When Chuuya receives the memo about his transfer, he has mixed feelings. Sure, he likes his current dorm—in their three years together, he, Akutagawa, and Tachihara have settled into a comfortable system—but Akutagawa’s changing dorms, too, and living alone with Tachihara would just feel strange after all this time. Besides, he’s only here for another year or two, so what does it matter who they stick him with? Although he does find it a bit suspicious that the email so adamantly evaded mentioning his new roommate’s name.
Nonetheless, Chuuya stands, a stuffed duffel bag in one hand and a small suitcase at his feet, outside his new flat, the other hand raised to knock for a third time. There is no response. Heaving an irritated sigh, he tries the doorknob. It swings open, and Chuuya steps inside and immediately loses his breath.
There is a man—his roommate, presumably—hanging from the ceiling.
“Would you stop that noise?” his roommate asks pleasantly, facing away from Chuuya. “I'm trying to commit suicide.” Then, as an afterthought, “Although, it doesn't seem to be working. Could you get me down from here?”
Numbly, Chuuya complies, trying not to wonder how the man can even talk with a noose around his neck, fastened to a beam above another door. His roommate drops to the floor and straightens, smoothing wavy brown hair with hands wrapped in white bandages, and before he even turns around, Chuuya feels his stomach sinking.
No… no, God, please, no…
Honey-brown eyes lock with Chuuya’s, and his roommate grins. “You must be the new roommate. Hey. I’m Dazai.”
In his mind, Chuuya punches a wall.
Dazai Osamu. Of course he knows Dazai. No, that’s not quite right—he knows of Dazai. Despite never having met the man before now, Chuuya has heard tales of his suicidal tendencies, his shameless flirting, his almost terrifying genius—and his reputation for going through more roommates each year than a dog chews through treats.
Chuuya whips out his phone, going straight to his email to request that they send him back—but there’s already a message from the college board. Skimming the words, a part of Chuuya shrivels and dies.
By now you will have met your new roommate. Doubtless you wish to transfer back to your previous dorm, but this is no longer possible. Three students have requested to be transferred out of his dorm this semester alone, and we simply can’t keep this up. You’re the fourth and, we’re afraid, the final. Our deepest, most sincere apologies.
Lowering his phone in silent dejection, Chuuya looks up to see that the grin on Dazai’s face has widened.
“You’re Chuuya, right?” he says, dragging the vowels. “I think we’ll get along just fine. Even though you so rudely interrupted my suicide.”
Chuuya grits his teeth. “What… what the hell were you thinking ?”
“I just told you. I was trying to commit suicide.”
“Obviously,” Chuuya snaps. “But. In the dorm ? On the day your new roommate is coming? That’s just… inconsiderate .” He glares at Dazai. “If you’re going to kill yourself, at least do it outside .”
“But it’s freezing outside,” Dazai whines, motioning to the yellowing leaves fluttering past the window.
“So? That won’t matter when you’re dead, will it?”
“So cold, Chuuya. No wonder your old roommates kicked you out.”
Chuuya’s jaw drops. “Kicked me out? My roommates love me! You’re the reason I’ve been relocated, just because you refuse to live without someone to annoy. At least be grateful !”
“Pft, why should I be grateful? They’ve sent me a midget.”
“ What was that? ”
“I said, they’ve sent me a midget.” He frowns, faux concern all over his face. “Are you so close to the ground you can’t even hear my voice? That must be difficult. Poor Chuunibyou.”
“Say that again. Say it, I dare you!”
“No, you probably won’t be able to hear me again. Chuunibyou.”
“I don’t want to be insulted by a goddamn mummy. What are those bandages even for ?”
“They’re a better accessory than your tacky hat, that’s for sure.”
“Don’t you even look at my hat—”
“That’s fine with me.”
“—and who uses bandages as an accessory?!”
“People with better taste than whoever designed that hat.”
“You—!” Chuuya forces himself to stop. This isn’t going anywhere. Slowly, he lets out a breath. “Whatever. You can think whatever you want. I don’t care. Just… just stay away and don’t even talk to me.”
“That’ll be difficult, seeing as we’re roommates,” Dazai says dryly. “But, as you wish.”
Chuuya suspects that Dazai plans to do the opposite, but he bites his tongue for now and picks up his bag, brushing past Dazai and ducking around the noose hanging in the doorframe to enter the small bedroom that isn’t occupied. That’s one perk, at least, of being Dazai’s roommate—he had to share a room with Akutagawa and Tachihara, before.
Chuuya sets a silver-framed photograph of Kouyou, his adoptive mother, on the bedside table, and puts his phone on the charger, tossing it onto a bed covered with a black blanket. By the time he’s finished hanging his clothes and arranging his collection of literature, it’s already late in the afternoon. He takes a deep breath, counts to ten, and walks into the living room. It’s small, too, slightly smaller than the two bedrooms together, furnished with a couch, a two-seater table, and an adjoined kitchenette with a fridge the same height as he is. Chuuya opens it and growls.
“Dazai,” he says to the soft sound of approaching footsteps, “where the hell is your food?”
“Right in front of you. Is your sight as bad as your hearing?”
Chuuya ignores the comment, pulling a half-empty box of cereal and a carton of milk out of the fridge. “This is all you have. This is what you’ve been living on?” He turns incredulous blue eyes on his roommate. “What are you?”
Dazai shrugs. “My life’s goal is to die. What’s the need for good food, then?” He pauses. “Besides, I can’t cook. The last time one of my roommates made me try, there was a fire and the whole building had to evacuate.”
At a loss for words, Chuuya sets the two items down on the table with a bang and slams the fridge shut. “Fine. We’ll have… this… for dinner tonight. But tomorrow, I’m buying proper food, and you’re going to eat like a normal human being , got it?”
“Aw,” Dazai smirks. “Is Chuunibyou worried about me?”
“I already told you, you’re not allowed to die in the dorm,” Chuuya snaps back. “You can jump off a cliff the minute you leave, but I’m not having your sorry corpse stinking up this place as long as I’m in it.”
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Dazai replies decisively, placing two bowls and spoons on the table.
Chuuya seethes quietly, watching Dazai prepare his… meal… and suddenly his eyes widen.
“What… what are you doing ?” he whispers hoarsely.
Dazai only smirks as he closes the lid of the milk bottle and picks up the cereal box. “What, does this bother you? How unfortunate.” Slowly, deliberately, he tips the cereal into the bowl, smiling as it hits the milk and splashes.
At that moment, Chuuya realises: his roommate is a sadist.
Late at night, Chuuya stares at the ceiling from his bed, missing the ceiling of his old dorm. He has managed to avoid Dazai since dinner, taking the stairs rather than the lift when they left for evening classes, and rushing back to get home before him, but he can’t evade his roommate forever.
Tomorrow, he tells himself. Tomorrow will be better. We’ll… have a fresh start. That’s it, a fresh start. I’ll reintroduce myself, and everything will be fine.
Everything will be fine.
The next morning, however, when a half-asleep Chuuya stumbles into their shared bathroom to find a fully-clothed Dazai submerged in the bathtub, and nearly has a heart attack as he screams and hurls a rapid stream of curses at his suicidal roommate, it becomes clear that everything will be not fine.
In fact, for Chuuya, nothing will.
“Dazai, did you order the pizza?”
“I was busy.”
“Busy doing what , exactly?”
“...Is that a manual on suicide?”
“Yep~! I’ve been reading it all afternoon, so I haven’t had time to order.”
“That’s the idea, yes.”
“ Oops ?! You assbucket , you spilled tea all over my clothes! I just washed those!”
“Accidents happen, Chuunibyou, no need to get upset about it.”
“Do you even know how much the washing machines cost in this building?”
“Figures. And stop calling me that!”
“Chuunibyou, have you seen my law textbook?”
“I sold it.”
“I needed money for the laundry, so I sold it.”
“I need that textbook.”
“Ah— aaahhhh , that is disgusting ! Is this… is this vinegar ?!”
“I don’t know. Is it?”
“You… you replaced my wine… with vinegar…”
“You’re a monster, Dazai Osamu.”
“ For The Tainted Sorrow ? That’s a pretentious name.”
“Shut up, Dazai.”
“Ah, I see, it’s a poetry collection. No wonder.”
“No one asked your opinion.”
“I didn’t know you write poetry, Chuunibyou~”
“Surprise. Now go away.”
“Dazai, I said—”
“This is actually…”
“This is actually shit. No wonder you don’t tell anyone about your poems.”
“ Die in a pit. ”
“ Tu es de loin ma personne la moins préférée .”
“Your French is sexy.”
“Do you even know what I just said—”
“Too bad you aren’t, though. Maybe you’d be a more tolerable roommate if you were.”
“...I will strangle you in your sleep.”
One week in, and Chuuya is beginning to wonder if he’ll die if he slams his head against the wall enough times.
Seriously, fuck my life.