Warning: suicidal thoughts and feelings. Please do not read if this triggers you.
The wind whipped his hair into his face, blinding him as it tugged him forward, ever closer to the rooftop's edge. Osamu Dazai closed his stinging eyes, inhaling deeply. The air was sweet, but crisp; the last traces of summer mingling with the first hint of fall. Fall; a season of change. Atsushi had called it that, earlier, and Dazai could see how he, and so many others, might consider such a season beautiful. The brightly colored leaves, the cooling air, the heady scent of coffee carried on the morning breeze... But for Dazai, Fall did not simply represent change. No, Osamu Dazai associated the season with death. There was the literal sense, of course; the chilling air and the evening frosts nipping away at the constant green and buzzing life of summer. That life was replaced with branches that shed their leaves until their limbs were bare and ugly, with still, silent air in the place of an atmosphere that had once rung with the sound of birds, insects... laughter. The flowers withered and fell, as did the leaves, crunching under the feet of a thousand passerby, and the streets grew more and more empty as people huddled together in restaurants and homes to escape the cold.
Dazai often walked those empty streets, his eyes caught on the flashes of orange and brown as the leaves twirled and fell at his feet, plucked loose by invisible fingers of wind. Sometimes he'd pause to watch one in particular, his eyes glassy and unfocused as he observed how similar the shade of orange was to locks of hair he'd once observed as they caught in this same wind, a friend and partner he'd left behind. Or that shade of auburn there, the same as Odasaku, caught in the setting sun as he fell at Dazai's feet, his blood a deep crimson, almost like that leaf there, not yet fallen.
A deep crimson, staining his hands, soaking his clothes, imprinting itself forever upon his vision as his one friend lay dying. Dying, just like these colors of autmn; fading with the sunset until he was gone forever.
The memory, though, would not fade.
Another gust of wind pulls him back to the present. The cold, too, felt somewhat familiar. The icy stab of Ango's betrayal, the feel of gunmetal in his hands, the echo of a thousand lethal shots.
He'd killed, as a Port Mafia Executive. It hadn't mattered who, back then; if they crossed him, he'd destroy them. But now, he wondered: Had he killed innocents? He knew many of those he'd killed were corrupt, but not all of them were Mafia blood, and even if they had been, perhaps not all of them were evil. Oda was proof; proof that not all those in the Mafia were black hearted demons such as himself. Had he taken fathers, husbands, sons? Created orphans like the ones Oda had taken in, had given everything for?
A particularly strong gust of wind caused his balance to waver, pulling him back to the present for a moment as his eyes snapped open, taking in the city below him. He made no move to pull his coat closer, despite the chill.
it wouldn't matter in a moment anyways.
He wondered if the Agency knew where he was.
He wondered if they cared.
But then he again recalled Ango, and the frigid betrayal of one he had once considered his friend, and decided that perhaps he was better off not including the agency in his last thoughts. No, better to allow himself the illusion of being missed; it was far more beautiful than the reality. Because the reality was he would never be missed, if his absence was even noticed. After all, aside from his intellect, what had he ever offered them?
Or... anyone, for that matter?
Chuuya's salvation, Mori's puppet, Ango's tool, Odasaku's failure of a friend, Fukuzawa's strategist, Kunikida's useless partner; Atsushi was the only one he'd ever really done good by, and even this had only been for Oda. Dazai was nothing more to anyone than object to be used and cast aside. Perhaps he could've been cared for, by Chuuya, by Oda, by Atsushi…. Even Akutagawa had regarded him highly, but he'd failed each of them, and in turn, lost all right to be cared for by them.
No, Dazai was a monster; a demon with blood that ran Port Mafia black, and he was so, so tired of fighting. Oda would be upset with this ending, he thought wistfully, the edge of his lips quirking into a smile. "I'm sorry." He whispered, and took a step closer to the edge. He'd already failed Oda once; this was nothing compared to that. "I did try, though." He murmured as an afterthought, pausing just shy of the very edge. "I even saved an orphan." He laughed, dry and bitter. "Imagine that, the demon prodigy, saving an orphan." He frowned. "I suppose you did imagine it, if you thought to ask it of me." He shook his head, gazing towards the streets covered in dead leaves. "I can't do it anymore, Odasaku." Dazai sighed deeply, taking in the scent of the air one last time. He allowed himself the luxury of thinking of his colleagues, selfishly imagining them with tragic expressions upon discovering his battered body, and realizing he'd been serious all along. Perhaps a few would shed tears.
Really, they'd more likely be furious, (Kunikida in particular would be sure to chew him out, even if Dazai couldn't hear him,) but with a sigh he pushed that particular thought out of his mind.
He wondered if Chuuya would be ecstatic; finally rid of his suicidal maniac of an ex partner.
He wondered how long it would hurt when he hit the ground, or if it would be over in an instant.
(The latter would be preferable; he really had no desire to suffer.)
As his eyes scanned the city once more, he realized all that was left to do was muster up the willpower to actually take that last step. A fall from this height would cause irreversible damage, especially considering the fact that Yosano's ability would not work on him.
He was just about to take the plunge when the creaking of hinges from the door behind him alerted him of another presence. He paused, from curiosity more than anything, wondering who had not only noticed his absence, but cared enough to come looking for him, and even managed to track him down. His eyes narrowed as he glanced over his shoulder, and saw Kunikida. He tilted his head to the side as he observed his partner, but offered no word of greeting. Strangely enough, neither did the other detective. Kunikida simply walked over to join him on the edge, his emerald eyes scanning the cityscape, and the height that Dazai had just been admiring. A few minutes of silence seemed suffocating, and Dazai found himself unable to bear it.
"What brings you here on this fine day? Does the infamously busy Kunikida actually have a gap in his schedule? Has someone stolen a page out of his notebook with today's appointments written on it?" Wordlessly, Kunikida looked up at him, and there was something in those emerald eyes that made Dazai's chest twinge oddly, and he looked away to keep his false cheer from cracking. He had just opened his mouth to crack another joke when Kunikida interrupted him. "Please, Dazai." He murmured, almost too soft to hear, "Not today. Don't put up this facade today."
Then, Kunikida went uncharacteristically silent. He'd sounded almost… tired. Wordlessly, Dazai sat beside him, his legs dangling precariously over the edge as his deceptively cheery smile slipped from his lips. "Were you going to jump?" Kunikida asked, rather bluntly, Dazai thought, though he still couldn't bring himself to meet his partners eyes, or find the energy to return his fake cheer.
"Yes." He answered simply, then tensed, awaiting his partners reaction. A beat, then... more silence. Still, this heavy, uneasy silence. No yelling or spluttering about Dazai's idiocy or Kunikida's ruined schedule, no gritting teeth or rough hands shaking his shoulders. Just... silence. Dazai regarded Kunikida warily from the edge of his vision, suddenly uncertain of how to navigate this new terrain. "You shouldn't." Dazai looked back to the ground as his partner finally spoke, the wind tugging at his coat. "What difference does it make to you?" He murmured, expressionless. He thought of Oda, and how he might have told him to stop too, and grief clawed at the hole in his chest. This conversation was pointless. He should just get it over with, end it all. But something about the strangeness of it gave him pause. After all, it wasn't often that someone reacted (or didn't react) in a manner that Dazai did not expect. At the very least, he was curious. So he would listen, entertain Kunikida's unexpected conversation, then follow through with his original plan. After all, he had plenty of time to jump afterwards. What difference would few more moments make, really?
"I'm sorry." The words nearly sent Dazai reeling, and his head snapped to the left to lock gazes with Kunikida. And was that... hurt in his partners eyes? What could he possibly be hurt about? Dazai opened his mouth to retort, but nothing came out.
He was the one who should be sorry.
How many times had he tormented Kunikida, ridiculed him, destroyed his precious schedule and ideals for nothing more than his own amusement? By all rights the man should hate him. And yet, here he was, and oh dear lord were those actual tears in his eyes?!
Kunikida was the one to look away this time, before Dazai could be completely sure. "I didn't know." He murmured. "Maybe I didn't want to. Maybe we don't always show it, Dazai, but we do care. All of us. Especially me. You're... my partner." A pause. Then, "Don't get me wrong, you annoy me to no end." a dry laugh escaped his throat along with that statement. "But... you have my back. When push comes to shove, you always come through. And I need you to understand that, Dazai. I'm sorry for the yelling, and the insults. I'm sorry for shrugging it off when you laughed about your death, for treating it like just another one of your pranks. I thought I was, Dazai. I still don't know what finally made me realize it wasn't, but I should've known. But I didn't, and I let it go, and I yelled at you for it, and I'm sorry. I've failed you. Both as a partner... and as a friend." Dazai's mouth felt dry as he simply stared, slack jawed at his partner. "Kunikida, I..." he didn't know what to say. Something strange and warm filled his chest, but it was tainted with grief and desperation and so confusing and it ached . It overwhelmed him, wetness filling his eyes and he looked down, raising a bandaged hand to scrub at the unbidden tears. He stood, turned away to hide his face, but Kunikida didn't let him get far. He was on his feet just as quickly, and a hand on Dazai's shoulder turned him to face his partner. There was no mistaking it at this distance; they were both crying. "You're not alone, Dazai." Kunikida said, his voice shaking. "I'm sorry I let you be before, but I'm here for you, if you'll let me be. I want to help, whatever it takes. I want to help you. "
When the wordless, strangled sob escaped Dazai's throat, Kunikida was all that kept his knees from hitting the pavement. His partner pulled him into a hug as they both broke down, unsure of just how to react. Dazai felt fifteen again, lost and confused and hurting and absolutely helpless, at the whims of his own emotions, and understanding none of them. He remembered his previous partner, and his late friend, and how they'd said things similarly, encouraged him to live. How they'd patched him up and helped him to understand his emotions when he couldn't alone. He remembered betraying one, and holding the other as he died in his arms.
And he realized suddenly, the Agency did care for him. He was simply afraid to admit it. Afraid, because everything he held dear, everything he could ever want, was gone the moment he obtained it. And yet... here he was. Here he was, wrapped in the arms of his friend, someone who genuinely cared, despite all Dazai had done to torment him. Someone who cared enough to talk him off the edge of the roof despite the million other things he could be accomplishing. Someone who cared enough to promise him he wouldn't be alone.
Perhaps Dazai would lose his family. Perhaps the agency would fall.
Perhaps he would fail Atsushi and all the rest, because he was never meant for saving orphans.
Perhaps then he would go through with his plans of dying. But for once, amidst all his hurting, a sliver of something bright formed in him.
Maybe Dazai was destined to lose everything, but still... perhaps he wouldn't jump today.
He could always jump later, after all. Because really, what difference would a few more moments make?