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visiting hours

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"How does it feel?"

Fyodor asks it with an air of tepid curiosity, as though his interest had boiled over the moment the bullet leaves the muzzle of the gun, and said interest has been cooled by the stare that the person in front of him gives.

Dazai Osamu is veiled in broad strokes of white - white and thin hospital walls, white and even-thinner hospital blankets, white and uttermost-thin hospital gown. it is not enough to completely erase the black tar that bubbles inside of him, a heartless hollow, pure black blood, an even blacker mind.

Evil begets evil; evil expects evil.

"It feels painful," Dazai says slowly, arching an eyebrow at him in barely-spoken challenge.

Everything is a challenge between them. There is a saying that doppelgangers meeting means catastrophe, an erasure of the other. That's what will happen between them in the future, because there can only be one demon on the utmost throne of hell.

In the meantime, it'd be interesting to have a partner for this macabre waltz.

So, Fyodor reaches out, fingers enclosed in gloves. Part of his disguise as a nurse, part of his precaution, part of his protection because the world is covered in filth.

With pinpoint accuracy, he directly pokes at the gunshot wound over the bandages. Presses with enough strength to see the bandage steadily get soaked by a bloom of red. Blood erupts in spindly patterns over the lines of cloth, spider-lilies that radiate from one more hole in Dazai Osamu's system.

Fyodor continues dipping his finger further and further, until he hears the tell-tale squelch of skin continuing to break and blood soaking up the surroundings. He keeps his eyes focused on Dazai Osamu’s the entire time, watches Dazai Osamu meet his gaze point-blank, sees the rust-colored irises burn with something that feels too intimate to be sheer hatred. Dazai Osamu, despite admitting that the wound is painful, keeps a blank face—doesn’t bite his lips to stifle pained groans, doesn’t even so much as twitch.

When he exhales, it comes out as a breathy gasp, “Ahh… harder…”

Fyodor doesn’t twitch, even though he is amused.

“Since we’re friends,” Fyodor says, in reference to their play-allegiance during the fiasco with Shibusawa Tatsuhiko, “I’ll gladly help you.”

And he pushes his finger further in, until he can feel the warmth of Dazai Osamu’s flesh sucking his finger in, until he has the proof of Dazai Osamu’s humanity in the form of flesh and blood in front of him. He curls his finger in, relishes in the way more blood trickles out. He doesn’t quite laugh, but he smirks, in madness, in malevolence.

Fyodor thinks about cutting Dazai open, using a scalpel to carve the emblem of the Rats in the House of the Dead right across the hollow space where his heart should be.

But it’s merely a passing thought.

On the communicator tucked inside his ear, there’s Nikolai’s voice, telling him to hurry up in this whimsical visit.

The communicator is tucked deep past his middle ear, but Dazai Osamu smirks up at him as though he’s able to hear Nikolai’s voice too, beads of sweat scattered over his forehead. There’s a flush on his cheeks, an almost-feral sort of violence barely kept in-check thrumming inside his eyes.

“Visiting hours are over,” Dazai murmurs, in a voice that still has the breathy quality from before. “Rats should scurry back to the sewers, hmm?”

“A pitiful cat should remain in its bed,” Fyodor answers, forcibly tearing the wound further open by hooking his fingertip against the skin, before retreating. He schools his face into a charade of a bland, forgettable nurse. But he lets a dark promise surface in his eyes as he waves goodbye at the patient in the bed, bloody gloves and all. “Until we meet again, Dazai-kun.”

Whatever Dazai Osamu’s reply is, he doesn’t linger around to listen to.

After all, evil begets evil—evil expects evil.

Fyodor is sure he knows what Dazai’s words are—a promise of returned violence ten-fold.

Fyodor grins.

He can’t wait.