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“Fufufu, if you’d like, I can introduce you to the manufacturer of the world’s biggest bullet.” Fyodor leans back against the glass wall of his cell, looking like a languid leopard moments before it leaps for a kill. “Free of charge, even, given our very lovely friendship.”

“Introduce, huh… Doesn’t that sound impersonal?” Dazai’s back is also pressed against his own glass wall, loose-limbed and lazy like a cat in the middle of sunbathing. “I’m sure you’d want me to be very acquainted with the bullet itself.”

“Hmm, I do wonder,” Fyodor says, wistful and capricious in his whims. His eyes glitter like amethysts before they’re plucked from their ores, purples cloudy with darkness. “If I have you shot just in your cerebellum, will you still be able to keep this up?”

“Fufufu~” Dazai giggles with an amusement reserved for studying a cadaver, all morbid fascination that is looked down on by society. He sets his mouth in a sharp, jagged smirk, just short of baring his teeth in challenge.

Fyodor tilts his head in acceptance.

Dazai continues, “That is a worrisome kink that you have there, Fyodor-kun~! So you want to see me paralyzed? Prostrate at your feet while I gaze at you with such lo~ving~ hatred~? Ahh, ahh, ahh—” And then Dazai cuts himself off, cuts off the breathy moans he’s mastered from hundreds of visits to pleasure houses, and continues, without molting off his expression of venomous disdain, “—ah, apologies, I might have thrown up a little in my mouth.”

“That sounds appropriately disgusting,” Fyodor tells him cheerfully, mimicking the curved scythe of his smirk. “Should we have you inspected by the guards?”

“Ooh, your concern is so touching, I think I’m about to throw up for real!”

“Is that so?”

“That is so~”

“Officer~” Fyodor mock-calls, sing-song escaping his throat in the same way a chirp escapes a songbird’s beak just before it’s crushed. “Dazai-kun needs assistance over here~” And then, Fyodor stops, blinking owlishly across him. “Now that I think about it, shouldn’t you be used to that sensation? The putrid scent of your own lies and the dripping acid of your own naughty plans, all converged in the cusp of your tongue?”

“Mm, how poetic, bravo, bravo~” Dazai doesn’t bother mock-clapping. He stays in the same lazy sprawl, his legs spread open to the best of his abilities, the prison jumpsuit thin enough to invite the cold to seep in to his bones, made of cheap enough fabric that it chafes at his skin. Both of his hands lay limp on his sides, palms upturned as though to proclaim harmlessness oozing from every pore. “Though, I’d object to being called naughty by you, Fyodor-kun, surely that kind of word shouldn’t be used on a first date?”

“This is our first date?”

“Oh, is it not?” Dazai tilts his head slightly as he forms an ‘o’ with his mouth, just before he makes a lascivious, slow-motion lick of his lips, flicking his tongue forward—a tempting seduction, a hissing warning of a rattlesnake. “After I’ve dressed up and everything!”

“Mm, since we’re dressed up in the same way, does that mean we’re very compatible?”

“I did make sure to get a nice, long bath before I changed to these clothes.” Dazai licks his lips again. “Did you?”

“I’m not very certain it did you any favors,” Fyodor enunciates his words with every bit of sincerity he doesn’t possess. “I can still see your plans and thoughts written all over your face. Perhaps spending time with such herbivorous sinners isn’t the best of ways to sharpen your wit, Dazai-kun.”

Dazai doesn’t twitch at having the Armed Detective Agency brought into the equation. Instead, he maintains the same disturbing calm. “Perhaps that is a sign you should take a bath too. Your eyes are covered with such murky film, after all.”

“Is that so?”

“That is so,” Dazai murmurs with great conviction. “Since we’re on the topic of baths, can you suggest a good bath soap for me?”

“Hydrochloric acid to first wash off your skin away, then finish it off with a gargle of high-octane gasoline.”

“How naughty!” Dazai grins like he’s supremely delighted by the suggestion. “Is that your way of saying you want to get rid of my clothes so badly? And that my mouth is fit to start a fire?”

“Yes, I do want you to bare your insides to me,” Fyodor says dreamily, eyelids falling to a half-mast. He slithers slightly down, his shoulders knocked against the wall as his back arches subtly, raising his hips to the air as his legs spread out even more, his knees nearly falling off the thin prisoner’s cot. “Your sinew and bone, the flecks of your gray matter, the black tar of your blood – I’d like to dip my hands in them and put them all in a blender before throwing it out as fertilizer.”

“You’re going to waste my body just like that?” Dazai slinks down further as well, copies Fyodor’s movements so that they’re both in that repose, a terrifying twin tableau featuring twin terrifying grins that showcase their teeth. “I’d have thought you’d love to consume me.”

“Is that what you truly wish for?” Fyodor’s gaze makes it obvious that he does not care one whit for accomplishing Dazai’s wishes. “If you truly do, then, as a friend, I would love to make sure your wish comes true.”

“Oho?”

“However, I think I’d do you a better favor.” Fyodor’s syllables slices into the space separating them, his tone a whisper of steel exposed to a conflagration, scorching and sharp. “In the name of our friendship, maybe I should let your tiger cub protégé clean your bones after.”

Dazai’s lips twitch the slightest millimeter. Fyodor watches him carefully, beady eyes nearly glowing.

“After,” Fyodor continues with the glee of a monster after a successful gorging, “a certain pet of yours drink your blood and chase your scattered bones, that is.”

There is silence for two minutes, only punctuated by their slow, careful breathing, matching rise-and-fall of their chests as they consider each other.

Inside Dazai’s ribcage, comes: .. / .-- .. .-.. .-.. / -.- .. .-.. .-.. / -.-- --- ..- --..-- / ..-. -.-- --- -.. --- .-. / -.. --- ... - --- . ...- ... -.- -.--

Fyodor smiles beatifically. “My, what an honor to receive Dazai-kun’s promise!”

“Oh?” Dazai repeats the rhythm of his heart, I will kill you, Fyodor Dostoevsky, three more times as he watches Fyodor’s smile grow, until it’s like a crescent moon etched on the darkness of the other’s face. “Have you perhaps taken up some psychic methods?”

“No, no, no, nothing that fancy.” Fyodor hums a little, as he says, “I have simply managed to understand the depths of your heart, Dazai-kun.”

“Now I know you’re lying. I have no heart at all, Fyodor-kun~!”

“Is that so?”

“That is so.”

“Fufufu~”

“Hahaha~”

“Is that why your pulse raced at the thought of getting consumed by your dog?”

“You make it sound like I never feed my pet otherwise,” Dazai points out, returning Fyodor’s lack of mercy or tact with his own parry, “but perhaps that’s because that’s what you do to your own pets, hmm?”

“Oh, trust me,” Fyodor says with an undisguised snort at the words, “if I had your pet as my own, I’d make sure he always has enough destruction to gorge himself on.”

“Are you sure you want that kind of dog?” Dazai shifts his hand so that he’s palming his groin over the jumpsuit in slow, teasing motions. “He only ever knows how to slobber all over the place, you know?”

“Does he nip at your ankles? Unearth the skeletons you’ve buried in your backyard?”

“He likes sniffing his own ass,” Dazai says flatly, pressing the heel of his palm sharply over his crotch.

Fyodor copies his hand’s motions, slowly teasing himself over his jumpsuit.

Both of them remain limp; both of their bodies burn with hatred chained down within their own spaces.

Spaces that they wish to violate so dearly.

While in this prison, Dazai communicates to the outside world using his heartbeat to form Morse Code. Fyodor knows that Dazai is using this method. Dazai knows that Fyodor knows that he is using this method. Fyodor knows that Dazai knows that he knows—

While in this prison, Fyodor communicates to the outside world using his heartbeat to form Morse Code. Dazai knows that Fyodor is using this method. Fyodor knows that Dazai knows that he is using this method. Dazai knows that Fyodor knows that he knows—

In any case, there is only one solution to this.

Fyodor talks to Dazai in a ploy to mess up with his heartbeat.
Dazai talks to Fyodor in a ploy to mess up with his heartbeat.

Weaving sharpness into their words, the two of them slice at each other across the space separating them.

Fyodor asks, whimsical in appearance and caustic inside, “Will he be a good dog and come chasing his owner?”

Dazai smiles and doesn’t answer. His heartbeat only falters for the briefest of moments, but he doesn’t send out a message that says, tell the chibi to not come here, it’s dangerous. Maybe he should, really, because Chuuya likes being contrary. But he doesn’t. He keeps on smiling and he keeps on showing that he isn’t rattled at all, not by Fyodor’s jabs, not by the masquerade of seduction.

Fyodor smiles and doesn’t ask further. His heartbeat only falters for the briefest of moments, but he doesn’t send out a revised set of instructions on how to deal with Nakahara Chuuya should he come blazing into the prison’s perimeters.

The two of them smile, twin dark scepters looming inside their cages.

“You are a truly hateful person, Dazai-kun.”

“Same to you, Fyodor-kun.”

“Is that so?”

“That is so.”

“Fufufu.”

“Hahaha.”

Today’s conversation draws to a close, as the two kings wait inside their own glass castles.