Status: Monthly writing challenge group theme February 2018 || Police/detective AU


even if you already knew,

The wood of the desk is cool against his heated cheek as he lays over it, copper curls a tangled, sweaty mess from the press of his headpiece and the confines of his helmet. He should be typing up his report on the chase, should be in the bathroom, splashing cool water on his face and freeing the remaining strands of his hair from the bun that's already half undone, bouncing against his skull each time he moves his head, but right now he can't bring himself to care, his brain still trying to process and rationalize his actions.

He can feel Kunikida's eyes on his face periodically; each time the clacking of his keyboard ceases Chuuya is certain he is looking over at him from his desk, hands folded as he fixes him with one of those looks. He knows that the other man's mind is toying with the ideas that are currently plaguing his own, wondering when Chief Ozaki will summon him into the office and what fate will meet him.

He'd been stupid, careless. He'd let himself get emotional, the idea of coming face to face with Mori Ougai, the man who had brought the guilt of his partner's death upon him, teasing him with the prospect of finally putting an end to it, snuffing out the fiend with no mercy, crushing him and ensuring that he would feel every ounce of pain that he had inflicted. It had blinded him, caused him to fail, and cost them tenfold.

They would be all but back to square one with the investigation.

A groan escapes him as he turns his head, resting his chin on the desktop and staring blankly across the room, dragging an arm up and pushing his fingers through his hair, wincing as the snag and pull.

"Stupid--" The clicking of a tongue cuts off the string of curses that were meant to follow his frustrated statement.

"Yeah, you were."

A sharp inhale drags air into his lungs with enough force to hurt, his eyes narrowing as he peers to the right, meeting Dazai's knowing auburn gaze as he peers at Chuuya over the tips of his scuffed, brown leather shoes, leaned back in his chair with his legs crossed, heels resting against the top of his own desk. Dragging his knuckles free from his hair, Chuuya raises his hand and extends his middle finger to the other man in reply, earning an amused scoff that makes him grit his teeth around the harsh response that flashes through his mind.

He won't give Dazai the pleasure of baiting him into an argument, won't give him the satisfaction of kicking him when he's down. It isn't worth the energy, isn't worth adding to the lecture he's sure to get at some point today.

The clink of porcelain against the desktop meets his ears followed by the deep, rich aroma of black coffee meeting his nose. A steady hand finds its way to his shoulder, giving it a squeeze before shaking him gently. Raising from the desk with a sigh, he tilts his chin, head lolling back, bringing Oda's scruff covered face into clear view, eyes a stormy sky of emotions as he looks down at Chuuya.

"Boss wants you in her office in ten." His hand lifts from Chuuya's shoulder, coming up to brush through his own straight, scarlet locks absentmindedly.

Chuuya nods, dropping his chin and staring directly into the mug. For a brief moment, he swears he can see the chief's stern expression somewhere along the surface of the dark liquid. He shakes his head, brings his hands together and uses his right hand to crack the knuckles on his left; anything to distract himself from thinking about what was likely to come.

The melodic clack of heels on the laminate flooring meets his ears and slim fingers close around the mug's handle, raising it so it sits just below his nose before waving it gently. His mouth curls into a small smile instinctively as Yosano leans across the desk, dark locks falling over her features as she tilts her head.

"Drink it. I just spent half an hour talking her down enough so that she could even think about looking at you. You're gonna need all the help you can get."


"Care to tell me where exactly your head was out there?"

Ozaki Kouyou's tone is as icy as the cutting glare she delivers straight past Chuuya's eyes and into his soul. There is no doubt in his mind that she's only asking the question to see if he'll answer honestly, not because she actually needs the play by play of his failure.

"It was an oversight on my part, I got distracted, it won't happen again." His hands are crossed behind his back, legs tense and aching from the effort of standing in place in the center of her cramped, immaculate office.

"You said the same thing three weeks ago, and I'm going to give you the same response I did then: Bullshit. The Nakahara Chuuya I hand picked to join this outfit doesn't get distracted."

She wants a reaction from him; she's skirting the edge, poking at the barrier he's worked so hard to place and maintain. He can feel the pressure at each elbow as his hands flex around them from the effort of containing his indignance.

"You're losing it, and I think it's about time I stuck someone back on your ass to motivate you to keep your head in the game."

His jaw drops open, but nothing comes out save for a sputter as he leans forward, hands swinging out and slamming flat onto Kouyou's desk. She arches an eyebrow, but doesn't make a move.

"You've got to be shitting me. We had an agreement. You know I work better alone, what happened with Michizou--" He stops, licks his lips, kicking himself mentally as he realizes that he's just given her what she wants, told her what she needs to hear.

"Ah." Recognition flashes in her eyes as his words wash over her and she shakes her head, peach blossom locks shifting against her shoulders as she does.

"See, I knew this was all too personal. I knew you weren't ready to get back on the yakuza effort with everyone else. Even after all this time."


"I want Mori's head on a platter." It's a snarl, ripped from his throat as he leans in, nose inches from Kouyou's, fingernails protesting as they dig into the worn, scratched wood of the desk.

"You and every other cop, detective, and civil servant in the entire city, grow up." Well manicured fingers miss his face by mere inches as she flicks a hand at him, her face soft and something akin to pity written deep within her probing gaze.

Chuuya feels every muscle in his back tighten, shoulders stiffening as he fights against admitting that she's right; he won't give her the satisfaction. A long sigh escapes Kouyou and she shifts in her chair, turning so that she can stare out the window, speaking more to herself than to him.

"What happened to Tachihara was one of those things. When we decide to put our lives on the line, it becomes a given that one day they will be taken, ripped from us like they mean nothing, and there is nothing you or I can do to change that.

"Michizou knew this, just like you do, and he accepted it as a part of his destiny. If he hadn't, he'd be standing here with you now, the people you two saved that day would be six feet under and their body bags would weigh your conscience down day in and day out."

Silence falls between them as the sentence dies. Chuuya's lungs burn and ache from a held breath he didn't realize he was clinging to. As he huffs it out, he turns, putting his back to Kouyou and crossing his arms, leaning against the desk just enough to be perched on the very edge.

He counts to ten, lets himself have a few breaths in an attempt to sort his feelings from rational thought, any half decent retort he may have had long gone.

"I can't." He ends it there, doesn't add lose another one, doesn't dare speak of the insecurities that lurk behind the bravado and ruthlessness he wears out in the field. Can't admit that he's blamed himself, will probably always blame himself.

A sigh, a squeaking of wheels as Kouyou raises from her chair, the rustle of her suit pants as she moves to stand beside the desk, resting a hand atop it and fixing the side of his face with a stern glare.

"Yes, Chuuya, you can. And you will, or you will be reduced to permanent desk duty."

He swallows around the fuck you that's bubbling up his throat, chokes on it as it lumps against his Adam's apple and makes its way down, hitting the pit of his stomach like a ton of lead.

"I agreed to let you have your space until you were ready, but it's time. It's been more than a year, and I can't keep fending off requests from subordinate officers who want to be lone guns because they don't like who they got paired with and 'if Nakahara can do it, they can too'."

He winces around clenched teeth, works to contain the red hot anger pricking at the corners of his vision at the thought that his situation would be used in such a trivial way. Tossing his head back, he shifts his jaw back and forth, not wanting to give up without a fight but unable to find an alternative that won't bring the worst upon him. Shrugging, he gives in, placing his hands on his hips as he shoves off the edge of the desk with a roll of his eyes.

"Fine. So, who's it gonna be? Don't fucking tell me I'm going to be stuck with some rookie who doesn't know his pistol from his asshole."

Kouyou's eyes narrow, her tone gaining an edge of apprehension. She had expected far more fight from him, he was sure.

"Watch it, or I'll split Dazai and Oda and give you the former. Surely you can trust him with your life? You do it on an almost daily basis as it is, just not in a direct way."

He feels his nostrils flare, lip curling in disgust as his blood starts to boil. She wouldn't. Kouyou stares him down, eyebrows arching over glinting magenta eyes in reply.

Oh, she would.

"I'm kidding, of course. Why would I force you two to spend even more time together, especially in closer proximity? I don't think anyone would want to deal with that headache--"

Three sharp, rapid knocks pound against the office door, interrupting their discussion and derailing whatever punchline her joke may have had. Kouyou folds her arms, one over the other, a sly grin playing on her lips as her head turns, attention fixing on the door as she calls out.


It is with a whoosh that the door swings back and the air vacates from Chuuya's lungs, his mouth dropping open and going dry, blue eyes growing impossibly wide as a tall, lithe man clad in a sharp, brown suit and round, wire frame glasses enters the room.

"Ah, just in time, Ango. Welcome."

As the man, Ango, closes the short distance between them, the light from the window fully illuminates the angular features of his face and Chuuya finds himself locked in place by those narrow, hazel eyes; feels his heart leave his chest and drop to the floor as Ango stops before him, extending his hand with a nod, the beauty mark above his lip as prominent and perfect as Chuuya remembers dreaming of.

"Nakahara, this is Sakaguchi Ango."

Kouyou's words mingle with the white noise whirring and crashing about within his ears in such a way that he barely registers them. He is weightless, arm darting out, clammy palm finding refuge within Ango's offered hand, body electric as his mind recalls the images and feelings of the night before.

The man from his dream. He has a name. He has substance.

"He's your new partner."
♠ ♠ ♠
Honestly this chapter is terrible but I love it.

I blared this the entire time I wrote it and I don't even know why but it somehow just fits.

The next chapter will have more to it, I promise. I really felt like I needed to divulge some stuff this chapter and not rush right in to what I am aching to portray. Though I am MAD ready for some interaction, can I ?!?!?!

I am hella unsure if this is terribly OOC, but I'm not editing until tomorrow because I will delete this if I try to edit it now.