Varied colors blended with each other like a 24-color palette. The wind blew from the west, causing the nearby tree leaves to dance along with the non-existent beat. The blue, clear water rampaged in silence, creating an almost seemingly soft serenade. A huge shining orb in the distance was split in half, projecting its reflection on the calm, unmoving water from below.
The whole place is quiet as if every single living soul had already vacated the area.
Well, not quite.
Two figures stood beneath a tree's shadow, taking refuge and solace after a whole day of struggles. The calm, light afternoon breeze soothe their souls as they look at the orange-painted sky.
Silence ensues but for them, it's what they need.
The quiet rage of the sea.
The hushing sound of overlapping leaves.
The way the remaining rays of the dusk kiss their flesh.
The sound of their even breathing.
Sounds romantic, right?
It is, except for one thing.
Everything, everything seems to retain its brilliance but something decided to exclude itself from that small band of glow.
A redhead's eyes… It's empty. The very exact opposite to his surrounding's radiance.
Meanwhile, the brunet beside him stood still, unmoving, as if he's already accustomed to that kind of scenario.
But is he?
No. Definitely not. Not in a million years.
Seeing his ex-partner like that made his knees wobble. All the remaining courage in his body had left him that even panning his head to Chuuya became an impossible task.
The guilt is slowly consuming him, pulling him into a world far more hellish than hell itself.
They stayed like that for a while, the stillness of the setting sun completely vanished into existence and was dethroned by a huge dark blanket covered with stars. The moon is in its crescent form, seems incomplete but whole all the same.
The coldness of the night embraced the two up to their bones, causing them to shiver.
"It's getting cold, Chuuya. Let's go inside?" The brunet proposed without looking at Chuuya.
He can't. Or maybe he actually can, but he chose not to.
Chuuya nods his head slightly and Dazai saw that movement from his eyes' corners.
Dazai's feet move in front of Chuuya's rear. With a slight push, the wheels on Chuuya's seat were sent into motion, carrying Chuuya's body along with it. Trails of the redhead's wheelchair and the brunet's footprints were engraved in the shore's sand and were immediately erased by the wave's arrival.
In just a few minutes, they reached a small house built near the shore. From its size, one can conclude that its interior can only shelter two people at once.
Upon entering the house, Dazai turned on the lights that he closed before going outside with Chuuya this afternoon. It has a simple structure. A kitchen, two couches and a table in between them, the comfort room, and a shared bedroom.
Dazai carefully lifts Chuuya's body and transfer it to one of the couches.
"You're so light, Chuuya~ Am I not feeding you well?" Dazai tried to annoy Chuuya like he used to back in the days but the redhead's expressions didn't even change. Not even a single move in his facial muscles. The brunet knew from the very start, that he could no longer hear Chuuya's annoyed response coming from his own mouth but he's still hoping, hoping that he could still hear Chuuya's voice one more time.
Chuuya's just like a lump of flesh without a soul inside of it. It is said that the soul is the trigger of an ability.
Maybe that's the exact reason why Chuuya lost his.
Ah no… There's no one to be blamed but Dazai.
Or at least, that's what he thought.
After moving Chuuya in a comfortable position, Dazai left him and went straight to the kitchen.
Dazai was a bad cook. Everyone must ready their pitiful stomach before taking in Dazai's food. Not only that but for the aftermath (puking included). But who would eat those kinds of stuff (can't consider them as "food") in the first place?
Everything changed when he started to live and take care of Chuuya over the past 3 years. He learned how to prepare varied homemade viands. Well, he doesn't want the redhead to eat canned goods every single day!
Dazai turned on the flame and let the ingredients fly and land on the pan's heated surface. He hummed a familiar tune, hoping that Chuuya might remember its tune but to no avail.
Dazai arranged the food into a plate and went to the redhead, utensils in his other hand.
Without a word, he scooped a spoonful and brought it closer to Chuuya's mouth.
If anyone could see this kind of scenario, the brunet looks like he's feeding a 3-month old baby.
"Well, he's indeed a baby," Dazai said at the back of his mind while moving the spoon back and forth.
After that dinner, Dazai once again carried Chuuya to their bed. It's not that big, but not too small. Just enough for the two of them.
Dazai then wrapped his arms around Chuuya's body. To give him warmth, a human's warmth to liberate the coldness of the night.
With the brunet's slender arms encircled around the redhead's body, and Chuuya's head leaning against Dazai's shoulder, they fall asleep.
Almost at the same time.
For three years, the very same sequence of events happened.
Watching the sunrise and sunset together.
Helping him to eat his own food.
And then finally, cradling each other until they got consumed by the God of Sleep.
Have they grown tired of it, especially Dazai?
Even he doesn't know the answer. He was known as the Demon Prodigy of the Port Mafia, someone who can see through everything. But why can't his superior, almost inhumane mind comprehend this feeling of longing?
Longing for what?
Is it for the return of his ex-partner's glory or the longing to return to his old life?
Maybe, but maybe not.
Dazai thought that the same exact happenings will happen again for today, and the days after that.
But he's wrong.
On with their usual routine, they watch the sun's tiny movement, trying to pull itself up higher in the sky as if it's trying to assert dominance and power. Somehow, the sunrise resembles Dazai every time he rose to bed, struggling his way up like he was being pulled down by the Earth's gravity. To make it less fancy, he's just simply lazy.
"C-chuuya… Is that you?"
Dazai froze, literally.
Dazai panned his head to where the sound originated.
Kouyou smiled, but there's hidden remorse in it. The intensity of her eyes changed the moment it landed on Chuuya's frail body.
She looked away and face the brunet once more.
"It's been a while, demon."
"So… You're still taking care of him?" Kouyou sat in one of the couches inside of their house.
"Mm…" A simple nod is the only response that he could offer. He's not in the right mood to entertain a conversation right now, especially to those with whom he had ties.
Despite his seemingly uninterested remarks, he's still on the lookout. Who knows? Kouyou might try to do something funny. As for Chuuya, he doubts that this woman will do such a thing.
"I see… I see…" At the same time, a mocking laugh escaped out of her lips. Dazai, on the other hand, painted confusion throughout his face.
"It's all your fault anyway. You've got to clean your own mess and atone with what you had done."
Dazai clenched his fist as tightly as he could.
"Why are you still taking care of him?"
Dazai's lips went agape, trying to utter a word or two but failed miserably.
Why then? What keeps him from escaping and leaving Chuuya behind?
He doesn't know.
"Do you love him?" Kouyou's question streak kept on bugging Dazai's feelings.
Dazai's so sure of that fact not until Kouyou retorted once more.
"Or is it because of guilt?"
The brunet said no more and silence governed the two of them.
"Now demon… Which one is it?"
Darkness… Just pure darkness…
Or at least, that's what Chuuya sees.
He can't feel anything, nor grasp reality. He's just there, floating in the middle of nothingness. But amidst that abyss, he can feel his bones cracking, his body collapsing, and his blood leaking out of his system. The pain must be immeasurable and unbearable but none of those physical pains can equal his suffering.
He hates the dark, the emptiness because it always made him feel alone.
He can hear a huge crowd of people screaming at the top of their lungs as if their lives are in danger of death.
Yes, that's actually the case.
They're fleeing, away from the young boy in the middle of that immense object and that enemy he's battling against.
Their abilities clashed and the fiery battle caused a deal of damage to the establishments and facilities in the city, but Chuuya came out victorious. Yokohama is safe once again. The civilians already evacuated, thus no casualties recorded.
Everything's fine now.
But Chuuya's still not.
He's on his limit, and his rampage will continue up to the end of his life.
He had already accepted his fate, that corruption will disappear along with his existence but a bandaged hand tamed him.
But it's already late.
Chuuya got hospitalized after that. His life was saved, but his nervous system was badly affected.
Dazai couldn't help but blame himself. He was doing a lot of paper works at the armed detective agency's office (forced by Kunikida of course) but the unexpected foe barged its way to Yokohoma without even knocking.
That's why he's late to arrive at the scene.
Why did Chuuya activate his corrupted form without him?
He's such an idiot, an utter idiot…
But he's far worse than that.
"Chuuya~ Let's go outside?" Dazai asked his ex-partner but the latter shook his head weakly, much to the former's surprise. It's the first time Chuuya declined his invitation.
Instead of going outside, Chuuya points his finger to their room's direction, by which, Dazai understood and followed. Maybe Chuuya is just sick of watching the sun's routinary motion every day or he just wants to rest.
To ease his boredom, Dazai cooked for their supper, but a creaking sound came out from Chuuya's location.
Dazai dropped the spatula in hand and sprinted to their bedroom only to find Chuuya scribbling something on a small piece of paper. Because of his malfunctioning muscles, the pen he used created a noise as it dropped on the floor.
"Chuuya? What are you doi-" Dazai is stopped dead in his tracks the moment he saw the letters inscribed on his paper. Beside the redhead is a small calendar with eighteen days crossed out for the month of June.
Today's June 19. Dazai's birthday.
"Ha…" Chuuya struggled to say something with his shivering and shaky voice. "Ha…ppy bir-th-da…y, sh-itt…y mac…ke-rel."
Dazai's heart starts to pound harder as if it wants to leap out of his ribcage. His head feels so fuzzy, but light at the time.
What's this feeling…?
But Dazai knew that it's more than that.
"Now demon… Which one is it?"
"Ane-san… I already know the answer." He said at the back of his mind before embracing the redhead. He leaned closer to the former executive's ear and whispered, "Thank you, chibi."
Chuuya might not be able to restore his condition the way it once was but for Dazai, that doesn't matter now.
Whether Chuuya the petite mafia executive who kept on bickering with him back in the days or the Chuuya who's struggling to write a single sentence of greeting over a sheet of paper… Dazai's always fond of him, whatever the version.
And that will not change until the end of time.