AU where Odasaku is a guardian angel sent down to stop Dazai from killing himself, and he figures out the only person keeping Dazai on the right track is his childhood best friend, Chuuya. But Dazai is pushing him away.

...because he’s in love with him.
Chuuya is miserable about it and covering it up with false bravado and righteous anger, but he /misses/ him.

And for Odasaku, there’s only one thing left to do—to help the universe push them together.

“An assignment?” The auburn haired man stares down at the photograph in his hand before looking back up at his superior. “Listen, sir—“

“Please, son—“ the man holds up one weathered hand with a wry smile, “Call me Natsume.”

Odasaku’s shoulders sag with exasperation.
“Listen, Natsume-sensei—“ Odasaku runs his fingers through his hair. “I’m grateful for the opportunity, really—but I’m not that sort of person. Really, I don’t even deserve to /be/ here.”

“Anyone can be forgiven, my dear boy,” the angel smiles patiently, “why not you?”
Odasaku stares at him silently. He knows that Natsume is aware of his past, of the lives he took when he walked the earth. Why he’s /here/, instead of rotting in hell, is a mystery. “Even someone like me?”

“Even someone like you,” Natsume echoes.

“How can you /know/ that?”
“Because people /change/,” the older man replies with a wry smile, gesturing with his hand for Odasaku to take his leave. “I think you’ll find that true—especially over the course of this assignment.”

Odasaku looks down at the photo again, his stomach sinking.

Dazai Osamu, huh?
The trip back to earth is painful and complicated. Heaven doesn’t exactly have a stairway so much as a maze of endless hallways, and Odasaku is led through by a particularly stern archangel, blonde, with glasses.

“Is this how you earned your wings, Kunikida-san?”
The angel pushes his glasses higher up on the bridge of his nose. He doesn’t need them anymore—Odasaku suspects it’s simply a habit to wear them, one that he is fond of. “You could say that.”

“You saved someone from suicide?”

“I earned my wings when I was still living my human live—“ Kunikida squints, as though he’s straining to remember, “—actually, it was just before the end of it.”

Odasaku glances away, suddenly self conscious and aware he’s treading on something personal. “You don’t have to—“
“There was a girl,” Kunikida pauses in front of a doorway at the end of one of the hallways they’ve been traversing, his eyes wide and distant. “And...a bomb. I couldn’t save us both, so...”

“So you chose her,” Oda finishes for him, painfully aware of the difference between them
Kunikida deserves to be here. He’s someone that saves people.

Odasaku, in all of his memories, can’t remember a time when he chose to save a life instead of taking one.

He stares at the door.

“...This is it, right?”
“Right.” Kunikida nods firmly. “You can take as long as you need, or...”

“Or I’ll be sent back if I fail.” Odasaku’s expression is grim, and he doesn’t go to open the door just yet.

“It’s alright if you’re afraid,” the blonde smiles, softer than Odasaku thought he would be.
“I’m—“ Odasaku recoils at first. In his old life, admitting to fear meant death, but that doesn’t matter anymore, can it? “...yeah.”

“It’ll be alright,” Kunikida pats him on the back. “The world hurts less when you aren’t a part of it.”

Odasaku opens the door.
It’s only been eight years since Odasaku’s death—and the world hasn’t changed that much. The phones are smaller, the cars are faster—but nothing seems unfamiliar.

His journey with Dazai begins in the same spot where it ends—

On Yokohama Bay Bridge.
Dazai Osamu never would have told you that his life was /bad/. It was complicated, oftentimes painful—but never /completely/ worthless.

But there are days, more and more often, when he comes to this bridge, stands at the edge, and he allows gravity to tempt him.
It’s just one step. Just one step. One moment of impulsiveness, and it’s all done with—

His train of thought is broken by the ringing of his phone. He pulls it from his pocket, and his chest sinks.

Dazai can’t do it /now/. He can’t let /that/ be his last missed call.
He swipes his thumb across the screen to answer, lifting the phone to his ear. “Hey, Chuuya.”

“You son of a—!” an angry rant is immediately cut short. “Wait, are you okay? You sound like something’s wrong.”

Dazai doesn’t immediately answer. “I’m fine—what did I forget?”
“You told Atsushi you were coming to his birthday party,” Chuuya answers, reluctant to let the subject drop, but he knows Dazai won’t answer if he asks again. “He asked about where you were.”

Dazai’s stomach roils with guilt, and he swears under his breath. “That’s today?”
“Yeah.” Chuuya’s sigh is palpable, even over the phone. “Look...I’ll tell him you had an emergency with work. But you’re gonna have to make it up to him.”

Dazai can’t explain why his stomach is in knots, why his eyes are stinging and warm. “I know.”

“Are you coming over later?”
“...I have to work late.” It’s a lie. One that Dazai could normally pull off—but never with Chuuya. His friend has always known him too well for that.

He can’t explain why it hurts so much when Chuuya doesn’t call him out on it.

“...Fine. I have an early shift tomorrow anyway.”
Even after all of that, his lips still twitch up into a smile at Chuuya’s last words before he hangs up, an instinctive sort of happiness. “See you, bandages.”

The line goes dead, and Dazai finally allows himself to sound as exhausted as he feels.

“See you, chibi.”
Chuuya snaps his phone shut and presses it against his forehead, bending over against the counter as he fights to hold back his fears.

He /knows/ Dazai isn’t okay. He hasn’t been for a long time.

Chuuya wants to know what the right thing to say is—but the words never come.
Dazai has been in his life for as long as Chuuya can remember. Longer than any other soul. Back in the orphanage, Dazai’s face was the only one Chuuya learned to recognize, the first person to ever become familiar.

Now, however slowly, it feels like Dazai is becoming a stranger.
He doesn’t know when it started, or how for that matter. They had been like brothers growing up, closer than that, even—and it hadn’t changed when they turned 18. It didn’t change when Dazai went to university, or when Chuuya got his job.

But in the last 6 months...
“Chuuya?” He glances up to see Kouyou in the doorway, her expression pinched with worry. “Are you alright, dear? Everyone is wondering where you went off too.”

Chuuya forces a smile, dropping his phone back in his pocket. “Yeah,” his voice is strained, “found the candles!”
Dazai exhales slowly, stepping back from the edge of the bridge. He needs to get back to the office, to try to make a plan for some extravagant gift to buy Atsushi to make up for this—

“You look like you could use a drink.”

Dazai pauses, turning his head.

“Who are you?”
Odasaku considers that, shoving his hands into his pockets. “...a friend.”

Dazai snorts under his breath. “Okay—well, if you’re selling something, you’re out of luck. It’s been a long day.”

He turns to walk away, and Oda persists. “Just /one/ drink.”
“Look,” Dazai puts his hands up in a neutral gesture, “I /know/ I’m gorgeous, really—but I’m not interested.”

Odasaku laughs without meaning to, shaking his head, “Neither am I.”

Dazai’s eyes narrow. “Okay, you didn’t have to /laugh/—“

“—One drink. I know a great place.”
Dazai knows it’s insane, letting some weirdo he met on a bridge take him out for a drink—

But he also doesn’t know what he has to lose.

“What’s the name of this place?”

“Bar Lupin. You’ve never been?”

“No...” Dazai’s eyes look the place over. “But it’s...familiar.”
“You should get a scotch on the rocks,” Odasaku sighs, sitting in the stool next to him. “You look like you could afford top shelf.”

Dazai shrugs, glancing over the liquor list, “What are you getting?”

Odasaku’s smile is bittersweet. “I don’t think they’ll serve me anymore.”
Dazai gives him an odd look before the barkeep walks over. “What’ll it be?” The man asks, his eyes sliding past Odasaku like the man isn’t even there.

Dazai’s eyes slide from Oda to the waiter, suspicious. “...Whatever your top shelf scotch is. On the rocks.”
The bartender walks away, and Dazai looks back at the man sitting next to him, “Has he got a grudge against you, or something?”

Odasaku swallows back loneliness. “He probably doesn’t even remember me. It’s been a while.”

“How long is a while?”

“Around eight years or so.”
Dazai take a long swig of his drink when it’s set down in front of him, barely noticing the burn anymore. The taste is nice, smooth—but he doesn’t linger to appreciate it. “What brings you back now?”

“A drink with a friend.”

Dazai rolls his eyes, “I don’t even know your name.”
“It’s Oda—Oda Sakunosuke. But everyone called me Odasaku.” The tense slips past Dazai, even as his ears quirk at the odd phrasing.

“Well, Odasaku—why did you stay away for so long?”

Odasaku turns his eyes to the doorway. “The last time I had a drink here was the day I died.”
Dazai chokes on his drink, expensive drops of dark liquid spewing last his lips. “You’re /fucking/ with me.”

“I’m not.”

“Then you’re just /crazy/.”

“I’m really not.” Odasaku nods towards the bartender, “But he probably thinks you are—because he can’t see me.”
Dazai stares for a long moment, hooked between calling his bluff or just leaving outright—until he sees the way the dust motes drifting down are just...passing right through him. “You’re a little late, you know. Christmas was months ago—are you here to tell me to change my ways?”
“The ghost of Christmas past,” Odasaku smiles faintly. “That’s funny—I loved that movie.”

“It’s....a book,” Dazai responds flatly, eyeing the man with a mixture of curiosity and a /little bit/ of fear. “But what’s going on?”

“I’ll answer you if you a question for me.”
Dazai sighs with irritation, but he’s eager to get to the root of it all, “Fine, what?”

“What were you doing on that bridge, Dazai?”

The silence that follows is tense, with Dazai’s shoulders hunching reflexively. “I didn’t tell you my name.”

“You didn’t,” Odasaku agrees.
“But you didn’t answer my question.” Odasaku presses him gently.

Dazai looks away. “You wouldn’t be asking if you didn’t already know. So why does it matter to you?”

“Because from where I’m standing, you seem pretty lonely,” Odasaku tilts his head, “and I was sent to help.”
“To help.” Dazai repeats slowly. “Well...I didn’t ask you to, did I?” He stands up, slapping down a few bills to pay his tab. “Stay away, or the next time I see you I’ll call a priest over to exorcise you.”

Oda watches dazai walk away, exasperated. “I’m not that kind of ghost!”
The next few days following Dazai around are...pretty miserable. Oda can’t even say he /blames/ the guy for being depressed. He’s a lawyer, works in a fancy corporate office—alone. Then he goes to his fancy highrise apartment—alone. Then he makes himself a shitty dinner.

The first /spark/ of happiness Odasaku sees in Dazai’s eyes comes on a Friday, in the middle of Dazai’s lunch break. “/Chuuya/!” Dazai sighs, leaning back in his office chair and spinning around. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“I’m going back home tomorrow—you should come.”
“Chuuya...” Dazai pauses, biting the inside of his cheek reluctantly. “I’m not sure if that’s—“

“/Please/, Osamu?” Dazai stills, his heart speeding up in his chest. Only /one/ person has ever called him by his given name before—and Chuuya only ever does it when he’s /serious/.
“Atsushi is still pretty disappointed after last week, and I don’t want to explain it to him...” Chuuya trails off, and he’s exhausted, Dazai can hear it in his voice. “C’mon, just—please?”


“You don’t even have to bring a—“

“I said I’ll go, Chuuya.”
Odasaku watches Dazai linger when he’s getting ready to leave in the morning, hesitating with every step.

He notices a framed photograph—one of the only pieces of decor Dazai owns. It shows two small boys, one brunette and one redhead, on what was obviously Christmas Day.
Odasaku hasn’t ever seen Dazai smile like /that/ before.

They meet in a train station at the edge of the city. Chuuya goes in for the hug, while Dazai seems to just endure it from the stiffness of his posture. “I tried to say you didn’t /need/ to bring a gift, you know.”
Dazai shrugs, his expression amiable as the board the train, the shopping bag dangling from his fingertips. “You said I’d have to make it up to him—I thought a new gaming console would be a start!”
“You /would/ think that,” Chuuya snaps, following him on board.

They bicker a /lot/—as a matter of fact, Odasaku noticed that first.

But there’s something about the wya Dazai is /looking/ at Chuuya, something undeniably familiar that the angel cannot name.
They exit the train after an hour’s ride out of the city. There’s something habitual about the way the two move together. Dazai always reaching forward to grab the door handles first, Chuuya ducking gracefully under his arm to walk past.

“How has work been?”

A simple question.
Dazai doesn’t have a simple answer for it—Odasaku can see from the look on his face. “It’s been work.” A clipped, toneless answer from a man that was typically playful.

The tense hunch of Chuuya’s shoulders tells Odasaku that it doesn’t go unnoticed.“I hate it when you do that.”
“Do what?” Dazai knows. He can see this conversation from start to finish, like an impending collision he has no power to stop.

“Shut me out.” They step out of the street, walking up a back country lane. “When did we start keeping secrets from each other?”

Dazai breathes in.
“We have our own lives now, Chuuya,” it’s dazai’s reply—soft, disinterested, that seems to cut through the redhead like a knife. “I’m sure you haven’t told me everything either.”

The silence between them is a painful wound, and Chuuya’s reply is faint, “I /have/.”
Finally they reach their destination, and Odasaku freezes twenty steps behind them, staring up at the sign overhanging the building, his jaw slack.

Fukuzawa’s Children’s Home.

“An orphanage?” He whispers the words softly, disbelieving.

The universe can be /cruel/.
They make it inside, with Chuuya plastering on a fake smile as he kneels down to hug a pair of small children running up to greet them, Junichiro and Naomi, hugging each one to his side and ruffling their hair. “Have you two seen your jinko? Can you find him for me?”
Naomi bobs her head eagerly, grabbing her brother’s hand. “Uh-huh! He‘s playing with Ryuu in the library!”

“More like he’s BOTHERING him—“ Junichiro can’t finish his sentence before she drags him off, her laughter fading as they found a corner.

“I forgot.”
Chuuya turns around to see Dazai facing a wall of photographs. Lineups from the children of each year, all the way back to when Fukuzawa started the place over 15 years before.

They were two of the first children to live there, and photo after photo documents it. “Forgot what?”
“You were always so much smaller than me,” Dazai’s fingertips brush over their faces, immortalized 7 year olds, pushing up against each other to try to reach the center of the photo frame. Dazai smiling with an elbow on top of Chuuya’s head, Chuuya glaring and tugging at his arm.
“I never remembered it that way.” There’s something resigned in Dazai’s voice, something broken—and it makes Chuuya’s stomach sink.

“Dazai, seriously, what’s—?”

“Dazai!” An ivory haired teen comes racing in, beaming with excitement, “you came!”

The moment passes.
Dazai seems to have a special bond with the boy—from what Odasaku can tell, he hangs off of every word Dazai says, worships the ground that he walks on. They talk about school, they set up the new gaming console—

And from a distance, Chuuya is watching every moment like a hawk.
Finally, Odasaku feels the answer beginning to come together.

Later that evening, when they’re back at the train station again, Chuuya grabs Dazai’s arm before he can run off, tugging him into a tight embrace.

“Seriously, chibi, you’re so clingy—“

“You know I love you, right?”
Dazai freezes, and even though Chuuya can’t see from where his face is pressed into Dazai’s shoulder, the brunette’s eyes are /agonized/.

Chuuya has never been embarrassed by affection, especially when giving it. Dazai never used to mind, but when they were teenagers...
Dazai began responding to it less and less, playing it off with a laugh, becoming more withdrawn. “Chuuya, someone might hear you—“

“And? We’re family, remember?”

The pain in Dazai’s eyes deepens. And for the first time in years, he returns the embrace—/fiercely/. “I do.”
Chuuya is so surprised that he relaxed into it, his nose sinking into Dazai’s shoulder. He inhales softly, breathing him in—

And Dazai hates himself, thinking that he almost /did it/ before remembering what Chuuya felt like in his arms again. “I should get back.”
Dazai lets him go, his expression normal again when Chuuya leans back. “Ignore my calls again, and I’m going to that fancy apartment of yours and kicking the door in, okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, /such a nag/—“


Dazai’s laughter almost sounds /normal/ when they part ways.
Dazai gets back home, pouring himself a scotch before he even turns on the light, he nearly jumps out of his skin. “/Jesus/—!”

“Not that kind of ghost.”

“Are there /different kinds/?!”

“I’m not sure? I haven’t made it that far up the ladder.”

Dazai finishes the drink—fast.
“You sure do like scotch,” Odasaku’s eyes are drawn to the bottles in the cabinets that line Dazai’s kitchen, the only part of the place that seems to be stocked. “Take it from me—it doesn’t love you back.”

“I’m used to that,” Dazai retorts bitterly.

“I can see that.”
There’s an opportunity to address the subtle accusation—but Dazai doesn’t take it. “And why do you know so much about scotch?”

“I drank a lot of it, when I was alive.”

Dazai raises an eyebrow, pouring another glass, “I wouldn’t have taken you for a drinker.”
“I had a lot of bad habits.” That was the /gentlest/ way of putting it—but Kunikida-san was always yelling at Odasaku to be /kinder/ to himself.

Dazai raises an eyebrow, “Doesn’t sound like an angel to me.”

“I’m not an angel.”

“Or the ghost of Christmas past, apparently.”
“You become an angel if you’ve saved someone,” Odasaku explains softly, watching Dazai empty his glass again, quickly pouring a third. “I’ve never done that.”

“/God/,” Dazai’s eyes are far away for a moment, affectionate, “that makes sense.” It quickly turns to amusement.
“Am I your first rescue attempt?” Dazai snickers, his words already slurring. “You poor son of a bitch—you’re—“ he busts out laughing outright, clutching his stomach, “you’re doomed!”

Odasaku waits for the laughter to fade.”I thought just knowing I exist would change your mind.”
“What?” Dazai blinks, brilliant but clouded, trying to follow.

“If you’re looking for oblivion,” Odasaku gestures at himself vaguely “I’m prove the afterlife exists.”

Dazai’s brow furrows, “I never said I wanted oblivion, now, did I?”
Oda doesn’t have an answer for that. And it’s clear Dazai is starting to smell blood in the water, so Odasaku attempts to cling to his veil of otherworldliness. “Do you think Chuuya is an angel?”

The scotch going down Dazai’s throat goes down the wrong pipe, making hack.
“E—excuse me?”

“You said ‘that makes sense.’” Oda stands up from his chair, walking over to the window to look at the cityscape. “That’s because Chuuya is a paramedic, isn’t it?”

Dazai is quiet, and it might as well be an admission. “Have you been following him too?”
“He still had his uniform in his bag when he went to the orphanage with you,” Oda shrugs, “I noticed.”

“Well—“ Dazai sighs, wiping his mouth and clearing his throat. “Does it matter?”

“It’ll kill him, you know.” That sentence, so soft and resigned, makes Dazai freeze.
“Losing you, wondering if he could have saved you...” Odasaku trails off, leaning his head back. “It’s a cruel thing, to subject someone you care about to something like that.”

Dazai’s teeth clench as defensive, alcohol fueled rage flows through him, “Don’t you /dare/ judge me—“
“I’m not,” Oda sighs, running a hand through his hair. He doesn’t miss being alive often—but in moments like this, he wants a /smoke/ more than anything. “When I got this job, I didn’t think I could do it. I thought they were crazy for sending me.”

“They obviously /were/.”
“My daughter,” Odasaku’s voice is soft, because he knows if he speaks louder, it will /break/, “never forgave me, for leaving the way that I did.”

“You...” Dazai speaks lamely, watching Oda’s frame with a sudden rush of /empathy/, “have a kid?”

Oda’s voice finally /does/ crack.
“But when I did what I did, I just wanted it all to /stop/,” Oda turns around, shoving his hands in his pockets as he stares Dazai down. “And when I woke up on the other side, I begged anyone that would listen to let me take it back. So—I don’t know what the /hell/ you’re after.”
Dazai is wide eyed and almost childlike for a moment, and when he does speak, it isn’t the answer Odasaku would’ve expected. “There...are some things just can’t live with.”

Oda blinks, his brow creasing. “Like...guilt?”

Dazai’s eyes cut away, and Oda softens.

/“When did we start keeping secrets from one another?”/


Dazai squeezes his eyes shut. “He’s always been a better person than me. It never bothered him. But—“

“Dazai, whatever you did, it can’t be THAT bad—“

“You don’t /know/, okay?! It’s /bad/.”
Oda doesn’t look away. Dazai presses his forehead against his knees. “At least if I tell you, you’ll go away.”

“I won’t.”

“Chuuya wanted to go to university with me,” Dazai mutters, muted and resigned. “But my test scores were higher, and they couldn’t afford to send us both.”
“Do you feel guilty for taking the opportunity from him?”

“No—I just—“ Dazai pinches the bridge or his nose. “It’s stupid, it’s so, so stupid, but—he likes expensive things. Ever since we were kids—all the stuff on TV, stuff we never had.”

Oda can /see/ where it’s going.
“And honestly, I’d go ahead and off myself now,” Dazai mutters to himself bitterly, “but who the fuck are you going to tell? I—“ he exhales sharply. “Wanted to be able to—“ he wipes a hand down the front of his face, unable to even say it.

“Dazai, I already /know/.”
It’s been hanging there for days now, an almost open secret to anyone that watches closely enough—

Dazai is in love with his friend—and he wanted to be able to give him /more/.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

“That’s not what I’m /talking about/,” Dazai groans.
“Being a lawyer—I thought I was going to make good money fast. And I /did/. And I’m /good at it/,” Dazai spits the words out bitterly, “but I took the /wrong job/.”

Oda can’t quite articulate just how much he /understands/ the emotions Dazai is feeling.
“What did they ask you to do?”

Dazai’s hands are shaking when he pours himself another drink.

“Ogai’s firm—they represent pharmaceutical companies.” Oda blinks. He for them, in the past. Particularly unsavory ones.

“/Damn/, you’re really caught up in it, huh, kid?”
“It was my first time being first chair on a case—it was gonna be a big lay out, seemed simple.” Dazai exhales shakily. “We were just stopping a rival company from making a generic version of a drug. It wasn’t...I didn’t think anything of it.”

Dazai clenches his teeth.
“But it kept the price artificially high,” Dazai forces the words out, “and it...performed a more important function than what Mori originally explained to me.”

“What did it do?”

“It was proven to be effective in therapies for certain types of late stage cancer.”
Odasaku exhales sharply, winded by it. “Jesus Christ.”


“You weren’t kidding.”

“It’s /bad/.” Dazai’s voice cracks. “Effectively, I’ve helped them kill dozens of people.”

“But you didn’t—“

“I made it happen. I could’ve looked into it. I just...didn’t bother.”
“So sure, there’s an afterlife,” Dazai mutters, rising unsteadily towards his feet as he stumbles back towards his bedroom, another half empty glass in hand. “But the least I can do is send myself to hell a little early, right?”

Oda doesn’t follow him, but his heart aches.
Oda watches over the sleeping human, resting his chin on his hands dejectedly.

“You’re running behind schedule, you know.”

It might amuse the living to know—some angels carry clipboards. “I didn’t realize I was working with a deadline, Kunikida-san.”
“According to my calculations—“ Kunikida frowns, checking his watch, “you have four days left, and you’ve spent both of your interactions with the subject getting him drunk and distressing him.”

“I’m not doing it on purpose.”

“Then please, don’t /start/ trying now.”
Odasaku turns his head to look at the blonde, smiling faintly. “Actually—you’re just the guy I needed to talk to.”

Kunikida frowns. “I don’t like the way you said that.”

“I know, since I still have my training wings on—“

“—we don’t call it that—“

“—that my gifts are limited.”
Kunikida shrugs. “It’s a normal fail safe. Back before we started implementing it, we started getting so much /poltergeist/ activity. People were making movies, the press was a /nightmare/—“

“I need you to visit a human for me.”

Kunikida blinks. “We only assigned you /one/.”
Oda nods. “I know that....” he glances over at Dazai’s sleeping form. “But I don’t think /I/ can make the kid forgive himself. But I think I know who can.”

“A loved one?”

Oda nods. “Yep.”

“What do you expect me to do?”

“Natsume-sensei said you were good with visiting dreams?”
“...Fine.” Kunikida sighs. “But it better be quick. I have three miracles to perform in Europe, you only have me until daybreak.”

Oda grins, a plan falling into place. “That’s all I need.”

On the flight cross the city, Kunikida frowns. “What are you smiling about?”
“Well—aren’t the angels that visit dreams supposed to be messengers from god?”

“Yes,” Kunikida blinks, “and?”

“If I say it, you’ll be angry with me.”

“I’m angry with you right now.”

“...You’re wearing a sweater vest.”

Very suddenly, a thunderstorm rolled over Yokohama.
Chuuya is tossing and turning, the sheets clinging to him as sweat starts to seep though his pajama shirt, once gray, now almost black with moisture. “” he sits up with a start, reaching blindly through the darkness, “Dazai, DON’T—!”

He’s alone, and the night is still.
Chuuya collapses against the sheets, curling in on himself. His heart is pounding out of his chest. It was just a dream, just an horrible, terrifying dream...

...but if that’s all it is, then why does he have this /awful/ feeling in his gut?

Chuuya scrambles for his phone.
Dazai doesn’t answer the first time, or the second. Chuuya knows it’s ridiculous, that it’s nearly four in the morning, that he’s obviously asleep, but—

Something was wrong today. Something has /been/ wrong for months. And it feels like, if Chuuya can’t get a hold of him now...
Chuuya forces himself out of bed. He’s been working double shifts for weeks now—even more so with how bad this flu season has been. His arms are screaming with exhaustion when he drags himself to the car.

But he isn’t deterred.

“That kid...” Kunikida murmurs, “he’s...”
“Special, right?” Oda smiles as they watch the redhead drag himself across the city. “Someone like you.”

“W—what’s that supposed to mean?” Kunikida sputters, his glasses clouding.

“You earned your wings on earth,” Oda tilts his head to the side, “remember?”
Kunikida turns his head back to the human, his eyebrow twitching. Out of all of the trainees he’s ever worked with, /this/ one is the worst. “I told you about it just a few /days/ ago, dumb ass. Of course I remember.”

It’s just past five when Dazai hears pounding at his door.
He’s sobered up by now—but his tongue tastes sour, and his head feels like it could split open. “What the fuck...” He groans, mostly to himself, pulling himself out of bed and dragging himself towards the entry way. “If you’re becoming a poltergeist,” he warns, “I’ve seen that—“

He pauses when he sees a familiar face. Chuuya is standing on his doormat, shivering in a pair of gray sweatpants and a t-shirt, like he didn’t even bother to grab a coat on his way out the door.


“You didn’t answer your phone.”
Dazai pauses, his eyes widening with confusion. “Did something happen? It’s five in the morning—“

“You didn’t answer.” Chuuya is normally the steady one. Temperamental, yes, but tough as nails. But he looks like he’s on the edge of falling apart right now, and...Dazai knows why.
Dazai was brought to Fukuzawa as a baby, by a teenage mother who...didn’t want to be in the world anymore. Chuuya was brought in when he was five, after his parents were killed by a drunk driver.

He never remembered much of it, except for one thing.
The babysitter trying to reach them all night long, dialing frantically from the landline in the kitchen—

And no one answering.

“Hey,” Dazai reaches out, taking Chuuya by the elbows and pulling him inside. “Come here—you’re okay, see?” He tugs Chuuya’s chin up, “I’m okay.”
It’s a routine they fell into when they were small. Chuuya had attachment issues, and he latched onto Dazai quickly. Normally, the boy would have found it annoying—but in Chuuya’s case, he never seemed to mind.
Dazai brings him into the apartment, ignoring his own hangover as he wraps Chuuya up in the comforter from his bed, sitting beside his friend and wrapping his arms around him.

Chuuya would never admit that he /needs/ something like this—and it’s fine, because Dazai already knows
It’s quiet, the sounds of the cars and sirens in the streets below mingling with their breathing, and Dazai can feel Chuuya beginning to calm down.

At first, they both sleep again, stretched across the bed for hours, Dazai curled up around the redhead, head tucked in his neck.
When they wake up again, sunlight is steaming in through the windows, and Dazai is late for work.

He doesn’t care. It doesn’t seem to matter anymore.

Chuuya rolls over in his sleep, facing Dazai, his nose brushing against the hollow of Dazai’s throat.
His arms wrap around Dazai’s middle, small, but strong—and Dazai is baffled as to why his heart is pounding, why he’s fighting back tears. He’s never been the emotional one—and never, /ever/ tearful, but—

Dazai doesn’t want this moment to go away.
He tucks his face into Chuuya’s hair, breathing him in. He pretends this is a moment that could stretch out forever, that they could end up where they started—

But he knows he can’t.

When Chuuya wakes up, Dazai is in the kitchen, the smell of coffee wafting through.
Chuuya pokes his head out to see Dazai standing there, a pair of pajama pants hanging low around his waist as he grows up a pair of omelets on the griddle—the only breakfast food he /really/ knows how to make.

The redhead glances away from Dazai’s hips quickly, swallowing hard.
“Hey,” Chuuua croaks, his voice roughened with sleep. Dazai’s hand tightens slightly with it’s grip around the skillet, but he turns his head with a smile.

“So, sleeping beauty finally joins me—it’s past nine, you know. I hope you had the day off.”
Chuuya nods sleepily, before he finally processes the information and his eyes widen. “Wait—what about you?”

Dazai shrugs, abnormally relaxed about the whole thing. Chuuya /knows/ how ridiculous they are about the rules at his office. “I called in sick.”
Chuuya winces, rubbing the back of his neck. “You didn’t have to waste one of your sick days on me. You could’ve gone in and left me a note, I would’ve been fine.”

Dazai looks back down at the pan, and there’s something off in his voice, “I’m not really concerned about that.”
Chuuya stares for a moment. He wants to know what the right words to say are, a way to get through to his friend without being brushed off, but...

There’s a brush of cold air across the back of Chuuya’s neck, sending chills down his spine and urging him to speak.
“Well—if you /finally/ took a day off, then we’re spending it together.”

Dazai is so surprised that he almost burns the omelettes.


“I’m not asking, beanpole.” Chuuya snatches his omelette with a ‘hmph!’ and Dazai pouts.

“I’m not /gangly/ anymore—“
“You still don’t eat enough,” Chuuya grumbles, dropping down at the table. “I’m willing to bet eggs and cheese were the only things you had left in the fridge.”

Dazai doesn’t protest that point.

“And what, o’ great nutritionist, are we going to do on this day together?”
Chuuya considers it for a moment, screwing up his face with thought, and it’s so god damn endearing that Dazai is aching. “Well—it’s a Friday. So really, if you think about it, I have you /all weekend/.”

Dazai’s smile can’t be taken as anything but /fond/. “Is that so?”
“Yep.” Chuuya takes one last bite of his omelette. “So we’re running errands today—and you’re taking me to the pier tomorrow.”

“The pier?” Dazai groans, watching as Chuuya strides away to use his shower. “All the way out there?”

“Stop whining!”

Really, Oda couldn’t be more pleased with himself. They’re out on the town, Dazai’s t-shirt so oversized on Chuuya that it hangs around his thighs, and honestly it’s a good thing, because it spares Dazai from the opportunity of staring at his ass in those jeans.
Chuuya isn’t usually much of a worrier—but he /is/ a natural caregiver. So he says they’re running errands for /him/, but they actually end up restocking Dazai’s fridge and pantry, dropping off his dry cleaning, all of the things that Dazai has been putting /off/.
By the end of the day they’re sitting out on Dazai’s balcony, drinking some fancy red vintage Chuuya can’t stop going on about, and Dazai is stuffed /full/ from all of the food the redhead has forced on him today.

For someone else, it could be annoying, but...
This is how Chuuya shows that he cares. Dazai always knew, but /feeling/ it now, knowing what he wants to makes everything harder. “Are we ever gonna talk about it?”

Dazai stares at him with confusion, so Chuuya sighs and presses on.

“The reason you stopped calling me?”
Dazai is silent, staring down at his cup. It seems like such an easy thing, to just go ahead and spit the words out—but when his lips start to move, he can’t seem to put any air behind them.

“...We’re twenty five now, Chuuya,” Dazai looks away. “Things won’t always be the same.”
That seems to prick on a long held insecurity of the redhead’s. He looks away, his fingers tightening around the stem of his glass. “I understand growing up,” he mumbles, “I even understand /growing apart/—“ he clenches his teeth, like it’s painful for him to even /say it/.
“But that’s not what this is, Dazai. After just shut me out.” Chuuya runs his fingers through his hair, biting his lip. “At first I just thought you were being a selfish bastard, as per usual, but...”

Dazai knows that what he’s about to say is a mistake.
“No, Chuuya, I’ve just been moving on.” Dazai sets down his glass, standing up. “You can make that place your life if you want—you can go to every single birthday party, you can a big brother to every kid that passes through if you want. But I never signed up for that.”
“Call me a selfish bastard,” Dazai shrugs, “but at least I know when to let something go.” Pushing Chuuya away is an unfortunate reflex, because he’s a life preserver that Dazai /does not want/.

He waits for the blast, for Chuuya to swear at him, to stomp out the door.
To his credit, Dazai knows Chuuya well. He almost /does/ leave, though maybe not with all of the swearing at the stomping. “Fuck...” he mutters, teeth clenched, and to Dazai’s horror, years in his eyes. “Fuck you, Dazai.”

He makes it all the way to the door—

But no further.
The power goes out. Not just in Dazai’s building—he can see half of Yokohama going dark. And when he glances into the mirror, he sees a different redhead staring at him, arms crossed over his chest—

And Odasaku looks /pissed/.

“A blackout...?” Chuuya mutters, looking around.
“Looks like it...” Dazai mutters, looking away from the mirror, feeling silently scolded. “Look, Chuuya—“

“No,” Chuuya mutters, turning on his heel to look at Dazai, “whatever bullshit you’re about to put on me to try and make me /hate/ you, I don’t wanna hear it.”
“Chuuya—“ the redhead claps a hand over Dazai’s mouth, forcing him to shut up.

“You can say whatever fucked up shit that comes to mind,” Chuuya snarls, and Dazai /knows/ he’s in trouble, he should /not/ have butterflies— “—but I remember how this works.”

“When families wanted to adopt you.” Chuuya glares. “You think I don’t remember?”

Dazai was popular among prospective families where Chuuya was /not/. He was a quiet, over all calm child whereas his counterpart was ill adjusted, temperamental, and unpredictable.
But Dazai has always been clear—he wasn’t leaving unless they took Chuuya too. And when they said they weren’t...

He became an absolute /terror/ of a Child until they gave up on him.

“Do you /really/ think that’s gonna work with me?”
Dazai doesn’t have a good answer for that—and thankfully, Chuuya doesn’t try to drag one out of him. “Calls are probably up, with the power out. I’m gonna have to check back in with work—but when I come back, we’re /talking/. Do you understand me?”

Dazai manages to nod lamely.
Dazai is quiet until the door slams shut again, and then he turns his head to give the ghostly spectre in the corner a /glare/. “That was pretty /dramatic./“

“That kid /loves you/.” Odasaku’s voice has a natural flatness to it—but it doesn’t lack expression.
Right now, he sounds frustrated. Not Chuuya’s outward, screaming anger—but quiet, resigned outrage that seemed to run all the way to the /bone/. “Was that going to be the last thing you ever said to your family?”

Dazai flinches. “He isn’t—“

“The person you’re in love with?”

“And at first,” Odasaku cuts him off, “I thought you didn’t believe he loved you back—but now I think you /know/ that he does.”

Remorse is obvious in every line of Dazai’s face, and Odasaku pinches the bridge of his nose.

“Come on, kid—why are you so shitty to yourself?”
The silences around Dazai always make Odasaku want to /hug/ the kid—they’re like these wide crevasses that completely shut him off, isolating him from everyone else.

“Because if you told him, it would hurt more when you died?”

Dazai nods, his lips trembling slightly.
Oda groans, leaning back against the wall. “Have you tried therapy?”

“How did that work out for you?”

“Don’t be a smart ass,” Oda heaves a sigh. “I never went.”

“An angel that was an alcoholic who killed himself and never went to therapy? You’re a strange man, you know.”
“I’m not—“ Oda groans, “I’m not an angel.”

Dazai is eyeing a whiskey bottle in a way that makes the older man nervous, but he can’t put his finger on it. “...Why did you do it?”

“Do what?”

“You took your own life, because you wanted oblivion,” Dazai glances up. “Why?”
Oda is silent for a moment, before he sighs. “Ah, what the hell—“ telling a human his story isn’t exactly /protocol/, according to Kunikida-san, but Oda is /desperate/. “You and I used to have the same boss.”

Dazai blinks with confusion. “You were a lawyer?”

Oda snorts. “No.”
“I...there’s not really a subtle way to put it—I was a hit man.” He watches Dazai’s eyes widen before he continues. “Mori Ogai gets what he wants through a /variety/ of means. I was just one of them.”


“You’re probably that only decent employee of his I’ve ever met.”
Dazai recoils, “I’m not /decent/—“

“Yeah,” Oda smiles faintly, “you are. The shit they’re doing is bothering you—it never really mattered to me. I got paid, my wife had the life she wanted, my daughter had everything thing she needed...”

“And then it went wrong?”
“...Yeah, Dazai,” Oda looks away, his stomach twisting at the memory. “It went wrong.”

Dazai doesn’t press him, he just waits.

“One job caught up to me. Ogai’s firm made sure I was looked after, but my wife...”

Dazai’s stomach drops. “I’m sorry.”
Oda snorts under his breath. “No one else was. In my profession—you get what you get, and no one pities you. The police weren’t even going to investigate.”

“So you...”

“I did it myself.” Oda looks hollow. “I found the man who took her away from me. I did it with my bare hands.”
“I didn’t think about after. I knew the safe house he’d hidden himself in was surrounded by his men, that they were gonna come for me—and I was fine with that.”

“At least you—“

“I made an orphan of my daughter, Dazai,” Oda’s voice is raw, “there is no praise for that.”
There isn’t. Dazai knows it—he’s /lived/ it.

“...Thank you, for telling me.”

“If you’re really grateful, you’ll do something for me.”

Dazai blinks curiously.

“Before you go through with it—tell him.” He holds up a hand before Dazai can argue, “He deserves to understand.”
Chuuya, in the mean time, has the longest shift of his life. Sixteen hours. Heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, muggings—but, miraculously, not a single death. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Tachihara comments from the driver’s seat, “I thought our last guy was a goner.”
Chuuya nods, rubbing the space between his eyes to try to soothe a growing migraine. It doesn’t make sense. He /shouldn’t have lived/. Chuuya’s never seen someone lose airflow to the brain for /that long/ before and come back. “It’s...been a weird day.”

“You need a minute?”
“I’m fine—“

“You’re not, Chuuya—you’ve been up all night and you look like dog shit. Take a nap—I’ll wake you up for the next call.”

And Chuuya assumes that’ll be a matter of minutes, so he relents, passing out in his ambulance seat.

Oddly enough, it was /hours/.
Chuuya wakes with a start when the radio goes off. “Wh—huh?”

Tachihara is rubbing sleep from his eyes as he leans forward, “This is unit A158.”

“We have you responding to a code purple.”

Chuuya blinks blearily.

Code purple, code purple...

...A Suicide attempt?

“On our way.”
The drive feels longer than usual for some reason, even if, logically, Chuuya knows it only took 10 minutes. He leaps out with his bag as soon as they come to a stop, walking towards the apartment complex. “Age on the patient?”

“Akutagawa Ryunosuke—18, a student.”
Chuuya frowns. He can’t understand why someone so young would want to do something like /that/. “Looks like his neighbor noticed something was wrong and called it in—he’s been keeping an eye on the bleeding.”

“That gives us a fighting chance.”
They’re hunched together on the floor when Tachihara kicks the door in, Chuuya rushing in behind him. An impossibly thin, dark haired boy limp on the floor, a tall, blonde, bespectacled man holding ripped pieces of his jacket over his wrists.

“We’ll take it from here, sir—“
The man looks up, smiling with relief—and for a moment, Chuuya freezes.

Why does he look so damn familiar?


“Right!” Miraculously, for how deep the wounds are—they’ve clotted quickly. Really, he /shouldn’t/ have lived—

But Chuuya thinks the kid is going to make it.
They load him onto a stretcher quickly, putting him on fluids as they move him into the ambulance. “Kid—kid—! Can you hear me?” Chuuya calls to him, shaking him so he keeps his eyes open. “My name is Chuuya—we’ve got you. Do you know your blood type?”
The answer is shaky, but it gives them something to go off of. Chuuya works over him tirelessly, keeping him awake the entire ride over. “Does he have any family?” Chuuya calls over his shoulder.

“A sister—she was at school, one of her teachers is bringing her over now.”

Chuuya wipes sweat from his forehead. Shit. Is it /Monday/ already?

What about—

Groaning from his patient yanks his attention back, and he’s packing in more gauze to prevent the kid from losing any more blood. “Stay with me kid, come on!”

And they /do/ make it.
When they take the gurney out of Chuuya’s hands in the ER entrance, his uniform is soaked to the elbows with blood. He’s exhausted, dripping with sweat—

And something is /bugging/ him.

“You heading home?”

“In a minute...” Chuuya frowns. “I’m gonna change—clock out without me.”
“If you’re sure...”

Chuuya is so exhausted, he can barely see straight when he drags himself to the locker room. He manages to rinse himself off, to use soap to scrub off the blood and sweat. And when he pulls on a clean uniform, he feels...surreal, almost.
He walks to the hospital room the kid was checked into, just to find him sleeping, hooked up to dozens of machines—but his vitals are strong.

“Are you one of the ones who brought him in?”

Chuuya follows the voice to see a teenage girl, one with raven hair and silver eyes.
He nods, wishing he had the energy to say more—but he doesn’t have to.

The girl pulls him into a tight embrace, her voice trembling from tears. “Thank you,” she whispers, arms trembling, “thank you /so much/.”

Chuuya doesn’t get to hear that /often/, and now /he’s/ choked up.
She mumbles words that swirl around his head. Things like ‘I knew something was wrong, but I wasn’t sure—‘ and ‘something’s been different lately, but I was too scared to push it—‘ and—

“Lately, he’s just stopped talking to me.”

When Chuuya leaves the hospital room, it hits him
The look in the kid’s eyes—Chuuya has seen it before. The words his sister was saying—he’s said them /countless times/. It’s like they’re living out the same story, but—

They’re one chapter ahead of him.

He starts racing through the hospital, fumbling for his phone.
If you asked Dazai about Death—he wouldn’t have told you that it was necessarily /bad/, or even unbearable. Really, he would liken it to coming home from a wonderful vacation—like it all happened too fast.

The water seems very, very far away. “You aren’t going to stop me?”
Oda shakes his head, looking away. “Ghost, remember? My hands would pass through.”


“But I do think you’re making a mistake. This is the easy way out, Dazai—it won’t make you feel /any better/—“

They’re interrupted when Dazai’s phone rings.
Dazai sees the caller ID and winces. Oda’s eyes narrow. “Answer it, Dazai.”


“He’ll never forgive you if you don’t.”

“...” Dazai raises the phone to his ear. “Chuu—?”

“Dazai?! Are you at work?” Dazai has never heard Chuuya like this, he’s—

He’s /frantic/.
“No,” he turned in his resignation that morning, but he lies. “I’m on my lunch break.”


“Chuuya, what’s—?”

“Where the hell are you, Dazai?!”

“...Yokohama Bay Bridge?” Somehow, Chuuya sounds /worse/ after that.

“Don’t move a /muscle/, I’m coming.”
“Chuuya, you sound—“

“/Please/.” The strength it takes for Dazai to throw his leg back over the railing and climb onto the sidewalk is /monumental/, but he does it.

“Okay,” Dazai breathes out shakily, meaning against the railing as he drops his face in his hands, “I’ll wait.”
Dazai drops the phone in his pocket as soon as he hangs up. “I should have done it before he called.”

“He won’t hate you, Dazai.”

“I’m not worried about him /hating/ me,” Dazai spits it out, rubbing at his eyes with frustration. “I’ve been a shitty person our entire lives.”
“He always forgives me for it.” Dazai groans, “and then he’ll try to convince me that it wasn’t my /fault/.”

“Would that be the worst thing in the world?”

Dazai gives him a pointed look.

It takes Chuuya 20 minutes to arrive—when he does he’s sleep deprived and out of breath.
“Chuuya, what’s—“

/“Don’t do it!”/

Dazai didn’t know what he expected, but his friend’s pale, tear stricken face /was not it/.


“I’m sorry I didn’t realize how bad you’ve been feeling,” Chuuya’s voice is trembling, and Dazai’s heart is breaking.
“I’m sorry I got mad, I’m sorry I let you push me away—I’m sorry I /blamed/ you. But whatever it is, I’ll help, okay?” Chuuya stumbles forward the last couple of steps, grabbing the front of Dazai’s shirt.


“/Please/, Osamu.” Chuuya’s shoulders are shaking.
Chuuya doesn’t beg. He’s too proud. But it isn’t beneath him now—not when he clings to the front of Dazai’s shirt and /pleads/ with him.

And, finally, Dazai crumbles.

“Chuuya,” Dazai exhales shakily, his hands coming up to grip the smaller man’s arms. “I—I messed up.”
Dazai tells him /all of it/. Every excruciating detail. Chuuya listens, hugging Dazai too tight, like one inch of slack might let him slip away.

“Dazai—“ Chuuy looks up at him, eyes clouded with emotion, “why didn’t you just /tell/ me?”

“Because—“ Dazai swallows hard.
“You,” Dazai’s voice is unsteady when he reaches down to push Chuuya’s hair from his face, his fingers stroking over Chuuya’s cheek. “Always make everything feel like it’s going to be /okay/. And I—don’t deserve that.”

“Dazai...” Chuuya can’t help but lean into his hand.
“If it wasn’t you, it would’ve been someone else.” Chuuya reaches up, taking Dazai’s face in his hands. “It would’ve happened either way.”

“I think I know why geniuses are always so tortured,” Chuuya’s thumbs stroke over Dazai’s cheeks.

Dazai lets out a trembling breath.
“They always think they can save everyone, that they can fix everything—that they should have seen it coming.” Chuuya leans up on his toes, pressing their foreheads together. “You messed up. You’ve punished yourself—and now you have to try to make up for it.”
“Chuuya, I—“ Dazai isn’t sure when his face got so /wet/, “—I don’t know if I can make up for this.”

“You’d be amazed,” Chuuya whispers, their noses bumping together, “by the things that people come back from. I see it all the time.”

Odasaku is in /awe/.
Natsume-sensei explained it to him before—that some people are just inherently /decent/ in the ways that you don’t expect. Sure, some of them are outwardly loving, gentle folks—but sometimes they’re swearing, tattooed redheads.
Humans like that, Oda thinks, are why people still believe in angels. And even if he can see them—he’s sure that Chuuya has had his wings for quite some time.

And really, Odasaku would have preferred it if his time on earth ended in this moment—

But life, as always, is /messy/.
“Let’s go home, okay?” Chuuya tugs Dazai away from the rail. “We can figure out the rest tomorrow.”

Dazai blinks. “Home?”

Chuuya squeezes his waist, “You think I’m letting you out of my sight?”

The wall back is long, and as Chuuya’s adrenaline fades, the exhaustion hits.
He’s half leaning against Dazai, half walking, his head pounding, his eyelids heavy. And really, it’s just one cruel twist of fate when he sees it—just out of the corner of his eye. “Hey,” Chuuya blinks slowly, shaking himself out of it as he runs down the sidewalk, “Hey!”
Dazai blinks with confusion, running after him—and then he sees it.

A teenage girl, hands shaking as she fumbles with her wallet, handing it over to the man in front of her.

A mugging?

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“Chuuya—“ Dazai tries to speak, but—
—but it all happens so /fast/.

“Get away from her—!”

“—Chuuya, stop, he has a—!”


This couldn’t have been part of the assignment.

Odasaku feels numb.
Chuuya pushes himself up onto his hands and knees, spitting blood out of his mouth from where he bit his tongue when he landed.

“O-oh my god—“ the girl is shaking all over and the man is running away, and—why is the ground /wet/? “I-is he gonna be okay?”

“I—“ the girl fumbles in her pockets, her hands shaking so violently that she almost drops her phone. “I’m calling an—an ambulance—“

An ambulance?

“But I’m a...” Chuuya trails off, realizing she isn’t looking at /him/.

She’s looking /behind/ him.
The thing they never tell you about getting shot—is sometimes, it doesn’t hurt. The shock can be so much that you just don’t feel it at /all/. And when the blood loss hits, you start to feel /cold/.

Dazai was /freezing/. His teeth were chattering, and—was it /snowing/?
It was almost May—that /couldn’t/ have been right, but Dazai can see the snowy white flakes at the edges of his vision.

And he can hear something, so far away now, like it’s coming through a swimming pool, or maybe a blizzard—

He’s pretty sure it’s his name.

It sounds /nice/.
Chuuya’s hands are slippery where he’s working in Dazai’s abdomen, pressing his coat down over the wound, but everything is seeping through. He can’t get enough pressure, he can tell from the way Dazai is shaking that he’s going into shock—

And Chuuya can’t /breathe/.
“Dazai—Dazai—/Osamu/,” Chuuya sobs with relief when he sees Dazai’s eyes flash faintly with recognition. He tries to grab his face, but his hands are too slick. “Osamu, please—I’m trying to stop the bleeding, but—you have to try to stay awake—“
Chuuya has given this pep talk before, dozens of times. Sometimes they made it, sometimes they didn’t—but they were /patients/. This is—

“C—Chuuya?” He snaps you attention, packing in more pressure as he looks up at Dazai’s face.

“I’m here, Dazai—I’m here—“
Dazai lifts his hand up, and Chuuya should stop him, he shouldn’t be /moving/—but he’s too terrified of taking his hands off of the wound.

Dazai feels like he’s slipping down a slide, slowly fading into black—and the only sees is that face swimming above him.
And Dazai can’t help but feel like they’ve been here /before/.

He smiles faintly, his teeth stained red as his fingertips brush against Chuuya’s face.

“How /beautiful/.”

His hand falls to the ground, limp.

Fading, screaming sobs echo in his ears.

And then, nothing.
“Osamu, d-don’t /leave/ me—“ Chuuya can’t see straight, he can’t think, he’s just as torn open and raw as Dazai is, dying with every breath Dazai isn’t taking. “Don’t you /fucking dare/—“

When the ambulance arrives, they have to tear the redhead off of him.
When Dazai opens his eyes again, the room is white—blinding, and oddly enough, painless.

He reaches down to touch his stomach, blinking with confusion. Shouldn’t...shouldn’t it /hurt/?

Odasaku is leaning against the wall, his expression unreadable.
“Where—“ Dazai blinks, looking around. “Where’s Chuuya—where—?”

“He’s in the ambulance, with your body.” Odasaku rubs the back of his neck. “They’re almost to the hospital now.”

“My—?” Dazai swallows hard, his stomach turning into a lead pit. “My body?”

Odasaku stares.
“Your heart stopped about fifty seconds ago,” Odasaku waves his hand, as if to indicate, ‘give or take a few milliseconds or so.’ “They’re trying to revive you right now.”

“So I’m—?”

“I was /pissed/ at you, you know. But...” Oda eyes Dazai’s shoulders. “You beat me to it, kid.”
“You were?” Dazai feels slow, like everything is /barely/ coming back to him.

“I wasn’t sure what your motivations were, pushing Chuuya out of the way, but...”

Dazai reaches behind himself blindly, and—

He has /wings/.

“You’re a better person than you thought, Osamu.”
“I—“ Dazai drops his hands, staring at Odasaku with wide eyes. “I have—“ he croaks, his voice leaving him at times. “I have to go /back/.”

Oda is watching him with /pity/, because he’s always thought this, from the very start—

He understands this kid /way too much/.
“Dazai—“ Oda glances down at his watch. Nearly three minutes now—not much longer before there would be brain damage. “It’s not up to me.”

Dazai feels the weight of it now. The string that has always been between him and Chuuya, straining to tug him back to earth, and it /hurts./
“Well,” a voice cuts in from beside them, and Dazai sees a blonde man with glasses—one he’s /sure/ wasn’t there before, “I suppose I could spare /one/ more miracle.”

Odasaku’s eyes widen. “I thought you were in Europe?”

“I was pulled back to deal with your little blackout.”
“And I’m not doing it for the brat, by the way—“ he jerks his thumb at Dazai, who pouts.

“Hey! I just /died/!”

“We’re all dead here, you /moron/—“

“—but it’s still fresh for me!”

“That redhead of his saved one of my assignments—Akutagawa Ryuunosuke. So, I owe him a miracle.”
“Anyway, I—“ Kunikida freezes with surprise when Odasaku pulls him into a fierce hug. The angel’s sure he’s been embraced before—but he must have been a human when it did, and that was /long/ ago.

“Thank you, Doppo.”

Kunikida coughs gruffly. “Well—let’s get a move on.”
The wall back to earth is complicated, filled with many dips, turns, and corridors—and it’s easy to get lost in it. But Dazai doesn’t miss a single step. “Will you be there when I make it back?”

Oda nods, hands in his pockets. “Sure will.”

“But I won’t be able to touch you?”
Oda blinks with confusion, tilting his head to the side. “You won’t.”

Dazai extends a hand. “Thank you, Odasaku.”

Oda blinks, glancing at his shoulders—still wing-less. “Don’t thank me yet.”

Dazai shakes his head with a smile. “No, just—for everything.”
Oda reaches out to take Dazai’s hand, and when he does—for some reason—

It feels like he’s seeing an old friend again after such a /long/ time. “You don’t have to thank me, you know.”

Dazai squeezes his hand, “I want to.”

Dazai wakes up in the ICU three days later.
Chuuya hasn’t left his side for a minute—he’s passed out in the arm chair next to his hospital bed, curled up into a tiny ball.

Dazai tries to talk, but his throat is so /dry/. “C-Chibi...”

Chuuya’s eyes snap open, and he’s up in a flash. “Dazai?”
There are a lot of tears, lots of apologies—mostly from Chuuya, and Dazai refuses them all. He learns the bullet avoided his vital organs, but it did rupture a major blood vessel—almost causing Dazai to bleed out. Recovery should be quick, compared to the gravity of the wound.
Chuuya is curled up in the hospital bed with him later, careful to avoid the wires sticking out of him. “You saved my life, you know.”

Dazai looks out the window, “You can’t know that.”

“10 centimeters.”


“The bullet hit you in the abdomen, but if it had been /me/...”
“At that height, it would’ve hit me in the heart,” Chuuya squeezes Dazai’s hand gently. “I would’ve been dead before I even hit the ground.”

Dazai bites his lip, letting all of it wash over him.

You don’t realize how much you have until you almost /lose/ it.
Dazai is released from the hospital two weeks later. He doesn’t go back to the old apartment—can’t afford it anymore, without the salary from the firm.

But they started out in a single bedroom together—and Chuuya’s place is more than enough for both of them.
He still needs a cane for a few more weeks—but the exercise is good for him, and so when Chuuya is on his shifts, he takes walks.

And that’s how he ends up in a bar, sitting next to a familiar face. “You didn’t come back here on my account, did you?”

Dazai smiles a little.
“I ordered the top shelf,” he comments, staring at the glass idly, “Chuuya won’t let me have it anymore, you know—I even got one for you.”

Oda glances down at the glass in front of him, flowers floating in the whiskey instead of ice. “It’s a warmer welcome than last time.”
“Yeah, well—I wanted to congratulate you.” Dazai swirls his glass absentmindedly.

“Congratulate me?”

“On your promotion.”


Dazai shakes his head with a soft chuckle, “I’m not going to kill myself, Odasaku.”


Dazai’s words sound like a /promise/.
“I just have one question, before you go back—“ Dazai sighs, “I really wasted the time I had, having a ghost following me around—“

“I’m not all knowing.”

“Oh,” Dazai snickers, “I /know/.”

Odasaku glares, but just heart isn’t in it.

“Odasaku...what should I do?”
“Chuuya, he keeps on saying I can move past this, that I can make up for what I’ve done, but...” Dazai bites his lip. “I have no idea how.”

Odasaku thinks it over, staring down at his glass. “I suppose you...become a better man.”

“Oh, /that’s/ original—“
“Be on the side that saves people.” Oda talks over him, smiling in spite of himself, “Save some orphans. I know you can do it.”

Dazai looks doubtful. “How would you know that?”

“Well—we’re friends, aren’t we?”

Dazai is startled for a moment, but then he smiles—and it’s angelic
Just before Oda leaves, his newfound wings spreading out behind him, Dazai calls out after him. “Hey—Sakunosuke—!”

Oda turns his head, the sun framing his face in a halo of light.

“Your daughter—her name is Kyouka, isn’t it?”
Dazai joins a new law firm a month later—a public interest firm dealing in corporate fraud. The money is good—good enough to send Chuuya back to school, and—

It’s good enough to set up a trust fund for Kyouka, now 16—

And, of all things—she wants to be a writer.
The effects of the near death experience seem to stay with Chuuya more than Dazai. He stares at Dazai for way too long, like he wants to make sure that he’s /real/—and sometimes he’ll reach out to cup Dazai’s neck affecrionately.

When /really/, he’s checking Dazai’s pulse.
Dazai doesn’t plan it—it just /happens/—but once, when he catches Chuuya doing it, he catches him by the wrist and kissed his knuckles.


“Come here.”

It’s a slow first kiss—soft and lingering, undemanding. They aren’t each other’s firsts—but Dazai can already tell—
Chuuya is going to be his /last/.

They fall into each other so easily, forming a rhythm that feels so natural, like they must have done this a thousand times before—but every single brush of Chuuya’s skin is terrifying, new—and /beautiful/.
They cling to each other for hours. There are moments that are soft and playful, and others that are earth shattering.

In the end, Chuuya is curled up in his arms, his palm resting over Dazai’s new scar—which is now beginning to fade.


“I love you.” Dazai smiles into the darkness, rolling over until Chuuya is tucked into his chest.

“I love you too.”

And after all of the angels, the near death experiences, and the miracles—

This is as close to heaven as Dazai Osamu has /ever/ been.

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