Kunikida had never met a woman like this.
It was lucky, incredibly so, that he had found himself in the supermarket line behind her. She was of small stature, thin, but not frail, her ginger hair was tied, a red ribbon keeping it in place as the pony swayed, soft locks falling between her shoulder blades. She paid for her items and handed the cashier a card and a smile.
The smile was perfect as well- a closed mouthed one, pure politeness and missing any undertone of coquettishness.
Outside the premises, her bags were too heavy, and he could see it in the way her shoulder sagged on the right side. She made her way to her car, the bag with bottles of sparkling lemon water weighing more than the bread and flour on her left side. Just as Kunikida had thought how impractical, utterly non-serviceable the packaging was, she had bent down and in a quick motion, rummaged through to replace the bottles, balancing the bags.
It satisfied some part of him to see, made him straighten his own back to carry his own balanced bags.
She walked in a stride, and he couldn’t help but watch her unload the groceries into the trunk of her car. Her skirt raised up the backs of her legs as she bent over the back bumper, and Kunikida made himself stare away for as long as she was doing so. The skirt was otherwise modest, when standing, falling right to her knees, a clean white blouse buttoned into it.
She was elegant, graceful in a way that commanded everyone around her try and replicate. Not a dark-haired beauty, but an objective beauty nonetheless.
She puffed a breath as she pushed the shopping cart back into its regular, pre-determined spot. Kunikida frowned when he realised he hadn’t started unloading his own groceries, watching her with the trunk of his car still shut. He went to fixing that.
She went back into her car, smoothing the back of her skirt as she sat, one foot at a time brought through the door. He watched her check her rear-view mirror, tilting it center and clicking the engine on.
When the door was shut, he couldn’t see the rest of her movements, except for clear blue eyes meeting his through the convex, side-view mirror. He had been caught, but she seemed not to mind, offering a slight smile- the same polite stretch of her lips, and smoothly driving away. At the end of the parking lot, as he watched the car (he noted it was an older model of his own car, but well kept, without a bruise or scratch) he heard skirting tires, an ugly black utility vehicle crashing into the mint condition rear of hers.
The red-haired woman slumped forward with inertia, hitting the horn by accident. The driver of the black SUV stumbled out of the front seat and onto the concrete ground, walking toward the open window of the woman he’d hit. He leaned a forearm to her window and leaned in, while she was busy rubbing at her head and assessing the pain.
Kunikida sprinted to her aid when the man started yelling.
“-slow! You ought to pay for the damages! I’m writing your back plate down and suing you for wrecking my car!”
Kunikida grabbed the offending man by the shoulder, turning him around to prevent any more yelling at the frightened girl. She cowered, wide-eyed.
“Excuse me, sir. But I oversaw the situation, and the lady was not at fault here.” The man he held at arms length was half a head shorter, ginger as well, a bandage covering the bridge of his nose. His hair was unevenly cut into spiking strands, and he wore a wife beater under a leather jacket smelling of smoke. It was really the type of man Kunikida pictured would be so unbecoming as to harass the girl.
“The bitch wrecked my shit!” He shook Kunikida’s arm off, spittle coming from his mouth from his shouting.
The girl trembled again, “I’m- I’m sorry- I don’t know what happened-“ she glanced between the men,” -but I, but I can pay for- I can pay.”
She hiccupped, fumbling with her purse. “I can- hic- leave my contact information.”
Kunikida pushed the brute a bit to the side, so he wouldn’t be leaning over the girl’s window, and with a gently placed hand, lowered her purse into her lap.
“There will be no need,” he promised, “I’m sure they have security cameras, and I work closely with the police, we can have this resolved in twenty minutes at most.”
She looked up through her lashes gratefully, tears wetting and sticking them together, but darkening the black of them, brightening her eyes in turn.
His breath caught only slightly, and he methodically went over the procedure, the brute snapping at him while the girl listened carefully to each word.
Once the camera footage was brought out by the staff of the store, the evidence given over, the man backed off, leaving before the police would arrive, but handing a stack of money to the girl.
She looked at it, sitting in her hand, blankly. She thanked the man who made a grunt comment, leaving Kunikida and her in the backroom of the supermarket.
She looked again at the screen displaying her car crash in reverse, and back to the stack of bills in her open palm.
“Something wrong?” Kunikida implored, thinking the retribution was fair, practical, even if he had wanted the see the man answer to law. She had been the one to be kind and forgiving, saying it was fine not to involve the police, who most likely had larger cases to solve. She was now staring at the money with a soft frown.
“No, nothing like that.” Her voice was high and airy, if with a slight rasp- it was pleasant. She spoke like a woman tutored on rhetoric. “It’s only… it’s quite a bit of money.”
“It should cover the expenses.”
"It should.” She looked up at him with her eyes glinting, the tears having dried quickly- another thing about her was she seemed to not waste her time weeping- yet her eyes were just as watery-bright. “How can I ever thank you, sir?”
He cleared his throat. “No need for thanking, really. I was simply doing my civic duty.”
“Not just civic duty, I’m sure. Not everyone would have helped. That was truly kind of you,” she insisted.
He shook his head, smiling despite himself. “It was nothing, and I’m sure you’ll pay the deed forward-“
“Then let me buy you lunch. It’s the least I can do, after all the help.” He went to decline, but she was expectant, giddy. She twirled a hand through her rusty lock unconsciously.
“That would be nice.”
In the café they’d chosen, he’d gotten a black coffee and she an unsweetened chamomile tea. They sat opposite on another in the booth, making polite conversation. He learnt her name was Chien, and it fit her perfectly.
For all that he’d met her this afternoon, she seemed at ease and comfortable talking to him like he was an old friend. It took the edge off of him to initiate topics a stranger might respond to.
“And your job? Something governmental? To have such knowledge of the law. And you said you worked closely with the police.” Chien hummed, bringing the tea cup to her chin, waiting to see if he would answer, but patient and unhurried.
“Actually, I’m a private detective.”
“How interesting!” She smiled warmly.
He wondered whether he should thank her after every word she spoke, how smoothly they rolled. She was quite beautiful.
“I’m sure you’ve heard of the Armed Detective Agency.” Although it was an unspoken standard of his not to use the Agency name leisurely, he found this woman trustworthy and it wasn’t a secret in any notable way. He wanted to impress her, and he was already an impressive man, why not put it to use?
She whispered her next words: “The special ability company? I’m sorry if I find that a bit incredible.”
“I could demonstrate for you.” He picked his ideals notebook from his inner pocket by a corner, pulling out the dark green cover. She looked at it quizzically.
His hands wrapped around the pen as he scribbled the words, a light scratch along the stiff paper. He plucked it out and noted she was looking at his face more, and not the book itself. It should have been quite the opposite, though he couldn’t blame her for not expecting it. In a moment, an utterance of words and the page in his hand shifted and crumbled into a shape, a bright outline to it, until a rose sat quietly in his hand. He extended it to her.
She widened her eyes, groomed eyebrows raising up, as a faint blush overshadowed her cheeks. “Thank you,” she murmured. And, “That’s amazing.”
They kept conversation pleasant, she was an interesting girl. She talked of her own profession, a physics teacher at a high school. She performed a trick with a quarter, having it come to a stop perpendicular to the counter, something about gravitational pull subsiding to magnetic. It wasn’t his speciality, but he recognised it was the sort of trick people clap for. He could see a glint of red in the quarter as it rolled to a stop. It reflected the sunset, perhaps, but it was more impressive when he tried, and failed, to replicate it.
She laughed in a sweet way, no mocking behind the gesture, but a careful fondness.
She then spoke of her brother, a name Kunikida recognised from his newest case, a bank broker involved with shady oversea accounts gone missing. She spoke with a tired strain the moment the topic of family came up and he wanted to rest the worry from her mind.
“We actually might have a pin on his location, if for a few more days of digging. I cannot imagine the stress this must have caused you.”
“I can’t imagine chance! To have met you, to know my brother isn’t dead in an unmarked grave.” She wipes the corner of her eye quickly, like she’d be embarrassed to have shed another tear.
“I could give you the code we use to track the ship once we board him.” She lights up at that.
“You’re that confident you’ll find him?”
If he were to start now, by six years in the future, she could have made his ideal wife. She checked the boxes off. Every box. There was the hair colour issue, but that one could be debated, and hair dye was always an option. He thought anything might suit her, with her features coming to a point at her chin, delicate but sharp, keen eyes and a good degree. Educated, kind-hearted, easy-going, lawful. If by the second date they could hold hands, by the third she can shy away, but ultimately kiss him, prove to be a woman of morale, it would fulfil this important aspect of his life. She could fit into his ideals perfectly.
A loud clapping came behind him. Somebody wolf-whistled and Chien moved her eyes from looking bashfully at her hands to frightened at something just behind himself.
“And here I thought I was going to be bored today.” Dazai’s voice rang clear in his ears and didn’t stop ringing.
Chien looked ready to dissolve, her jaw gaping and muscles drooping.
“Dazai! What’s the meaning of this?” Kunikida swerved around to face him, to yell that he was interrupting and scaring the girl.
“Ah, how far did you get? The full name? The status of the target?” He walked slowly, pushing hands in his pockets and rocking on his heels.
“I’m not here on work, numskull,” Kunikida fired back.
“Not you. Her.” Dazai whistled again. “And a pencil skirt, really? I hoped you’d at least wear something skimpier to lick at his boots.”
“What? This isn’t how you talk to a lady!” Kunikida’s hands itched to choke him.
“A lady? This is no lady. A woman, sure, but lady?”
A napkin holder whizzed past Kunikida’s cheek at Dazai. He caught it without a hitch. Kunikida returned his gaze, following the path the utensil holder took, to Chien, who was standing up, holding the edge of the table with whitened knuckles.
“So how far?” Dazai repeated. Kunikida looked between them. The calm woman who he had met this afternoon becoming sharp and angry.
“The codes almost,” Chien puffed her chest out.
Dazai sat next to him, nudging Kunikida to the side as he did. He turned a look of pity to him. “We can’t have that, Kunikida-kun. The codes? That quickly?”
“What the hell are you on about?” His mind was tethered just barely to him now, running on the few facts he was given. He looked Chien over, her impliable stance in conflict with everything he’d learnt about her.
Dazai ignored him. “What name did you use?” She didn’t answer, but flushing a different shade than she had all day. Where with Kunikida it was a blasphemous pink, a shy girl being flustered, this was brick red, every nerve in her alighted. Dazai turned to him again. “What name did she use?”
“She? Chien? You know him?” he said.
“Chien!” Dazai practically screamed. “Again? That’s like using one password for everything! Chien, the maid; Chien, the flight attendant; Chien, the stripper.”
Kunikida’s brain disentangled itself. “Stripper?!”
“No,” she said, finally sitting back down. She crossed her arms in annoyance, clicking her tongue to the roof od her mouth. “Could if I wanted to.”
He looked at Chien, the woman, whoever she was to Dazai, and tried searching her face for any clues.
“You’re going to give poor Kunikida an aneurism. Who did you tell him you were?” Dazai leaned his chin into the keel of his hands, propping elbows onto the surface.
“Physics teacher. Matter, forces…” she leaned onto her own hands, mimicking Dazai, “... gravity.”
“That’s a funny one. Tell another.” Dazai grinned. “I might have excused prostitute, but a scholar? You don’t have the capacity for that.”
“Go to hell,” she said.
“Ah, ah, ah! That’s a four letter word. You don’t want all that hard work on Kunikida-kun’s ideals going to waste,” he sang.
“I’m going to skin you alive, see what a damper that puts in his ideals.”
“Just who are you?” Kunikida asked, once over the situation, because he was trained for this, if she was a spy of some sort, he was supposed to be the counter measure to spies. And if she was familiar with Dazai, all the more reason he should know.
Dazai turned his grinning face towards him again. “Kunikida-kun, I’d like you to meet Chuuya Nakahara.” He gestured a hand towards her. “A real life bitch.”
“Is it supposed to ring a bell?” He watched her scowl, ignoring the jab himself in place of real answers.
"No, but that building that collapsed last week due to a concentrated earthquake might.” He twirled the spoon left in Kunikida’s cooled coffee.
“She did that?” he stopped addressing her entirely, and instead focusing on Dazai at some point after finding out she wasn’t the timid yet resolute woman of his dreams.
“Well, expected from a Port Mafia executive,” Dazai said. Chien looked only at Dazai, ignoring his own meltdowns, and bearing teeth at his co-worker in place.
“The Port Mafia?” Kunikida reached for his notebook.
“That won’t be necessary. You might as well finish your coffee.” She sighed, relaxing by force, watching Dazai’s hands swirl it around. “Really, you always do this.”
It was directed at Dazai, and he perked up at it, like glee was a never-drying well for him. “But now I have a reason! See, I can’t just let my co-worker give sensitive information away to every ugly hag in makeup.”
Kunikida shouted a ‘Hey!’, which went ignored, but relaxed his grip on the book, wanting to see through what Dazai had in mind. Would they be taking her hostage? She was capable of leveling a building, at the very least, and Kunikida had never been one to underestimate an opponent simply on the fact it was a woman. They had Dazai for the likely case that it was ability based threat.
“I was such an ugly hag for you to be watching me all day.”
Dazai’s face kept its same shape, the easy going posture remaining. “Tell me how you did it.”
She smiled wider, leaning more into her hand. “What?”
“Hear her say ‘what’. ‘What’- you know what. The car crash,” Dazai urged. Kunikida frowned, remembering the tremble in her arms, the manic way she brought her hands to her face in shock, to check for injury.
“That was Tachihara. You don’t know him, he joined last summer. Really, he’s a good kid. I didn’t have to cock a gun to his head to train him.” Her gaze was cold, and Kunikida wondered how those eyes turned from the pliant summer sea to the promise of an iced shipwreck.
“Is mommy Chuuya being nice to the kids?” Dazai taunted.
“You just want me to insult you back. I’m not calling you that.” she wrinkled her nose. “What a terrible father figure you make.”
“Fair enough.” Dazai brought his hands to the back of his head in a stretch, forcing Kunikida to duck. “Now what should we do with you?”
“You can move out my way,” she traced the edge of her glass, before it broke apart in spikes. “Because I’ll be getting those codes by force, it seems.”
Kunikida drew his gun, aiming for her shoulder, when Dazai sighed dramatically. “That won’t do anything. And she’s already gotten confirmation he’s alive and headed for a ship. The Mafia control the ports, it’ll be easy sailing from here.” He chuckled. “Easy sailing.”
She fiddled with the sharp juts of glass, watching them float in the air. “Yes, but it’d make my job so much easier to know which ship.”
“I pity the workload, then,” Dazai yawned, covering his mouth with a hand. “I don’t plan on spending my Friday night with you. You can find your own way back to the kennel, can’t you?”
He pushed himself from the table with both hands, cracking his back. “And take care of the bill, I placed a couple orders for this table earlier.”
He motioned with his head for Kunikida to follow, which he did with caution, not taking his eyes from her. She slammed a fist on the table. It shook from impact, rattling both the booth Kunikida was clambering out of and the glass pieces that laid on top.
“You think you’re funny?” she asked.
“I think I am.”
“I’m the one deciding when this ends.” The table cracked fully in two, trapping Kunikida’s leg inside. He jumped over it, shooting the bullets into her arm in order to maim, but not kill. They stopped just short of her skin, staying in place, the same red glow of the quarter from earlier shining against them.
“I did not read those terrible lines about morality and justice for it to be for nothing. I knew the fucker was alive, there would be no point coming otherwise. I’m not checking every minor boat in the harbour.”
“Too bad.” Dazai ducked when the bullets flew from her, crashing the window display behind him.
“Terrible lines?!” Kunikida protested, pulling his notebook out and writing in quick strokes. A taser produced itself from the vanishing paper.
“Oh! Good thinking! Here are your forces of physics, Chuuya.”
“You’re really underestimating me today, aren’t you?” The electricity pulsed out, the wires that shot out were bending before they could latch onto her, the machine useless if not allowed to even touch her.
“But it gave me time to do this.” Dazai was behind her, gripping her neck and slamming her face down into the table. His other hand bent her arms behind her back, pressing his chest to them to keep in place.
“Oh, come on. You can just say you wanted to do this the whole time, jealous bastard.” She hooked a leg under his knee and it bucked, driving him backwards.
He turned midair to grab a chair and right himself. He brought his forearm up quickly to block a hit.
“Jealous of what? You taking Kunikida-kun away from me?”
“No, but I could still convince him- I read the raunchy fantasies as well. Some I’ve already tried out.” She kicked upwards again. “You wouldn’t have a problem with that, would you?”
“No,” he said. “Kouyou Ozaki’s training doesn’t erase lightly, does it?” A muscle in her face jerked and she kicked straight into Dazai’s gut. He’d left it wide open, let himself be hit on purpose.
“You’re the bigger whore out the two of us.” She swept down Dazai’s feet, knocking him under her, this time unexpectedly. His breath left in a huff.
“Stop that.” Kunikida pointed the weapon back at her.
“You’re really going through with the taser bit. It won’t do an-“ she groaned as the electrodes stuck this time, Dazai’s hand around her ankle nullifying her ability. “Fuck, bastard- shit. Eat shit.”
It might have been an over-powerful shock, but she was a threat to the civilians around them, most out the doors the second the table had split. The staff was huddled behind the kitchen doors, watching through the crack. She convulsed, grabbing hold of Dazai’s shoulder to keep herself upright, before her muscles tensed and she fell face first onto the ground. He grasped her arms, putting them flush against her sides as Kunikida clicked the power off, rendering her dazed, but conscious.
“I think it did do something,” he told her. And turing his head up, “Nice work, partner.” She stirred at that, watching with lidded eyes up at him. She mumbled something.
“Speak up, slug.” He gripped her shoulders tighter, rolling her around so her head laid in his lap.
“-hate you,” she said. Kunikida didn’t lower the taser.
“Oi, Dazai. Start explaining exactly what she is.”
He looked up at Kunikida, a confused expression on his face. “You didn’t catch on? A physics teacher.”
“Stop joking. How do you know her?” he didn’t relent. His weapon was pointed at her, but his fingers twitched to grab hold of the man’s collar and shake.
“I don’t, this is the first time I’m seeing her in my life.” He turned the woman to face up, blurry eyes looking at him. “I’ll call for them to pick her up. Really, it’s like you didn’t even try to fight back, Chuuya.” She mumbled against his knee, blinking her eyes closed slowly.
“By them you mean the Mafia?” Kunikida asked.
“Who else? She most likely has an extraction planned. You want to take her to the Agency? What’ll we do with her?”
“We could use her as a bargaining chip. We could get information out of her, like why the mafia needed the man Yagi in the first place. Hand her over to the police for ruining the corporate center downtown.”
“We could, but we wont. She’s more use to us as a free player, and it’d be cruel to jail her. Think of the prisoners who are already locked up- isn’t prison punishment enough, without her being there?” It was a joke, but Dazai’s face was blank, no longer holding the easy grin from before.
“You’re withholding something here.”
“I am certainly not,” Dazai puffed. “I’m holding Chuuya.”
“And you can do that all the way to the Agency, where we can interrogate her properly.”
“What’s more to know- she pretended to be a nun and you fell for it. We need to write the reports for this,” he riled Kunikida, then looked around them to the rubble of the table. “A lot of damage she’ll have to pay for. Maybe I should just leave her whole wallet.”
“Dazai. We’re taking her to the Agency.” And with that, he has no choice but to relent, nagging about how annoying it will be for her to wake up and cause a scene.
“So just keep a hand on her.” Kunikida said. Dazai kept raging about her breaking his hand even without the ability, how he didn’t want to hear her talk with that pitchy voice of hers, how she was really of no use to them, how- oh, look, a beautiful little alleyway they could just leave her in.
She woke halfway through their ride back, solidly handcuffed and in Dazai’s hold still. They were sat in the back so he could stay next to her, just in case. She looked slowly around, taking in the car’s insides, the rattle of the windows as the road became bumpy.
“I’m gonna puke,” she said, before fulfilling her promise and spilling her lunch all over Kunikida’s back carpeting. Dazai moved to the side in disgust, but kept a hand on her shoulder.
Kunikida yelled back but only grumbled after Dazai reminded him whose idea it was to stuff her in the vehicle.
The executive raised her head from where it lolled between her shoulders, listening to Dazai and Kunikida’s back and forth.
“You’re bruising my arm,” she told Dazai.
“So?” he responded. His touch didm't lighten a tad.
“So- next time you decide to handle me around, you’re kissing the bottom of your grave.”
“Is that a promise?” he jumped in his seat.
“I bet you don’t even care about the banker, you just wanted to ruin my night,” she yawned.
“Any target of the Port Mafia deserves out attention. What do you need him for?” Kunikida called from the driver’s seat.
“What do you care, four-eyes? I’m not saying shit.”
Kunikida tsked. The woman was unreasonable. They could have gotten it over with ten times already if Dazai and she would speak up about everything.
She rested her head on the wobbling window, exhaling a shudder as it didn’t help past cooling her forehead.
“We can make you talk.”
She laughed, clear and irritating. Her voice was even more a rasp than earlier today when she said: “What, gonna sic the Prodigy on me?” Dazai’s grip on her arm tightened again, cutting into the material of her shirt.
“Prodigy?” Kunikida asked.
“Right.” She looked Dazai over, her eyes slightly closed to help with the migraine. “I hope you have dry cleaners on speed dial,” she said, and bent over to retch again.
Dazai had carried her into the infirmary, where Yosano took a long look at her, raising her brow in silent demand for explanation. Kunikida went to report to the director, leaving them alone. The room smelt of antiseptic, as blessed as fresh air after being stuck in that sick-wagon.
“Kunikida got a bit trigger-happy with a stun gun, and she went unconscious a while.” He lowered her onto the stretcher, frowning when she grumbled.
“You’re just bringing me random women now, or did your little trip have a purpose?”
“Oh, she’s Port Mafia. One of the top five.” He said, keeping his hand around her wrist and sitting on the side of her. Chuuya opened her eyes again, more clear than before, and tried to tug her hand out.
“’m fine. Let go.” she tried to lift herself up, and winced at the headache that accompanied her. She got as far as to lift her leg over, feet dangled from one side of the cot, her hand still trying to shake Dazai off.
“She can complain, so she’s not doing too poorly.” Yosano noted. “Why do you even have her? What happened?”
Dazai took a breath and exhaled it slowly. “We really don’t have to have her here. I’m not keen on warring with the mafia over an executive gone missing. What’s important is she didn’t get her info. Kunikida’s just…” he looked down at the figure. “She really should go.”
“You’ve brought me to your headquarters?” Chuuya asked. “I could just take the files myself. The second you let up, it’s over.”
“Then I better not.”
She would have already been out his grip and running out, if her head wasn’t swimming in her skull. “Manhandling me like that. Buy me a drink next time, shithead.”
“Like Kunikida?” Dazai drawled. The doctor’s head turned from where she was arranging her tools.
Chuuya smiled an ear-to-ear grin. “I was the one buying the drinks. I thought you were watching me.”
Yosano fully turned now, a wet cloth in her hand. Her eyebrows were up her hairline, but she would save her questions for later. Chuuya didn’t protest being laid back down, but made minor grunts about Dazai’s hold.
“He planned a second date in that notebook of his,” she mumbled. “A walk though the botanical gardens. You do that next time.”
“You’re too high maintenance. I could just string you around like this instead.” She was still grinning at him.
Yosano wiped the cloth down the flat of Chuuya’s chest, her collarbones, her neck and forehead, and Chuuya leaned into the cold touch. The room was quiet, only the rubbing of the fabric disturbing it.
It would have kept being quiet, until Kunikida made his way in, slamming the door open, and taking a look to where Chuuya’s blouse was opened for Yosano to reach. He reddened and looked away.
Dazai was pointedly bored, not interested in what was going on the bed, keeping his hand there was an unneeded extra safety. They really overdid it with the current of the taser, and even if she’d been through worse and fought, and was still conscious enough to make comments that grated his nerves, but out of her element- he held on.
Kunikida coughed in the entry, his head still turned to the side. He was waiting for them to tell him when she would be ready for interrogation. Never, Dazai thought. Don’t keep her here, she’ll make it her mission that he suffers for his earlier choices. Dazai was already suffering. Kunikida received no answer and the door shut on his way out.
Chuuya ended up closing her eyes for long enough to fall asleep after that, Dazai’s hand still nullifying the ability coursing through her bloodstream. His arm felt numb from holding over the space between the chair and bed and he opted to kick his legs up into her lap, lazing instead, waiting for her to wake up so he can rightfully kick her out. She didn’t need to be here anyways. It was just Kunikida exercising his position to save himself the embarrassment of being femme-fatale’d.
She was still in the clothes she came in and Dazai could appreciate how much thought went into appearing the ideal girl. Kunikida’s ideal girl. He kicked his leg a bit to see whether she’d wake, but she didn’t, snoring contently.
What was going to happen was Dazai waiting for her to wake up and dragging her to Fukuzawa, receiving an order to send her back to the Mafia. He wouldn’t let her have the codes just because she batted her eyelashes prettily, and she will be checking every ship, boat and buoy in Yokohama bay, because his job was on the opposite side of her now.
She slept peacefully. Chuuya was never that still, unless sleeping. Dazai had seen it post-Corruption, post- a nasty fight, post- sneaking around to her room when they were both seventeen, properly pissed off and willing. For now, he watched her sleep quietly, the silence plugging his ears.
There were surely better ways for her to get hold of the passwords. She had had to know he would show, break her plan up, or she had just planned on him being busy and getting it over with quickly. Or she simply didn’t think of him.
He didn’t like the way that twisted into his stomach and he nudged her with his foot again. Nothing. Maybe getting shocked really does take a lot out of a person.
“Wake up, Chibi. I’m getting bored.”
“Not my problem,” she muttered. He broke into a grin as one of her eyes opened to glare at him.
“And how much longer do you need?” He teased with his foot, rocking her back and forth. Chuuya dug her nails into his ankle.
“How much longer until you croak?” she asked.
He let her pretend she was asleep for another hour, sometimes breaking the monotone waiting by kicking roughly so she’d curse him out.
When she was clear and back to herself, the others filtered into the infirmary.
She sat with crossed over arms, assessing them in the same way they did her. Dazai looked pointedly not to the bed, even as he kept a hand over her. For all the director probably knew, Kunikida hadn’t done anything. And he hadn’t. Hadn’t killed her, hadn’t given the codes. Yet Dazai felt he should at least participate a little bit in the blame game.
“ -plain your connection.”
“Ya hear, Dazai? Explain our connection.” Chuuya looked at where Dazai had been zoning out, mocking Kunikida’s words.
“Oh, uh,” he skirted his gaze around the room to everyone, avoiding one of the room’s occupants, purposefully keeping her in his blind spot. “I guess you could call her an ex.”
Chuuya tugged him by his arm, gripping his hair when he got close enough. “You say that again, I cut your tongue out,” she bit the inside of her cheek, hollowing the spot visibly, turning to the detectives in the room. “I’m not some fling of his. And I’m not telling you my life’s story. You ask questions that I can be quick about or you let me go.”
“You’re not really in a position to call ultimatums.” Yosano noted. Chuuya remembered her as the doctor who screwed her head back on not hours ago, yet didn’t find the cornering amusing. Her hands twitched to rock into Dazai’s face. He was in her face like that, blank and unrelenting, and she pulled him away with the same grip she held on his scalp. He fell into the backrest of his chair, still with the hand over her arm.
“And how will you force me to talk? You’ve got some waterboarding technique I hadn’t tried already?”
“Your ability. Is it some sort of telekinesis?” Kunikida asked, jotting down in his notebook as he did. “Is it specialised?”
Chuuya scoffed at him. “That’s exactly right. I can only move objects thrown my way by snobby morons.”
Kunikida snapped his book closed. His brow furrowed almost into his nose, and a similar bare-teeth growl found itself on both their faces. So much for romantic coffee dates.
Kunikida glared in a way he must have hoped was menacing, and would have been had she not read exactly what technique he used for his menacing glares: chapter three, paragraph five.
Her answers were chipped, having Dazai translate what they asked: her gravity manipulation, how she was probably ordered to shut the baker up for good. The rest was unimportant, answers for thr sake of gaining the upper-hand. Strategy she wouldn't relent on. Fukuzawa finally excused himself, giving Dazai the task of seeing her out.
Dazai walked alongside her, politely holding a distance, if not accounting for the fingers around her arm.
She snatched her wrist out of Dazai’s palm the second she was out through the café. He followed behind her. On the street, a block away from the Agency, she stopped and turned.
“Did you get what you wanted? Because you didn’t save that man, you just gave me a headache. He dies no matter what those do-gooders of yours try.” Dazai knew that, knew the Agency would try to reach him before she does just to save him from a Mafia killing, and knows Chuuya would have managed to do it anyways. He couldn’t say why he had come. He could have warned Kunikida beforehand of who was stalking him. No- that would have led back here. He could have confronted Chuuya alone. Now he was on the brink of a race to find this useless-to-them man.
“Tuesday, noon. ‘Siragi Maru’.”
“The ship?” she asked, watching his blank face. It was easier this way. He really didn’t need a useless competition between his agency and Chuuya. He didn’t need her here at all. “So you really just wanted to waste my time.”
“Like the whole thing wasn’t a waste of time. Going for Kunikida? You’re kidding me saying it wasn’t an attention grab.”
Her grin cut him up and stitched him back. She moved in closer, until her breath was warming his chin, looking up through her lashes. They cast a long shadow down her cheeks.
“Not everything is about you, Mackerel.” Her eyes were glued to his lips, but she pushed his chest lightly to step back. “I was hoping you’d skip this one, actually."
She twirled on her heel, and called a passing cab. Dazai looked at her silently until she turned back around, a hand on the car door. She grabbed the back of her head blindly, untying the ribbon that held her hair in place and tossing it at her feet. She unbuttoned the high collar of her shirt, taking a deep breath in once it was loose.
“And you were right. I hate this skirt.” Her legs packed inside the vehicle, and she looked him through the window with a vicious smile. She mimicked shooting him in the head; her thumb cocking, index shooting up. ‘Bang’, she mouthed.