He had been in time.

It was all Dazai could think of for a long moment, panting as he regained his breath from the mad dash to get here in time. His gun was smoking, but that wasn't what saved Odasaku.

It was No Longer Human.

The side of his face bled from the shot the Mimic's leader got off just before he was able to touch the man. Then his ability took effect, and striped of the ability to see the future, Odasaku planted a bullet perfect on the soldier's forehead.

Then his only friend trained the gun on him.

And he could not find the strength to straighten, brave the gun, talk his way off, or anything he would normally do. Instead he just stood there, a little bit bent over and panting.

The running shouldn't take this much off him, he knew. Nor should the fighting. Nevertheless his chest flooded with something he wasn't sure he ever felt.

Relief.

It was a clear, flooding relief, breaking all the dams and the walls the Port Mafia executive, who have lived in the darkness and let himself sank as deep as there was anywhere to sink, has unconsciously built. It hits with force shattering everything in its path and spilled clear from his eyes.

Oda Sakunosuke couldn't feel the anguish and the anger and any bitter words he would have cussed at the man who had saved him against his wishes anymore, looking at those tears which must have been so rare it could fetch billions.

He lowered his gun.

"Odasaku." Dazai found himself saying, but his voice broke, and he couldn't find any more words to say.

"Dazai." Odasaku replied, straight-faced.

For a moment, it would have made perfect sense if Dazai stumbled over and put his arms around Odasaku. It would have made perfect sense for him to think that his friend really was alive and solid, and be relieved.

Instead he straightened, removed his bandaged hand from his chest, put them in his coat pockets. His tears dried and he found himself with a lot of words surrounding him again.

"Ah, that really caught me by surprise." He said lightly. "It's the first time I used that tactic to get a gunpoint off me." He forced a smile that comes too naturally. "I quite like the role of a damsel in distress."

Odasaku pocketed his gun. Then he walked over. And put his arms around the other man, one hand resting at the back of his head. His superior height worked perfectly for him.

Odasaku didn't think much about it. He just knew his friend needed that, even a little.

Dazai didn't lean in, but didn't push away either.

After a few moments, Dazai ventured, "Ne, Odasaku, let's quit the Port Mafia."

"Ah." Odasaku answered, by way of accepting. Always to the point. Straightforward. No matter what nonsense he says.

"You're not going to ask for a reason?" Dazai asked. His expression softened, next to that mob of brick red hair, untidy from all the fighting. One might call that a sad expression. But the emotions prompting it were more like uncertainty.

Odasaku sighed, then removed his arms from the potentially offending position - an underdog doesn't hug his executive, especially in such a structured organization as the mafia - then he walked over to the wall and sat back against it.

It was, after all, a heated battle he fought.

Dazai went over to the opposite wall to do the same.

"I thought you were going to tell me anyway." He answered.

"You know me so well," Dazai said with a little laugh. "And yes, I was going to tell you... It was the boss."

"I see." He said. Odasaku might have figured some things out for himself already. And he need not explain what it was when he says the boss did it. His friend burned from that question, Dazai could tell.

But the indifference irked him.

Knowing the murderer of his reasons-for-living usually doesn't sit well with anyone. Dazai expected vengefulness, loathing, hatred. Something.

Actually he was prepared to help his friend exact his revenge, if he so wish it. Unexpectedly, Odasaku remained unpassive.

"So, that's one reason for me, what's yours?" He asked, in turn.

"It's because he planned to let you die." Dazai had switched to his dark mode, all serious with a reddish glint in his eyes that Odasaku sometimes worry about. It was hard to stay miserable with anything when he knew he has a friend as caring as Dazai is to him.

"And that is worth risking the brunt of the Port Mafia forces being put on our traitorous heads?"

"Yes, it does."

"And what will you do, after quitting?"

"Will you stay with me, Odasaku?"

Odasaku smiled. He would have hesitated, if his dream was still in tact. But his dreams went to sleep along with Kosuke and Katsumi and Shinji and Yuu and Sakura, and most of Mimic's members he had single-handedly killed today.

His decision was easy.

"I'll stay with you," he agreed, "Besides, if the boss really wants my neck and yours, it's probably best to stick together anyway."

"Then, what should we do next?"

"I can see you have some plans."

"As expected from Odasuku!" Dazai grinned, childishly, before his expression gone serious again. "How about the Guild?"

"Guild?"

"A foreign ability organization from overseas, known to be ruthless on getting whatever they target. There are currently ten members I know about. The leader is said to be a rich man, selfish, but they say he protects his subordinates. Besides, they will probably target the Port Mafia sooner or later anyway, looking for other spheres of power as they are continuing to grow. We may even have a chance to fight the Mafia eventually. With abilities like ours-"

"Dazai."

Dazai pressed his lips together. He was not used to being cut-off, being an executive and all. And especially now. Now he is uncertain. He can predict far into the future, but none of them is as certain as the few seconds Odasaku could see. He would like assurances, not an argument.

"There's something I want to tell you," Oda said seriously.

"You told me that you might find a reason to live if in a world of violence and bloodshed... You won't find it. You must know that already. Whether on the side who kills people, or on the side who saves people, nothing beyond what you expect will appear. Nothing in this world can fill that lonely hole you have. You will wander in darkness for eternity."

Dazai's eyes widened in surprise. The back of his eyes suddenly burned, and his expression pinched to hold any more tears back.

"Odasaku... Then what should I do?"

"Be on the side that saves people. If both sides are the same, become a good human. Save the weak, and protect the orphans. Neither good nor evil means much to you, I know. But that makes it better, even just a little."

"How do you know?"

"Of course I know... I know better than anyone... I'm your friend, after all."

There was again, silence. Dazai sat unmoving for a long while. Odasaku felt the wound on his face throb, just a tiny bit off rhythm with his heartbeat. And in that constant rhythm he hoped. He hoped his friend would listen to him.

Dazai slowly stood up. "Let's go, Odasaku."

"Where are we going to?"

"Underground. We vanish for today. The next, we'll find a job. I'm sure Ango can contact the head of Department of Special Ability for us."

The government, Oda thought, relieved, We're leaving the darkness, after all.

"And, Odasaku,"

"Hm?"

"You said I would wander this darkness forever... that nothing would fill the loneliness in my soul?"

"...Yeah, I said that."

"You are wrong."

Dazai turned, pushed at his chest with one graceful finger.

"You already did, and it's better, even just a little."