Au where Chuuya and Tachi are married. They’re happy, in love, with a dog and a pair of cats. Tachihara is thinking about proposing the next step—adopting a child— but then....

Chuuya gets into a car accident. He’s fine, with mostly scrapes and bruises, with his most serious +
injury being a broken wrist. He hit his hard a little bit, but no signs of a concussion.

When Tachihara arrives, he’s passed out from the morphine, sleeping peacefully.

Tachihara sits by his bedside, holding one of his hands to his lips, shaky, and waits for him to wake up. +
When he does, Chuuya takes a moment to reorient himself before he looks over at Tachihara.

His heart monitor spikes. “Who are you? Where am I? What happened? Where’s Dazai?”

He rips his hand away, struggling to sit up. “Dazai!” He calls, panicked. +
Tachihara sits there for a second, stunned. Who the hell is Dazai? He’s been married to Chuuya for almost three years now, been with him for five, and he’s never /once/ heard that name before.

“Woah, just relax, Chuuya. Let me call the doctor in, okay? You hit your head a bit +
so maybe you forgot some things,” he says, struggling to remain calm. Chuuya has always responded best to calm, level voices.

Except this time, that just makes his heart rate jack up even higher, and now he’s trying to rip the IV out of his arm. “Don’t tell me to calm down. +
Where the FUCK is Dazai?!”

Tachihara presses the ‘Call Nurse’ button urgently.

“I don’t know what you’re talking abo it. I don’t know who Dazai is,” he responds.

Chuuya recoils like Tachihara hit him. “Who are you?” He asks again, horrified. +
Pain blooms in Tachihara’s chest, sharp and painful. Chuuya doesn’t /know/ him. He’s forgotten him, his /entire/ existence.

He tries not to panic, tries not to feel a sickening sense of jealousy and rage that Chuuya is calling out for another man.

He fails. +
The doctor comes rushing in. He takes one look at Chuuya, flailing about in panic, and approaches quickly.

“Don’t touch me,” Chuuya snarls, “what did you do with Dazai? Where is he?”

The doctor pauses, looking at Tachihara in confusion. +
Tachihara wets his dry lips. “He doesn’t remember me. He’s been asking for Dazai, and I’ve never heard of that guy in my life.”

The doctor looks concerned for a brief second, before it’s smoothed away into a calm mask. He raises his hands placatingly, turning to Chuuya. +
“Okay. I won’t touch you without your permission. May I exam you? You hit your head, and you’re showing some symptoms of memory loss. I just want to make sure you’re okay.”

Chuuya eyes him warily, curled up in the corner of his bed like a wild, frightened animal. +
“Give me a phone,” he demands, “I want to call Dazai. I’m not letting you do anything to me until I speak with Dazai.”

The doctor looks at Tachihara.

Tachihara reaches into his pocket with numb fingers, extracting his phone. He brings it to life, looking at his wallpaper— +
Chuuya and him, on a date to their favorite restaurant. Chuuya’s pressing a kiss to his cheek with a gentle smile, and Tachihara looks so in love that it /hurts/— for a moment before unlocking it for him. Chuuya knew his passcode before but now.....probably not.

Chuuya snatches thé phone from him like Tachihara has a poisoned touch. Like he can’t even stand the thought of brushing fingers with him.

Tachihara sits back in his chair, covering his face with his hands.

Chuuya dials a phone number without hesitation, lifting the phone to+
his ear.

Tachihara hopes ‘Dazai’ doesn’t answer. Hopes that this is all some fucked up fever dream and he’ll wake up, happy and warm in bed with Chuuya.

The phone rings twice, before the dial tone cuts short. “/Chuuya?/“ someone says. +
Tachihara freezes, hands dropping from his face in shock. How the /hell/ did that guy recognize his number? Is he /psychic?/

Chuuya curls up tighter. “Dazai,” he whimpers, sounding relieved and terrified in equal measures.

Chuuya—who Tachihara has never seen so much as +
/anxious/— is /scared/.

Because he woke up to Tachihara holding his hand instead of /Dazai/.

He covers his face again, hiding the burst of angry, frightened tears. God.

/“What happened?”/ The voice asks, surprisingly calm.

Chuuya takes a shuddering breath. +
“I—I don’t know. They said I hit my head and I forgot things. I don’t know what’s going on or what happened or where I am. Where are you? Why arent you here?” He rushes,clearly working himself into a panic.

/“Chuuya,”/ Dazai says sternly, cutting through his panic before it can+
fully form, /“calm down. Take a breath.”/

Chuuya shudders to a halt, like this is a routine they’ve been through a million times before. His next breath is still short, but the next one is longer, calmer.

/“Good,”/ Dazai murmurs, /“keep doing that. In and out, slowly.”/ +
Tachihara has never had to talk Chuuya down from a panic attack. Hell, he didn’t even /know/ he had panic attacks.

/“Now, tell me where you’re hurt. Is it bad?”/

Chuuya takes another longer breath. “Head, left wrist. My ribs ache but it doesn’t hurt to breathe,so I don’t think+
they’re broken,” he rattles off with an experienced air that makes Tachihara’s gut churn, “I’m disoriented and a bit dizzy, but I’m physically fine.”

Chuuya presses a hand to his forehead. Now that Dazai is talking to him, he’s finally relaxing into the bed, uncurling from his +
defensive position. He looks exhausted.

/“Okay. That’s not too bad. Have you figured out where you are yet?”/

“Yokohama General Hospital, room 214,” Chuuya murmurs.

The doctor looks briefly startled. Tachihara gives a helpless shrug.

Chuuya has always been hyper-aware +
of his surroundings in a way that Tachihara has never really appreciated or understood before, always aware of where all the exits in a room are and all the tiny details most people look over. Now that he’s calmed down a bit, it’s only natural that he somehow figured out where +
he was. Probably from some minute detail, like the logo on the doctors lab coat.

/“Good. I can be there in an hour to help you figure everything out, okay?”/

Chuuya swallows hard, eyes watering. He looks so relieved It makes Tachihara want to be sick. “Yeah, okay.”

Part of Tachihara wants to yell into the phone that Chuuya was admitted under the name “Tachihara Chuuya”, just to reassert his claim over his husband.

But he knows that will probably freak Chuuya out even more, so he grits his teeth and stays silent as Dazai speaks again. +
/“Good. In the meantime, I’m sure you’ve caused quite a ruckus and there’s some nice doctor probably waiting to examine you. Be good and listen to them. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”/

Chuuya gives a wry smile. “Yeah, okay,” he says, and then lowers his voice like he’s trying+
to spare Tachihara’s feelings as he continues, “hurry up though. There’s some guy here that acts like I know him and it’s freaking me out.”

If Tachihara’s heart could make a sound, he’s probably sure it would sound like breaking glass, right about now.

He stands up abruptly. +
He can’t listen to this anymore.

He stalks out of the room, seething with pain, which only makes him feel guilty because he /knows/ it’s not Chuuya’s fault.

He presses his fists to his forehead, fighting the urge to hop on his motorcycle like the good old days, racing +
out of the city until the only thing he can hear is the roaring of the wind.

But the part of him that /loves/ Chuuya, that loved him enough to give all that up to settle down with him, to build a house and home with him, violently rejects the idea of leaving him now. +
So he paces in the hallway instead, stomping a bit louder than necessary to drown out the sounds of Chuuya’s conversation.

Eventually the doctor comes out, looking a bit sheepish.

Tachihara whirls on him. “Well? What’s wrong with him? Why doesn’t he remember things?”+
/Why doesn’t he remember me/, is what he wants to ask, but the words get caught in his throat. Saying it makes it real, /visceral/.

The doctor sighs. “I don’t know, really. When we did an MRI, we noticed that your husband had a previous skull injury that caused multiple +
cranial fractures. They healed fine, and there’s no injury today, but perhaps the accident aggravated the old injury and caused retrograde amnesia. But that’s only a theory. I won’t know more until we do some more testing. And even then, amnesia is a... difficult symptom to+
pinpoint, let alone to treat.”

Tachihara feels like he just got whiplash. Previous skull injury? Chuuya /never/ mentioned anything about that, let alone something that sounds so....serious.

“Will he regain his memories?” He croaks. +
The doctor looks pained, and sympathetic. Tachihara almost wants him to ignore the question.

“It’s too early to tell. It’s possible he could, but he also might not. It could take months or years before he remembers things. Maybe he never will.”

Tachihara staggers back, struck.+
Might /never/ remember him? Might /never/ remember the warm summer mornings, waking up curled between their three pets and whispering to eachother? Might /never/ remember Tachihara’s proposal?

The doctor lays a hand on his shoulder, squeezes. “Let me run more tests. Stay calm.”+
Tachihara nods numbly, fighting the urge to lash out. Stay calm? How the /fuck/ is he supposed to stay calm when the love of his life, the man he was building a /life/ with, now views him as some stranger that might /hurt/ him?

The doctor gives him one last squeeze and leaves.+
Tachihara returns to pacing, hoping to wear out his anxious, jittery energy because Chuuya has always picked up on that sort of thing and it makes him nervous in turn.

He doesn’t go check in on Chuuya.

Chuuya does not come out to check on him. +
At some point, another doctor slips past him into the room. Tachihara can vaguely hear her introducing herself — “Hi, Chuuya. I’m Yosano. I’m a psychologist, and I’m here to help figure out your memory issues, if you wouldn’t mind answering a few questions for me?”

He wants to+
go in there, to support him and hold Chuuya’s hand through it, because he knows Chuuya likes that.

But he knows he won’t be able to watch without asking his own questions.

/Do you remember our first date? Do you remember the first time I said I loved you? Do you remember when+
I first brought Arahabaki home and you cried because you didn’t know kittens could be so small? Do you remember when we moved into our first house together?

Do you remember /anything/?/

His thoughts flash back to Chuuya when he first woke up, scared and angry and cringing +
from him.

He doesn’t want him to look like that again. He doesn’t want to /hurt/ Chuuya and if he goes in there right now...

He probably will.

He resumes pacing, the busy hallway fading into background flashes as he focuses on each of his steps. He needs to calm down. +
Tachihara doesn’t know how long it’s been. Yosano has slipped by him on her way out, and neither of the doctors have returned for a while.

Then he turns to retrace his steps, head lifting momentarily to check his path—

And there he is. “Dazai”. +
Really, he’s not sure /how/ he knows, other than the fact that the man is walking faster than anyone else in the hall, only slowing down briefly to check the room numbers before speeding up again.

But Tachihara /knows/. And he hated Dazai on /principle/, but he /loathes/ him on+

Because “Dazai” is tall, much taller than himself, and slender in a lithe, modelesque way. He has his hands stuffed into a leather jacket that looks specifically tailored to his form, emphasizing his waist and the length of his torso. Underneath, he’s wearing a beige +
turtleneck, even though it’s the height of summer.

His jeans are pitch black and just as tight, and there’s a small rip on his thigh that just /barely/ lets a flash of skin be seen. His calf-high boots eat up the distance between them in long strides. +
He looks ridiculously expensive, like he just walked off a fucking runway.

And on /top/ of that, a pair of sunglasses holds most of his hair back—except for a curl that falls rebelliously over his forehead—, exposing his unfairly handsome face, sharp jaw, straight nose and +

Tachihara suddenly feels pathetically short, broke and /ugly/. This is so unfair.

He plants himself in front of the doorway, crossing his arms to make sure he looks extra imposing.

When “Dazai” gets close enough, he clears his throat. “Are you Dazai?” He asks, even +
though he’s pretty sure already.

Dazai raises a perfectly shaped and manicured eyebrow. “Yeah?”

God, even his voice is low but smooth. He belongs on a commercial this isn’t /fair/.

And because this whole day has gone to shit, has thrown Tachihara into situations he never +
thought possible, and has generally left him unsteady and shaken—

He can’t help but blurt out the question that has been writhing in his stomach, making him nauseous and frustrated in equal parts—

“Is Chuuya cheating on me? With you?” +
That startles a laugh out of Dazai. “Him? Cheating? God no. I think you know as well as I do that Chuuya is painfully loyal.”

The answer makes Tachihara feel as worse as much as it makes him feel better. For one, at least Dazai isn’t some hidden boytoy that Chuuya sleeps with +
whenever Tachihara isn’t looking.

On the other hand, now he feels insanely guilty for doubting Chuuya for even a moment. He knows Chuuya is loyal and he loves — ......loved?— him. It’s not fair to doubt him when he can’t exactly defend himself.

But it also makes Tachihara +
/pissed/ because Dazai makes it sound like /he/ knows Chuuya best, like Tachihara is just some second-rate best friend and not his fucking /husband/ of /three years/.

“Who are you, anyways? His boyfriend?” Dazai sounds way too smug and condescending for Tachihara’s taste. +
So it gives him great pleasure to draw himself to his full height, smirking at Dazai as he says, “husband, actually.”

Dazai doesn’t look surprised exactly, because his poker face is too strong, but he rocks back on his heels with a low, “oh.”

Yeah, /oh/, motherfucker. +
Tachihara: 1
Dazai: 0

Dazai looks him up and down, slowly, like he’s checking him out except Tachihara can /tell/ he’s judging every single inch of him, from his ratty sneakers to his washed out jeans, from the holey t-shirt to his unwashed hair.

Tachihara tries not to cringe.+
It’s not like he anticipated competing with a wannabe-model today. He got the call, threw on whatever clothes nearest to him and rushed to the hospital.

Dazai sneers, and opens his mouth.

Tachihara can already tell hes going to say something snide and nasty, something +
that will get them /both/ thrown out of the hospital for fighting, because Tachihara is at the /end of his rope/.

Before he can say it though, there’s a short cry of, “Dazai?”, and a tiny shadow darting out of the room, headed straight for Dazai. +
Tachihara watches, heart in his mouth, as Dazai automatically bends his knees and braces for impact, like it’s an /inevitability/ that Chuuya will come for him in a tackle-hug.

Chuuya is usually reserved with Tachihara. It takes a lot for him to lose his hard-won control.

Usually it’s in bed, which is something Tachihara enjoys.

But now,watching as Chuuya flings himself at Dazai, wrapping his arms /underneath/ the leather jacket, like the leather would be too much separation to bear, Tachihara wishes Chuuya was /this/ happy to see him sometimes.+
Chuuya buries his face in Dazai’s chest like he can’t stand to look at him. “Why do you look so different?”
He cries, voice muffled.

Tachihara hadn’t noticed how tense Dazai was before, until all that stiff energy drains out of him.

Chuuya can’t see the soft, fond, /aching/ +
smile that softens Dazai’s face— but Tachihara can, and he /hates/ it.

“Hey there, chibi,” he says quietly, one hand wrapping around Chuuya’s shoulders and the other finding a place in his hair, “it’s been a while.”

Chuuya shudders, making a strangled sound. +
Dazai combs through his hair, fingertips pressing gently on Chuuya’s skull. Looking for injuries. “Don’t be a crybaby now, doll. I said I’d help you figure it out, didn’t I?”

Chuuya mumbles a “fuck you” into his sweater.

Tachihara feels like he’s an outsider, watching two +
people, who are obviously /very/ close even if Tachihara doesn’t know /how/ or /why/,have their special moment.

Dazai laughs, and his expression is so warm it hurts to look at. “Is that any way to treat your hero? You should be nice to me. You should also—“ Dazai’s arm tightens+
around his shoulders, lifting Chuuya up a few inches just as he steps forward. Chuuya’s socked feet naturally find the tops of his boots, balancing there on his toes as Dazai walks them both back into the room. “— be in bed. Come on.”

They go inside, together, leaving Tachihara+
outside, feeling more alone than he has in five years.

He takes a deep, shuddering breath. /Do NOT cry/ he tells himself, because Chuuya does need him right now, as his husband, whether he knows it or not.

Tachihara can deal with his own pain later.

He wipes his eyes and +
follows them inside.

Dazai has settled Chuuya on the bed, and is sitting beside him, checking out the cast on his wrist. “They really overdid you, here. You could’ve gotten away with just a splint.”

Tachihara glowers. “He needed a cast. It was broken.”

Dazai doesn’t even +
bother to look back when he shrugs. “Sure. When’s the doc coming back?”

How the hell should Tachihara know? He opens his mouth to tell Dazai to go to hell for treating him like some glorified nurse, but he’s interrupted by a knock on the door. +
It’s Yosano again, the psychologist. Tachihara waves her in.

She takes her spot at the front of the room, clipboard held to her chest. “So. I’ve got good news, and I’ve got bad news. Which one do you want to hear first?”

This whole situation is bad news, in Tachihara’s mind. +
“Bad news,” Dazai pipes up immediately, like he has the fucking right.

Tachihara growls to himself, but doesn’t argue. Chuuya just pushes further into Dazai’s arms, like he can hide from the problem in the folds of Dazai’s leather jacket. +
“Right,” Yosano says, “well the bad news is— we don’t really know what is causing the retrograde amnesia. The MRI showed normal results, and he shows no sign of a concussion. The aneurysm clips in his brain have not moved, and we’ll be using CT scans in the future to ensure they+
do not move. All his other tests have come back normal.”

Chuuya makes a sudden, loud noise. “Stop talking about me like I’m not here! I’m forgetful not /stupid/!”

Tachihara has never appreciated how much of an effect years of anger management and therapy have had on Chuuya. +
Mostly because, to him, Chuuya is /still/ an angry person. Manageable, but still /very/ short-tempered.

But now, with all those coping methods and thought processes stripped away, Chuuya is leaning forward, like he’s going to /lunge/ off the bed and tackle Yosano. He looks +
/livid/, like some avenging god of destruction.

Dazai’s hand clamps on the back of his neck, squeezing just tightly enough to stop him in his tracks.

Yosano frowns at the movement— he has a /head/ injury, probably should not be shaking him by the neck like an errant kitten—+
and Tachihara is about to throw /himself/ at Dazai—

But then Chuuya goes limp in Dazai’s hold, grumbling slightly but leaning back against him.

Chuuya. Who has, for five years, been /adamant/ that he’s not to be touched when he’s angry, because he’s likely to lash out and +
make things /worse./Calms down. Immediately. His heart rate even drops.

Tachihara looks away, stomach churning. He really doesn’t know anything about Chuuya, does he?

Yosano clears her throat. “Right. I apologize. As far as we know, Chuuya, your tests are completely normal and+
there’s no scientific reason for you to have amnesia. However, there is no doubt that you believe you are 18, with the memories according to that age.”

She looks at Chuuya directly, doing him the honor of holding direct eye contact as she delivers the devastating news, “You +
have lost eight years of your memories, Chuuya. Eight years of your life.”

Chuuya makes a pained, keening sound.

For the second, Tachihara is glad Dazai is there to comfort Chuuya, because right now it feels like the floor is crumbling beneath him. +
/Eight/ years?! That’s—

That’s /everything/. Their first meeting. Their first date, first kiss, first “I love you”s, first apartment, first /everything/.

His Chuuya is /gone/. /Completely./ Like he never existed, like /they/ never existed.

In a sense, Tachihara now has +
/never/ existed to him.

Fuck. He can’t stop the tears this time, and he takes a moment to scrub his eyes with his sleeve again.

“What’s—“ he clears his throat, “what’s the good news, doc?”

Tachihara could sure use some good news right about now. +
Yosano sighs. “The good news is that Chuuya is physically fine. We’d like to hold you overnight, but if you’d like to go home, that’s fine as well. And the other good news is that retrograde amnesia is rarely permanent. Most victims get their memories back,” she trails off, +
looking uncomfortable. “Unfortunately there’s no telling /when/ you’ll get your memories back. Could be a few hours, could be a few months. Some patients have even gone years.”

/Years?/ This can’t be happening.

“There’s no hard-and-fast cure for amnesia. Studies show that +
putting patients into familar situations can encourage memories to return but.... really, there’s nothing you can do now but wait and see.”

Wait. And see. While his /husband/ clings to another man, acts like Tachihara is going to /hurt/ him, and Tachihara’s entire lifeplan +
goes completely and utterly to shit.

And the “familar situations” thing—

What does /that/ mean? Assumingly, taking him /home/, which Tachihara would /love/ to do but—

If he’s a complete and utter stranger now, will Chuuya want that? Will he be scared? Will he want Dazai to+
come with him? Will he want to go with Dazai instead?

Can Tachihara /force/ him to come home, if he doesn’t want to? Will he have to watch as Chuuya walks away, never knowing what they had?

“Is there anything we can do to make it easier, or to help him?” Dazai speaks up again.+
Chuuya has turned completely into his chest, shuddering with what looks like the beginnings of a panic attack.

Tachihara notices Dazai’s fingers, tapping a steady rhythm into the back of Chuuya’s neck that Chuuya follows unsteadily with his breath.

Yosano gives a sympathetic+
frown. “Other than keeping him comfortable and safe, no. Like I said, it’s mostly a waiting game.”

Dazai looks grim.

Yosano, sensing that any more information won’t be received well, chooses to make her exit. “If you have any questions, please feel free to call a nurse to +
page me. I’ll be back to check in on you around dinner time.”

She exits gracefully, and Tachihara, honest to god, wishes he could follow her and not come back to this situation, his personal hell.

Wishes he would just wake up from this nightmare already. +
“Breathe, petite oiseaux. It’s just some memories, and they’ll come back. You’re fine. You’re okay,” Dazai comforts Chuuya.

Tachihara drops into his chair and covers his ears so he doesn’t have to hear it. It doesn’t block out the sound. +
“Eight fucking years Dazai, that’s what I lost, and they /might/ come back. And I /know/ something important happened, because you weren’t here when I woke up, and you’re /always/ here! You were /always/ there, and now you’re not, and I don’t know /why/, and I /know/ remembering+
is gonna be just as painful as actually going through it again! I— I never wanted to lose you and now I have to do it /twice?/ This isn’t /fair/!”

Was Chuuya in love with Dazai, back then?

....Does that mean he’s in love with him /now/, again?

A teardrop spills to the floor+
between Tachihara’s shoes. He hates this.

He hears Dazai sigh. “Listen to me, Chuuya. What happened was /not/ your fault, and it’s not as bad as you think. I’ll tell you, when you’re not freaking out but—“

Out of the corner of his eye, Tachihara sees Dazai’s hand slide under +
Chuuya’s chin, leveraging it up until Chuuya is looking at his face.

“You never lost me, silly chibi. You called, and I came, didn’t I? You needed me and I was here. It doesn’t matter how long we were apart, because if you need me— If you want me— I’ll be here. Always.”+
“If you want me”, he said.

Well, right /now/, Chuuya wants him, but he doesn’t remember ‘what happened’. Is it fair to let him get close to Dazai again, when something bad happened between them?

Sometime between eight and five years ago, Dazai and Chuuya broke it off. +
Why, though?

Was it related to the head injury Chuuya had? Or was that before? Or after?

Was any of /that/ related to the fact that Chuuya only ever answered questions about his childhood in vague non-answers?

That had never bothered Tachihara before, because he had a +
pretty fucked up childhood, so he understood not wanting to talk about it. Hell, he rarely talked about it himself.

But now he’s beginning to wonder. Because Dazai and Chuuya are obviously closer than just a few months of knowing eachother, so they must’ve been...together for a+

Was /that/ why he rarely spoke about his childhood?

Was he keeping Dazai a /secret/?

None of this makes /sense./

Tachihara groans, standing up. “I’m gonna go get some coffee,” he says, even though Dazai and Chuuya probably aren’t listening to him. +
True to prediction, they don’t even twitch.

Tachihara gives one last, longing look at Chuuya, because he could really use one of his hugs right about now, and trudges out of the room.

A nearby nurse gives him directions to the cafeteria, and he makes his way downstairs in a +

The coffee table is placed next to the cafeteria doors, and Tachihara stands there for a long time, absently stirring sugar into the pitch-black liquid.

This doesn’t feel real.

Was their entire relationship built on a /lie/? A small lie, one that had never mattered +
before now, one that still wouldnt have mattered if Chuuya hadn’t gotten into his accident, but a lie nonetheless?

Someone clears their throat behind him. He mutters an apology and goes to sit down at an empty table.

He stares into his coffee as it swirls, and tries not to +
think too hard.

He’s not sure how much time has passed — hospitals always have this strange, non-linear feeling, like it’s constantly 3am, even when sunlight is pouring through the windows— when someone settles into the seat opposite him.

He looks up. It’s Dazai. +
He’s got his own cup of coffee, but he’s just holding it as he stares over Tachihara’s shoulder with a resigned look.”I got him calmed down. Nurses said dinner will be up soon, and he promised to eat his ‘digusting hospital green jello’.”

Tachihara looks down again. He feels so+
utterly useless in this situation, in so many ways. “That’s—uh. That’s good.” He tries.

Dazai sighs and drums his fingers on the table. “I suppose i owe you an explanation.”

He owes him a /lot/ more than just fuckingn that, but it’s a start.

“How much did Chuuya tell you+
about his childhood?”

Tachihara blinks. “Almost nothing. He grew up in Yokohama, he had decent parents. No details.”

Dazai does not look surprised, which somehow makes it worse. “Did he ever mention me?”

Tachihara’s grip on his coffee cup tightens. “Not once,” he hisses +
taking a sick satisfaction in telling Dazai that he didn’t matter enough to Chuuya to mention to his husband of three years.

“I’m starting to think that may have been....unintentional,” Dazai sighs, “I hope you like coffee, cuz this will be a long story.” +
/Great./ Tachihara /loves/ long stories about the suddenly-mysterious love of his life.

“Chuuya and I met when we were 15. He actually /did/ have decent parents; they were nice, and kind, and they loved their children like nothing else. They gave everything to their kids.” +
Children, plural? Chuuya told him he was an only child....

Was that a lie too?

“But they were poor. Mountains of debt. His dad worked a job in south Yokohama, and sent all the money he had back home. He only came home once a week, if that.”

Tachihara takes a sip of his +
coffee. It’s bitter and cold.

“His mother worked three jobs. Poor thing hardly ever slept. I remember seeing her for the first time, and thinking she looked like a zombie,” Dazai mutters, looking off into the distance for a long moment.

He shakes himself after a moment, +
seemingly coming back to himself. “Anyways, his parents worked endlessly, but it wasn’t enough. And Chuuya— he had to drop out of school to take care of his siblings. His parents were never home, so it was up to him to feed them, clean them, get them to school.”

Dazai frowns+
into his coffee. “That’s how I met him, actually. He was bundling his little brother onto the train. They were late and Chuuya was yelling.”

Then he smiles, like he’s remembering something fondly.

Tachihara clears his throat. “Chuuya said he was an only sibling.”+
Dazai turns his head to look him in the eye, grim. “He is now.”

Oh. Wow. Well.

He can certainly understand /why/ Chuuya wouldn’t want to talk about that, but it still hurts that he never knew.

“One day, debt collectors came to his house, looking for his dad. As you can, +
expect, they didn’t find him. What they /did/ find, was Chuuya. Small, nimble, with a fiery attitude and a precedence of fighting. He was perfect for them.”

Perfect how? And for /what/?

Dazai absentmindedly watches a group of doctors slump onto a cafeteria table, exhausted +
by their work. “So they gave him a choice. Either he comes to work for them, to work off his parents debt, or they take the kids and sell them on the black market. Of course, it’s a no-brainer for Chuuya—,” he smiles bitterly, “but he never realized he was selling his soul +
until it was too late. And that is the story of how Chuuya,fifteen years old, joins the yakuza.”

Tachihara stares. Sure, he always knew Chuuya was dangerous, in a way, considering he’s a martial arts master. But this? A yakuza member? Tha can’t be right.

But now that he thinks+
about it, it might make sense.

The hypervigiliance. The refusal to speak about his past. The way he read tragic news with a resigned, experienced air. His attention to detail, and his adamance for home security measures.

“Anyways, that’s when we got close. I won’t tell you+
the details, for your own safety, but we were partners. We did almost everything together, and for a long time, we were the only thing we had. It was dangerous, and we were naïve and stupid— but we always knew we had the others back. Where one went, the other always followed.” +
Dazai’s volume drops abruptly, like he’s speaking to himself this time. “Double black.”

Tachihara goes to take another sip, only to find his cup is empty. “But Chuuya isnt /like/ that. He’s not— he’s not a criminal, or a bad guy.”

Dazai tilts his head. “Maybe not anymore. +
But Chuuya back then? He’d do almost anything for his siblings. Even if that made him a “bad guy”. He was fearless, relentless. We finished dozens of jobs together, things that would probably make your goody-two-shoes stomach turn with disgust.” +
Tachihara scowls at him. He’s not /that/ sensitive.

“But we really became close when we were sixteen. Chuuya has been in the mafia for a while by then, and he was surprisingly trusted. /Too/ trusted actually, so our handlers had to teach him a lesson to keep him in line.” +
Dazai looks away again, and this time he looks almost /ashamed/ as he says, “So one day, when his little sister comes home from school and Chuuya is only a few minutes late, they take her.”

Tachihara swallows. He doesn’t want to know the details anymore. He’s not even sure why +
Dazai is telling him /all/ of Chuuya’s history. Surely he doesn’t need this long of an explanation?

“They make sure Chuuya is the one to find her body. It was...awful. I still have nightmares about it.”

Forget coffee, he needs a /drink/ for this conversation. +
“Almost a year later, when Chuuya says he wants to leave the mafia to the wrong person, they take his brother in the same way.”

God. Tachihara can’t imagine.

“They did that to keep Chuuya in line, but it only taught him one thing: the only one he had, the only one he could +
trust was me. I was the only one on his side. The whole world was against him— against us. And the closer we got, the more dangerous it became. Allies are frowned on in the mafia.”

Dazai finishes his coffee with a long swallow. “And then came one fateful day. We were eighteen+
by then, and we were fighting some small-time gang. It should’ve been an easy fight. It /was/ an easy fight.”

As Dazai’s story goes on, his face has grown more drawn and pale. He looks sick, and tired.

“Chuuya’s fighting someone on a fire escape. And then—“ +
Dazai gulps. “Then he takes a wrong step. His ankle crumbles and his opponent takes advantage and shoves him. Chuuya.... he goes over the ledge. Falls a little over a story and lands on his head and neck.” +

Dazai closes his eyes. “I will never forget the sickening /crack/ his head made when it hit the concrete. It felt like the whole world paused, holding its breath.” +
Tachihara feels nausea building in his stomach.

“And— I kept waiting for him to get up, you know? He’s taken hundreds of hits and hundreds of calls, and he got up every time. So he would this time, too, right?

Except he doesn’t. The guy he was fighting has run off already +
because fights don’t /usually/ end in blood like that, so it’s just me, and Chuuya’s unmoving body.

I remember blood spreading out around his head, and the way he didn’t even seem to be breathing. I’m pretty sure I saw his brain in there. He looked /broken/. And the only thing+
I could do was call an ambulance.”

He takes a long breath, blinking away tears. “I remember when the paramedics showed up, the looks on their faces. They looked like they were handling a dead body as they loaded him up and took him away. I didn’t know if I was ever going to see+
him again. I thought that was the end.”

He looks like he’s going to cry again, so Tachihara stands up with a muttered “refill” and goes to get more coffee to give him some time to recover.

(END TW.) +
God. This feels like some fucked-up mafia movie, and not the mysterious background of his husband. He never would’ve guessed this.

He returns a few minutes later, with a fresh cup of coffee. Dazai has gathered himself in that time, looking unaffected once again. +
He waits for Tachihara to sit again before he starts. “That’s when it clicked for me. I watched Chuuya lose everything, and now /I/ was going to lose everything. I didn’t want to lose him, and I didn’t want to become a weapon to be used against him. And if Chuuya managed to +
survive, thats what would happen, eventually. Either he’d wind up dead, or he’d be killed.”

The memory of determination fills his features. “So I took things into my own hands. I went to the local police precinct, asked for a man who I knew was researching the Yakuza— and I +
turned traitor. In exchange for Chuuya’s and I’s freedom, I gave them all the information I had.”

He doesn’t look like he’s won, or that he got his freedom. He looks haunted by his past.

But Tachihara has one more question. “Why didn’t you take Chuuya with you?” +
Dazai gives a humorless chuckle. “Well, the truth is—I was an insecure, self-loathing little shit back then, so I assumed Chuuya would be mad at /me/ for what happened to him. I visited him in the hospital, and he looked so small, so broken after nearly 18 hours of brain surgery+
and an ugly cast around his neck. They told me he was lucky to be alive, and even luckier not to be brain dead or paralyzed. The doctors weren’t sure of the damage. They told me he might never wake up again, and if he did, he might not be the same person.”

Dazai sighs. He still+
looks self-loathing, only he’s grown into it now, like it’s been etched into the lines of his very soup. “So I figured I’d give him the choice. I left him a note that said “you know where to find me”, and I didn’t come back. I figured, if he hated me, he wouldn’t come looking.”+
Tachihara stares at him for a long, helpless moment. Then he bursts into laughter. “You’re a goddamn idiot, you know that? He just had major brain trauma, major brain surgery, and you think ‘oh he’ll know where to find me and if he doesn’t know, he hates me’. You’re /stupid/!”+
Dazai scowls at him. “I know, okay, but by the time I realized how idiotic it was, it was too late and Chuuya had been moved.”

This whole situation is absurd. It’s terrible, but Tachihara can’t stop laughing.

What a twisted, fucked up set of events. Multiple brain traumas for+
the love of his life, Tachihara being forgotten and replaced by a man who was actually forgotten and replaced /first/.

“If he never spoke about his childhood,” Dazai speaks over him, “then its likely that he forgot a lot of it. Probably caused by the first trauma.”+
Tachihara wipes his eyes. “Yeah, that makes sense. He was always very vague, and there were times he looked a bit confused. He never said anything though.”

“Sounds like him,”Dazai sighs, sounding very put-upon,”what I’m worried about is how multiple amnesia and multiple traumas+
will affect his long term recovery.”

/That/ stops Tachihara’s laughter in its tracks. He hadn’t considered that before, and now that he has....worry fills him.

Will Chuuya ever get his memories back, now that he’s essentially been mentally reset to his first trauma? +
Will this affect the way he makes memories from now on?

Tachihara really can’t handle more stress at this moment without breaking at the seams.

So he changes the subject. “I’ll talk to Yosano about it later. How long are you staying?” +
Dazai blinks, a little confused at the abrupt change but adjusting quickly. “As long as he wants me to,” he responds.

Tachihara glares at him. He can’t say the answer surprises him, but it does piss him off. “That’s my husband, you know. You don’t know him anymore.”+
Dazai stands, and if Tachihara thought his eyes were /cold/ before, it’s nothing compared to the sudden, cutting icy gaze slicing through him now. “If that’s the case, then you never knew him to begin with.”

Tachihara /gapes/, hurt. It hurts because it’s /meant/ to, but also +
because it might be /true/.

“Let’s get something straight, Tachihara,” Dazai says, straightening his posture. And those movements, Tachihara would recognize /anywhere/.

The shoulders pulling back, exposing the chest. Lengthening the spine and neck, lifting the chin to a proud,+
defiant angle. Looking down the nose haughtily.

It’s the exact same move Chuuya makes when he’s being stubborn, when he digs his heels in and refuses to budge for any reason.

It hurts to see, because suddenly Tachihara doesn’t know if Chuuya got that move from Dazai, or if+
Dazai got it from /him/.

“I left him once. The only way I’m doing it again is if he wants me too. So I will be here, day in and day out, until the /moment/ Chuuya tells me to leave. Better get used to it.”

Dazai smiles, sharp and ruthless. “Don’t worry though. I’ll play nice.”+
He turns away then, not waiting for an answer.

Tachihara is left sitting there, staring into his coffee with the utmost certainty that “nice” for Dazai and “nice” for him, mean two /very/ different things.
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