay.”

 

Chuuya shakes his head.  Word travels alarmingly fast in Yokohama these days - particularly between the Port Mafia and Dazai’s fellow Armed Detective Agency members.  The common enemies they’ve shared over the past few years have brought together their organizations in a way he doubts anyone, even Dazai, could have expected or planned for.  (Well, common enemies, and the fact that he’s aware of just how many of his subordinates are, quite literally, in bed with their former opposition.  Not that he considers this his business, or even asked to know about it in the first place, but.)  They’re not exactly business partners - there was always too deep a river of bad blood running between them for that - but, generally, their leaders have made an unspoken decision to stay out of each others’ way as much as possible.  “Who told you?”

 

Dazai grins.  “I figured it out on my own, of course.  Koyou was only ever staying with the mafia to keep Mori in line; the other executives couldn’t hope to measure up to either of the two of you.  You were the obvious choice.”

 

It was amusing, when you thought about it; from the moment Dazai had been taken under Mori’s wing, there had been an unspoken expectation that some day, far in the future, he would take over the Port Mafia in the doctor’s stead.  Yet here he is, on the farthest path from that life, with his former partner stepping up to take the position instead.

 

“You realize flattery’ll get you nowhere, right?”

 

Dazai grins.  “Hasn’t been my experience so far.”

 

Chuuya doesn’t dignify that with a response, besides a disgusted grunt.  Instead, he picks up the bottle, admiring Dazai’s choice.  A 1969 vintage, red - of course; he has to say, he’s surprised.  It would be more like Dazai to show up with the cheapest bottle he could find at the liquor store, just to see the look on his face as he tasted it.

 

“It’s a special occasion,” Dazai says, as if reading his thoughts.  “You only become the boss of a major criminal organization once, right?  Usually.”

 

The glass Chuuya pours for himself is far more than the typical serving; feeling generous, he fills Dazai’s glass as well.

 

“Such a gentleman,” Dazai comments, holding his glass up.  “This feels like a good time for a toast, or something.”

 

“That’s kind of formal.”  Chuuya raises his glass, anyway.  “To… fuck, I don’t know.”

 

“To old partnerships?” There’s a twinkle in his eye as he suggests it.

 

“And new beginnings.”

 

The chiming sound of their glasses seems to echo far longer than it should.

 

The bottle empties itself easily as the moon climbs higher in the sky; it hardly feels like time is passing at all as they talk, reminiscing on old adventures, swapping stories of newer ones.  Dazai, perched on the edge of Mori’s old desk, nearly falls off it laughing at one point while Chuuya recounts an attempt to corral some of the mafia’s younger members during Gin’s twenty-first birthday celebration.

 

“Stop laughing, I’m serious.  It was like herding kittens.  Really drunk kittens, who kept falling into lamp posts and threatening to puke on your shoes.”

 

“That’s supposed to make it less funny?”  Dazai wipes a tear of laughter from his eye with one finger.  “God, we were probably just that bad at their age.”

 

“Yeah, you were worse.”

 

Dazai has a particular type of smile that Chuuya’s come to think of as his blackmail-material smile, and it’s spread across his face right now.  “I’m not the one who passed out in a coat closet at that one holiday party.”

 

“I was working all day!  I was tired.”

 

“You were wearing my coat and holding an empty bottle of whiskey.”

 

Chuuya grimaces.  “I don’t remember that part.”

 

“Yeah, because of the bottle of whiskey.”

 

He lets his head fall back, making sure to get the last few lingering drops of wine from his glass before he places it back on the desk.

 

“Shit, that feels like lifetimes ago.”

 

“And like it was just yesterday, too.”

 

Chuuya doesn’t disagree with that, but he’s surprised to hear it.  Dazai’s still undoubtedly the same - just as difficult and inscrutable as he’s always been - and yet, at the same time, sometimes it seems like he’s a completely different person from his teenage self.  It’s more than just the goody-two-shoes act - which, at this point, he has to admit is more than just a facade; he’s proved that a thousand times over by now - these days, Dazai seems to be something Chuuya never would have expected of him: content.

 

Even, perhaps, happy.

 

As Dazai refills his glass, he turns to stare out the window, staring down at the lights of the city beneath them.  Years ago, this place had been their playground - running through the streets at night breathless with laughter and high on their own youth, liquor on their tongues and neon lights in their veins; at other times, it had been their battle ground, the blood of their enemies on the asphalt washed away but never quite forgotten.

 

So many times, he’d convinced himself that he was sick and tired of Yokohama.  That this city, with how deep the corruption ran through it, was salted ground; nothing worthwhile could ever grow here.  When his thoughts would turn to a life outside the Port Mafia, he’d inevitably imagined himself somewhere else - Paris, maybe, retiring to spend the rest of his days smoking in streetside cafes and reading poetry; hell, even the countryside, where he’d finally get some peace and quiet.

 

But when it comes down to it - he can’t imagine going anywhere else.  Even after all he’s been through here, everyone he’s lost, everything he’s fought for, put his life on the line for, he can’t deny it.  Even after everything, he still loves this place.

 

He steals a glance, out of the corner of his eye, at the man beside him, whose own eyes are uncharacteristically soft as he gazes out at the skyline.

 

Maybe it’s not just Yokohama he feels that way about.