Summary: Dazai ignored the hostile tone, a glimmer of amusement in his eyes. He wasn't entirely surprised at the reaction of the winged youkai. "It's New Years, Ryuu-chan." Dad!Mori, Youkai AU oneshot.
"You're going to the New Years Celebration, right?" Atsushi asked, his expression hopeful.
"Sorry, I'm busy that day," Dazai chirped. "I have a date." He barely kept himself from laughing at the reaction he got.
Atsushi stared. He wavered between believing and not believing his coworker before he settled on indecision.
Dazai smiled and ignored Atsushi's look of disbelief. It was true he was going to be busy on New Years. He had been given the task of hunting down everyone.
The sun rose slowly, casting a red glow on the clearing; it enhanced the sense of painting perfect horror. A man stood in the middle of a battlefield, surrounded by mutilated corpses. The blood had been churned into the dirt below to create a sticky, reddish mud. It was the sight of horrible nightmares and honorable dreams, blood chilling to any mortal with common sense.
The habu snake around Dazai's throat hissed a greeting and another snake rose from the grass nearby, replying to its broodmate. Asrar—Dazai's chosen snake—was white and black, while the scales of Chuuya's companion—who was aptly named Chartreuse—were yellow and black.
"Good morning!" Dazai chirped. He looked over the bloody battlefield with an apathetic eye, then promptly ignored it.
"What do you want, Dazai?" Chuuya growled. He looked like he fit in among the carnage, not that he looked dead but that he showed no signs of being ill at ease, as he should. There was a good reason why he was called the title, 'god of destruction'.
"Did you forget?" Dazai asked, teasing clear in his voice. "It's New Years today."
Chuuya rolled his eyes, but sheathed his sword. "And that's relevant why?"
Dazai hummed. "Mori-san wants us all back for New Years," he bluntly informed.
"Did you get stuck playing messenger?" Chuuya smirked. He put a hand close to the ground and let his snake wrap itself around his wrist.
Dazai sighed. "Yes. It's such a hard job, and so, so boring." He put on a sad expression, as if he was about to cry. The fox ears on top of his head drooped down, no longer hidden by the illusion he used around normal humans.
Chuuya pushed Dazai forward, interrupting the kitsune's dramatics. "Yeah, yeah. Let's get moving."
"You're coming with me to find the other two?" Dazai blinked in surprise.
Chuuya stared at Dazai, a deadpan look on his face. "That's the reason you came to get me first, isn't it. You planned on dragging me along and wouldn't stop annoying me until I agreed."
Dazai frowned. "It isn't fun when you guess things," he complained.
"I spent four hundred years putting up with your stupid ideas to anger me. You think I wouldn't be able to predict anything after that?" Chuuya glared until Dazai shut his mouth. "Don't answer that. Now move, or I'll just leave you behind and just go to the mountain by myself."
The sun hung high above their heads, a furious light that tried to burn past the wispy clouds but failed.
Gin was selling their wares. Her dark blue paper umbrella was propped against the inside of the small stall, as they had managed to reserve one with a thick enough covering to block the sun.
Ryuunusokue was returning to the stall after having bought some food to share with his sister; neither of them needed to eat, but they enjoyed trying local food and it helped keep up the facade of being human. Blending in with human society was necessary for them.
Ryuunosuke felt there was someone behind him in the alleyway, another supernatural entity. The hainu whirled around and his black wings extended behind him, ready to propel him forward. His takara habu, Ombre, knew to stop moving, and tightly coiled around his bicep in case he started flying. He stiffened at the sight of who was standing there. "What do you want?"
Dazai ignored the hostile tone, a glimmer of amusement in his eyes. He wasn't entirely surprised at the reaction of the winged youkai. "It's New Years, Ryuu-chan."
Ryuunosuke didn't know what that meant. He didn't know what Dazai was planning. His eyes darted around the alleyway, searching for a way to escape. He was considering trying to fly over the alleyway and run from there.
"Oi, Dazai, what are you doing?" Chuuya met Ryuunosuke's eyes first, then Dazai's. He stood at the entrance of the alleyway, behind Ryuunosuke. In his hands were several boxes of leftover kamaboko that Gin had decided to bring, colorful boiled fish cakes with a red and white flower design.
"Just talking," Dazai replied. He smiled and patted Akutagawa on the shoulder as he passed the hainu. "We're here to pick you up for the celebration at Mori's." His fake persona had returned, along with the fake cheery voice.
Gin's umbrella was open, shielding her from the sun, but it could not hide the concern on her face. The kage onna's hair was down and her mask was off, as it usually was when she ran their stall. Sombre, her tokara habu, was hiding in the bag on her shoulder.
Ryuunosuke nodded, to show that he was okay. He wasn't exactly, not yet, but Chuuya was here to keep Dazai in check.
"Look Chibi, Akutagawa-kun is taller than you now," Dazai excitedly pointed out. "Hasn't he shot up like a weed?"
Chuuya scowled, unappreciative of the teasing. "Dazai, shut up."
Dazai's smile widened even further as he looked at Gin. "Even Gin-chan is almost taller than you."
Chuuya clenched his jaw. "Dazai, I will break your arm," he threatened. He forcibly relaxed his grip on the boxes he was carrying, so that he didn't break them or mess up the food.
Dazai shrugged. "How are you Gin-chan?"
"Fine," Gin said. Her voice was high pitched, but not shrill.
Dazai patted her on the head, something few people who had been on the wrong side of her knife dared to do. "That's good."
Chuuya cast a glance up at the sun, which had already passed its zenith, and sighed. "Alright. We're going to have to hurry or we will be late."
"I hope you can keep up with those short legs of yours, Chibi."
Chuuya's eyebrow twitched. "Dazai, I'm serious. Shut up and start moving."
Gin's hands trembled and her knuckles turned white as she held onto her umbrella. Ryunnosuke felt a hot coal burn inside of his stomach; his hands were trembling like his sisters, but out of a completely different emotion, anger instead of fear, or maybe it was because of his fear that he was angry. Chuuya was frozen in place, an expression of shock on his face.
Dazai's gaze was empty and his nine tails flared behind him warningly behind him. The illusion over them broke, revealing the mountain and dispelling their worst nightmares. "That was your illusion?" He asked.
Q sat in a tree. The cursed child was frowning. A small taiwan habu was curled around a branch near him, carefully tasting the air with its tongue. The child had yet to have a snake assigned to him, as he had not left the mountain yet, but it seemed one already favored him.
Dazai bared his teeth in a mocking grin.
The two stared at each other. Kitsunes were no stranger to illusions or curse. On the other hand, Q was far younger, but specialized solely in them. Considering the 'weapons' they would be using, a fight could be extremely dangerous to everyone in the clearing.
"Stop it," Chuuya stated. The signs of him being affected by the illusion were buried, but still visible. There was something feral in his eyes that told the two he was willing to enforce what he said.
Dazai cast one last glance at Q, then smiled and started up the mountain.
Chuuya passed the boxes of kamaboko over to Ryuunosuke then walked over to Q. "You shouldn't have done that," he warned. "You know Dazai is going to tell Mori-san you broke the rules."
Q stared at the branch he was sitting on and refused to meet Chuuya's gaze.
Chuuya sighed. "You want a piggyback?"
Q's eyes brightened and he sat up straight.
"Guess that's a yes," Chuuya concluded and stood still so that the child could get on.
Q put his feet on Chuuya's shoulders, the redhead's hands grabbed his ankles so he wouldn't fall over, then he sat. He quickly stole Chuuya's hat and wore the too big hat as best as he could.
Chuuya definitely noticed, but only rolled his eyes.
The Akutagawa siblings had waited for them. Ryuunosuke was still sullen, but Gin was back to being calm as usual.
The four walked up the mountain together. There was one brief detour made, for Q to grab several of the wild flowers and Gin to teach him how to make them into crowns. Gin kept hers, and Q gifted his to Chuuya.
Ahead of them, they could see Hirotsu and Dazai.
Hirotsu had a basket in his hands and a monocle over his right eye. He was related to the yuki jiji, the old man of the snow. He spotted the four behind him and Dazai, and stopped to wait.
Q's stare was glued to what Hirotsu was carrying. The old youkai often cooked good food, but it was rare any of them got to taste it. "Hirotsu-ojii-san, what's in the basket?" He asked.
Hirotsu's stern face softened a bit. "I made sliced lotus root with beef."
Q smiled for a brief second, as he loved eating lotus root.
Chuuya and Dazai started arguing again. Ryuunosuke was still carrying the boxes of kamaboko, and softly talking with Gin. Hirotsu slipped Q a slice of lotus root. The six of them continued walking and saw Elise a few minutes later.
The giant white habu was sunning herself on the rocks outside of the cave entrance. She coiled herself tighter to allow them to get by her.
"We're back," Chuuya called.
The floor was well worn and smooth. The imprint of a few scales had been left in the lithified mud. Past the entrance, the stone was covered by tatami mats. Incense was burning somewhere in the cave system, adding the warm, strong scent of sandalwood everyone was familiar with. Candles were placed strategically around the room to provide light.
Kouyou and Mori were already inside.
Kouyou was in a colorful red kimono. The human with sight sat at a table full of osechi ryori dishes. There were also various drinks, including toso, a medicinal sake. Her umbrella had been closed and laid behind her. She greeted all of them, and gave a hug to Chuuya, who had sat beside her.
The new arrivals all sat on the cushions around the table. With the exception of Hirotsu's place on Mori's left, there were envelopes—colored black, red, or silver—at every place. It was traditional for the elders to give the young ones a gift of money on New Years.
The dragon placed another tray of food down. He sat at the head of the table and smiled. His vibrant purple eyes were the only tip off that he was not human. "Welcome home," Mori greeted.
Ryuunosuke-Hainu (Winged Dog)
Gin-Kage Onna (Shadow Lady)
Hirotsu-Not specified, relative of yuki jiji, the old man of the snow
To explain the snakes, they're sort of like Mori's gift to the kids when they leave. The habus are venomous and trained to act as messengers.
My thanks to not_an_actual_ocean's Young and a Menace discord for brainstorming help.
My thanks to auroracode/aurorapillar for betaing