It started on a Monday.
For the first time in a long time, there were no underground shootings or business deals gone wrong that needed dealing with. Mori decided to spend his time visiting the permanent residents of the underground facility. They hardly ever took patients on for more than a week at a time, but there were a few exceptions. High ranking Mafia members or dirty politicians who needed long term care they couldn’t seek anywhere. Long term medical care in complete secrecy was an expensive thing to buy, and the money made by these patients covered nearly half their total expenses.
Despite being one of the few underground doctors, Mori hardly ever visited their more permanent patients. He was far more skilled as a trauma surgeon— he had a morbidly well skill set for pulling out bullets and suturing stab wounds.
Mori handed the clipboard of the patient he just met with to one of the nurses trailing behind him. She quickly took it and exchanged it for another. “Who’s the next patient?”
“Next patient is John Doe. Age is estimated to be between thirteen and fourteen. He’s been in a coma for three months.”
Mori paused at this. An unknown patient— an unknown child— who was in a coma. This was not the typical patient they would keep around for months in a place like this.
“And why are we keeping him underground?”
“First responders said it’s likely he’s an ability user. Everyone decided it would be useful to keep him here if he wakes up.”
“Interesting.” Mori nodded along to the information. A young ability user with no background. No wonder the child was kept underground— he could prove extremely useful if he ever woke up. Keeping him here and alive was a slight gamble, but the prospective reward outweighed the cost of a bed. Everyone in the facility knew what one could do with a person who had no background-- an ability was just the cherry on top.
He wondered if the child’s ability would be one similar to Yosano-kun’s. He wondered if he could manipulate this child the same way he had with her. A replacement, if not more.
“Do we know the reason for the coma?”
Mori nodded as he entered the room of the patient.
On the bed was what could be described as a corpse, despite the tell-tale sound of a heartbeat coming from a nearby monitor.
The corpse-child was covered in a puzzle of bandages. So much so that there was hardly a need for the hospital gown when the bandages covered nearly every inch of skin on his body. The patient had brown hair that was slightly uneven and messy, Mori assumed they had to chop a few pieces off to add stitches in unconventional spots, but it seemed to be growing back even in his comatose state. The nurse confirms his theory as she rattles off explaining how he had attempted suicide by jumping off a building, and his whole body had endured trauma as a result. The bandages covering his body emphasized the injuries the nurse spoke of. Even his left eye was covered in bandages. But the right was left untouched, and the patient’s eye was closed in such a gentle manner that it was off-putting compared to the amount of injuries he had.
Mori quickly makes the decision to add the child to the list of patients he took care of personally.
The prospect of what the child could become if he ever woke up was too much for Mori to let the opportunity go.
Three weeks later, Mori got the message that the patient was beginning to wake.
Mori had been working on a prescription (for a local small-time ability user who was avoiding the pharmacies after robbing a bank last week) and quickly abandoned the work to go to the comatose child.
By the time he entered the room, the nurses were fretting around while the patient seemed to be stretching their fingers. So it was true: the unknown ability user was coming out of his coma. Mori moved closer to the patient and began inspecting him. He took a hold of the patient’s jaw with his thumb and forefinger, and tilted his head towards himself.
The patient awoke with a startle and grabbed Mori’s wrist. The grip was as firm as it could be when the patient’s muscles haven’t been used in nearly half a year.
“Who are you? Where am I?”
Mori looked down at the child. His eyes were wide-- they could be wide with confusion or fear, but he guesses it may be a bit of both.
“Underground medical facility. You’ve been in a coma for four months.”
The child looks confused, and begins to look around at his surroundings. Mori hardly expects him to process anything for at least the next day. He expects more questions to follow, maybe even crying or begging for family.
But the child doesn’t behave like a child. His reaction couldn’t hardly be announced as human. He looks around the room as he processes the information, and his face doesn’t portray any emotion. Mori decides right there and then that this is no longer a child, but just a tool for him to use.
“I can’t recall much about myself.” The patient tries to sit up, only to be pushed back into a reclining position by a nurse. “Will my memory come back?”
A person with no history was an opportunity, and above all else, Mori never let opportunities go to waste. What a wonderful tool he would prove to be. Mori could already see how the patient could factor into his future plans.
“It’s hard to say. How much do you recall right now?”
The patient stares at the ceiling for a bit before answering. “I remember attempting suicide. I don’t recall why. I know I’m probably fourteen and my blood type was AB and my favorite color was blue. I don’t recall my family, or if I had family, or where I lived or where I went to school.”
Mori nods. “Do you remember your name?”
The patient stares at the ceiling again. A few minutes pass, and Mori starts to expect that he will just not answer before--
“Dazai. I know that for sure. I think my given name was Osamu. I’m not sure.”
Mori smiles and writes down Dazai Osamu on the patient’s medical files. He moves around the room for a bit with the nurses, making adjustments here and there and checking his movement and reflexes.
Mori eventually takes his leave. He goes to his office and waits until he has no more workload for the day to begin his research.
He begins with searching through the Port Mafia’s records first. He doesn’t expect to find anything from his first source, but he does-- There was a man who worked for the Port Mafia years ago with the family name of Dazai years ago. He looks into the man’s family, and he finds just what he is looking for.
Osamu’s father was a medium ranked Port Mafia member. He wasn’t high enough to be truly feared, but he was still regarded with respect. Despite his Mafia connections, the man married and had a family. Nine children, of which Osamu was the youngest.
Most, if not all, were now dead. There were only two members of the Dazai family remaining-- three, if you count the patient. Mori writes down their names and their home addresses and their occupation and everything else he found on them.
After his research, Mori begins working on a prescription for Dazai-kun. The medicine will help fix any sluggishness he will come to feel, and it will help him regain his motor skills in his body, and it’ll help with his memory issues.
Help is a subjective word, because the medicine won’t help Dazai regain his memories like the child may wish, but it will help Mori.
Mori has plans for the future. Dazai Osamu has become the perfect tool for the future he has planned for himself, the Port Mafia, and now the walking corpse he had custody of.
Chuuya hated Tuesdays.
Chuuya never really attended school for Mondays to be his least favorite day of the week as most other children, so he hates Tuesdays just for the hell of it. There wasn’t much of a reason to hate the day of the week, but it was one of those things you just disliked for the sake of disliking.
Chuuya did come to have a reason for hating Tuesdays soon enough.
It was a Tuesday afternoon when his-- friends? Family? Gang? Chuuya could go on and on looking for words that described what the sheep had been to him, but none would work to accurately describe them. He thought they were family who were held together by a thirst to survive, but it seems he was alone in that thought. They were friends, then, maybe once, but were friends supposed to have a leader who they used for their ability? But they were still more than just a street gang. Chuuya didn’t know what to call them. Fuck, he was getting off topic.
It was a Tuesday afternoon when they stabbed him in the back (literally and metaphorically, Chuuya cursed under his breath) and he had to make a deal with that motherfucking kid he had been dealing with recently.
Chuuya hated the Port Mafia, but that hate had blossomed into respect after he met the leader of the Port Mafia.
Mori was a good leader. Chuuya had tried and failed at being a good leader, and there wasn’t much he failed at or even admitted to failing at, so he immediately respected Mori. He could see that everyone in the Port Mafia listened to him. Mori gave him advice and a position, and Chuuya decided to swear his loyalty to not only the Port Mafia but Mori himself.
Some could say loyalty could become Chuuya’s Achilles heel, but he begged to differ. If the sheep were more loyal to him than Chuuya wouldn’t even have had to join the Port Mafia. Besides, as dirty as the Port Mafia’s hands were, Chuuya enjoyed the work and he enjoyed being under Kouyou’s care and he enjoyed not having to be the leader for once.
Honestly, the only downside to being in the Port Mafia was the fucking little bitch Dazai. Half of their arguments were childish and surface level-- Chuuya knew Dazai was just teasing him to watch the reaction he could get, but there was no way in hell Chuuya wasn’t going to strangle him the next time he insulted the fucking hat.
But, beneath Dazai’s childish behaviors, Chuuya knew Dazai was seriously messed up.
He watched him shoot a corpse just for the sake of it. All the while, he laughed like something out of the movies Kouyou showed him once. Chuuya was not afraid to fuck shit up, but there was something in the way Dazai destroyed things, especially people, that made Chuuya feel uneasy. And seeing as he was a fucking god of destruction, that was saying something.
When Dazai destroyed people, he was hollow. He was too… emotionless, empty, nothing. Dazai could destroy and destroy without expressing any real emotions, like a fucking black hole. Chuuya wasn’t even sure if he had ever seen Dazai express a real emotion since they met.
Dazai and Chuuya were friends. Sorta. Not really. Chuuya sometimes hated Dazai’s guts, but also relied on Dazai an unfair amount due to their abilities. They were partners, too. Kind of. People called them Double Black. They didn’t work together on missions often, only when things were really bad.
Chuuya chose to ignore Dazai the majority of the time, for both of their sake. He turned a blind eye to most of Dazai’s cruelty to others and pretended he didn’t notice what was happening until all was said and done. Sometimes he would interrupt Dazai, but that usually led to Dazai turning cold and-- it was weird, when Dazai wouldn’t say anything and start avoiding Chuuya with that same fucking nothing. It felt like he was plotting against him or something, so Chuuya usually bit his tongue and let Dazai do whatever the fuck it was he did. All of their interactions became dictated by childish arguments so neither would have to acknowledge the elephant in the room that was Dazai.
It was fine, Chuuya settled on. He didn’t care. Chuuya could do his thing, and the asshole could do his.
Kouyou was called to Mori’s office the Wednesday after they had just welcomed their two new youngest Port Mafia executives.
Compared to the old boss, Mori was a miracle in the Port Mafia. Their work field was not a kind one by any means, but the old boss had been downright cruel for cruelty’s sake. From what she knows of Mori, he was too logical to make such mistakes. The Port Mafia had turned over a new leaf under his leadership, and this boss did not scare her nearly as much as the old boss had.
She kept her head high as she entered his office. Kouyou was an executive, and not only one of the most reliable, but with the recent addition of Chuuya and Dazai to the executive position, she was now one of the oldest as well. It wasn’t too rare for her to get called to Mori’s office.
Mori was seated when she entered. He was writing something down on a file. After she entered, he made a motion to the bodyguards situated by the door to leave the room.
Mori did not scare her as much as the previous boss, but that did not mean Mori did not scare her. Kouyou tensed as she waited for him to speak.
“I have a mission for you.” Mori looked her directly in the eye. “This requires complete secrecy. No one but you may know what this is about.”
Mori waited for Kouyou to nod before handing her the file he had been writing on. It was hidden from outsiders in a plain folder.
“You are to assassinate these people. Get rid of the bodies, as well. That is all.”
Kouyou left the room as soon as she was excused.
She goes back to her own office and as soon as there is no one nearby to look over her shoulder, she opens the file to meet her targets.
It was a pair of siblings: one man and one woman. The man was 21, a year older than herself, and the woman was 18. They both had brown hair, though it seemed the woman had recently added some sort of highlights to her hair at the time the photo she is looking at was taken. They are both together in the photo, smiling in front of a graveyard with nine graves behind them in the photo.
The pair of siblings and the graves were all labelled with the family name Dazai. Kouyou has no clue where or how Mori had received this photo, but it is clear she is to kill the two remaining members of the Dazai family.
Kouyou begins to pack her belongings. The file says the siblings moved across the country a few years ago, so she expects the job to take a few days at least. She writes a note behind for Chuuya, telling him she is monitoring a foreign business deal for a few days. Chuuya should be somewhere else in the headquarters, training new rookies on combat. It wouldn’t be too difficult to tell him in person, but the quicker she finishes this particular mission the better.
Kouyou has always tried to protect the children of the Port Mafia. She was a young teen when she had been pressured into joining the organization, and not much older when she was forced into staying with the corpse of the man she loved in her arms. The Port Mafia was not a place for childhoods, but she always tried to take custody of younger members so she could allow them to have a bit more of a childhood than she herself had.
She never considered Dazai one of those children she should protect. It was cruel and horrible of her, she would not deny, but Dazai was terrifying. He always seemed more monster to her than human. She never really regarded him as a child, and chose to protect Chuuya over Dazai.
Kouyou knows she has failed Dazai. But it couldn’t be helped. Dazai was Mori’s, and even if she had a change of heart, it was far too late for her to do anything.
If Kouyou passes Dazai on the way out of the Port Mafia and avoids eye contact-- who’s to say.
And if a few days later, after Kouyou rids of her targets, she chooses to cremate their bodies and spread the ashes over the set of graves she saw in the photo-- well, it’s not like there are any witnesses left to say anything.
Dazai Osamu did not have a past. He was a cruel creation of Mori, and Kouyou had no say in the matter.
But may have God have mercy on all the children of the Port Mafia, Kouyou thinks.
Ango met with his friends on a Thursday evening. By the time he arrived, Dazai and Odasaku were in the midst of an age-old argument that they seemed to have more often as of recent. Neither paid him much mind as he sat down beside them and ordered his drink.
Dazai was smiling at Odasaku. “Your reasons for refusing to write your novel are really fucking stupid, you know. No one else would agree with you.”
Odasaku doesn’t visibly react to Dazai’s reactions. He never reacts the way Dazai wants, anyway. “There’s too much blood on my hands for me to use them to create something.”
“Let me guess: society won’t stand for it?” Dazai laughs as if he is mocking something. “But isn’t society a bit too dissolute to care? Life is cruel. We have children dying in the underground. Dying in the slums, and the battlefield, and the orphanages, and everywhere in between. If no one chooses to stop those acts of cruelty, no one will care if you write your novel, Odasaku. You’re the only one who won’t stand for it.”
Ango stays silent. This is a common argument Dazai provokes with Odasaku after hearing his story about the writer and the novel for the first time. Ango has spoken minimally on the topic. Truthfully, he believes in the law. He doesn’t think either of his friends are truly good people, but he thinks Odasaku is as close to being a good person as he himself is. Which may not be very much, Ango decides, seeing as he was close to betraying his friends.
“Even if I’m the only one, I don’t want to spread my sins to others.”
Dazai laughs again. “Hm. And what if I tell you that living itself is the source of sin?”
Ango listens as their argument continues for a bit before Dazai changes the topic to something lighter. Ango has noticed before that Dazai is afraid of disappointing Odasaku in a way he isn’t with anyone else. Dazai seems to respect Odasaku for a reason no one except Dazai could know-- trying to understand why Dazai did things would always end up leaving you more confused than when you began.
Before he joined the Port Mafia, Ango recalls the meetings with his boss about some of the more dangerous members he should avoid. Dazai was one of them. A demon prodigy who scared the fuck out of everyone he met because nothing he said or did was genuine. A Port Mafia executive covered in bandages no one knew about. He was an astounding liar and astounding manipulator.
When he thought of how he may accidentally cross paths with Dazai, Ango wasn’t really expecting to meet a seventeen-year-old who ambushed him one day in the library just for the sake of it. A teenager who dragged him to a bar, where he really shouldn’t even be allowed entrance because he was a teenager and very clearly below the legal drinking age. But no one ever mentioned it. No one mentioned it when his voice cracked or his face broke out or he had to start learning how to shave the hair on his chin.
Rather than just avoiding mentioning it, Ango wondered if anyone else even notices it. Maybe it was because he wasn’t raised in the Port Mafia like most of the members in the organization that he was able to notice that Dazai was just a teenager at times. He wonders if Odasaku even noticed, too. Sometimes Ango thinks that Odasaku forgets he should treat Dazai more like a teenager than a double-edged sword of a friend.
Or maybe not. Maybe the whole demon prodigy thing overpowered the whole underage thing. Ango wouldn’t know, he was just a government official.
Odasaku takes his leave shortly after the topic changes. The conversation doesn’t go anywhere for much longer, and he has business to take care of.
Ango continues to play around with the words Dazai said before changing the topic: Living itself is the source of sin. What an interesting choice of words.
Days of the week didn’t really matter much when every day was close to hell, but it was a Friday night when Akutagawa met Dazai.
He was a child of almost-fifteen, and Dazai was an adult of seventeen.
Akutagawa was covered in the blood of his friends. His eyes were wide, and he’s sure he probably looked a little feral the way he stared at Dazai when he proposed the opportunity to join the Port Mafia to him.
Joining the Port Mafia was an experience. He wasn’t completely alone (he thanked every god and God that Gin was alive and by his side.) He was given new clothes for what must’ve been the first time in his life, given meals at almost-regular times, given the opportunity to own his own apartment for the first time in his life. He began to grow up quickly in the first few years he had joined: learning how to open a bank account for his new hefty Port Mafia salary, learning how to cook proper meals for Gin and himself, learning how to fight in a way that wouldn’t rely on miracles.
Dazai was the one who brought Akutagawa to the Port Mafia. He was his mentor.
Akutagawa didn’t know how to feel about Dazai.
Gin told him he should hate him. That he was a terrible, manipulative asshole for how he treated Akutagawa. Sometimes he agreed with his sister, but most other times he would get defensive with her. They would get into arguments because Gin thought Akutagawa was either a dumbass or had Stockholm syndrome, and Akutagawa thought Gin was wrong because Dazai made him stronger. Plus, Akutagawa liked to emphasize as his final point, without the Port Mafia we would still be starving on the streets.
In the end, Dazai became a topic they avoided at the dinner table.
It would be very easy for Akutagawa to hate Dazai.
During his first mission with the Port Mafia, Akutagawa had nearly been killed by the ability user he was fighting. He knew the him of just a few months previous would’ve probably died in seconds after the encounter. But after two months of Dazai’s cruel training, Akutagawa was able to get back up everytime during the fight. He left the mission alive, and the other did not.
His gratefulness for not being dead quickly grew into an unhealthy idolization of a flawed man.
To Akutagawa, Dazai was just. He was more experienced, more talented, more knowledgeable, and everything he should learn to be. He learned to bite his tongue during training just because Dazai-san says my temper is going to get my killed one day and if he says it then it’s probably true and I don’t want to die. He learned to get up no matter what because Dazai-san says if I don’t get better at recovering after a blow than the enemy will be able to make sure I stay down and I don’t want to die. And he learned because Dazai-san says.
Life would probably be a lot easier for Akutagawa if he learned to hate Dazai. He doesn’t. He becomes terrified of failure and follows Dazai’s orders through and through because Dazai has taught him everything that has kept him alive in his new life.
But Dazai also didn’t teach him a lot of other things, Akutagawa will realize much later on. Dazai never taught Akutagawa how to stop the chain of abuse from growing to more children, or how to stop ugly emotions from festering until they grew dangerous, or how to simply live for the sake of living.
But Dazai taught Akutagawa what he knew. Akutagawa should hate him. He can’t. It’ll probably end up getting him killed one day.
Kunikida was called into the Agency on a Saturday afternoon, and he was prepared to argue overtime when Fukuzawa introduced a new member to the trio of detectives.
The Agency didn’t have a large staff. Kunikida himself was still the newest addition to the agency— Ranpo and Yosano had been there since what was practically the beginning of the Armed Detective Agency. Still, the three of them had been working together for a few months by now, and Kunikida knew they didn’t hire detectives very often. When they did, there was always a reason.
Fukuzawa didn’t offer an explanation or backstory for why this man-- Dazai Osamu, 22, and looking forward to saving orphans or whatever it is you guys do-- was joining them. When Kunikida joined, Fukuzawa had explained in embarrassing detail to Ranpo and Yosano why he was there, but Dazai was given no such treatment.
So to say from the very beginning Dazai peeved Kunikida wouldn’t be incorrect. But he was a professional, and he could handle frustration in a very mature manner.
(Ignore the pile of broken pens, thank you very much.)
Kunikida was almost always frustrated with Dazai. He doesn’t arrive on time and is hardly there. He doesn’t do his work when he is there. He makes excuses and forces others to do what he wants. His laziness makes Kunikida want to shake him and say Why did you even bother joining the Agency?
He doesn’t do that, because Kunikida is a professional, and it is an unspoken rule not to say anything about Dazai’s past. Not that any of them, save for Ranpo, could ever hope to truly understand his past.
Despite Kunikida’s annoyance by Dazai’s childishness when it came to work ethic, he wasn’t dumb. He could see how intelligent Dazai was. Ranpo was a genius when it came to deduction, but Dazai reigned when it came to manipulation. Dazai could play people as if he wasn’t a person himself. No one could really see where the puppet strings Dazai controlled led to except for the man himself. Kunikida could predict a future where the Agency becomes one big puppet for Dazai.
So, Kunikida chooses to become his partner. He tries to force Dazai to take responsibility. Kunikida emphasizes the consequences of mistakes and failures in their field, because people’s lives are important to Kunikida, and their lives really should be important to Dazai too.
Kunikida likes to think it works just a little. Dazai of twenty-two is different from Dazai of twenty, and he imagines he is different from Dazai of childhood as well.
Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.
The staff at the orphanage were such protestants, Atsushi could recall more bible verses than needed.
Atsushi’s life was changed the day he dragged some vagabond looking man from the city river. Quite a miracle if he’s ever heard one. He likes to imagine that the dirty river he pulled Dazai from was a stream connected to the rivers Euphrates or Tigris, and that the water unknowingly flowed from the garden of Eden and delivered Atsushi a savior in the form of dirty bandages.
Atsushi knows Dazai isn’t perfect, but he doesn’t really care about that as much as he should.
At the beginning, he thought Dazai was wholly good because he gave some random orphan he found a job, a home, and a family. But the more he worked as a detective and the more he met enemies from the Port Mafia and other organizations, he learned that not many others think Dazai is a good man. Almost close to none, really.
Truthfully, if Atsushi had met the Dazai of the past, he isn’t sure if he would still be able to look at him in such a positive light. But he did not meet Dazai of two, four, or six years ago. He met the Dazai of today and now, and Atsushi likes to think that his Dazai and the Dazai everyone else met have become different people.
As the Agency gets closer to the Port Mafia, many are wary and scared of Dazai. But more than that, the Mafia members seem confused. Atsushi never met the man that they know, but he doubts it was the Dazai he knows.
Either way, Atsushi doesn’t really care whether or not Dazai was an asshole before he met him. It is careless of him to think that way, sure, but Dazai saved him. He could be more empathetic to everyone’s differing opinion considering all the crimes Dazai committed in the past but beyond surface level recognition of what Dazai had done, Atsushi really didn’t care.
The man he met was nice and cared about Atsushi. So he chose to focus on how Dazai treated him instead of how he had treated others.
He told Dazai he thought he was a good person, and Dazai laughed because he was clearly the only one who thought that. Which was fine. Atsushi’s opinion still didn’t change as much as it should because he was selfish and stubborn and insensitive.
Atsushi liked to say that you cannot know how others feel unless you experienced the very same thing.
Lazy Sunday afternoon, Dazai and Atsushi were walking back to the dorm complex after Kunikida called them both in over some missing reports.
“You know,” Dazai is using the tone that he always uses when he says something Atsushi won’t be able to fully understand. It happens quite often. “As far as things go, I’m pretty disqualified from being human, don’t you think?”
Atsushi wonders where the choice of conversation came from, but he goes along with it.
“Dazai-san, I literally turn into an immortal tiger being under a full moon. You’ve met literal gods and eldritch monsters before. How would I— they, be considered human before you?”
Dazai laughed. “Maybe it’s just up to interpretation then.”