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Cinderella

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The day when he met the eccentric man with bandages over his arms, neck and right eye was still vivid in Oda’s mind as if it was just yesterday. The stranger had brought a lost suit to the agency, saying that he found it on the street and decided to hand it to the honorable and hard working detectives of Yokohama. Then he had started complaining about his aching feet as he had walked for 20 minutes to get to the agency and demanded a drink since he was an incredibly responsible citizen.

 

Oda hadn’t known what to think of the man when he had been asked to get him something from the café on the first floor. All the while drinking the tea Oda had ordered for him, the man wouldn’t stop talking about how he wished for a beautiful woman to commit double suicide with him. He had originally planned to stay unresponsive to the random stuff the man was spurting, but then, when he received a question about some “apple suicides”, he decided that it would be rude of him if he didn’t answer.

 

“Oh, you mean Cinderella?”

 

The man had looked at him for a moment, blinking with the eye that wasn’t hidden behind bandages before starting to laugh.

 

“How interesting!” the man had gasped for breath when he managed to gain some control over his laughter. “I hadn’t expected you to say something like that at all! What’s your name, detective?”

 

He had decided to indulge him, because no matter how unusual, the man was still somewhat of a client. “Oda. Oda Sakunosuke.”

 

“For your information, Odasaku, it was Snow White who ate the poisoned apple.”

 

“Odasaku?”

 

“And it wasn’t a suicide on her case.”

 

“I see. I got it wrong.”

 

The intensity in that one brown eye should’ve alarmed him, Oda supposed later on. But the look had quickly disappeared and a huge smiled had stretched the man’s lips. “Then,” he had gulped the rest of his tea in one go and gotten up from the seat across Oda, “for entertaining me with such an interesting answer and a nice cup of tea, I’ll let you and your agency off the hook for this once, Odasaku.”

 

“What does that mean?”

 

The man had shrugged casually as he dug into the pockets of his coat, taking out a small device that looked suspiciously like a remote controller and placing it on the table. “I only came here because I was incredibly bored today. And since I have been thoroughly entertained, I guess I don’t need to blow your agency up, no?” He had smiled over his shoulder as if talking to a close friend. “Goodbye, Odasaku, I hope I’ll see you around more!”

 

Oda would never forget the day he met the infamous Port Mafia executive, Dazai Osamu.

 

After that, Oda had in fact seen Dazai around more often than not, and that itself hadn’t been unexpected. The problem was that Dazai would find him when he wasn’t working. The first time the man casually strode into the bar he liked to frequent, Oda had downed his drink silently, paid for it and left, thinking that maybe it was a coincidence.

 

But when Dazai had appeared at the restaurant of the old man who took care of the children Oda had saved, casually mentioning how admirable it was of him to look after those orphans, Oda hadn’t hesitated to pull his gun against the Mafia executive.

 

Even though Dazai had quickly raised his hands in fake innocence and swore that no one but him knew about the restaurant or the kids, Oda had taken a couple of days off from work and stayed with the kids anyway. When an unknown number had texted him, swearing that no one knew about the kids and begging him to go out into the city because “I missed seeing your face, Odasaku :( ”, Oda had called Dazai to talk.

 

When he had tried to make Dazai swear on his life that the kids were safe, making the man laugh at his face, saying that it was a pretty pointless promise for a suicide maniac, Oda had felt a rare feeling of rage inside him as he slammed Dazai on the wall and ordered him to stop screwing around. “This is serious –those kids have nothing to do with the Agency or the Mafia. You can come after me all you want, I don’t care, but you will not touch the kids!”

 

For once since their initial interaction, Dazai had looked serious. “I meant it when I said that no one knows about them, Odasaku. In fact, no one knows about this place or that bar you like to go either. None of them are reported, I’m the only one who knows.”

 

Oda had no reason to trust him back then, and he hadn’t for a while either, but in time, he learned that Dazai was as earnest as he had sounded at that moment.

 

After that, things had started to change slowly. Dazai basically knew everything about his schedule, so he had made it a duty to join Oda for a drink or two in the Lupin once a week. Then, he had increased his visits to Freedom, whining about the spiciness of the curry Oda liked to eat and even meeting with Oda’s orphans on one occasion.

 

Dazai liked to call these regular instances “hanging up” but Oda was always left mildly confused. He kept asking Dazai the real reason why he followed him around and “hung up” with him so casually. And no matter how chatty Dazai was about the weirdest things that didn’t even matter, he always put up a wan smile at Oda’s question and kept silent.

 

Oda was observant, or maybe Dazai showed some aspects of himself deliberately, so it hadn’t taken him long to understand that something was lacking in Dazai’s life. At the beginning, he didn’t understand what exactly was missing and wasn’t even sure if he cared at all. But slowly and steadily, Dazai had started to open up and Oda had understood. It was morally conflicting for Oda at first, because Dazai was still a high ranking Mafia member who had killed many people with and without orders, but he had related with the desire to find a meaning in life, something to live for.

 

That was when he had told Dazai that he wouldn’t find the thing he was looking for. “Even if you kill or save people, nothing out of your expectations will happen. I don’t think being good or bad matters to you at all. So, if both sides are the same to you, why don’t you try to do something different?”

 

He hadn’t expected his words to have so much effect on the younger man. The unpatched eye had widened as if no one had ever told him that he could change everything and begin something anew. “H-how do you know that it will work?” he had whispered and for the first time, Oda had fully saw the lost and imperfect person Dazai Osamu actually was.

 

Half a year prior to that, Oda wouldn’t even think about saying anything like that to a person who had placed a bomb inside the Agency just for some fun, but at that moment, he felt like he had to hold out a hand to protect that small spark of hope between the shadows inside the lost man before him. “Because… I’m your friend, right?”

 

Things kept changing between them after Dazai went “missing” from the Mafia and got a miraculous recommendation from the Minister of Internal Affairs to join the Agency. And two years later, Oda supposed that they were indeed something different than just friends, especially after Dazai stole a kiss from him since apparently “your lips looked so soft Odasaku, blame yourself, not me!” and also because “I know you love writing that book Odasaku, but I’m currently feeling a little jealous so pay attention to me!” which eventually led them to share the same bed every night.

 

His past self would sure be surprised to see that Oda was feeling such… gentleness towards someone who used to be an enemy, but right now, Oda knew that he liked the direction they were headed.

 

As he carded his fingers through the dark locks and brown eyes looked up at him with an equal amount of adoration as he felt, Oda couldn’t help but huff out a laugh.

 

“What’s so funny, Odasaku?”

 

The last rays of the day shone upon the limbs covered with bandages and the legs tangled with each other. “Nothing.”

 

Lips that became so familiar to see and touch and feel pouted with usual childishness. “What do you mean nothing, Odasaku? You’re clearly laughing at something without me and that is unacceptable –tell me!”

 

Oda shook his head against the pillows, letting a small smile lift up the corners of his mouth. “I was just reminiscing. About everything, about us.”

 

“Odasaku, you sap.” Dazai nuzzled his head into Oda’s chest as he brought their bodies closer. “So, what about it?”

 

“Nothing in particular. I was just thinking how fairly amusing it is that technically, the person who brought us together was Cinderella.”

 

He had known it before, for sure, but Oda realized once more that the high pitched and delighted laugh he got as a response was one of his favorite things about his mischievous partner.