modern skk that have known each other for years & are best friends that still act like rivals, and everything is fine & well until dazai, who’s always claimed to be allergic to relationships & dating and only ever had one night stands, suddenly announces he started seeing someone
and at first chuuya doesn’t take it seriously, thinks it’s one dazai’s stupid pranks... until they’re all out with their friends one evening and dazai actually shows up with someone. his name is oda and he’s tall and gorgeous and funny and easy going and chuuya doesn’t understand
the way his heart twists every time he looks over and sees dazai beaming at oda. it doesn’t make sense. dazai is his best friend. and it’s only on rare occasions that chuuya ever gets to see that look on his face — like when they’re playing video games and dazai wins, laughing
as chuuya curses him out in every language he knows, or sometimes he gets that look when chuuya wins, trash talking dazai to the moon and back in the process but for some inexplicable reason dazai finds that amusing too — so why the fuck does it hurt chuuya to see him happy now?
why isn’t he excited for dazai? he’s being silly and overdramatic, chuuya tells himself. simply not used to the idea of dazai being in a relationship. except that the bitter taste in his mouth doesn’t go away the next time dazai brings oda along. or the time after that.
and suddenly it clicks. /oh./
chuuya’s already feeling bad enough for being so stupid and falling in love with his best friend when dazai pulls him aside one night and asks what he thinks of oda. “don’t play dumb, chibi,” dazai says after chuuya shrugs and presses out that oda’s just fine.
"you know i can read you like a book. so what is it?" and for once there's this sort of foolish hope in dazai's eyes and even though everything in chuuya screams to tell dazai how he feels, to tell him every little thing he's been suppressing over the years of their friendship,
he looks away and says nothing. because this is dazai. who just started dating someone and appears to be truly happy for once in his life. chuuya can't risk ruining all of that because of a stupid crush, right?
"i like oda," chuuya presses out eventually. "really. he's — he's been good to you right?" dazai blinks, surprised, but recovers with a smooth smirk. "ehhh, chuuya is worried about me? is that it?" — "shut up." — "fine. fine. oda has been a perfect gentleman. are you happy?"
chuuya should be and fuck knows, he'll burn in hell for it, but he's not. he's not happy. but dazai doesn't need to know that, so he rolls his eyes and plays the role he's always been playing."yeah, whatever. i hate you." — "sure you do. so much that you've been deathly silent
the last few times we were out. you know, i was starting to get worried, too, thought that you were getting sick." — "yeah," chuuya grunts, "sick of your face." — "oh, there he is! can you believe i actually missed my angry, little chibi?" — "shut up! i'll kill you!"
they return to their friends. dazai slides into the seat next to oda, snuggling into his side with a goofy grin. chuuya averts his eyes and spends the rest of the evening tanking much more wine than he can handle. life goes on, he tells himself. people get over one-sided crushes
all the time and live. it's going to be fine. he'll just have to move on in one way or another. maybe try one of those dating apps again even if the idea couldn't be any less appealing right now. if this was any other crush, chuuya could rely on dazai to distract him somehow.
whether it was by involving chuuya in his ridiculous antics, daring him to climb buildings that shouldn't be climbed, getting him drunk on rum and wine, or simply annoying him to death as they watch movies and dazai spoils every possible thing there is to spoil. dazai was there.
but now that's not possible anymore. because dazai has someone else to watch movies with. and chuuya has — well, he has his couch and bottle of wine. and a lot of unresolved feelings for his best friend, apparently. chuuya spends the next few weeks focusing on his studies and
working his ass off at his bartender job. he hits the gym with tachihara and gets coffee with kouyou. he does everything except think about a certain bastard named dazai. and for a while it feels like it's working. yeah, his chest plummets every time he remembers that he won't
ever get to tell dazai how he really feels. or hold his hand. or kiss his dumb fucking mouth. and yeah, he curses himself for every minute he spent with dazai and didn't say the words. but that's his own fault, being too scared to see what was right in front of him all this time.
now he gets to live with it. and he does — well, until he's supposed to meet dazai to watch that new action movie. they always watch them together, it's their thing, so canceling would be shitty and the bastard would probably get suspicious again and try to find out what's wrong.
so he'll go see it with him and act like everything's okay. except that chuuya waits at the street corner, they agreed to meet. and waits. and waits. dazai has never been a punctual person. sometimes he shows up two hours earlier in chuuya's kitchen because lockpicking and being
annoying are his special talents. and sometimes he arrives thirty minutes later with a cup of coffee so sweet it could give him diabetes. but on those occasions, dazai, at least, has the decency to pick up the phone when chuuya calls to shout at him. he doesn't pick up now.
it's been fifty minutes when chuuya's fingers have already gone numb from the chilly autumn air, that he finally decides to give it up. for whatever reason dazai stood him up and no way in hell is he going to stay here waiting any longer like some pathetic little child. fuck him.
the rest of the day passes in an angry blur and chuuya falls into a shitty, fitful sleep. he wakes up to the smell of pancakes which is nice for the first few seconds until he remembers that he lives alone and was doing anything but those last night. it has to be dazai.
which is pretty fucking bold of him considering that the bastard didn’t even reach out after failing to show up. no text, no call, not a single peep. and now he’s in his kitchen making pancakes? chuuya storms out of his bedroom with the fury of a thousand burning suns.
dazai is standing at the stove, so casual like it’s something he does every day when chuuya knows for a fact 90% of dazai’s meals are store-bought or cooked by someone else. chuuya remains on the threshold, not trusting himself not to sucker-punch the idiot. “what the hell?”
dazai’s grins upon seeing him. “chibi is finally awake? you were snoring so peacefully, i didn’t wanna wake you!” — “how many times have i told you not to break into my fucking flat? and i don’t snore!” — “ehhh, chuuya's so boring.” — he gives dazai a glare. “what do you want?”
“i’m making you pancakes, duh.” — “i don’t even like pancakes, asshole.” — dazai turns around, unbothered, and places the finished batch on the table. “you say you don’t like them but you always steal a few pieces from my plate.” so what if dazai is right? chuuya isn’t flawless.
“whatever,” he barks out and pointedly remains standing. “you realize that pancakes won’t change the fact that you’re a fucking asshole?” — dazai blinks up at him, batting his lashes. “what if the pancakes are really good?”
it’s one thing being stood up by the person you /like/
for fuck’s sake, but the same person taking the piss out of you is just cruel. “leave,” chuuya says. finally, dazai looks surprised. “what?” — “just leave. get out of my face.” — “come on, chibi. it slipped my mind. i was with oda —” — “that’s supposed to make it better?”
“chuuya should eat a pancake and calm down” — and that makes chuuya explode. calm down? really? he grabs the nearest towel and throws it at the bastard. it smacks his face with a satisfying slap. chuuya turns around and decides to ignore the stupid asshole in his kitchen.
that will make him leave, right? he starts cleaning up the mess that dazai made out of his kitchen when the idiot starts whining for chuuya to stop being so rude and ignoring him. chuuya refuses to give in, though, and continues giving him the cold shoulder. that’s when
he feels dazai creep up behind him and suddenly there are two pointy arms hugging him from behind. “chuuuuya,” dazai complains, his warm breath tickling his ear. “do you want me to beg for your forgiveness, is that it?” — “let go of me!” — “not until you start loving me again!”
the words make him almost laugh with bitterness. instead of laughing, he jabs his elbow back into what must be dazai’s stomach. “you’re so annoying,” he snaps, “get your stinky hands away!” dazai lets out a breath that’s part gasp, part laughter. “why is chuuya always so fighty?
no wonder, he’s all alone and miserable!” — “shut the fuck up!” — but dazai only hugs him closer and then chuuya is stumbling and falling. he somehow ends up on the couch, dazai on top of him. the bastard looks skinny but is, in fact, heavy as shit. and then he has the audacity
to start laughing like a maniac and despite his best efforts, chuuya can’t fight off his own smile. they laugh until their breath runs out, dazai refusing to stop snuggling him. maybe, chuuya thinks, they’re going to be okay after all. maybe his feelings won't ruin everything.
for a few days, it almost feels like life a month ago with dazai as his best friend and constant part of his life — even though he always denied that when someone brought it up. almost. because even though they still send each other stupid memes, dazai’s replies get shorter
and more scarce. even though they still talk, chuuya doesn’t get any calls anymore when dazai takes the train to whatever odd job he found in the city, complaining about how boring it is and that “even chibi’s annoying voice is more interesting”.
chuuya’s pretty sure dazai’s still out there, bored on the train, just with someone else on the line. and even though dazai still shows up to the bar with their friends, it’s with oda at his side. and it’s oda who receives dazai’s flushed grins after four cups of cake. it’s oda
who gets hand-fed party snacks. it’s oda that dazai turns to when he’s laughing. it’s oda when it used to be chuuya.

he supposes it’s natural for someone to give all their attention to their new partner, especially if it’s their first relationship. hell, chuuya remembers /his/
first boyfriend and being absolutely smitten, no matter how short-lived that was. but it doesn’t make it sting any less.

as self-centered as it sounds, chuuya used to be the centre of dazai’s universe, just like dazai used to be his — shit, still is. and now that chuuya’s been
more or less replaced, it all feels wrong. like his entire world tilted. like he was thrown off-balance and has to relearn how to walk on his own two feet all over again.

some people would call that co-dependency. chuuya calls it being subconsciously in love with your
best friend that you have talked to every day for the last eight years. maybe it’s the same thing.

/but/ all bad habits can be unlearned. he's not going to mope around and feel sad for himself. he's not going to let it ruin him, damn it. he was abandoned as a kid, raised in an
orphanage and sent from one home to another for most of his early teens because no one was stupid enough to let a troubled kid with anger issues into their house. what could a heartbreak possibly do to chuuya what his childhood already hadn't?
and it’s not like chuuya would have any trouble finding someone to spend the night with. he’s good-looking, no reason to be modest about it. charming. athletic. he’s got a great taste in hats, and an awesome wine collection. what more could anybody want? it’s just that /he/
doesn't. all chuuya wants is to run his hands through dazai's hair, hold his calloused hands, and kiss the spot between shoulder and neck. he wants long nights and raspy voices. he wants conversations under the night sky and dazai's theories about the moon. he wants it all and
it kills him to imagine doing all of these things with anyone other than his stupid best friend. he wants it all and he can't have it.

he gets painfully reminded of that once again when he meets dazai for an impromptu library session. it was chuuya who asked him, having
several deadlines coming up and no idea how to get it all done in time and dazai's always been a pretty useful, if incredibly annoying, study partner back in school. although dazai's reply came back almost an entire day later, it came back positive.

except dazai never mentioned
bringing his boyfriend along. yet, there they are, holding hands and grinning at chuuya. together.

chuuya remembers to school his expression into something less hostile and more friendly. dazai explains that oda showed up at his place spontaneously and decided to tag along to
get some work done as well. pressing out a tight smile, chuuya says it's /obviously/ not a problem and leads the way.

and since some mighty force above wants to make a joke out of chuuya's life, the library is crowded. every possible table already occupied. fucking exam season.
the only available seating opportunity they find is a small table for two, and an open seat next to a stranger several feet away. chuuya's heart already sinks before dazai even says the words.

"we'll be here, yes?"

"sure," chuuya murmurs. it's not like he specifically asked
dazai to tag along so he could help CHUUYA. not like he — no, whatever. fuck it. fuck it all.

apparently, his reaction isn't as subtle as he thinks because oda looks between the two of them and says, "are you sure? i can go to the seat over there. i don't mind."

and that
makes dazai frown like the idea of sitting apart from his boyfriend is an alien concept.

"no,"chuuya says, already turning around. "i don't care." because what kind of best friend would try to seperate the lovebirds? what kind of shitty human being would be bitter over something
so insignificant as seating arrangements? they’re a couple. he’s the third wheel. of course, he gets to sit alone.

it takes ten miracles not to drop kick everyone around him out of the way and another ten to take out his studying material quietly and without any violence.
thankfully, the load of work manages to distract him for a bit until he makes me the mistake of glancing over and seeing dazai with his face in his hands looking at oda like he’s the only person to exist in the room as oda frowns at a book.

shit. fuck.

that’s the other thing.
oda always looks so... calm. collected. like he’s not currently sitting across the love of his life and it doesn’t make sense to chuuya.

if this was him getting looked at like /that/ by dazai... he wouldn’t have survived. not in this life. so it doesn’t make sense.
going back to studying is a hit or miss, his thoughts constantly wandering off into distracting territory. so distracting he doesn't even notice someone coming up behind and flicking the back of his head.

chuuya jerks around with a glare to find dazai looking at him innocently.
"bastard," he says.

"dazai's just fine."

chuuya rolls his eyes but notices that the idiot's actually alone for once, oda not sitting in his seat either. "where's your boyfriend?"

"you don't have to say it like that, chibi.i'm sure even you'll find one someday."

"fuck you."
"hmm, so angry again." dazai seats himself at the edge of chuuya's desk, earning a few pointed glances from people around that he ignores. "odasaku went to get himself a coffee, so i decided to pay a visit to chibi."

"you sure you will survive being separated?" chuuya asks.
he knows he shouldn't, but sue him. the asshole deserves it.

dazai doesn't look bothered in the slightest, instead he actually pouts. "now that you mention it, i do miss him already. i offered to go with him but he told me to stay. do you think that's a bad sign? is he bored
with me?"

chuuya blinks.

"i don't know how normal people's heads work, but chuuya isn't normal either, so it's no use asking him."

shut up.

"no, i don't think odasaku's bored. i think he just wants a coffee, but you know what? i would fancy a coffee too now -"

"shut up."
finally, dazai stops talking. "eh?"

"just shut up," chuuya snaps, "shut up about oda. for one minute. can you fucking do that?"

he regrets saying it the moment the words are out, but by then it's too late. dazai's looking at him now like he looks at other people — analyzing
and calculating as if trying to read him.

and fuck, there's so much to discover that he promptly stands up and starts shoving his things into his backpack. "i'm gonna leave."

"chuuya -"

"headache. sorry." and without another word or look, he leaves, face burning.
as soon as the door closes behind chuuya, he throws his backpack across the room, causing all the stuff inside to spill out. next are his sneakers that land against the wall with a thud. then he just takes a pillow and screams into it, hoping his neighbors will have a tad of
understanding and won't call the police.

it’s not the fact that he nearly slipped up that makes him want to stab his wall with his fist. it’s the fact that it came to that, in the first place. it’s dazai being a genius but not being smart enough to take a fucking hint. it’s
dazai shoving his relationship into his face every chance he gets. it’s the freaking fact that he’s here, having a /meltdown/ because of osamu fucking dazai and it’s the last few months making him feel like utter shit.

dazai sends a few texts, asking what his problem is and
informing chuuya that "he’s being even more unpleasant than usually".

chuuya doesn’t reply that day or the next one. he figures it’s best to let it sit for a while, cool off before he explodes again. he doesn't get any more texts, though, so maybe replying isn't even necessary.
not that it hurts any less.

instead akiko checks up on him. apparently, an anonymous source told her that chuuya’s been a little bitch lately. thank you very much, dazai. before he can try to shrug it off, she goes right for the throat and tells him to try to understand dazai.
it’s his first real relationship. his first boyfriend. of course, he’ll be annoying and weird about it.

for someone calling himself dazai's best friend, it's pretty fucking sad that akiko had to call chuuya first and remind him to stop only thinking about his damn self.
tw: mention of suicide attempts

instantly, he feels like the worst human being on the planet.

knowing dazai for a very long time means also being well acquainted with his quirks and issues. his strange, fucked up relationship with his own life. the fact, that he tried to take
take it several times, chuuya sitting at his hospital bed and crying when he fell asleep. he knows that there are days when dazai barely feels human, like a shell of a person as he once told chuuya, drunk on cognac. he knows about dazai’s struggles forming stable relationships
with other people, his primal instinct always to find weaknesses and use them for his own good. back then chuuya promised not to hate dazai for it. not to leave him. and look at him now… ignoring dazai’s texts because he’s jealous. pushing dazai away because he had the audacity
to fall in love for the first time. not once did he stop to consider how much strength and fear it had probably cost dazai to let oda in. how scared he must be, still. and what did chuuya do? he told him to shut up.

great friend. really.
after his phone call with akiko, he calls dazai's number without thinking. it rings five times before he picks up.


his chest falls with relief. he’s still chibi. it might not be too late yet. “oi. are you busy right now?”
“will you tell me to shut up if i answer?”

he makes a face even though no one can see him. “i always tell you to shut up, shitty dazai.”

there’s silence for a moment. chuuya starting to think dazai might actually have ended the call and then: “chibi has a point."
"do you want to come over?”dazai asks.

“actually, yeah. if it’s cool with you.”

“obviously it’s cool with me. is it cool with mr. sharkzilla over there?”

“seriously, shut up.”

“tch. you better bring something edible with you. i’m starving.”
that was his plan anyway. chuuya quickly gets dressed before hopping on his motorcycle and raiding the first supermarket he finds along the way. he buys everything from canned crabs to dazai’s favorite bottle of sake and then he’s already at his door, waiting.
it’s kind of pathetic the way his heart stutters in his chest when the idiot finally opens the door, giving chuuya a look, then glancing at the bag in his hands and raising a brow.

“it’s your favorites,” chuuya says, offering a grin that probably looks like a grimace, “idiot.”
“it better be.”

then dazai steps aside to let him in. chuuya shrugs off his coat and sneakers in a packed silence as dazai sniffs and curiously peeks into the bags, letting out a delightful and somewhat adorable gasp when he spots the sake.

chuuya tries not looking around too
much, not getting worked up again over stupid stuff, but he can’t help but notice how his tiny and usually messy flat looks actually tidy today. he can’t help but see the framed picture standing on his shelf. a picture of dazai and oda, laughing together.

“so,” dazai eventually says as he sits down across on his couch, leaving a considerable space between them.

chuuya swallows. he hasn’t really thought about what to say before he came here. “shit. this is awkward.”

dazai only stares back, face blank. his odd silence makes it
a hundred times worse. “i’m sorry,” chuuya blurts out. “i’ve been acting like a shithead lately. i was stressed because of my deadlines and i let it out on you.”

“you were stressed because of your deadlines? that’s it?”

chuuya presses his lips together. he came to fix what
he said but admitting the feelings he’s been harboring is definitely not part of today's plan. not when it would make everything even worse. “what i mean is that it wasn’t.. it wasn’t something you did.”

“chibi’s a terrible liar. don’t ever try playing poker.”
chuuya grits his teeth. “i’m trying here, you asshole.”

“you told me you like odasaku but that was a lie, wasn’t it?”

“no, that’s not -“

“then what is it?!”

the force in his voice actually startles chuuya. dazai rarely ever gets serious, let alone worked up.
more or less everything is a joke to him no matter how fucked up. to hear him so upset over the fact that chuuya doesn’t like oda is.. kind of heartbreaking for everyone involved.

chuuya takes a breath. “i wasn’t lying when i said oda is fine. he is. i just…
you've been in my life for years and now it’s always the two of you together. it’s new to me, is all.” and gods, if that doesn’t sound like the most pathetic thing ever. “you ditched me for him,” chuuya hurries to add, “and then you brought him along to the library even though
i fucking asked you because i needed your help. you acted like the biggest shithead on planet earth."

“oh,”dazai says, dumb-struck. and then: "so you acted like a brat because you were jealous?"

"be fucking serious for once," chuuya snaps. "it was a shitty thing to do."
“well tch, chuuya should have said something. aren’t you always the first to open your mouth and yell at me?”

“hah?! i was trying to be a considerate person!”

“how is telling me to shut up being considerate?!”

“well, someone has to do it!”

dazai's frown cracks into a smirk.
deep inside, chuuya feels a certain kind of relief. he managed to explain his behavior without giving away the entire truth, but still address the issue that’s been bothering him. it’s not perfect, but it has to be good enough for now.
"chuuya should just learn to speak his mind," dazai tells him, looking awfully smug.

chuuya grumbles out a, "whatever."

their conversation shifts to lighter and safer topics. dazai offers to help with the topics chuuya struggled with on his essays and spends every minute of
it bearing unbearably annoying. chuuya criticizes his awful taste in snacks, getting smacked in the face with a crab in return. dazai earns a few kicks to his shin. they talk about chuuya’s upcoming birthday that he refuses to celebrate. they open the bottle of sake and pass it
back and forth. although he doesn’t say it loud, he hopes that dazai won’t hesitate to ask him for advice if he needs it. it will be awkward and uncomfortable but this is his best friend. his dazai. he’ll just have to suck it up and look past his own feelings.
the night ends up with both of them stumbling into dazai’s bedroom. not together together, of course. just. chuuya drank too much of the sake to make the ride home
so dazai tells him to stay the night. and since they have gotten used to share the bed over the years, it would be
weird to stop doing it now.

chuuya blames the alcohol for burying his face in dazai’s pillows and inhaling the familiar scent of his best friend. which isn’t a specific perfume or anything like that. it’s generic soap, traces of coffee and a ting of vanilla. just dazai.
and then there’s real dazai, smelling like sake and tooth paste, his presence alone making chuuya feel warm even though he knows for a fact that the idiot is probably cold as shit right now. he’s still staring when dazai turns around, now facing him.

it should feel like was
like he was caught, but instead chuuya feels an odd calm settle over him. this is nothing new. nothing he isn't familiar with. this is chuuya and dazai and what they’ve been doing for the last eight years.

“i can’t believe chuuya likes me.”

the world stops.
dazai yawns and pokes chuuya’s cheek with his finger. “chibi always tells me how much he hates me, but you were jealous because i didn't spend time with you. you missed me.”

oh. that. dazai didn't find about chuuya's feelings. he actually meant like as in tolerate him. gods.
“shut up,” chuuya grumbles out, although it comes out a little slurred. “i still hate you. stupid idiot bastard mackerel.”

it makes dazai laugh, a soft, raspy sound. a laugh that chuuya thinks he would die for to hear again. he feels dazai creep closer then. a silent question
that chuuya answers with a nod. dazai pulls him into his chest, wrapping himself around him and letting out a soft sigh when chuuya nestles closer. and how could he resist when dazai's arms feel like the most natural place on earth?
chuuya feels like he gets a handle on things throughout the next weeks. maybe it’s because he's slowly come to terms with his feelings over the last months, or maybe that talk with dazai helped a little, but life doesn't suck as much for the first time in forever. so despite the
fact that chuuya told his friends he doesn’t want to celebrate his birthday a dozen times, he has no choice to succumb to their nagging because they threaten to throw him a surprise party which is even worse. so celebrating it is.

he rents a lounge in one of the more decent
night clubs downtown where they’ll be able to sit and drink but still have the opportunity to go dancing. not that he really cares about any of it anymore, having been to more than enough clubs and done stupid, illegal shit in his teens.

the only tradition that chuuya actually
appreciates on his birthday is spending it with dazai, usually on a road trip.

it started off as a coincidence when they were young; chuuya had just been taken in by a family in yokohama and dazai was the kid next door who spent too much time outside and rarely ever talked.
tw: attempted suicide

it so happened that on chuuya’s fifteenth birthday he saw dazai walking into the railway station, looking utterly hollow. maybe it was a gut feeling or just a lucky guess, but he approached dazai and dared him to go train-hopping with him. dazai looked
basically through him, indifferent, a little confused. but as every other fourteen year old kid with a temper he refused to back out of the challenge. they spent the day riding trains out of yokohama and back, all the while keeping up a steady stream of insults and
ridiculous bets until a ticket collecter caught them and called their families.

chuuya didn’t remain in that family for long, sent back to the orphanage which should have meant he'd never have to see dazai again. except that the idiot showed up on his birthday and all but stole
him away. well, they went train hopping again and dazai made chuuya promise to behave with his next family — if there would even be one. that way they could stay in the same city (“and so i can continue beating chuuya at every game, of course!”)

at first, chuuya was tempted
to do the opposite to just spite him, but in the end dazai was a connection, something lasting, which kids like him only dreamed of having. a few weeks later a young woman named kouyou ozaki took him in and for once, chuuya didn’t try to resist — at least, not too much. he stayed
with her until he was old enough to move out and kouyou grew into something like a big sister for him, just like he stayed friends with dazai, eventually going to the same school as him. from then on, every birthday was shared together. dazai knew chuuya didn’t really consider it
his actual birthday since he doesn't have a birth certificate. so there were never any fancy gifts, speeches or gestures. it were trips to the countryside, to the beach, to nagoya. it were rides on his new motorcycle. on his 19th birthday chuuya got sick and dazai stayed at his
stayed at his place, forcing him to watch a trip around the world documentaries. in the end, they spent it always together, though.

so, of course, chuuya’s glad to celebrate with his other friends, too, but it's really not hard to make him happy on his birthday.
he wakes up with a dozen birthday texts from friends; kouyou, ryuu, gin, akiko, ranpo, tachihara, the nakajima kid — you name them. the only name missing is dazai.

he doesn’t spend too much time worrying about it. it’s /dazai/. there's nothing predictable about that idiot
and who knows, maybe he was busy in the morning.

except that morning turns into afternoon and eventually it’s six in the evening and chuuya realizes there’s no way, they’d manage to squeeze in some sort of road trip. well okay, he thinks to himself. so it's not happening this
year. fine. chuuya should have figured that from the start with all the changes in their relationship. it’s not that important anyway. dazai will still be there at the club.

the call comes when he starts getting ready. he takes a breath and holds the phone to his ear. “oi.”
“chuuya,” dazai says on the other line. “happy birthday.”
“thanks...” for some reason dazai's voice doesn’t really assure him. he sounds odd. “you’re coming tonight, right?”

“that’s the thing, chibi, i —“ there’s a sound of shuffling. “i can’t make it.”


he can’t make it.
“chibi, are you there?”

chuuya hums, voice gone dry. “you're busy with your boyfriend, is that it?”

dazai laughs or coughs and chuuya, sort of, wishes he would choke. “it’s a funny story actually. odasaku and me are in yamagata right now. we drove here with his car and we were
supposed to go back last night but now his car won’t turn on — the mechanic said it’s something with his surge tank. now we’re stuck until they repair it, so…”

“so you won’t make it,” chuuya concludes.

“no, chibi. i’m… sorry…” he says something else, chuuya hears him talk
but he doesn’t really register it until he hears his own name again. “huh?”

“i said i’m disappointed i won’t see chuuya get down on the dancefloor. it’s been a while. but i made akutagawa promise me to make videos of you drunk.”

“okay,” chuuya says.

for a moment it sounds
like dazai start saying something but he cuts it off with a sigh. a quiet, pleased sound. “chuuya sounds busy so i'm not going to bother him. don't have too much fun without me, yes?"

chuuya swallows, rubs at his eye even though it doesn’t itch. “yeah. sure. thanks."
for a few minutes, he just stands there in his bedroom, all alone, contemplating. then he starts picking his outfit.

chuuya’s grateful for the packed crowd and the loud music that makes it almost impossible to hear anything else. the less talking, the better.
unfortunately, he can’t escape his friends’ questioning looks as the night goes on and dazai's nowhere to be seen.

it’s atsushi who asks the question. “where’s dazai-san?”

chuuya takes a shot. it's both a ruse to get extra time to appear collected and get more shitfaced.
thankfully, akiko answers before he can. “he’s stuck in yamagata with oda. apparently, their car broke down.”

“oh,” atsushi makes a face and glances at chuuya. “poor dazai-san. i bet he’s really sad to miss the party.”

chuuya only shrugs. sad about missing the party?
he certainly didn't sound sad on the phone. besides, how upset can you be over missing a stupid birthday party when you're in a beautiful city with your boyfriend?

the others seem to read the situation, specifically his rising temper, and steer the conversation to safer grounds.
but chuuya can't stop thinking about it so eventually he turns to akiko and asks, "what the hell were they doing even in yamagata?"

she looks at him with a look of pity and he knows whatever the reason is, he won't like it. "chuuya, it's your birthday. do you really wanna

"just tell me." so what if it's his birthday? his best friend didn't bother to show up. not like it can get any worse. "really," he presses. "i'll be ok."

she sighs. "i'm surprised he didn't tell you. oda got a job offer in yamagata. they were looking at apartments."
"what?" chuuya's pretty sure his mouth is hanging open. "h-he's moving away? they're moving together?" that doesn't make any fucking sense. they only started dating like three months ago. is dazai planning to marry him next week, too?!

"he didn't say more than that," akiko says
and gives him a pitying smile. "i doubt dazai would just move away. he has a life here. he has /you/."

"then you don't know him very well," chuuya says. if someone were to suddenly leave everything behind to start somewhere new, it would be dazai.

and he's in love with oda.
of course, he would follow him hundreds of miles away.

with each second, chuuya's heart sinks more and more. he thought this day couldn't get any worse and now he found out his best friend is moving away and didn't even bother to mention it.

"let's go dancing!" akiko yells.
chuuya lets himself be pulled towards the dance floor and his friends. they yell something. someone bumps into him. he doesn't notice the buzzing in the pocket of his pants. he doesn't even hear the music playing. all he hears are echoes.

then he spots a familiar face across
the floor.

dark strands of hair, pale skin and dark eyes stare right back at him.

chuuya wonders what the hell someone like fyodor dostoevsky is doing at a night club. they know each other from school — or rather, chuuya knew of him because dazai spent hours complaining about
the kid. yeah, chuuya remembers now. dazai hated the guy with a passion which must mean something. dazai either uses you or doesn’t care about you, but hating? that requires too much emotions.

except when it came to fyodor.

“isn’t that the dostoevsky kid?” tachihara yells.

tachihara elbows him, wiggling his brows. "wow, he's staring at you."

chuuya entertained the idea even before he remembered dazai's history with him because honestly, dostoevsky is pretty fucking hot. but knowing that dazai hates him? it seals the deal. he's doing that.
akiko must see the determination in his eyes because she raises her brows. "really?"

"what?" chuuya asks innocently, opening the first few buttons of his shirt. "it's my birthday. i'm allowed to have fun, right?"

"wait," tachihara says, "you really want to go over there?"
chuuya sends him a look. "tachi, keep up." he flashes his teeth. "is there something stuck in there? do i look okay?"

"you look... good," he says.

"very sexy," akiko agrees. "i'm gonna kick your ass later for the drama you'll cause but for now: go get 'em, tiger."

"i will."
it seems like dostoevsky and him are on the same page because all it takes are a few words, a few looks, and then he's pressing up, a hand on his ass, kissing someone he never thought he would.

soon enough, chuuya is following him to the bathroom and being pressed against the
stall, willing himself to not think about germs and how fucking unsanitary it is to get a blowjob here. dostoevsky doesn't seem to mind. well, dazai did always use to say he was a rat.

it feels good, really. the guy is not a big talker but certainly knows how to use his mouth.
"you remind me of someone," dostoevsky says as he zips up his jeans, narrowing his eyes. "do we know each other?"

chuuya halts at the door, considering his answer.

"you were that kid always hanging around dazai, weren't you?"

"does it matter?" chuuya doesn't wait for a reply
before he leaves the stall, dostoevsky following; no one around them sober enough to care about what just happened in there.

"i would ask how he is doing these days but i think i can do that myself."

"hah?!" chuuya frowns, looks at him, then back, and oh well.

dazai's here.
dazai's grin is unnaturally wide on his face. "there you are."

for a moment, chuuya feels like he's having a fever dream. this can't be real. wasn't dazai stuck in yamagata?

not that it matters. not that he really cares right now. "here i am," chuuya says and walks past him.
he hears dostoevsky say something, dazai replying, and then their voices fade, replaced by the bass of the speakers.

chuuya has no fucking clue what he's doing. his legs are a little wobbly as he pushes past groups of people. he should find his friends except that he has no
idea where they are.

"chuuya - chuuya, please, can you just stop for a minute?" a hand wraps around his wrist, cold despite the packed heat in the club. "you're drunk."

"wow, captain obvious!" chuuya snaps, turning around. "what an amazing observation!"

dazai quirks a brow.
"shouldn't it be me fuming considering you just fucked my life-long enemy?"

chuuya lets out a humorless laugh. "i don't think you have any right to be angry right now, dazai."

"debatable. let's go outside first, though, yes?"

"whatever," he grits out. dazai tries taking his
wrist again but chuuya yanks himself free with such force that a few bystanders send them curious looks. let them look. chuuya's pretty much done with this entire evening.

by the time, they step outside, he's shaking with pent-up anger that's been growing in his chest for
months now.

dazai opens his mouth but chuuya's faster. he shoves him with his hands, not enough to make him fall, but enough to make him stumble and look like the idiot for once.

"why are you here?"

dazai straightens with a scowl. "why wouldn't i be?"

"don't play fucking
stupid. you were in yamagata with your boyfriend looking at apartments, so what the hell are you doing here now?"

"ah, so that's why you're angry."

"yes," chuuya yells, "dumb, little chuuya is angry again! you are moving hundreds of miles away, dazai, and you didn't even tell
me! of course, i'm fucking angry!"

"i /was/ going to tell you."

"really? before or after you already moved away?"

"and i also called and texted you about a hundred times to say i was taking the train here, but you were clearly too busy to check your phone."

"you have no
right to be angry about dostoevsky," chuuya says, shaking his head. "no fucking right."

"why's that? because you assumed something and did the first childish thing you could think of to get back at me?"

"no, because it's none of your business who i fuck!"

"it is when it's
fyodor dostoevsky. as your friend -"

"shut up!"

"as your -"

"shut the fuck up! you haven't been acting like my best friend ever since you got yourself a boyfriend!"

"oh, there he goes about odasaku again. what is it about him that you hate so much, chuuya?"

"it's you!"
dazai shuts up for a minute and it's that silence that gets him going. "i'm in love with you, you stupid piece of shit! i'm in love with you and you are going to leave town with someone else. you're going to leave me and i can't - i don't think i can be your friend anymore."
now that the words are out, he feels himself deflate, the anger leaving his body, but there's a new tension between them, a pointed silence.

finally, he glances up and dazai looks like.. he's frowning like he doesn't really believe what he just heard.

chuuya grits his teeth.
"you're just not gonna say anything?"

"chuuya..." dazai says, his voice raspy. it reminds him of that time he was sick, nursing a fever and dazai was speaking to him when he thought he was asleep. "i can't just..."

chuuya never confessed to anyone before. he had only ever
been on the receiving end, whether it were girls who didn't know he was gay or a few boys brave enough to make their move. but he's pretty sure this is the thing everyone's always so scared about.

the shame. the embarrassment. it washes over him waves and for a few moments, he
just stands there.


"chuuya i didn't know -"

"of course not," he quickly replies and takes a step back. "just... forget about it. forget about this whole thing."

"i can't just forget about it."

"then don't," chuuya says and swallows. "just leave me alone, okay?"

"give me some time. i just need time. please, can please you do this one thing?"

if he weren't in this situation, chuuya would have admired the raw emotions on dazai's face. but his embarrassment doesn't allow him to look for longer than a few seconds.

chuuya doesn't know who turns away first, but the next time he looks back dazai is gone. like he'd never even been here.

he takes out his phone with shaky fingers. he sees the dozen missed calls from dazai. he calls himself a cab.
when chuuya wakes up the next morning there are several blissful seconds, his brain still foggy from sleep, in which he doesn’t remember anything that happened last night. then, he blinks and the memories all come crashing back with a vengeance that leaves him breathless.
covering his face with his hands, he chants the word “fuck” over and over.

yelling that he’s in love with dazai, drunk and with an audience is embarrassing, yes but he’ll live. dazai not saying a single word, rejecting him... it hurts, more than words can say but it's expected
after all, dazai loves oda. they’re in a happy relationship. there simply is no place for chuuya and his feelings.

no, the worst thing of all is that his friendship with dazai will never be the same again. they’ll never be as carefree and comfortable with each other as before.
chuuya's feelings will forever hang there between the two of them and make every interaction, every word and gesture feel different. plus, dazai probably hates him now or at the very least, feels weirded out. and all because of a few drunk words that were said out of desperation.
seems like dazai actually listened to him for once. the only texts on his phone are from akiko, tachi and a few others asking where the hell he is. chuuya assures them that he’s arrived safely at home and has
/not/ been kidnapped by the rat and then forces himself out of bed.
he hopes that the crippling dread of having ruined his most important relationship will let up at some point.

it doesn’t.

the weeks go by and even though he manages to wake up every day and go on about his routine, it feels like the noose around his neck only gets tighter.
his friends check up on him, sensing that something must have gone down that night but he barely has the energy to reply to them, let alone talk about what happened.

he never hears from dazai.

kouyou knocks on his door one day and basically shoves him aside to let herself in
and start lecturing him about the mess in his flat and the fact that he’s been ignoring her calls and most of her messages. chuuya watches, embarrassed by the dirty dishes in the sink and all the clothing scattered on his floor, as she clears the place and starts cooking dinner.
after she bullies him into eating two plates of yaki udon, they curl up on the couch and let a movie run. chuuya doesn’t feel like watching anything but his fear of what kouyou might say if he admits that that wins out.

apparently, though, he doesn’t even need to say it.
“you know, in all those years since i met you, i’ve never seen you this defeated, lad.”

chuuya flinches. /defeated/. that’s what this feeling is. his life had never been particularly easy but instead of drowning in the loneliness, the tragedies, and the injustices, he always
pushed back. he raged against everything that tried putting him down. there was a constant energy buzzing in his veins, urging him to fight, to resist, to /live/.

but ever since his birthday, it feels like the life has been drained out of him. even the anger is gone.
“i don’t know what happened,” kouyou continues, “but don’t forget that everything is temporary. this pain that you’re feeling right now will ease too with time.”

he glances at her and his vision starts blurring as tears fill his eyes. it’s so stupid. so silly. but kouyou opens
her arms and he falls forward. he cries into her shoulder, shoulders shaking with the force of it. he cries until it feels like all his tears have been used up. then he sleeps.
chuuya feels a tiny bit lighter the next day. not that a few encouraging words are able to fix everything. /but/. it does help him remember that he has other people in his life, too. and he loves them. he fought hard to get to this point in his life and it would be idiotic
to let that all go to waste.

he takes time to text his friends that he’s been avoiding. he rereads his favorite poetry book, smiling when he gets to the best parts. he buys fancy wine and soaks in the bathtub.

small steps.

tachihara asks if he wants to hit the gym and
this time, he doesn’t pretend that he’s sick or busy. working out feels great after that slump and by the time they’re finished and hunting for something to eat, chuuya even briefly forgets about the fact that the last time he talked to dazai was over a month ago.
a few days later akiko invites him over for a movie night. the round is pretty small. ryuu, gin and tachi the only other people present. they are the ones he’s closest to aside from… dazai, and chuuya has a feeling that's not a coincidence. it's a set up.
they’re all spread out on the couch, shilly-shallying about what to watch when gin lets out an exasperated sigh. “these losers all want to ask but don’t have the guts, so i’ll go. chuuya-san: what happened with you and dazai?”

he quirks his brow at the others as in /really?/
tachi rubs the back of his head. ryuu gives him an unimpressed stare. akiko says, “i’m staying out of this.”

“idiots,” chuuya says and sighs. “didn’t dazai say anything?”

“you know how he is,” gin replies, “a lot of words but not a single proper answer”

he tells them about the fight, leaving out the tiny detail that was his confession. he figures whether or not that happened, they’d be at an impasse in their friendship anyway because of dazai's moving plans.

damn it, for all chuuya knows he might have already moved to yamagata
or at the very least, he made the choice. and chuuya is clueless.

his friends don’t look surprised at what he told them. gin frowns. “but you like him, don’t you?”


“it’s okay,” akiko says, shrugging. “we all… kind of… figured.”

“not helping,” chuuya mutters.
“does dazai know?” tachi asks.

chuuya nods.

“and he…?” gin presses.

“we haven’t talked since.” chuuya glances up. “do you guys know if he is moving or..?”

“nuh-uh, not our place to tell,” akiko says. “ask the man yourself.”

“i don’t think he wants that.”
surely he would have reached out by now if he /does/ want to talk, right? dazai’s a stubborn shithead, he’d have ignored chuuya’s plea to leave him alone without even blinking if only he wanted to.

akiko snorts. “i think you’re an idiot.”

"i second that," gin says.
the next time chuuya checks his mail he finds a small parcel in there. frowning, he studies it. there’s no sender, just chuuya’s name in a writing that looks way too familiar. it can’t be.. or can it? he walks up the stairs with his heart racing.

did dazai really send him mail?
in the year 2020?!

back in his living room, he basically rips the thing open and almost lets the cd, that's inside, fall. thankfully, his reflexes are quick enough to catch it. on it is written “songs for chuuya”.

what the fuck.
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