Demons In The Snow:
Kyouka awoke with a start. The bedcovers felt stifling against her cool body soaked with sweat. Her heart was beating quickly and her mind instantly in overdrive.
It took a few seconds to realize where she was. A spare bedroom in the Armed Detective assocation's office. Since she had nowhere to go after escaping the Port Mafia, the detectives (well, Atsushi mainly) had generously offered her to stay at their office until something else was found.
Kyouka couldn't be more thankful of their (of his) generosity, but couldn't help but feel undeserving of it. In her dreams, she'd seen the crimes that she'd committed. The 35 undeserving victims she'd slain under orders from the Port Mafia.
Under orders from 'him'. Ryuunosuke Akutagawa.
"You will always... be a killer."
His deathly cold, unyielding voice still lingered in her ears; a phantom presence.
Sighing lightly, Kyouka turned over restlessly in her futon. There was no point getting up and worrying the others who might still be around. She should just... wait, and get back to sleep. Hopefully without any more nightmares.
'You deserve these,' The thought manifested in her mind like a ghoulish apparition. 'You killed these people with your ability. Do you really think you can get off and live a happy life after what you've done?'
Kyouka couldn't deny that voice, as much as she might've wished to.
A sudden stirring.
A sound of human activity jolted Kyouka out of her reverie.
"Huh... who's there?" she whispered hoarsely.
"Are you okay?" A familiarly warm, boyish voice.
"A-Atsushi?" Her voice quivered as she spoke his name. That of her 'savior'.
Slowly, recalcitrantly, Kyouka poked her face up out of the covers. In front of her was none other then Atsushi. His striking, iridescent purple and yellow eyes, his soft and pale skin, his swept forward, spiky silver hair and his kind smile. He practically seemed to glow in the moonlight wafting through the office.
"Mm hmm." He nodded slightly.
"W-what are you doing here?" she asked, elevating her soft voice enough to be heard.
"The rest of us have finished up and gone home." Atsushi admitted. "But I just wanted to check up on a certain someone who'd be spending her first night here."
Kyouka's cheeks lit up in a soft, adorable blush. "Y-you... didn't have to do that."
"I'm not worth it." She continued, voice nearly inaudible.
Atsushi knelt by her side, smiling reassuringly. "Don't say that, Kyouka."
His closeness to her bed only intensifying her blush, Kyouka sat up to meet the boy's iridescent gaze.
"You're just saying that," Kyouka replied. "You took pity on me because I'm a girl, but you don't really think I can be forgiven after what I've done, do you?"
"I-" Atsushi opened his mouth to reply.
"I'm a monster, Atsushi." Kyouka went on, voice cracking. "I killed those people with my ability. It wasn't anyone else but me. I can't possibly be any more grateful for the kindness you've shown me, but you know I don't deserve it."
"Y-you were just following his orders!" Atsushi blurted out, the words ringing out as hollow the moment they left his mouth.
"Spoken like a true Nazi," Kyouka said coldly.
"That's right," Atsushi said, breaking the previous silence. The usual carefree look on his face evaporated leaving his features seeming harder, more thoughtful. "You did kill those people. It's true. There's nothing that can erase away those sins of yours."
"But still..." He reached out and placed a gentle hand on her forehead. "Even knowing all that, I still forgive you. Even if God above won't, I will."
"W-why...?" Kyouka gaped at him, utterly taken by surprise. Her cheeks were heavily flushed and the beginnings of tears had started to take form in her azure eyes.
He just smiled at her, running her dark hair through his fingers affectionately. "I was the same way once, you know. Lost, miserable, believing that I was a useless burden who'd be better off dropping dead. Who couldn't save anyone I cherished."
"T-that's not true!" Kyouka burst in, fresh tears glistening at the corners of her eyes. "You're not like that at all, Atsushi! You... you... saved my life..."
"But then I met him." Atsushi went on, heedless of her interuption. "I met somebody who affirmed my worth and proved that I could be somebody valuable in the world. That I wasn't useless, and that I could help people with these weak and useless hands of mine."
"Even if he was a bit... eccentric, that man seriously saved my life," Atsushi said, chuckling slightly at the thought of Dazai's various macabre antics before resuming his heartfelt expression.
"So, let me be the same to you, Kyouka." He looked her firmly in the eyes. "As someone who was saved myself... I want to be able to save somebody else, too. Even if it's a bit selfish, humor me just this once, okay?"
Kyouka couldn't help but laugh bittersweetly. "S-selfish? Atsushi... you're the first person I met who ever cared for me! You saved me the first time you met me, then again from Akutugawa! Every time we've met, you've saved my life."
"Atsushi..." Her voice went weak, but she resolutely forced herself to continue. "That's not selfish... not selfish... at all..."
Unable to restrain herself, Kyouka threw herself into the boy's chest, burying her head into his shirt as tears poured openly down her cheeks.
Atsushi hardly seemed surprised, simply holding her close with a tender smile. "It's okay." He reassured. "Even if the sins of your past won't be forgiven, as long as you're with me, I promise we can look to the future together."
His shirt was surely getting wet from her tears, but at this moment- feeling Kyouka's fragile vitality in his arms- the boy honestly couldn't care less.
Kyouka pulled back, wiping her tears off with a sleeve. "A-Atsushi..." she stammered, looking aside to hide her embarrassment.
"What?" He looked at her with an innocently curious expression.
"Can I... p-please..."
Thump, thump. Her heart pounded in her chest, but for very different reasons then when she first awoke.
"S-sleep with you for tonight...?"
A moment passed without reaction.
"W-whaaat?!" Atsushi recoiled backwards from sheer embarrassment, his face painted a cartoonishly bright shade of pink. "K-Kyouka," he steadied himself. "W-what are you...?"
"N-not like that!" she exclaimed quickly, realization dawning suddenly. "P-platonically, I meant! Not... as in, d-doing anything together!"
Unless you want, she thought but didn't say.
Atsushi just stared at her silently, blush fading from his cheeks.
"I'm sorry..." Kyouka said guiltily, her voice as whispy and fragile as she felt. "I... I shouldn't have asked that of you. Please forgive me, Atsushi."
Atsushi burst out laughing. "Oi, Kyouka, there's no need to apologize for something so innocent! It's actually kind of cute, to be honest."
"C-cute...?" Kyouka imitated his word, blushing noticably.
"Besides." He went on, chuckling lightly. "I don't recall saying no."
"Y-you mean...?" Kyouka looked at him, hardly able to speak with the joyous emotion filling her chest. After years sleeping on streets or the cold, spartan stone floors at the Port Mafia's headquarters, not only being able to sleep in a real bed but with somebody she loved too was far more then Kyouka could've ever imagined.
"That's right. If you're okay with that, that is." Atsushi winked at her playfully.
"O-of course!" Kyouka stammered an approval. "I... would really appreciate that."
Again, tears began to form in her eyes but this time, they were tears of happiness, not woe.
Without any further word, Atsushi crawled awkwardly under the bedcovers with her. "Um, I'm not shoving you out, am I?" he asked, wriggling into position.
"No. It's fine," Kyouka said, nuzzling her head closer to Atsushi's warmly beating chest. In response he placed a hand against the top of her head, running her dark, silky strands of hair through his fingers.
The two snuggled together for the night. The warmth in his chest and the comforting feel of his hand banishing the cold ache of her memories. It was okay. As long as she was with him, Kyouka was okay. She could face the future.
Rather, for the first time in Kyouka Izumi's short life she finally felt as if she had a future to call her own. She wasn't just the holder of Demon Snow- the Port Mafia's assassin. She was Kyouka Izumi- a girl with her own life, interests, hobbies. Even loves... though it'd take some time before she admitted that part.
For the first time in years, Kyouka Izumi slept soundly.
Epilogue: The following morning, Dazai and Kunikida found the two lying together and came to rather the wrong conclusion. Kunikida spent the next half hour loudly berating Atsushi for 'taking advantage of such a helpless girl!' (over both his and her protests) while Dazai would tease them about it regularly for the next few weeks as only he could do.
Ah, the trials and tribulations of virtue!
Just a little fic I cooked up after nearly finishing Bungou Stray Dogs. This was intended to be an experiment in writing more subdued, sentimental pieces.
Also Kyouka is an adorable little cinnamon bun who can do no wrong and I want to write about her snuggling happily with Atsushi.*shot*
I doubt I'll get any given what part of the forum this is, but as always, any comments and criticisms would be welcome! Enjoy!