Highschool AU where Dazai goes to an all boys academy and he sneaks off with Ango and Oda to see some girls from the co-ed school on the opposite side of the ward—and he falls for a gorgeous redhead, who just so happens to be a *boy*—

And that boy has a *girlfriend*
“Dazai—“ Oda groans, rubbing the back of his neck, “I know you’re still torn up over Sasaki—but we have class tomorrow.”

“Easy for /you/ to say!” The brunette dramatically claps a hand over his forehead “You already /have/ love, Odasaku—I’m going to die /alone/.”
“Sooner rather than later, hopefully,” Ango quips, not bothering to look up from his phone. “I’m still not sure how you roped me into this.”

“I blackmailed you!” Dazai reminds him, mockingly cheerful as ever.

“...Right,” Ango sighs, rolling his eyes.

It’s been a /long/ month.
Oda would never admit it aloud, but he’s kind of /glad/ Sasaki dumped Dazai. She was gorgeous, sure, and definitely smart—but...

Dazai was the sort of person that needed to be /looked after/, and she seemed far more interested in what she could do for herself.
“And /why/ are we going all the way to Motomachi for this?” Ango looks like he’d rather be locked in a room with a crocodile at this point.

“/Because/, Odasaku’s meeting up with some friends from Kanagawa Academy.”

Ango frowns, “Ozaki-san’s school?”

“That’s the one!”
Odasaku’s girlfriend was a year ahead of them, and had already gone off to university in Tokyo—but, much to Dazai’s delight, Odasaku had kept up with the friends he’d made through her at Kanagawa—

And Kanagawa, blessed be, was /co-ed/.
“Would it /kill/ you to go without a girlfriend for more than a /month/?” Ango groans, but he /knows/ his friend isn’t listening anymore.

“There should be three girls, and one guy—“

“A guy is coming?” Dazai frowns, casting an annoyed glance at Oda, “Why?”
Oda shrugs. “I met most of the first and second years I know through Kouyou’s little brother—they’re /his/ friends, really.”

Well—if that beautiful bastard was the one bring Dazai’s rebou—

—Er, the future love of his /life/, then Dazai supposed he could tolerate his presence.
“Does he know he’s offering them up to a freak?”

“That would sting ango, it really would, but, well...”

“Well /what/, Dazai?”

“I was able to blackmail you, wasn’t I?”

Sometimes, Oda honestly does wonder why he didn’t choose a slightly more /peaceful/ social circle.
They round the corner, and Dazai can see a cluster of highschool students standing in front of a cafe, wearing the same uniform Kouyou-san used to wear.

The girl on the far left is cute enough, with long, jet black hair and gray eyes—but she seemed a bit /reserved/.
Standing next to her was a blonde wearing sunglasses. She didn’t seem nearly as shy, but there was something just...a little /intense/ about her. And the. To her right—

Dazai feels his jaw go slack.

Fiery red hair, piercing blue eyes, high cheekbones, a sharp jaw—

Now, Dazai would be the first to tell anyone that he was generally pretty good at playing it cool—and he /is/, right now his expression is fairly neutral—

But staring at this very beautiful, very /male/ student standing in front of him, Dazai comes to a jarring realization.
He was definitely, /absolutely/ bisexual. A pretty big thing to have come smashing into your life on a Thursday afternoon—but Dazai could /handle that/.

“Is—“ Dazai clears his throat, tugging at his collar. “Is that?”

“Chuuya? Yeah.”

They finally meet up with the group on the street, and the nape of Dazai’s neck is sweating. Should that be happening? It’s September, right?

“Oda-kun!” The redhead grins, walking over to clap Dazai’s friend on the arm. “It’s been a while—Ane-san said your exams went well.”
His voice isn’t really high or deep, but /expressive/, and Dazai feels instantaneously jealous of the familiarity between the two of them. What would he sound like, saying ‘Osamu-kun’?

At first Dazai dismisses the thought, because that’s ridiculous—this isn’t some Otome game.
But then he /really/ thinks about it, and suddenly it feels like it’s absolutely /sweltering/.

‘That was so cool, Osamu-kun!’

‘Y-you look nice today, Osamu-kun—‘

‘O-Osamu-kun, please accept my—‘

“Yeah, they turned out pretty good. I’m hoping to be able to join her next year.”
“That would make her happy—I think she gets a little lonely in the city. But you didn’t hear it from me.”

Oda smiles indulgently. “My lips are sealed.”

“Anyway—“ Chuuya’s eyes slide over to Oda’s friends, and Dazai hasn’t mastered the art of breathing properly “We haven’t met.”
“Ango Sakaguchi—Oda and I have been classmates for quite a while. Pleasure to meet you.” Ango bows his head formally, reaching forward to shake Chuuya’s hand.

Chuuya tilts his head to the side, adorably baffled by Ango’s formality, got, the way he wrinkles his nose is so—
“—and you are?”

Dazai snaps to attention to see that Chuuya is staring right at him, and suddenly his mouth feels like sandpaper.

/Jesus/. Who has /eyes/ like that?!




“I’m sorry, what?”

“Dazai Osamu.”
Everyone is /staring/ at him, and his heart is pounding. Luckily, the newcomers just seem confused, but Oda and Ango? They’re staring at him like he’s lost it.

“...I apologize,” Dazai smiles, attempting to turn up the charm as much as he can, “I think I just had a small stroke.”
“That’s—“ Chuuya’s face suddenly slips into this confused, amused smile, and Dazai wants to explode into a burst of cherry petals like it’s a shoujo manga. “That’s okay. But your name /is/ Dazai, right?”

“It is,” they shake hands, and Chuuya’s fingers are /warm/.
“Well,” Chuuya gives his hand another squeeze before letting him go, and Dazai’s hand hovers in the air for a second before it drops limply to his side, “It’s nice to meet you—I’m Chuuya Nakahara.”


Oda leans in to whisper the explanation— “Different fathers.”
Nakahara. It’s a nice name. It feels nice on Dazai’s tongue when he tries it out under his breath. And he’s pretty sure a lot of other things about the redhead would feel nice on his—

“Well, this is Higuchi-san and Akutagawa-san.”

“Where’s Yuan?”


“She’s coming.”
“It’s a pleasure,” Ango reaches out to greet the two girls.

“No, the pleasure is all ours—“

“Please, call me Gin!”

Dazai follows the motions of the introductions, but he’s /way/ too focused on the way the autumn breeze plays through Chuuya’s hair to care.
Dazai is running through a thousand different scenarios Under which he could weasel his way into getting the boy’s phone number, excuses to meet up, future marriage proposals—


A third girl, one with pink hair who is even /smaller/ than Chuuya, runs towards them.
She’s cute, her uniform is slightly askew, and she looks like she’s just rushed across town. “Sorry!” She wheezes when she catches up, bending over to pant with her hands on her knees. “Club activities ran over, and I missed the bus—“

“/Relax/, Yuu-chan.”

Chuuya places his hands on her shoulders, rubbing them gently before pulling her against his side in a one armed embrace. “You didn’t have to rush, we’re just grabbing some dinner.”

“I didn’t want everyone to wait on me!”

Chuuya rolls his eyes, but his smile is affectionate.
Chuuya looks over at them, his arms still around the girl’s shoulders. “Oda, you’ve already met—“

“It’s nice to see you again, Oda-kun!”

Dazai’s eyes narrow.

“But this is Yuan—my girlfriend.”

/Record scratch/.
Dazai’s life is /over/. It’s over and he has this horrible, cute, apparently considerate girl to blame for stomping on his hopes and dreams.

Yuan bows deeply, the sleeves of her sweater slipping over her wrists. “Sorry you had to wait on me!”

Dazai /hates her/.
“It’s not a problem,” Ango smiles politely, pointedly elbowing Dazai in his side.

“Yep!” Dazai chokes out, trying his very best not to look like he’s imagining the girl’s fiery demise, “Not a problem at all!”

Dinner is /excruciating/.
Dazai prefers to think of himself as an optimist, really—but right now drowning himself the moment he gets home seems like the only option.

You see, he had been hoping that Chuuya had just been lucky enough to inherit his sister’s good looks only to have a shitty personality.
But the universe hates him, because Chuuya is...

Perfect. So perfect that it’s almost annoying.

He’s got a sense of humor, and a laugh that makes Dazai’s stomach flip. He’s straight forward, but he isn’t /stupid/ either—

And he’s /decent/, and it’s /refreshing/, goddamnit.
But the entire time Dazai is noticing all of these wonderful, endearing things about the redhead, he has /that/ simpering jezebel clinging to his arm.

She offers to get a refill of Dazai’s soda for him when she gets up, smiling politely.

Jesus Christ, what a /monster/.
“So, you’re third years?”

Oda nods, eyeing the way Dazai is aggressively picking the sesame seeds off of his burger out of the corner of his eye. “Yeah—we graduate this spring.”

“That’s exciting!” Yuan beams, “It feels like I’ve got so long to go, I’ve only just started...”
Dazai bites back a /sneer/.

A /first year/?

The love of his life, stolen away by a first year who has probably has no idea how to even /please a man/?

Dazai doesn’t know how either, but that’s beside the point.

His eyes snap to Chuuya’s— “What year are you, Nakahara-kun?”
Chuuya blinks, a little surprised—Dazai hasn’t directly addressed him since his cardiac event outside the cafe. “Oh—I’m a second year.”

Dazai smiles, his eyes flashing with a sense of newfound opportunity, “Ahhhh, I see. Have you taken your practice entrance exams yet?”
Chuuya shakes his head, frowning a little. “I’m signed up to take them next month—“

“And he’s been studying /super/ hard!” Yuan smiles encouragingly, squeezing his arm.

“Right, well—if you want any advice from your senpai, you can always ask.”

Ango gives Dazai a /look/.
“Do we really count as senpais? We don’t go to the same schoo—!“ Ango chokes when Dazai crams a handful of french fries into his mouth, effectively shutting him up.

Chuuya bites his lip—god, is he doing this on /purpose/?— “I’ve been going to cram school, but I kind of hate it.”
“Group environments aren’t for everyone,” Dazai nods sagely while Ango wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, glaring /daggers/ at him. “Sometimes one on one tutoring works better.”

“Yeah,” Chuuya sighs, his eyes conflicted, “I don’t think my dad would pay for that.”
“He sort of expects me to be able to figure it out on my own...” Chuuya sighs and shrugs. “I’ll figure it out.”

“Well, I could always tutor you.”

Now Oda and Ango are /both/ staring. Dazai is /notoriously/ unhelpful. Just last month, he made Atsushi take him to /Disneyland/—
—to help him study for a /math quiz/.

“You would do that?” Chuuya blinks, eyes wide with surprise. “I can’t ask you to—“

“Really, it’ll help me refresh my memory,” Dazai beams, “I have a second round of exams in the winter.”

Chuuya tilts his head to the side. “A second round?”
“Dazai had the top scores in the prefecture,” Oda explains slowly, staring at Dazai with confusion, “he’s been invited to apply for Kyoto University and Tokyo University.”

The top two universities in Japan, no /big deal/, really.

Dazai is /preening/.

“And you’d help me?”
Dazai nods, “Any friend of Odasaku’s is a friend of mine, that’s what I always say. And like I said, it benefits me as well.”

Oda and Ango are staring, because Dazai has /never/, /ever/ said that.

“Well...” Chuuya smiles, looking /relieved/, “that would be great, thank you!”
“It’s no big deal...” Dazai waves it off, but he has a Cheshire Cat grin in place. “You can reward me with snacks or something, if you really feel the need.”

“I can do that!”

“Thank you so much for helping him, Dazai-san!” His smile fades a little at the sound of his nemesis.
“Like I said,” Dazai repeats flatly, it’s no big deal.”

When they go to part ways, Dazai stops Chuuya with a hand on his shoulder. “Hmm?” Chuuya turns his head, tilting his chin up to meet Dazai’s gaze.

“Don’t you need my number?”

“Oh!” Chuuya fumbles in his pocket, “Right!”
He pulls out his phone, offering it to Dazai.

Dazai has to pause and glare at the screensaver—Yuan hugging Chuuya from behind at what looks like a rock concert—before entering his number and sending himself a message. “There” He hands it back “We can work out the details later.”
“Right, thanks.” Chuuya takes the phone back, tucking it back into his jacket before looking up at Dazai with this smile that makes him feel /winded/. “It’s really cool of you, to help me out like this. See you soon!”

He runs off to rejoin his friends, and Dazai is floating.
/It’s really cool of you—/

/Really cool/.

The most beautiful person in the world thinks Dazai is /cool/.

The swelling, romantic music playing in Dazai’s head is brought to a halt by Ango’s stupid, annoying voice.

“Okay, what the HELL, Dazai?!”
“What?” Dazai blinks, turning around to see both of his friends staring at him—well, Ango is /glaring/, while Oda just looks concerned— “I’m being nice to Kouyou-san’s little brother!”

“You acted /bizarre/ after you DRAGGED us out here!”

“I got caught up in the atmosphere!”
“WHAT ATMOSPHERE—?!” Ango cuts himself off when Oda taps his arm gently.

“We have school in the morning, remember? We should get back.”

“...Right,” Ango relents, his shoulders slumping. He turns his glare back to Dazai. “I’m /never/ doing that for you again, blackmail or not.”
The wall back to their side of town is filled with Ango grumbling and Dazai sighing while staring at the moon, and Oda stays quiet until he and Dazai split off, walking towards their neighborhood.



“I don’t know how to put this, so I’m just gonna say it—“
“—are you sure you’re over Sasaki?”

Dazai freezes, looking over at his friend with a surprised snort. “/What/?”

“You acted so /weird/ today—you don’t have to push yourself back out there, there are always gonna be girls out there for you.”

“I—?” Dazai sputters.
He looks around, like there must be some hidden cameras, because this seems like a huge /joke/.

And yes, Dazai had been /crazy/ about his ex, but...after today, he could say pretty decisively that he had /moved on/.

But...would it hurt to let his friend think that he hadn’t?
“You know what, you’re right,” Dazai nods emphatically, hooking his arm through Oda’s. “I thought I was ready, but really I should focus on /friendship/ right now.”

“I was wondering if that was what you were thinking about when you offered to help Chuuya—it wasn’t like you.”
Dazai gasps, clutching his chest in makeshift shock, “What do you mean?! I’m helpful!”

“You /never/ offer help up to strangers.” Oda shakes his head “But hey, if making a new friend helps you move on, you picked a good one—Chuuya is a great guy.”

Dazai smiles softly.
“He really is, isn’t he?” He sighs, his heart skipping a beat when he remembers the way the redhead smiled at him before. “But that girlfriend of his...”

“What? Yuan? I like her.”

“I don’t like the ‘cute little first year’ act.”

“...but she /is/ a first year—“
“—and how long have they been dating, anyway? Couldn’t be that long, we’ve only been in school for a month—“

“Around a year and a half, I think?” Dazai practically chokes on his own spit.


“They went to the same middle school, I’m pretty sure.”

Dazai’s eyes narrow with determination as they stop in front of his house.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Odasaku!”

“See you—?” Oda blinks, watching Dazai March towards his front door like a soldier going to war.

What the /hell/ had gotten into him?
The next few days are /torture/. Dazai spends the entire weekend glancing at his phone, making sure the battery is charged, that the sound is on—

And in the interim, he even tries to convince himself that maybe he /was/ just a little messed up over the breakup.
Because really, who falls that hart at first sight? For a /guy/, one he doesn’t even know? He was probably just desperate, that had to be it. He even made a point of staring at Odasaku /extra hard/ when he got out of the shower when Dazai stayed over on Saturday, and...

And objectively, Oda is a fit, good looking guy. A specimen among men. So if Dazai /was/ bi, he would feel something, wouldn’t he?

When Dazai’s phone /does/ ring on Sunday night, he falls out of his bed flailing to grab it off the night stand, then has to coach himself to /wait/
/Nakahara Chuuya/. Just /seeing/ his name on the screen has Dazai flailing to find his composure.

He stares at it for so long, he realizes, like an /idiot/, he let the thing go to voicemail.




After several minutes of cursing and yelling back and forth with his guardian downstairs, Dazai is sitting at his desk, tapping his fingers nervously as the dial tone rings.


“Nakahara-san!” Dazai sounds calm, collected, /very cool/. “I saw that I missed your call.”
“Sorry—was it a bad time?” Dazai waves it off, then remembers Chuuya can’t actually /see/ him.

“No—I was just in the shower. Did you come up with some times?”

“I was thinking Wednesdays and Sunday’s if that’s okay? I have practices on my other days.”

“So I’ll see you this Wednesday, then?”

“Yeah—is four o clock okay? I can text you my address.”

“That works for me!”

The next morning, as student body president, Dazai moved all student government meetings from Wednesdays to Thursdays.

It was a /scandal/, but sacrifices.
When asked what the meaning of all of this was by his principal, Dazai responded that he was unavailable due to a “grave change in personal circumstances” and may or may not have implied that his uncle was /dying/.

But it was /fine/.

“You sure do look nice today.”
It’s a pointed question from Ango, and Dazai shrugs it off, “You think so? I thought I might like parting my hair this way.”

“Did you /iron/ your uniform?”

“Don’t be ridiculous Ango, I don’t know /how/.”

“Then did you get it dry cleaned?!”

That question goes /unanswered/.
It’s Wednesday.

The train ride to the other side of town feels /slow/, and Dazai has /plenty/ of time to remind himself that honestly, this was probably just a fluke. He’ll go in, he’ll get it out of his system, and he’ll skip out on the tutoring after a week.

Honestly, Sasaki was the first girl Dazai /really/ cared about—and the breakup had been pretty devastating. Before her, it had just been a revolving door of girls, and after this, he’s probably going back to that—

He’s on Chuuya’a doorstep.

He swallows hard, and rings the bell.
He hears a dog barking on the other side of the door, some scattered talking, and then, finally, the door swings open to reveal a tall, foreign looking man on his middle years, staring at Dazai with a raised eyebrow.

“Dad!” Oh no, that /voice/— “I said I would get it!”
Chuuya pokes his head around his father, practically dwarfed by the man—but they have the same cheekbones, and the same shape to their eyes. “Hey, come on in.”

Oh. Oh /no/.

Not a fluke, not a fluke, not a fluke—


Even his /father/ seems confused. “You alright, son?”
Chuuya’s still in his uniform pants, but he’s changed out of his jacket and tie, throwing on an oversized cardigan over it, and—

God, he’s—

“I’m fine,” Dazai croaks, stepping inside, “Just had something in my throat, sorry.”

“Hope it wasn’t another stroke.”
“Ha,” Dazai forces out a laugh, stepping around Chuuya’s dad—/seriously/ how could a man well over 6 feet tall have a son thay that /small/?— “I wouldn’t be so lucky.”



Chuuya’s room is surprisingly /tidy/ for a guy, but band posters line the walls.
“You’re really into music, huh?” Dazai comments, dropping down next to the table on the floor. “I haven’t even heard of half of them.”

“Yeah,” Chuuya nods, bringing his backpack over, “Yuan and I have a list we’re gonna see together.”

Dazai can’t stop himself from making a face
“What?” Chuuya blinks, “Do you not like concerts?”

“Huh? Oh, no—“ Dazai shakes his head quickly, “I’m just jealous, it sounds fun.”

“Then you should go to one, sometime!”

Thankfully, Chuuya leaves it at that.

“So—“ Dazai opens his bag. “Let’s get started.”
It turns out, Chuuya isn’t below average in anything—really, he excels with languages, so Dazai ends up focusing on two subjects—math and history.

And he actually /does/ make an effort, because doing /well/ extends this little arrangement as far as possible.

“What about this?”
Chuuya leans over to show his answer to Dazai, and in the process he gets so close that his hair brushes against Dazai’s cheek—Dazai can smell his /shampoo/.

“Did I get it?”

Dazai has to fight to master his voice, “Let’s see...” he lifts the paper, using it to hide his face.
God, his cheeks are on /fire/. Has it always been this hard to get air? And why does he smell /so fucking good/? Dazai has never in his LIFE thought another guy smelled nice before this moment—

“Yeah, you got it,” Dazai smiles, handing it back to him. “You pick things up fast.”
Chuuya looks a little surprised, and Dazai cocks his head to the side, “What?”

“It’s stupid,” Chuuya looks away, “I’ll start the next one—“

“It doesn’t /sound/ stupid.”

“Well, it /is/—“

“Spill it.”

Chuuya sighs. “I just never thought I was that smart.”

Dazai frowns.
“Why?” It sounds like a simple question, but it /isn’t/. “You showed me your transcript—it’s good.”

“Well...” Chuuya rubs the back of his neck. “Not as good as my sister’s. And my dad...God, you didn’t come here to my my therapist, I should just—“

“Hey,” Dazai stops him there.
“Look, you don’t have to tell me—but I /get/ family problems.” And for the first time that day, he really /is/ being completely sincere.

“...My dad doesn’t really get along with Ane-san.” Chuuya glances away. “And if I’m better than her at something...it makes him happy.”
Dazai frowns, “That’s...unfair. But it doesn’t mean you’re ‘not smart’ either.”

“Yeah,” Chuuya sighs, “Yuan always says that.”

Dazai’s teeth grind together.

That stupid, /supportive/ little cretin—

“Well, she’s right.” Dazai smiles stiffly. “Let’s go on to the next one.”
Dazai stays until 7 pm—3 uninterrupted hours of mercilessly dragging the redhead through calculus until Chuuya wanted to pull his hair out—

But Dazai /also/ learned about his favorite movies. His hobbies. More of the bands he likes.

Really, this is stupid, they don’t even have—
—anything in COMMON. Chuuya likes thrillers, Dazai likes comedies. Chuuya likes sports and music, Dazai likes books and video games.

But when he walks him out to the front door, Chuuya smiles at him again, and Dazai feels warm all the way down to his toes. “Thanks again, Dazai.”
“Yeah,” Dazai smiles back, and his heart is in his /throat/, “you’ll make it up to me at some point, I’m sure.”

Chuuya’s eyes catch the light from the setting sun, and Dazai feels like he’s /actually be having a stroke/. “Have a nice night.”

Nope. 100%, definitely not a fluke.
Dazai manages a strangled, “Okay,” (which was very UNcool) as the door slams shut, and he stands on the sidewalk for a minute, stupefied.

When the gets home, he ignores the note on the table and heads to his room. On a whim, he pulls up the movie Chuuya said was his favorite.
It turns out—he actually /loves/ it.

“Well,” Dazai says to himself later in bed, staring at the ceiling, “I never said I was a /good/ person.”

Because he is definitely, /one hundred percent/, about to steal someone’s boyfriend.
That Sunday, Dazai arrives just after lunch. It’s a little smoother this time—he doesn’t go into cardiac arrest on the doorstep, he even makes it /all the way to Chuuya’s room/ without pausing to admire his eyes—

And then, Dazai launches his campaign.

It starts out simple.
Dazai isn’t unfamiliar with the art of wooing—though usually, he’ll admit, it’s easier than this, most girls want him on sight—and it always begins with the first step.


When he’s correcting Chuuya’s answers, he runs his fingers through it, leaving it pushed back and askew
Typically, the ruffled look is all it takes—but, oddly enough, Chuuya is looking at him even LESS than before.

Dazai frowns.

“Did I use the wrong theorem here?”

Time to move on to plan B.

“Its a little warm in here, don’t you think?”

Chuuya doesn’t look up “I didn’t notice.”
“Well,” Dazai sighs, tugging at his sweater, “the chibi doesn’t have any body fat to keep him warm, he probably gets cold easy.”

THAT makes Chuuya’s eyes snap up from his notebook. “.../Hah/?”

Dazai smiles innocently, unbuttoning the cuffs of his shirt, rolling the sleeves up.
He rolls his sleeves up to the elbow, the muscles in his forearms flexing as he moves his backpack from one side of the table to the other (super necessary, he isn’t performing some sort of bizarre mating dance in the middle of studying, excuse you) “I said you were super fit!”
“No—“ Chuuya’s eyes do seem to /linger/ on Dazai’s arms, but he doesn’t look /flushed/ or /distracted/ (which is where Dazai normally is, at this point in a seduction), just /confused/. “I was talking about the /chibi/ part.”

“Well,” Dazai grins crookedly, biting back a laugh.
“How tall are you, to be exact?”

Chuuya /glares/. “160. Does that matter?”

“No, no—“ (really, Dazai is thrilled with the height difference, and has an entire LIST of ways he wants to utilize it once they’re—) “But I’m 21 centimeters taller, so...” he shrugs. “Perspective.”
Chuuya gives him a pointed glare, and for a moment Dazai wonders if he pushed it too far—but then he just rolls his eyes and looks back down. “I was expecting you to have a little /less/ weight on you, to be honest.”

“/Me/?” Dazai claps a hand over his mouth with mock offense.
“Are you calling me /fat/?”

“You /know/ I’m not, I just—“ Chuuya gestures vaguely to Dazai’s arms, not looking up. “You know.”

Dazai’s surprise fades into a smirk, and he leans a little closer as he looks over Chuuya’s work. “/Oh/,” he rests his hand on the table, close to—
—Chuuya’s. “Up until this year, I was third baseman on my school’s baseball team.”

Chuuya honestly /does/ look surprised. “I never thought you played sports.”

“Because I’m the ‘bookish’ type?”

Now Chuuya looks /sheepish/.

“How /presumptuous/.”
And maybe Dazai doesn’t make much headway in opening Chuuya up to the wonders of his physique that day—but they /do/ take a break to play video games for an hour. And Dazai doesn’t think he’s laughed so hard in /years/, as he does when he sees that the chibi is a /sore loser/.
“Dammit!” Chuuya groans, mashing the buttons angrily as he watches his character freeze up during Dazai’s combo, unable to Block before his health is completely gone “That’s CHEATING!”

“I memorized the glitch!” Dazai grins, wiping tears of laughter from his eyes. “That’s skill!”
“Not if I can’t do anything about it!” But when Dazai starts laughing so hard that he has to clutch his stomach, Chuuya can’t help but laugh /with/ the bastard.

There’s more studying later, and Chuuya’s mother brings up Katsudon.

It’s the best day Dazai has had in a long time.
They settle into that routine—and a rapport with each other that Dazai /initially/ thinks might be annoying for Chuuya, but then he notices the way the redhead always seems to be biting back a smile when they argue.

God, he really is /perfect/, isn’t he?
It’s after nearly six weeks of this, when a meteorite comes smashing down to destroy the little peep of Joy Dazai has managed to plant in his weekends.

Mrs. Nakahara lets him in instead of Chuuya, and Dazai hears annoying, distinctly /feminine/ laughter.

He glances up to see Chuuya’s mother watching him with concern. “Are you alright? You looked so upset, just now...”

Dazai forces himself to smile and wave it off, “Thanks, Mrs. Nakahara—just a sudden migraine, that’s all!”

When he goes up to Chuuya’s room, it’s even worse.
They’re on Chuuya’s bed, with Yuan leaning against his knees while they watch a movie together. They look so relaxed, so /natural/, and—

For a moment, to Dazai’s surprise, it kind of /hurts/. “Sorry to interrupt the fun,” he drawls, flicking into the light switch.
They jump apart, with the /gremlin/ blushing and adjusting her hair, while Chuuya just looks a little sheepish. “Is it noon already?” He frowns, checking his watch. “Sorry, we lost track of time—“

“It’s fine,” Dazai smiles cheerily, but his eyes are sharp as Yuan grabs her coat.
“I would be focusing on the movie too.” The subtle dig goes right over Chuuya’s head, but Yuan pauses, her eyes snapping to meet Dazai’s.

Dazai just makes his smile /that much brighter/. “Should I let you finish, or...?”

Yuan opens her mouth, but Chuuya answers first.
“No, it’s fine—honestly, we shouldn’t have started it to begin with.” He rolls out of bed with a yawn. “Oh—and Yuu wanted to ask you something.”

She didn’t look so eager /now/.

Dazai smiles down at her, his eyes instantly acidic. “Fire away, Yuu-chan.”

She bites her lip.
“Chuuya said you were really good, and I was wondering...” she glances over at Chuuya shyly, and the redhead reaches over to squeeze her hand reassuringly.

Dazai wants to /vomit/, preferably on /her/.

“/Please/!” She bows for emphasis— “I really need help on my English test!”
NO. No no no no no. Every unhelpful, bratty part of Dazai’s brain is screaming ‘you’re on your own, buster!’ But Chuuya is watching, and...

“I...” Dazai is pretty sure his eye is /twitching/ “it would be my pleasure.”

Yuan slumps with relief. “Thank you so much!”
They spend the first couple of hours that Dazai is there running through vocabulary and verb conjugation work Yuan—and Chuuya notices Dazai’s teaching style is...

...Very different when it comes to his girlfriend.

With Chuuya he’s patient, he explains everything over and over.
With Yuan... “I don’t get it—why doesn’t it just—“

“Because it’s a hanging participle, okay? We went over that five minutes ago. Were you paying attention?”

“I was!”

“Then I don’t see the problem.” She frowns, but instead of snapping back, she just tries again.

“Don’t you think you’re being harsh?” Chuuya mutters at one point when she disappears to the bathroom. “When I mess up, you—“

“Everyone learns differently,” Dazai’s voice is instantly lighter as soon as she walks out of the room, and he bumps Chuuya with his shoulder.
“Some people need more of a push.” Chuuya frowns, his brow knitting together.

“And you think Yuu is one of them?”

Dazai rolls his eyes. He really /hates/ that stupid, cutesie nickname. “She knows the rules, she just uses them inconsistently because she isn’t focusing.”
“Yeah—“ Dazai nods, turning his head. They’re so close that when he does so, his nose brushes against Chuuya’s cheek—and he feels the other boy stiffen. “Hey, you’ve got something in hour face.”

Chuuya frowns. “I do—where?”

“I’ve got it—“ Dazai reaches over.
His thumb brushes across Chuuya’s cheek, and the skin underneath seems to flush instantly under his touch. They make eye contact, and for just a /second/ Dazai thinks he sees /something/ there, that maybe he has a chance, and then—

“Hey, I—“ Yuan’s voice makes Chuuya freeze.
Dazai leans back, smiling at the girl like he was definitely /not/ doing something he shouldn’t have been doing, and holds up the piece of fuzz between his fingers “The chibi had some lint on his face. Shall we?”

Yuan sits down, and Chuuya is rubbing his cheek absentmindedly.
Dazai finishes tutoring Yuan at around 2, and when Chuuya comes back from walking her out, Dazai is flopped back and stretched out on the floor lazily. “Hey,” Chuuya nudges his head with his toe, and Dazai cracks an eye open, “thanks for helping her out—you didn’t have to.”
Dazai smiles, and there’s /something/ behind his eyes that Chuuya can’t read, “I know,” he sighs, “I’m just a nice person, I guess.”

“Well, I owe you.”

“I already told Nakahara-san, I get something out of this too.”

“Helping me, because I’m studying for the /same exam/.”
“I know first year English isn’t the same...”

“Well, I suppose I’m just generous.”

“And you can just call me Chuuya, you know.”

Dazai’s eyes snap open.

“After how much we’ve hung out lately, I’d like to think we’re friends.”

Friends. Progress. /Victory is in sight/.

“Alright, Chuuya.” Dazai closes his eyes again, biting his lip to hide a smile of /pure joy/.

“Anyway—I’m not sure if you’re still hungry, but I figured I could get you some lunch or something.”

Chuuya can’t see, but Dazai is silently /vibrating/ with excitement.
They go out to a small Korean place near Chuuya’s house, sitting on the same side of the booth so they can watch the baseball game playing on tv. Dazai actually seems /into it/, his eyes lighting up after every play—

And Chuuya orders half the menu “Was the chibi /that/ hungry?”
“Half of it is for you, ya know.” Chuuya rolls his eyes. “I thought after I let you call me by my name, you’d drop the chibi thing.”

“Well, I suppose I could...” Dazai hums like he absolutely, definitely isn’t going to be doing that.

Chuuya huffs.
They’re eating and watching the game after that—and Chuuya is so focused on his food, he doesn’t even notice the way he’s started to lean against Dazai’s side a little.

But the other boy doesn’t seem to mind, really.

“Hey—I was wondering—“


“Why did you quit baseball?”
Dazai pauses, his chopsticks halfway to his mouth. “...It’s...not really a great story.”

“Oh,” Chuuya looks up at him, his eyes a little wide. “You don’t have to tell me—if you don’t want to.”

“Uh...” Dazai rubs the back of his neck. “It’s just kinda...heavy.”
Chuuya shrugs, looking down at his food. “You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, but I can handle heavy.”

Dazai takes a deep breath.

“Well...I was in a car accident in the spring.” Dazai rubs the side of his neck, remembering. “I was hurt pretty badly.”
Chuuya looks back at Dazai, eyes wide and sympathetic, “I’m so sorry. Is that why you wear the...?”

Dazai’s fingertips catch at the bandages that peek out from under his collar, and suddenly talking isn’t so /easy/ anymore. “Yeah. It’s easier that way.”

Chuuya blinks. “Easier?”
“The scars made people pretty uncomfortable.” Dazai mutters. “I got a tired of the staring.”

// “Could you just...turn the lights off first?” //

The memory makes him grimace, and Chuuya is quiet for a minute.

“Were you the driver?”

“...” Dazai shakes his head. “No.”
The question goes unspoken, and Dazai doesn’t wanna say it, because he hasn’t found a way to do it without breaking down.

He wants to say it’s been long enough to /not/ feel this way anymore, but—

It’s only been six months.

“I live with my uncle now, so...”
The next beat of silence is /long/, and Dazai feels like an idiot. He should have /lied/, made something up that was a little less /depressing/, because now everything is going to be /weird/—

“That really, really sucks. I wish—I wish I had something better to say, but—“
“No, no—“ Dazai leans his head against the back of the booth, his eyes fixed on the tv screen. “You’re right—it sucks.”

Chuuya’s hand finds his under the table, and in a quick, jerking motion, almost like he’s nervous—he takes Dazai’s hand and squeezes it.
Dazai looks up only to find that Chuuya is pointedly looking away, but still squeezing his hand tight.

And for the moment, Dazai is /glad/ Chuuya isn’t watching him, because then he’d see the look on Dazai’s face—

It’s more than a passing infatuation.

Dazai squeezes back.
“Thank you, Chuuya.”

“Yeah, don’t mention it.” His fingers go slack, and Dazai is reluctant to let him go, but he does. “So...are you still hurt too badly to play?”

“I was before...” Dazai looks back up at the screen. “When I tried to come back, things were...awkward.”
Chuuya turns to look at him, curling his legs up underneath him as he turns to face Dazai, sitting in the booth. “Awkward? Why?”

“They wanted to make me feel better, I think—but they treated me like I was fragile, like anything could set me off.” Dazai frowns. “I hated it.”
“My other clubs were different—most people there didn’t know what happened, they just thought I got sick or something, but...”

“You were closer with your team.” Chuuya finishes for him, empathic—because he /knows/.

“Yeah.” Dazai sighs. “Practices became a reminder of it all.”
“So I just...stopped coming.”

Chuuya thinks about that, drumming his finger against the table. “You look like you miss it.”

Dazai looks away from the screen reluctantly, trying to smile it off. “It’s just a sport. I can play whenever I want.”

Chuuya eyes him pointedly.
“You sound like you miss /them/.”

Dazai blinks with surprise. It’s something that really hadn’t occurred to him before now.

// “You really aren’t that in touch with your feelings, are you, Osamu?”//

“Do what you want—but I think you should go back.” Chuuya shrugs.
Dazai glances over at him, biting the inside of his cheek. Really, curled up next to him in the Booth like that, Chuuya looks—


/Really cute/.

“I’ll think about it.”

When Dazai leaves that night, Chuuya stops him with a hand on his arm. “Hey—just so you know—“
“—you don’t have to wear them around me if you don’t want to.”

Dazai blinks. “Huh?”

“The bandages.”


“It’s up to you—but that sort of stuff doesn’t bother me. And if it did, it would be my problem—not yours.” Chuuya gives his arm another squeeze. “Goodnight.”
Dazai stands there for a second, touching his collar.

// “It would be my problem, not yours.” //

// “Chuuya—he’s a really great guy.” //

// “I’m sorry, Osamu—I just can’t do it anymore.” //

Life can be so damn /complicated/, huh?

But when he walks home, he’s smiling.
Two days later, Atsushi is groaning, digging his heels into the turf as he rams his hip into the equipment rack, struggling to roll the damn thing towards the practice field.

“Need a hand with that?”

“Please,” he whines, wiping sweat from his forehead as he straightens up.
“It’s too hot for Edogawa-sensei to make me push this by myself, I—“ he freezes. “...Dazai-senpai?”

His cleats were pushed all the way into the back of his closet—but they still feel the same. “I was just kidding, it /is/ too hot—but I’ll have Kunikida-kun come back for you!”
Everything looks the same as the way it was when he left—Tanizaki and Kukikida are leading warm ups, Oda is strapping in his leg guards—and when he looks up to see Dazai striding towards the field, his eyes soften. “What are you doing here?”

Dazai has the decency to be sheepish.
He turns around to face the coach (who also happens to be their literature teacher) who is staring Dazai down, his head cocked to the side. “Well?”

Dazai smiles lopsidedly “I heard Ango’s pitching was pretty awful.”

Edogawa-sensei raises an eyebrow.

“And,” Dazai sighs—
He bows deeply from the waist, “I missed playing. I understand if I can’t come back, but—“

Dazai freezes as he feels the weight of Edogawa-sensei’s hand rest on top of his hand, ruffling his hair. “Consider it forgotten—now go warm up, before I make you help Nakajima.”
Dazai grins, nodding as he runs off to join the others. In spite of how everything felt before he left...this feels /good/—like he’s taking back a part of his life from /before/.

Even the team manager, who is normally a /dictator/, smiles when she hands him a bottle of water.
“We missed you, Dazai.”

/That/, to Dazai’s surprise, makes him choke up.

“Thanks, Yosano.”

When he walks home with Odasaku that night, Dazai has his head buried in his phone. “Are you texting Chuuya /again/?”

“So what if I am?”

“You’re a surprisingly dedicated tutor.”

Dazai: You were right—it wasn’t actually that bad.

Chuuya: I told you so—I’m glad you went!

Dazai: AND I made Ango mad when I took his position!

Chuuya: Don’t make me regret being proud of you, asshole


Dazai stares at the screen, biting his lip to hide his smile.
“What’s with that look?” Oda raises an eyebrow, leaning over to see, only to get elbowed away by Dazai.

“When did I say you could snoop?”

“I guess you didn’t—“

Three weeks later, Chuuya makes an interesting proposal. “Are you busy on Saturday?”

Dazai pretends to think about it. “No...I don’t think so. Why?”

“Yuan’s friends wanna see some new store that opened in the mall, and she wants me to come since I’ve been so busy lately—but I’m pretty sure I’ll just be bored the entire time.”

Dazai tilts his head to the side.
On one hand—he’s /already/ sour at the thought of the cretin—but on the OTHER—

“So you want me to go?”

Chuuya /wants Dazai there/.

“If you want, I get it sounds kinda boring—“

“No, I’ll go. I didn’t have anything better going on anyway.”
Dazai cancels his plans to tutor Tanizaki on Saturday (in exchange for concert tickets) immediately.

When he meets them at the mall, she’s /right there/ hanging off of Chuuya’s arm, as per usual. “Dazai-kun! I aced my test!”

Dazai smiles through clenched teeth.
“That’s fantastic.” He glances around to see a few other first year girls standing around, eyeing him curiously.

“Does he go to Kanagawa?”

Chuuya opens his mouth to answer, but Yuan interrupts him. “No, he’s a third year from Keio Senior High—he’s been tutoring Chuuya-kun.”
“Wow!” One of yuan’s friends claps her hands together, “That’s so cool! I wish my parents would hire a tutor for me—“

“I’m not /paying/ him,” Chuuya gives Yuan a look. “We’re friends—and he’s helping me out with my practice exams.”

Yuan frowns, and Dazai is /pleased/.
“I didn’t say you /were/ paying him...” She grumbles, letting go of his arm.

“Yuan?” One of the other girls speaks up. “Shouldn’t we get started?”

“Right—“ she turns to Chuuya, leaning upon on her toes to peck him on the lips, “We’ll be in the swim section, if you need us!”
The sight of her lips on Chuuya’s makes Dazai feel a little sick, but as she’s walking away, Dazai notices her glancing back at him—

And he /swears/, on his /grandmother’s grave/, he sees her /smirk/.


It’s like THAT.

“Sorry,” Chuuya sighs, “she’s been off, lately.”
“It’s fine...” Dazai replies, his eyes narrowing before he looks back at his friend. “It’s probably the time of year—with exams coming up.”

“Right,” Chuuya frowns, a line forming between his eyes at the reminder. Dazai wants to reach over and smooth it out himself—
“Is there anything you want to look for?” Chuuya’s question breaks him out of his thoughts.

“Oh—not really...” Dazai looks around. “I’ve never been super great with clothes.”

Chuuya looks /surprised/. “Really? You always look so—“ he pauses, struggling for the right word.
Dazai is hanging on the pause—

Handsome? Gorgeous? Breathtaking? Fu—

“...Put together.”

Dazai sighs heavily. “Oh, well—thanks. To be honest—your style surprised me a bit.”

Chuuya raises an eyebrow. “It /did/?”

Dazai looks him over very, /very/ slowly. “...Yeah.”
Dazai has only ever really seen Chuuya in his school uniform, or what he wears at home. It doesn’t really tell you /much/ about his personal style. But...

Plain dark jeans and a baggy t-shirt? It was the /last/ thing Dazai would’ve expected to see him in.
Not that Chuuya looks /bad/. Really, Dazai can’t stop eyeing the way the collar slips to the side, exposing part of his shoulder—

But it isn’t /Chuuya/ at all.

Chuuya is /loud/, confident, fun—and his clothes seem almost designed to hide it.

“Well—What /did/ you expect, then?”
Dazai thinks about it, his eyes drifting over mannequins and racks of clothes. “Something more colorful?”

Chuuya shifts his weight from foot to foot, and he looks...


“I guess I could try something different.”

Which is what leads them to the /dressing rooms/.
“I don’t know Dazai...”

“Just show me.”

“You’re gonna laugh, I’m just gonna change back—“

“I’m not gonna LAUGH, Chuuya—why would you say that?”

“You laugh at everyone.”

Well. That’s true.

“I’m not going to this time—promise.”

Chuuya sighs, and the door opens.
It’s like seeing him for the first time all over again, and Dazai feels like he’s been punched straight in the gut.


It’s almost not /fair/.

Chuuya is standing there, holding one arm, looking vulnerable, but—

Jesus, he looks so /good/.
The jeans are ripped in places, so tight that they look painted on, highlighting how toned his thighs are. The shirt is a v-neck, a vivid shade of red that matches his hair, and it fits him just right.


“I’m,” Dazai swallows hard. “I’m not laughing.”
Chuuya eyes him suspiciously, and it takes a few seconds of long, hard staring for him to realize Dazai is being serious. “Ane-san always said she thought I could pull something like this off, but...” he frowns.


“Forget it.”

“I don’t get it—“

“It’s /stupid/—“
TW // mild homophobia ahead
“Chuuya?” Dazai’s eyebrow twitches as Yuan pokes her head around the corner, her eyes widening when she sees his clothes. “Are you...gonna buy that?”

Suddenly, Chuuya becomes something Dazai has never really seen him be—


And Dazai doesn’t /like it/.
Chuuya rubs the back of his neck and looks away, “Nah, Dazai and I were just messing around, really—“

Dazai crosses his arms over his chest. “Why shouldn’t he buy it?” He asks, staring her down. “I’m curious.”

Yuan’s eyes flicker over to Chuuya. “Well, you look great, but...”
Her lips quirk up into a small smile, “And you look great in everything, you /know/ I think that, but—“

And then she lets out a soft /laugh/.

“People might think you’re...” She lets the implication hang in the air, and suddenly, Chuuya’s expression is unreadable, guarded.
Dazai has to tuck his hands into his pockets, because if he hadn’t—he would be throwing them.

“He would look like he was /what/?”

“...” Yuan eyes Dazai, then Chuuya, and sighs. “Look—I understand you haven’t known Chuuya that long, but his Dad—“

“Let’s just drop it, alright?”
The dressing room door shuts with a slam, making Dazai and Yuan both jump. “I was just trying it on for fun—it’s not not a big deal. Honestly, I didn’t even like it anyway—“

Dazai /knows/ that’s not true—in the last few seconds before Yuan showed up, Chuuya had seemed...

When they’re getting ready to leave, Dazai puts a hand on Chuuya’s shoulder. “Look, I’m sorry—I didn’t know that was going to—“

Chuuya waves him off, smiling, but it’s obviously forced. “Don’t be, honestly, I was surprised you were so nice about it.”

Dazai frowns.
Chuuya’s last words before he gets on the bus have Dazai’s hands curling into fists.

“Honestly—you should have just laughed.”

Later, Oda listens to the entire story with an even expression, wincing at times. “Dazai—it’s between them, you shouldn’t get involved.”

Dazai glares.
“You don’t think what she said was wrong?”

“No, it was, but Dazai—“ Oda shrugs, taking a long drink from his soda, “She’s a kid.”

“We’re only two years older—“

“Two years is a /long time/ in highschool, alright? Look—“ Oda pats his arm. “I know Yuan—she isn’t some monster.”
“She really cares about Chuuya. I don’t think what she said was right, but she probably thought she was helping.”

Dazai looks away, practically hissing.

“But Chuuya shouldn’t worry about that stuff, honesty,” Oda yawns, “he’s straight.”

Dazai wants to sink into the floor.
Things between him and Chuuya are a little stiff at first when they see each other after that—but with time, it starts to feel normal again.

“Chuuya,” Dazai yawns, rubbing his eyes. “/Relax/.”

“That’s easy for /you/ to say.”

The exams are tomorrow.
Chuuya’s mom let Dazai spend the night, concerned about him taking the train back to his side of town so late—and so now Dazai is stretched out on the spare futon on the floor.

Wearing a pair of /Oda’s/ sweatpants, because he has a drawer in Kouyou’s room.
A drawer that Chuuya’s parents definitely do /not/ know about, so Dazai had to pretend he just so /happened/ to have them on hand.

“You’ve studied just as much as I have, Chuuya—you’ll do well.”

“You sound pretty damn sure.”

“Well, I’m a /fantastic/ tutor.”
“Yeah...” Chuuya leans up on his elbows, looking down at Dazai from his bed. “I really should have thanked you sooner, but—“

Dazai waves him off, “Thank me when you get your results, chibi—now /sleep/.”

Chuuya smiles and reaches for the light, “Night, Dazai.”
Dazai doesn’t sleep as much as he’d like—he’s too focused on the sound of Chuuya’s breathing, the way he splays across his bed in his sleep.

Having the redhead be the last thing he sees at the end of the day isn’t so bad at all.

After that, the exams feel like nothing.
Dazai walks out of his exam hall, tucking his scarf closer around his face. It's December now--and honestly, that makes it easier for him.

Less bandages.

Part of him wishes Chuuya's testing center /wasn't/ on the other side of town, but it can't be helped.

Dazai glances up, and--

Every single member of the baseball team is waiting on the steps--even Edogawa-sensei.

"What are you guys doing here?"

"You're gonna be the first student from Keio to get accepted to the top two universities in Japan," Ranpo smiles. "We're celebrating."
Dazai opens his mouth to argue, but Kunikida, first basemen and captain of the team, grabs him by the scruff of his neck and drags him down the stairs. "No arguing, got it? Do you have /any idea/ how hard it was to get everyone here at the same time over winter break?!"
Dazai /does/ know, and it makes his heart do this weird thing where it feels like it's supposed to burst out of his chest? And--

Dinner is /loud/, full of yelling, laughter, and Atsushi trying to keep track of everyone's orders as he runs back and forth to the counter.
Oda elbows him in the arm, leaning over to whisper in his ear. "Hey--Osamu--"


"Your mom would be /really/ proud of you."

It's what Dazai /needed/ to hear--it's what he's needed to hear for /months/ now, but it hits him like a sack of bricks.

"I--thanks, Oda--I know."
The last time Dazai took his entrance exams--he'd gone to a dinner just like this.

Just with different people.

Everything's so different now, but...

He wouldn't have /any/ of the people here right now, if it wasn't for Chuuya convincing him to go back.
Three weeks later, just after the new year, they get their scores back.

Dazai tosses two envelopes down on the counter, and his uncle looks up from the morning paper. "What are these?"

"They're from Kyoto and Tokyo." Dazai yawns, looking for toast.

"Did you open them already?"
"Yeah," Dazai sticks one piece of bread in his mouth, his uniform only buttoned halfway as he looks for an energy drink to chug on the way to school. "I got in."

"To which one?"


"/Oh/." His uncle's fingers go slack on the paper, and he rises up, "Dazai, that's--"
He was reaching out to hug him, to congratulate him, but Mori only sees a very noticeably empty kitchen--and Dazai is already out the door. "--fantastic."

He's fine. /Totally/ fine. He was /not/ going to try to have a normal, paternal moment with his nephew, it's /nothing/--
And Mori does /not/ spend the next thirty minutes before work blubbering on the phone to Yukichi about it. That would be /ridiculous/.

"I'm really trying, I want him to feel at home here, but you know his mother and I were estranged before, and I don't think he--"

"It takes time to adjust after a trauma. Your colleagues told you when it happened--it would take him a while to form attachments to a new environment."

"I know," Mori frowns, "but now I'm worried that I've been working too much. Honestly, I don't know what's going on with him-"
"Has Elise said anything?" Mori frowns, trying to remember.

"Something about him going back to baseball? That should be good, right?"

"I would say so, yes."

"That seems like a /good/ sign, don't you think?"

Mori sighs, nodding. "I guess...I just thought he would be excited."
Dazai /is/ excited, though, when he gets a call from Chuuya that afternoon. "What's up, chibi?"

"How many times do I have to tell you--ugh, it doesn't matter--I got my scores!" The happiness in Chuuya's voice is indication enough, but Dazai asks anyway.

"I got the highest marks in my year!" Dazai is actually blown away by that. He knew /he/ was good, but Chuuya...

"That's--" Dazai sputters, stopping on the street, "--Chuuya, that's--"

"I know, right?!" Chuuya sounds /blissful/. "Can I thank you /now/?"
"Yeah," Dazai rocks back on his heels, and unlike when he opened /his own/ scores this morning, he's grinning ear to ear. "But best in your year? I'm not really one to give praise lightly, but..."


"That's pretty damn impressive, chibi."
Dazai goes out to dinner with Chuuya and his family that night (his father insisted, placing most of the credit for Chuuya's achievement decisively on Dazai's shoulders, which the boy didn't necessarily appreciate) and Yuan seems a little /shellshocked/ when she sees him there.
"Dazai?" She blinks, noticing that with Dazai on one side of Chuuya, and his mother on the other, the only seat left is across the table, next to his father. "I didn't know you were coming."

"Of course we invited him," Mrs. Nakahara smiles fondly, "he's been such a huge help."
Dazai smirks, and he might as well be /purring/ when he smiles over at Chuuya's mother, his elbows brushing against the redhead's as he grabs his silverware. "I can't take the credit--Chuuya did most of the work."

"So modest, isn't he, dear?"

Chuuya's father nods with approval.
Yuan frowns, dropping heavily into her chair. And Chuuya looks a little /confused/ by the sudden change in her mood, but she seems to work past it quickly enough.

And it /is/ a nice dinner. Chuuya actually seems happy and /confident/, which is rare around his parents.
It's when they're leaving, that things start to go south. They're out on the sidewalk, and Mr. Nakahara raises his arm, calling a taxi--and as everyone starts to load into the car, Dazai is stopped on the sidewalk.

Chuuya's mother frowns. "Dazai? Is everything alright?"
Dazai swallows hard, even though he feels /sick/ all of the sudden. Sweat is rolling down the back of his neck, he's pale, his heart is beating out of his chest. "I'm--I'm fine, Mrs. Nakahara--but I think I'll just take the train, I'm out of the way--"

"Don't be silly--"
"--boy," Mr. Nakahara frowns raising a hand to push him towards the taxi. "We don't mind the extra fare."

Dazai's shaking his head, or is he just /shaking/, he can't tell?

"Dazai--" Yuan giggles, tilting her head to the side with a smirk, "it's just a taxi, what's wrong?"
"Hey," Chuuya slides out through the other door of the cab, rushing around to grab Dazai by the elbow, yanking him out of his father's grip. "He doesn't like them, okay? It's not a big deal."

"Chuuya," Yuan tilts her head to the side, "who has a problem with /taxis/--"
"He doesn't need a reason," Chuuya frowns at her, looking so pissed that it startles her into backtracking.

"Look, how was I supposed to know--? I--I'm really sorry--"

"It's fine, just..." Chuuya glances back at Dazai, who still looks shaken and pale. "We'll take the train."
Chuuya's father looks baffled, while his mother just looks /concerned/. "Is he going to be alright? Dazai, I'm so sorry--"

"It's fine," Dazai smiles, trying /so/ hard to sound normal, but his voice is wavering. "I'm sorry for making it a big deal."

Chuuya frowns.
"Don't /apologize/, idiot--" he squeezes Dazai's arm, "--you didn't do anything wrong."

"Dazai, I'm sorry, I'll come too--" and to Yuan's credit, she /does/ look guilty, now that she sees just how upset Dazai is.

"No, Yuu--take the taxi."


"I said /no/," Chuuya glares.
Her lips are trembling as she climbs into the car with Chuuya's parents, and after the taxi turns the street corner, Chuuya lets out a shaky breath. "Shit, Dazai--I'm so sorry--"

"Chuuya--" Dazai smiles as best as he can, "--you didn't do anything."

"But you /told/ me--"
"--I told you I was in an accident. I never said I had a problem with cars," Dazai pinches the bridge of his nose. "Honestly, I didn't /know/ I had a problem with cars--"

He freezes after that, because Chuuya's arms are around his waist, his face is against Dazai's chest, and--
Chuuya is /hugging/ him.

He's hugging Dazai so tightly that it almost /hurts/.

Dazai swallows hard--and that feeling in his chest, from that night after the exams, like it's about to rip open--

It's back again.

"It was really bad, wasn't it?"

Dazai looks up at the sky.
He hasn't spoken about it. Not with his teachers. Not with his friends--definitely not with his uncle. Putting words to it means that it /happened/, and--

Dazai really, desperately wishes that it /hadn't/.

It's really, really hard to see the stars on nights like this.
It's cloudy--the city lights are so bright that all you can see is purple tinted fog, maybe a hint of the moon.

When Dazai was little, they used to drive hours out of the city, spreading out on blankets in the mountains, and she would tell him the names of all the stars she knew
And the only thing Dazai /really/ remembers from that night, besides the screaming, the paramedics, and the sirens--

--Is that it was a clear night.

"My mom was driving." It's one step closer to saying it /out loud/, and...


"She died." His breath leaves him.
"Dazai, I'm--" Chuuya's hands are on his face, and Dazai realizes with horror that his cheeks are /wet/. "I'm so, /so/ fucking sorry."

Dazai's face drops into Chuuya's shoulder, his arms coming up to wrap around the redhead, crushing him to his chest.

It won't /stop/.
Dazai didn't cry that night. He didn't cry when he woke up in a hospital room. He didn't cry when he moved from his childhood bedroom into his uncle's apartment. He didn't cry at the funeral, when everyone wouldn't stop saying /sorry/. He didn't cry when he went back to school.
But now he /is/, and now he can't /stop/. He's openly weeping into Chuuya's shoulder, ruining his sweater, ruining his /entire day/, really--

And Chuuya isn't complaining. He's hugging Dazai back just as tightly, rubbing his hands over his back. Warm, steady, and /comforting/.
"I'm sorry," Dazai mumbles, trying to catch his breath, "this is really, really stupid, I don't do this--"

Really, Dazai hasn't let anyone /hug/ him since it happened either. Except for Sasaki--and that--

Doesn't matter anymore.

"I--It's okay, Dazai." Dazai blinks.
"Chuuya," Dazai is sort of disbelief when he leans back, tilting Chuuya's chin up. "Why are /you/ crying?"

"Am not!"

"Yes," Dazai pokes one of his cheeks, still sniffling himself, "you /are/."

"I just...wish it hadn't happened." Dazai is staring, like it's so /foreign/ to him.
It didn't even /happen/ to Chuuya, but he's /that/ upset on Dazai's behalf?

"You're unbelievable, you know that?"

Chuuya frowns, confused. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean--"

"I didn't say it was a /bad/ thing, did I?" Dazai smiles, eyes still a little watery. "We should get going."
Chuuya nods, wiping his eyes quickly and looking away sheepishly. At first Dazai was worried that things would be /weird/, that Chuuya would feel sorry for him, but--

Chuuya doesn't let go of his hand, all the way to the train station.
He /does/ let go when they get to the crowds, dropping Dazai's fingers and shoving his hand in his pocket--but Dazai doesn't really /blame/ him, a couple of girls around their age were starting to stare.

Things /are/ different after that night--but it's a /good/ different.
Suddenly, Dazai went from being alone on most nights to talking to Chuuya until falls asleep, or staying over on Fridays. They still study together, but now it's /closer/ than that, like they can talk to each other about /anything/.

Even the things Dazai doesn't wanna talk about
TW // for very unhealthy relationship practices that are probably abusive??
"Dazai..." Chuuya frowns, resting his hands on his chin as he leans over the kotatsu. "You had a girlfriend before we met, right?"

Dazai's pencil freezes, and he looks up at Chuuya, raising an eyebrow. "...I did. We broke up at the beginning of August."

Well, she /dumped/ him.
Chuuya takes a deep breath. "Did you two ever...?"

The way he's looking away, the pink crawling up the back of his neck--it tells Dazai everything he needs to know about what Chuuya is asking.

Dazai leans back to get a better look at him. "A few times." (more than a few) "Why?"
"Yuan..." Chuuya clears his throat. "Her birthday is in a few weeks, and she wants to, uh..."


Dazai can't tell if he feels nauseous, or like he's slowly being fed into a paper shredder. "And you've never...?"

"No," Chuuya shakes his head quickly, fidgeting nervously.
"Yuan's the only girl I've ever dated," Chuuya mumbles, biting his lip. "And her parents are going out of town, and she says we could make it into this whole big thing, but I..."

Dazai wants to eject himself into the sun, but in the name of friendship, he answers. "You what?"
"I don't think..." Chuuya huffs, dropping his head into his hands again. "I don't think I'm ready."

Oh. Oh thank /god/. Dazai bites back a HUGE sigh of relief. "Have you told her that?"


Dazai blinks. "Then I don't see what the problem is...?"

Chuuya looks /miserable/
“I’m—she acts like I’m supposed to be jumping at the opportunity or something—Like all teenage boys are just...ready to get laid at any time, and I mean...” he turns his face away. “I get I’m not really normal, so—“

“Chuuya,” Dazai frowns, “there’s nothing wrong with you.”
Chuuya looks up, slightly hopeful. “Did you feel that way, before you did it with your girlfriend?”

Sasaki was /definitely/ not his first, but that’s beside the point.

“No, I—“ was eager to get laid, like /Yuan/ had said— “—I was ready. But it’s okay if you’re not.”
Chuuya groans, dropping his head back down. “I’m a freak.”

Dazai shakes his head. “No, I have friends who have been through that. It’s not /weird/, it’s just different.”

“Those two words mean the same thing.”

“They /really don’t/ Chuuya—“

“Says the normal fucking person!”
“That’s the first time you’ve ever called me /normal./“ Dazai snorts.

“Well, congratulations Dazai—exactly /one/ part of your body functions like a normal teenager.”

/That/ makes Dazai pause. “What do you mean?”

Chuuya wipes a hand down his face. “I just—I don’t know—“
“Have you and Yuan ever done /anything/?” Chuuya gives him a /look/, and Dazai waves his hands neutrally. “It’s totally fine if you haven’t, I’m just trying to understand—“

“We have.” Chuuya frowns, looking away.

“What sort of stuff?”

“/Stuff/, Dazai—!” Chuuya is /maroon/.
“I don’t know what ‘stuff’ means!”

“Well—“ Chuuya looks like he wants to /die/. “We’ve—she gave me a handjob once, and I reciprocated—“

Reciprocated. Very romantic.

“And it was—“ Chuuya looks like he wants to crawl under the kotatsu and /die/. “—stressful.”
Stressful. Dazai can think of a /lot/ of words for his first time getting a handjob—and stressful isn’t one of them.

But if /he/ was dating Yuan, he supposed he might have, what with the devil horns and demon talons and all.

“Some people get more nervous than others.”
Chuuya nods, wrapping his arms around himself. “I’ve always gotten kind of...nervous about that stuff. It’s weird. Normally, I don’t really get that way, stuff just—“

“Comes naturally to you,” Dazai nods. “I know. Look—you aren’t going to enjoy it unless you’re ready.”
Chuuya drums his fingers against the table. “And if I decided I was—“


“—what makes it /good/?”

Dazai doesn’t want to be a part of this. The idea of it makes him want to drive off a cliff—

“Are you asking me for /advice/ right now?”

“...sort of?”
Dazai wants to say no, HELL no to this entire conversation, but—

Chuuya looks fucking /vulnerable/, and Dazai doesn’t know what to /do/—

He sighs in defeat. “How to make it good for /her/? Or for you?”


Dazai really, really wants to be /anywhere/ but here.
Dazai, very /tersely/ gives Chuuya advice. And Chuuya listens, albeit looking very, /very/ stressed out.

“Chuuya?” He pauses on the way out the door later, looking back at his friend.


“If you aren’t ready, don’t do it.”


“Promise me.”
Chuuya looks away, nodding. “I promise.”

It doesn’t /feel/ right, though. Actually, something feels /wrong/.

Dazai doesn’t sleep that night. He stares at the ceiling, eats his uncle’s cookies that he always stashes in the back of the pantry, like Dazai ISN’T gonna find them—
He tosses, he turns, he stares at Chuuya’s contact on his phone screen and almost hits ‘call’ /so/ many times, but he doesn’t.

And underneath all of that worry is jealousy. Miserable, ugly, /selfish/ jealousy—and /hating/ the fact that Chuuya is pushing himself like this.
Because Chuuya wouldn’t be doing that if he didn’t /care/ about Yuan. Dazai has known him for months now—Chuuya doesn’t get pushed into /anything/.

But when he cares about someone, he wants to make them happy—and he cares about that /way/ more than he does about himself.
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