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Haru Orihara

Chapter Text

"I see, I see. Don't worry, Shiki-san. You're a valuable client. I will be more than happy to help you. Yes, yes. I will see you at Narita Airport tomorrow. Bye-bye." Izaya smirked his trademark smirk as he ended the call with his Yakuza friend and client. "Well, well... This should be interesting... Namie-san!"
"What now, Izaya?" his secretary answered grumpily.
"Looks like Shiki-san has some trouble with the Italian and Turkish mafia in England. This could prove to be great fun! Ooooh, I've never been to London before! You can cover for me here, right, Namie-san?" he said and spun in his chair, placing his elbows on the desk, grinning widely.
His mind was already spinning with plans as his fingers ran over the keyboard of his laptop, gathering whatever information he could find on the various mafia groups that resided in London. Namie merely sighed and grumbled to herself, as she focused on how this was all for her brother. Besides... Izaya being out of her hair for a few weeks, if she was lucky, could only be a good thing. At least she didn't have to listen to his ranting and scheming for a while. She perked up when she realized that she might even find the time to visit her brother, Izaya needn't know...
"Oh, and Namie-san... No slacking off!" Izaya ordered, having her grumbling to herself again about his freakish ESP powers.

* * *

It was a cool summer night, Izaya was exploring the streets of London when he suddenly heard the sound of someone yelling and a child whimpering coming from one of the side streets. His ears perked up. Family in-fights were always something interesting, they displayed such intriguing human emotions. Izaya all but ran after the sound and was rewarded with the sight of a family that resembled more closely a walrus walrus than human beings – not counting the anorectic, horse-faced woman –, and the small child that was being yelled at.
'Well, well, well...' Izaya thought intrigued.
Based on how spoiled the little whale looked and how malnourished and downtrodden the smaller child in the too large clothes looked, Izaya smelled something far more intriguing than a mere family fight.
Was he a child from a different marriage?
Was he the result of the wife cheating on her husband?
Izaya stealthily followed after them, intending to figure out this mystery. Why were they all treating the child so poorly, and yet dragging him with them? The child was clearly used to this, so why was there no police stopping what was so obviously either downright abuse or horrible neglect? He smirked to himself as he pulled the hood over his head and brushed past them, nicking the man's wallet in the process.
"Terribly sorry," He said in his best imitation of an American accent.
It wasn't perfect, but he spoke English better than most Japanese. it was that damned rolling R-sound he just couldn't seem to get right.
He completely ignored it when they yelled at him about modern youth and rudeness. He flipped through the wallet and pocketed the few pounds in it, and more importantly, the credit card and driver’s license. Now he had the means to find them. He hurried back to the hotel-room and his ever-present laptop.

* * *

Izaya had been watching this family for more than a weak now, and despite his detachment from humans as a general, he was becoming a bit disgusted with this family. With the whole neighbourhood, to be fair. How could they not notice the child being this skinny, while his uncle and cousin was clearly the size of small whales? Or the clothes? Or how the child was always working in the garden without adult supervision? Was this normal in England?
He decided he had seen enough and made what may perhaps have been a rash decision. Tho’ if he did everything right, it would certainly prove amusing. He smirked, before schooling his face into a gentle smile as he approached the kid who was trimming the hedges of the garden with tools that no child he had ever known would be allowed to use.
"Hello, child."
Izaya smiled his best friendly smile, the one that usually always put those around him at ease. The child looked up at him hesitantly. Clearly the child – Harry, if his search of the school's records proved right – was less than trusting in adults...much as he hated to view himself as such.
"H-hi," Harry said, looking up at him with a tentative look in his big, green eyes. Izaya marvelled at how innocent the child managed to look and was already calculating the many ways he could make use of that.
"I couldn't help but notice how you seem to work in this garden, making it look so beautiful! Why…I've passed by here for quite a few times, and I've never even seen your parents help you at all. Is this all your work?" He asked, smiling benevolently at Harry, whom smiled tentatively up at the stranger with the strange accent.
He had never been praised for anything in his entire life, and he felt a warm glow that felt just...amazing! Harry looked up at the stranger with wonder in his eyes and nodded slightly.
"T-they're not my parents." Harry muttered, looking down.
"They're not? Is that why they make you do all the work while they sit around being lazy?" he wondered, sounding carefully curious, with a touch of sympathy.
Harry's eyes grew even wider. They...they DID, didn't they? They always, ALWAYS made HIM do all the work, and they never did anything themselves! But he had too...they gave him food, and clothes... he didn't want to be ungrateful.... He bit his lip, unsure what to say, so Izaya continued talking.
"I've seen some cruel and unfair treatment of children, but those people...whatever they are to you...Why it's practically slave labour, isn't it?" Izaya said, carefully watching Harry's face as the realization dawned upon him and a horrified and scared expression came up on him.
"Oh, no, Sir!" He protested. "It's my aunt and uncle. And they're giving me food and clothes...and a cupboard to sleep in. It's much too good for a freak like me, I have to work hard so I'm not ungrateful!" Harry replied, looking around him in fear. What if his aunt and uncle heard it? They would surely punish him.
Izaya, of course, saw it all, and understood.
"Don't worry about them. I saw your cousin run down the street with a few friends half an hour ago, and the other two are out back in their sun-chairs. They won't hear us." He smiled down at Harry reassuringly.
Harry looked up at the man in shock. Had he read his mind? But magic wasn't real, so people couldn't read your mind, right? How did he know? Izaya merely smiled and handed him what appeared to be a ball of rice, but when he bit into it, he discovered that there was some kind of...raw fish...in the middle. And some kind of green liquid he explained was chilled Japanese tea. It was slightly bitter, but to Harry anything tasted like the gods nectar after only getting the occasional strip of burned bacon, or dry bread.
"Here. Take this. I bet working in this heath is draining, isn't it? You must be thirsty and hungry, yeah?" Izaya smiled as he saw Harry stare at him in disbelief, but grabbing the food presented with the eagerness of a starving child. Which, Izaya supposed, he most likely was.
Harry felt like he could cry. Nobody had EVER been so kind to him before! Why was this strange man so nice to him?!? His hesitant suspicion didn't stop him from digging into his food, savouring the strangely addictive taste of something far better than anything he had ever tasted in his life.
Izaya had to hide a wicked smirk as he noticed the child's emotions written all over his face. This might go even faster than he expected. The child was entirely too trusting, and the abuse had made him susceptible to any and all kindness...he would have to change that. Make sure the child was loyal to him, and distrustful of everyone else. He pondered a bit while Harry finished eating, before taking the empty bottle, promising Harry he'd throw it away.
“Nobody has to know,” he said with a wink, showing that he understood how bad Harry had it.
Harry felt an overflowing sense of gratitude, and he didn't even know the strange Asian man's name. Somehow that unsettled him a bit.
"W...why are you being so nice? You don't even know me." Harry questioned, looking away, worried he might have offended him.
"Because I love humans!" Izaya answered with a wide grin, which grew even wider as he noticed that Harry took that to mean that the stranger, for some unknown reason, must care about him! And the sneaking suspicion in the next moment, like it all might be a cruel joke. So Izaya continued.
"As for knowing each-other, well... My name is Izaya, Orihara Izaya." He paused a second. "I guess in England it would be Izaya Orihara, at your service!" He said and made a silly, flourishing bow that made Harry laugh. Izaya could almost see the child's level of trust in him go up by the minute. "And what's your name, child?" He asked, smiling at the young boy.
"I'm..." He hesitated for a moment, as if he was unsure. "Harry," he finally said, a slight spark of anger in his eyes as he remembered how his aunt had drilled it into his head before the first day of preschool. It was always just 'boy' and 'freak' to them.
Izaya held back a smile. Good. He was worried the child might be too broken to fight, but that spark of anger told him otherwise.
After that Izaya had excused himself but promised that he would come back and see him at a later time.
Harry spent a long time afterwards just staring after the stranger...Izaya...What a strange name. He smiled to himself as he remembered all those new, warm feelings in his chest that the stranger gave him. He would cherish those feelings forever he thought. No matter how much uncle Vernon screamed at him, or how much Dudley beat him up, they could never take those warm, cosy feelings away.
As he remembered his family, he froze with fear and hurried back to his work. He couldn't be seen slacking off, they'd punish him for sure!

* * *

Over the next few weeks Izaya made a habit to drop by Harry, who was always working in the garden, or being chased by Dudley. Izaya had already helped him hide from his cousin and was teaching him this...jumping-running thing he called Parkour. Harry was beyond himself with joy the first time he scaled a super-high fence, and his fat cousin couldn't even reach the top, much less climb over it. Izaya also always, ALWAYS brought Harry something new and delicious to eat!
Izaya also made sure to never be seen by the kid's family, or anyone else whom might tell them. He could be very patient when he wanted and would always find a time when Harry was entirely alone and unsupervised. He had noticed that the old cat-lady up the road seemed suspiciously interested in watching Harry, which irritated Izaya to no end. In the end, he called in a few favours he had earned while working in London's seedy underbelly and made sure she ended up in a hit-and-run accident. The car was found to be stolen, and somehow seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth afterwards.
Izaya was GOOD at gaining favours.
After a few weeks, Izaya gave Harry a small folding-knife, and taught him how to use it. Harry was a bit hesitant about hurting anyone at first, but Izaya was very good at rationalizing it. At the same time, he was also working on the child's psyche, instilling him with more and more anger and resentment towards his so-called family, while at the same time teaching him that blood and DNA meant nothing. It was clear that they didn't care, so why should he?
Which is how Harry ended up in this mess he was in now.... He choked back a slightly hysterical laugh as he looked down on the three corpses on the ground, his knife dropping to the floor with a loud clanking noise.
Harry whimpered as he heard the creaking of the door, completely sure it was the police and that they were about to drag him off to jail. He laughed through his tears. It was like they always had told him; he was a no-good delinquent. He couldn't even remember what exactly had happened. He was so angry, and so scared, and he just…. He shook his head and sank to the floor, waiting for the cops to drag him away.
What he heard instead was the sound of slow clapping.
"My, my, my.... Bravo! I didn't know you had it inn you!" Izaya's voice beamed with pride, booming in Harry's mind.
"Izaya!" Harry cried and ran to hug the man...or, rather, his legs. "I didn't mean to! I swear I didn't..." Harry started sobbing, barely even noticing that Izaya pulled up the phone to make a call, placing the other hand on Harry's head. Harry sank into his touch, still sobbing.
"Don't worry, Harry. You did nothing wrong. They deserved this, for treating you the way they did." Izaya sat himself down on the floor and hugged Harry close, patting his back. He didn't seem bothered at all that Harry was covered in blood, and it made Harry feel better. Accepted.
"B..but... K...ki-hilling is wrong." Harry sobbed as he clung to him, wishing Izaya could somehow make this all go away. Make it so it never had happened.
"Harry, look at me," Izaya said and pulled Harry's face up so he could look into Harry's eyes with his own his own, darkly reddish eyes.
"Morals are a human invention. As a great writer once said; 'There is no vice that has not once been considered a virtue, and no virtue that has not once been considered a vice.' Just because some people think something is wrong, doesn't mean it is. It all depends on the circumstances."
Harry stared up at Izaya, clinging to his every word as if it was the words of god himself. Desperate to make this bad feeling of guilt go away.
"R...really?" Harry asked, eyes wide. "B...but... the cops...Jail...," Harry stuttered.
"Don't worry. I'll take care of everything." Izaya smiled as the door opened and a small group of men in suits strolled in, putting large bags on the floor, and proceeding to put on body-suits.
"Come on, Harry. Let's get you washed up. When we're done, this will all be just a bad dream." Izaya smiled down at him like a benevolent deity and Harry followed him up the stairs to the bathroom.
"How would you like to come live with me, Harry?" Izaya smiled, as he washed Harry. Harry's eyes went wide.
"CAN I?" Harry almost jumped out of the bathtub to hug him, making Izaya wet in addition to bloody.
"Well... I've always wanted a son... And haven't you always wanted a dad?" Izaya said, knowing exactly how to play every single string of the human emotion. Harry could do nothing but hug him even tighter.
When they finally came downstairs again, everything was as spotless as if it never had happened. Izaya might see himself as a god, but for the first time ever, there was now someone whom looked up to Izaya like a god. Like someone whom made miracles happen....

Chapter Text

The plane trip was long and boring, but Izaya made a point of downloading a language app that would teach Harry the Japanese language, as well as a few videos on Japanese culture and etiquette. Harry had no idea when he had managed this, but that was Izaya for you.
Harry was determined to not let his new dad down, and tried his best to learn the difficult, new language. However, he was barely 5 years old, so for all his efforts, he was sound asleep after 3 hours, the Japanese language course still running on his headset. Izaya decided to let him sleep, and leave his headset on. It was important that his ears got used to hear the language, and who knows... maybe there was something to the notion of learning in your sleep. Izaya turned back to his work laptop, and continued hunting down any and all information he could find on Harry’s parents, and this 'Dumbledore' character that had signed the letter he had found in one of the drawers.
It wasn’t much to go on, but it was a start. He had also made sure to hire one of the best, if shady, private investigator he had found in London to look into it as well, but for now, there didn’t appear to be any trace of either of them. Lilly Evans, presumably Potter now, had vanished off the face of the earth at the age of 11. There weren’t even school papers to be found on her after that time, which made Izaya suspect something VERY fishy was going on….

* * *

The first heart attack moment Namie got from Izaya was when he called her just before his plane was leaving London to tell her she could take the week off. Izaya NEVER allowed her any vacation. Certainty not without her demanding it and taking it even if he said no.
However, after she got over the shock and suspicion, she realized it meant she could spend more time with her beloved brother, and try and get him away from that foul harpy that tried to steal him away from her. Namie was out the door as fast as she was capable of, filing the last few days’ paperwork, and determent to not even answer her phone until the week was up. She was not going to let her unpleasant boss drag her back a second before her miracle of a vacation was over!
The second heart attack moment from her boss came when she walked back into the office for the first time after her vacation. She felt immensely happy at having been able to spend time with her brother, and hearing him confess that he didn’t REALLY love Mika, she was just a replacement for that damnable head. Still…at least it was one rival less, so she felt in a pretty good mood.
...There was a 5 year old kid sitting in Izaya’s chair.
WHY was there a KID in Izaya’s chair?!
Namie suddenly felt like banging her head against the wall. What had that lunatic done this time?
"Who are you?" Namie demanded.
Maybe it was just a mistake. The son of a client or something. The kid looked up from Izaya’s laptop and stopped poking the button. Oh, Izaya was not gonna like that.
"And don’t touch that!" Namie said and walked up to him to pull him away from the laptop. She’d be damned if she was going to get in trouble just because some kid made a mess of his...incomprehensible...filing system.
"Daddy said I could!" The child insisted stubbornly, glaring at her.
Namie sighed.
"And just who is your daddy, kid?" Namie asked exasperated.
"Izaya!" The kid said and grinned. "I’m Harry! But daddy said I should pronounce it like Ha-ri... or Ha-ru... I haven’t decided yet," Harry said with a big grin.
It was actually very tempting to change his name entirely. He wouldn’t be that weak kid that was starved and yelled at and that had to live in a cupboard anymore. He even had his own room now, and it was HUGE!
"I’m Haru. Haru O...Ori..Ori... DAD!" Harry yelled, still struggling to remember what his new last name was.
It was only years of working for the most annoying boss in all of existence that kept Namie from face palming.
"IZAAAYAAAAA!" Namie shouted, praying to every deity out there that this was some kind of bad, bad joke.
There was no way in HELL that Izaya was responsible enough to take care of a child! He was practically a child himself. A very cruel, selfish spoiled child, Namie thought irritated. Sadly, she needed this job too much to protest against any of his crazy schemes, but this.... Namie was tempted to bash her head into the wall repeatedly until this bad dream passed.
"Ah, Namie-san. I see you’ve met my son." Izaya walked over to Haru and sat on the desk. "What was my last name again, dad?" Haru said and proceeded to ignore Namie, who just got more and more red in the face at being ignored.
"Orihara. Ori-HA-ra. Repeat it after me."
"Ori-hara." Harry tried again, getting used to the unfamiliar pronunciation pattern.
"You’ll get there son," Izaya told him and ruffled Haru’s hair.
Said child practically glowed with happiness, making Namie wonder if there was something wrong with the kid, or if Izaya had just been manipulating him too much.
"Listen...Haru..." Namie started. "Don’t you miss your mom and dad?" She tried.
"They’re dead," Haru simply stated.
Namie flinched at the lack of concern and slight bitterness in his voice. It told her that the kid had been without them for far too long.
"But...what about siblings? Aunts? Uncles?" Namie tried again. The glare Haru sent her as he went to hide behind Izaya told a story in itself.
"I’m not going back! Izaya said I never had to ever again!" Haru stated angrily, remembering their treatment all too well.
Then he smiled brightly as he remembered that he had killed them, and Izaya had helped him overcome any guilt or remorse he might have felt for that.
"Besides... They’re dead too now!" Haru stated.
The amount of glee and that unsettling tone of voice, over a topic like this, was something she never had wanted to hear from a child.
"You know what, I don’t care" Namie suddenly stated, deciding it was best to know as little as possible when the police came knocking.
"Just make sure you feed him and…whatever else kids need," Namie said as she hurried over to her own desk, and flicked the screen on, intent to bury herself in work and forget about this whole thing.
Besides...it was Izaya. He’d get bored with the kid within a weak and ditch him at an orphanage, where he could find someone who’d give him a much better life. There were always people looking to adopts kids these days.
She resolutely proceeded to ignore them both as Izaya and Haru started talking together in what appeared to be a combined Japanese and Izaya’s version of morals and etiquette lessons. It was just TOO disturbing to even think about.

* * *

It was a good thing that Haru was still as young as he was.
Children learn and adapt so much quicker than adults, and while it had taken him hours and hours of hard work, Haru felt that he finally had something of a decent grip on the Japanese language. It did help that Izaya insisted that he spoke nothing but Japanese, aside from when he had to explain the meaning of a Japanese word to him. But those instances became rarer and rarer, as his vocabulary grew.
It also helped that Izaya had sat down and shared Hanamaru Gakuen with little Haru, which got him into watching anime. He picked up the Japanese language and culture with a surprising speed. Haru was determined to prove to Izaya that he was worth keeping around, and Izaya didn't need someone to cook or clean for him, which made Haru feel like he was maybe being ungrateful for all the wonderful things that his new daddy lavished upon him.
In the beginning, Haru was a bit sceptical to the way his daddy treated all those people... He shared everything he did with Haru, and used it as lessons, teaching Haru how to read humans, and how to manipulate them. But Izaya always had a very logical reason behind everything he did.
Haru worshiped his new, beloved daddy, something which said daddy encouraged and rewarded, and Haru pushed aside everything he had ever been taught before to follow what Izaya told him was right.
Haru was immensely grateful for his newfound language skills right now.
He was currently standing outside Russian Sushi, with one of his daddy's credit cards on a chain around his neck, and an expensive smart-phone with the phone numbers to his dad. There were a few other numbers but Haru had no idea whom they were from, but that Izaya insisted that he could use them as a last resort if he got lost, and couldn't reach him.
Haru decided to learn his way around the neighbourhood, and how to get back to their penthouse in Shinjuku so he never ever had to try to contact those strange people. For some reason, most of the people they had met didn't seem to like his daddy. Even if he was really nice and polite to them.
Haru took a deep breath and stepped past the scary, large black guy that was yelling out strange things to lure people inside. But his daddy had told him that he could always stay at Russian Sushi if they got separated, and he'd make sure to find Haru there, once it was safe.
Haru was terribly worried, as his daddy was almost hit with a vending-machine. A VENDING-MACHINE! That guy was a MONSTER! Haru thought as he glared after the blond man who was chasing after his daddy.
He tentatively stepped up to the counter and peered at the menu, trying to read what it said. Sadly, while he spoke Japanese fairly well, he could only read the hiragana, and a little bit katakana. Kanji was just SO difficult! Haru furrowed his brow as he stared at the picture, pursing his lips trying to figure out what the heck was in all those different types of dishes.
"Um..." Haru stood by the counter, glaring at it.
Why was it so high up? He grumbled a bit and walked over to a table nobody was sitting at and used all his strength to pull a chair over to the counter and stepped on top of it.
"Sumimasen...." Haru said, hoping to get the attention of the chef.
"Ah, customer! Hello there little one. Where's your mommy and daddy?" he asked Haru, assuming he was there with his parents.
He wasn't unfriendly, but he looked a bit strict, and Haru took a deep breath for courage.
"Daddy's being chased by a bad man. He told me to wait here," Haru replied, biting his lip. "I...I can wait for him here, can't I? I'll buy something!"
The man behind the registry smiled at the child, sighing inwardly. It sounded like his dad had pissed off someone he shouldn't, and he had a pretty good idea who…that Shizuo sure had a temper.
"Don't worry kid. You can stay as long as you want to. But kid..." He hesitated, not wanting to tell the poor kid that his dad would most likely end up in the hospital if he had pissed off the notorious Monster of Ikebukuro. But he had to know. "Look... Don't you have a mom you can call to pick you up, or a friend?" Haru shook his head.
"Just daddy. But he promised he'd come get me once he lost the bad guy."
The chef looked down at those big, green eyes, clearly trusting his dad would come back. He cursed Shizuo to hell and back for having to be the one to tell this kid his father wouldn't be coming anytime soon.
"Look kid... I'll get you whatever you want, okay? It's on the house. Don't worry about money. But your dad... Was the guy blond?" Haru nodded. "Was he wearing a bartender uniform and blue glasses?" Haru looked a bit unsure about the uniform, but he supposed children rarely saw bartenders, but he nodded again at the mention of the glasses.
"He threw a vending-machine after my dad!" the kid exclaimed, eyes wide in shock.
The chef sighed. There was only one man who'd ever do that.
"Look kid…I'm not sure how to say this, but your dad…he might not be able to come back today, yeah? He could get hurt, you know. I'm sure he'll be fine in a few days!" The chef rushed to say. "But he might not be okay to walk today." He waited for the kid to start crying or refusing to believe someone could be so mean, but Haru surprised him by grinning broadly.
"Oh, no! Nobody can catch my dad! He runs super-fast!"
The poor child clearly thought it was possible to outrun Shizuo, and the chef didn't have the heart to break it to him. He should feed him before giving him the bad news he supposed. Food conquered sadness, wasn't that what Japanese people always said?
"What do you want to eat?" He asked instead. He would estimate the kid was barely old enough to start kindergarten, he probably couldn't read the menu properly just yet.
"Do you have Otoro?" Haru asked, looking up at the chef with those big, green eyes of his. In retrospect, the chef realized that should have been his first clue.

* * *

After the kid ate his meal, and – after much persuasion and mostly out of pity – the chef gave in and served the kid a cup of coffee. Once he finished that, he called Simon to come in and take care of the customers while he told the kid the bad news. He was quite sure the poor kid’s dad was lying in a hospital bed by now.
"So kid, I'm Denis. What's your name?" He said. Hoping it would be easier for the kid to relate to someone when they knew each-other's names.
"Orihara Haru!" The kid said, and Denis nearly chocked on his own green tea. "I know you're worried about my dad, but don't worry! Daddy can run and jump better than anyone else! He's like Spiderman! Nobody can catch him!" Haru told and grinned widely, leaving Denis speechless as he tried to process the possibility that this kid might be…might be…oh, dear gods, PLEASE let him be Izaya's cousin or kid brother, or...or....
"Konnichiwa~! I see you've met my son!" Izaya said as he strolled in through the door.
Denis felt like crying. Or calling child-protective services. He usually avoided getting involved in the intrigues of Ikebukuro, but Izaya…with a child….
He pulled himself together and stared at the kid. He looked so....western. Although now that he knew what to look for, they certainly dressed alike. And that messy hair COULD be the same as Izaya's he supposed. Maybe his mother was western? He suddenly felt a need to go drink himself into oblivion and forget that this whole thing happened.
"Did you kidnap him?" Denis said as he glared at Izaya, but before Izaya could reply, Haru ran over to him to hug him. Or, well, his legs. He was only 5 and not very tall after all...
"Daddy!" Haru said, and Izaya smiled down at him with a softer expression than anyone had seen on the face of the infamous informant before and he ruffled his new son's head.
"Did you have fun, kiddo?" Izaya smiled at Haru. "Come on, we better get home before the Monster come back, yeah?" The chef and Simon watched in disbelief as Izaya took the kid's hand and lead him out. "I'll tell you about it later, Simon, Denis. Alright?" Izaya yelled back over his shoulder as he listened to his kid chatter about how nice they were giving him free food and all.
Simon and the chef stared after him, before sharing a smile. Maybe there was hope for him after all?

* * *

In the meanwhile, in his private Headmaster Office – halfway across the planet – a very distressed Dumbledore was preparing for the new school semester.
By the time his spy in Private Drive had been released from the hospital, the Dursleys seemed to have gone missing. There was no trace of them anywhere, and their clothes had been packed up in a hurry, leaving behind the occasional t-shit or sock. Everything that was small enough to be placed in bags seemed to have vanished along with the family, and only the furniture was left behind.
The gossip around the neighbourhood was that Vernon had gotten into some trouble with one of those foreign mafia gangs. Hadn't Peterson's wife said she saw some shady people enter their home one night? And hadn't Petunia always had suspiciously much money for someone who lived off her husband’s pay check and had two kids to feed? The latest theory, according to Mrs. Figg, was that Vernon had taken up a loan with the mafia and couldn't pay his debt, so he'd taken his family and fled the country.
Rumours aside, Dumbledore was more worried about the fact that he couldn't seem to track them down, no matter which spells he used. He hesitated to try any actually Dark spells, but even his strongest spells had a limited range, and even the most powerful ones could not pass the borders of the UK.
Dumbledore was sorely tempted to divulge into Dark magic, that's how desperate he was getting, after several months without so much as a trace or lead to follow. He was beginning to think that, whatever the reason was, the Dursleys had left the country. Which was worrisome to say the least.
He comforted himself with that, at the very least, no Death Eaters would be able to find Harry either. They were pretty much all localized in the UK. And he sincerely doubted that they knew more spells than he did, even if they might have tried the Darker spells. But the Darker spells required them to have some of Harry's blood, and there wasn't really anywhere they could get a hold of that. He silently cursed himself for not taking the precaution to gather some of it while he had the chance, but he had honestly never foreseen the possibility that the Dursleys would just up and leave like that. It was so completely out of character for them.
He had sent out members of his old crew into both the muggle and wizarding world to look for any clues, but thus far it was turning up squat.
Shiki's people never did anything half-way, not that Dumbledore knew that.
He comforted himself with the knowledge that, no matter what happened, or where in the world little Harry now lived, the magic in Rowena's Quill, when it wrote out the addresses for the school letters, had no limit for distance. And once it was ready to send him his acceptance letter, they would find him again.
Next time, he would place a bloody tracking charm on the kid. He had thought it would not be necessary until the boy came to Hogwarts, but now he wasn't going to take any more chances. That way, he wouldn't lose track of him again!

* * *

In the meanwhile, in Japan, Izaya had finally given in to his son's pleas to teach him how to get around.
Izaya felt it would be better to wait with visiting Ikebukuro until Haru could read well enough to at least understand the public transportation and food menus, but he couldn't help himself when he looked down at the surprisingly adorable little kid. He did, after all, love all humans...but may, just maybe, he would make this one into a god like himself.
He couldn't favour anyone human, after all. But his heir…that was different. Izaya found himself strangely exited at teaching little Haru all the tricks of the trade. Both trades, he supposed... After all…someone would have to watch over his beloved humans when he died. And who would supply them with information that made their lives more fun, and that helped them understand the world better when he was gone? Izaya felt rather proud at his new plan.
It hadn't been his intention when he first met Harry. He had honestly meant to see if the kid really hated his family enough to actually kill them. He'd intended to watch the kid's expression as he ripped apart the boy’s illusions of himself as some kind of a 'good' person, he had a whole speech prepared as always.
But somehow... Somehow he couldn't.
Was it destiny? Izaya shook his head and laughed at himself. There were no gods, and no destiny. Humans made that for themselves. The only gods in this world was those capable of standing out and be something more, something greater, than the herd. Someone to be their shepherd. It might be a lonely place, but at least when you keep people away, you never have to fear losing them. His mind went back to the horrible moment in high school when he almost lost Shinra, and he shuddered. Never again!
"Daddy! The weather lady said it was going to be cold and to bring a jacket if you go outside. Should I just take an extra sweater?" Haru said, causing Izaya to look at him. His t-shirt was entirely too big for him, and his pants were held up with a piece of rope... Izaya furrowed his brows. He had been pretty busy lately, but he realized that the kid really needed some new clothes.
"Don't bother, Haru. We're going shopping today. I'll take you to Sunshine 60 today, yeah? We'll get you some decent cloths. You can't keep walking around in those rags," Izaya stated and pushed Haru towards the door.
Jeez. Kids were so much work. But it got him thinking…he really should get the kid...whatever the heck kids needed.
While Haru focused on remembering on every landmark and the path they took to get down to Ikebukuro, at the same time as not losing track of his daddy in the crowd, Izaya was staring at his smartphone. He was googling how to raise children and discarded most of what he read with an eye roll.
As if he'd raise his son and heir to be some common human! Keh! He put the phone away and smiled when he saw Haru's intense focus. Alright. It was no big deal. He knew humans better than anyone. He could do this! Izaya tried not to dwell on the nagging voice in his head that reminded him that the last time he tried to raise kids, it was his sisters, and he was pretty sure he fucked them up as bad as everyone else he ever played with. Well... He supposed he'd just have to try harder then!

* * *

So it came to be that in less than a weak, Haru was standing in front of the mirror, dressed in the exactly same style clothes Izaya had. He was trying on the jacket that Izaya had custom made for him, just because, well... If he was going to be Izaya's heir, he might as well look the part. Looks was important.
Dressing like an honour student instilled trust, while the jacket gave him just enough of a touch to stand out and be remembered. Izaya's words flowed through Haru's head as he was trying his new look. It was true, he reflected. But people always commented on how western he looked, which he really didn't like. How was he supposed to be trustworthy, if he didn't look properly Japanese?
"Hey, dad?" Haru walked over to his father.
Izaya turned away from the screen to look at him.
"My, my, my. Look at you!" He said with a grin.
Haru blushed. He was still not used to compliments, but he loved the warm feeling he got every time Izaya gave him his approval.
"I want to look like you!" Haru said, making Izaya look quizzically at him, but Haru was slowly learning to read people, and hurriedly continued. "People keep saying I don't look like your son. And that I look western. Can't I look Japanese and like you?" Haru asked, looking up with those damnable green puppy-dog eyes.
"I...I'll look into it." Izaya said and forced a smile, ruffling Haru's hair, while wondering how the hell he was going to manage that.
You can't use plastic surgery on a child, he was pretty sure even Shinra would refuse to do that. While he was on it, he really should get the kid some corrective eye surgery. He had seen the kid run into doors and signposts he didn't see, and he was having trouble in school, even if Izaya had gotten him seated all the way up close to the blackboard. Glasses would fall off him the first time he had to outrun someone.
He decided he'd ask Shinra. He really should present his new kid to him to.
Then he chuckled. Shinra was his best friend, would that make Shinra an honorary uncle? Izaya began laughing maniacally at the thought.
While Haru wasn't sure what was funny, he ended up laughing with him. His dad did that sometimes, he figured he could ask him why if he couldn't figure it out later.
For some reason Izaya liked to make Haru figure out things on his own. He gave him some guidance and asked him leading questions, but he tried to teach his son how to ask the right questions himself, and to figure out things himself. Moreover, to never take anything anyone said for fact value. Humans always lied, something Haru was well aware of by now.

* * *

Haru was watching Chīzu Suīto Hōmu (Chi's Sweet Home) one day, with Izaya working on his laptop next to him, when it happened.
He was eating his candy, and was reaching over to the table to grab his water, without taking his eyes off the screen, and ended up knocking over the glass. Haru was still not used to being treated kindly, and at the thought of breaking a glass, especially now that everything was going so well, made him panic.
"No! Stop!" Haru shouted, and tossed himself to the floor to catch the glass before it could break, eyes closed, and waited for the inevitable…And waited…And waited.
"Haru..." He heard his dad's voice. It sounded surprised. His dad was NEVER surprised.
Haru opened his eyes and gulped fearfully. The glass was floating in the air, and Haru felt like he could cry. His daddy would hate him now! He tried so hard, SO HARD, to not do anything freakish and scare him! Haru's eyes watered up and he sobbed out a fearful;
"I'm sorry!" He grabbed the glass so it would stop doing that freakish floating. "I'll never do it again! I promises! Just please..." Haru sobbed even harder. "Please don't hate me daddy..." Haru whispered, more to himself than anything.
He felt Izaya coming closer and braced himself for the inevitable punch. He almost yelped in surprise when, instead of pain, he felt the comfort of Izaya's arms hugging him instead. It was.... mind-blowing.
"Haru..." Izaya said in awe. "That was...amazing!" He lifted Haru off the floor and looked at him with pride.
Haru felt as if his little heart would stop right there and then. Izaya's approval mean EVERYTHING to him, and now... He couldn't even begin to process the thought that he not only approved, but was proud of him!
"Wha... You... You're not mad?" Haru asked carefully.
"Mad? Why would I be mad? Haru.... What you did was amazing! Unbelievable! Can you do it again?" Izaya sounded like an exited kid again, which made Haru suddenly exited too.
Maybe this was another one of his aunt and uncle's lies... He was beginning to agree with Izaya's view on them more and more. They said nobody would love him, cuz he was a freak. Cuz he did freakish things. But clearly Izaya still loved him. IZAYA didn't think it was freakish!
It was...It was his FAMILY that was FREAKS! He decided in a fit of anger.
Haru was so, SO happy that Izaya was his dad. He didn't even want to THINK what his biological dad would be like, if his aunt and uncle was anything to go by. Izaya was better than everyone! And Haru felt a great need to prove himself worthy of that love. So he nodded, decidedly.
"I...I'll try!" He said, and focused on the glass, willing it to float.
It didn't work, but he refused to give up. He refused to let his new daddy down!
"Just.... I just need to practice! Go work, I'll...I'll make it float daddy! Don't worry!" Haru said, and he focused on the glass again, missing the slightly devious smile on Izaya's face as he pulled the phone out and started texting his contacts.
Izaya had read about it, of course. The 'delusions' that his various classmates had told about Harry, about the strange things happening. But he didn't quite know what to believe. However, he knew better than to dismiss the possibility. Even if it came as a bit of a shock to get actual proof of it. He had to research this.

* * *

Haru was having one of the best days in his entire life today, and it wasn't even his birthday!
Izaya had sat down with him and showed him what Izaya described as his 'favourite anime', which made Haru worry it might be something dark and bloody. Or maybe a psychological thriller…he had been forced to listen to some of those when his Uncle had certain work friends over, and it was terribly scary.
But to Haru's surprise, Izaya's favourite TV series turned out to be a show for children called Hanamaru Youchien, and was about a kindergarten.
Haru was hooked from the first episode!
Especially when Izaya proceeded to encourage Harry to try and figure out what all of the characters were feeling, and to try and predict how they would act because of it. Haru had never realize how incredibly FUN it was to watch the cute little humans running all over the place, especially as he slowly started to see pattern in their behaviours, and started to predict how they would behave. Izaya always praised him and ruffled his hair when he was right, and Harry found that he loved both the glow of his new found pride, and the warm glow of being loved that he got when Izaya smiled down at him benevolently and ruffled his hair affectionately.
Just then Izaya's phone rang, and Haru felt a warm glow when his dad stared at it with irritation written on his face, rather than his normal excitement.
In japan, it was expected that people read other people, rather than the person telling others what was going on. But Haru already had a few years of training in reading the mood of his aunt and uncle, which helped him immensely.
After all, if his uncle was in a bad mood, he knew he would have to work twice as hard to stay invisible. And it was necessary for him to be able to quickly dodge any punches or, in the case of his aunt, frying-pans that might come in his direction. It was mostly his cousin that would hit him, but if his uncle was in a particularly bad mood, or had too much to drink, there was always the risk of violence.
In some way though, Haru was grateful for what he had learned, even if he still hated his former family. Especially since his new daddy praised him whenever he managed to read someone correctly. Izaya was adamant of teaching Haru what people liked to call his 'ESP skills'.
Of course, his dad had years and years of human observation on him, but Haru had started to work on his own skills. He observed everyone in his class at school, although the teacher had scolded him when he was too obvious about it, which made him work hard on hiding that he was doing it. In the end, that could only benefit him in the future.
His dad also helped him practice on the kids in the playground. Haru would make guesses on the kids and what they thought and felt, and Izaya would correct him if he was wrong and praise him when he was right. Children were rather easy to predict, according to Izaya. They had not yet learned how to hide their emotions.
Haru barely had the time to finish up that thought before Izaya's exited voice reached him, talking much too fast for Haru to keep up with what he said, but he did understand something about traveling right before Izaya hung up. Izaya looked down at Haru with a touch of sadness in his eyes, which he tried to cover up with that smirk he always used, and he randomly hugged Haru close to him.
"Haru, run to your room and pack a sleepover bag. Make sure you have everything you need, it might take me a week or two to get to the bottom of this." Izaya said, in a voice that left no room for arguments.
Haru held back the question that was burning on his tongue, and rushed off to his room to pack his bag. His dad liked it when he figured out things on his own, so Haru tried to not ask too many 'stupid' questions, and to think instead.
His daddy said something about traveling. He looked annoyed when he saw who was calling him. Haru knew from his class-mates that their daddies often went on something called a 'business trip', because Shiro had shown the class a small statue with a torch on it for Show and Tell at school. He had talked about how his dad had to go away for his work sometimes, and how he missed him terribly, but he always brought back a 'souvenir' for his family, which was always something strange and kind of neat.
Maybe his dad had to travel to somewhere else for work? Haru knew his father was always on the move, all day, talking to people or working on his laptop to find information he could sell to people.
He had explained to Haru that he was an 'Information Broker' and how important it was to have the latest information and gossip available, just in case someone might need it. As well as keeping an eye out for whom might want some piece of information he had, in which case he could offer them to buy it. People didn't always know his dad had what they wanted after all.
It was important to make sure you could give people what they wanted...for a price of course. Unless he told them something to see what they did with it, of course. His daddy was an avid lover of humans, and loved to study them. Even if most of them were terribly predictable at this point. Haru found it absolutely amazing that his daddy could predict what they would do so easily! Haru still struggled to make sense of some of their most basic actions. But he was all the more determinate to learn how to. He wanted to be exactly like his daddy when he grew up!
Haru hoisted the bag over his shoulders and ran out the door to find Izaya. He decided that he didn't want to risk getting his new jacket all dirty, so he pulled on a hooded jacket instead. It was nice and fluffy and blue, and he liked it a lot, even if it wasn't as precious to him as the jacket. It even had a bear on the front. Haru had no idea where his daddy had gotten it, but he promised Haru that all the adults would find him adorable if he wore it, and Haru had no idea who Izaya was planning to leave him with, so he was determinate to make a good first impression. He kind of hoped it wouldn't be Shiki. That guy was scary...

* * *

"Hi~" Haru said with a wave as Shizuo opened the door.
He wanted to slam the door in the kid's face. He so fucking wanted... but it was a kid...
"What?" Shizuo grumbled, staring at the kid without even removing the ever present cigarette. He was a bit surprised when the kid continued to smile at him, most people, even adults, ran away at that point.
"Daddy had to go away on business, and he said you're the only one he trusts to keep me safe!" the kid said with a bright, irritatingly adorable grin.
It made Shizuo pinch his nose and want to punch a wall. What moron would trust HIM with a kid?!?
"Look, kid..." Shizuo wasn't sure what to say.
If his dad already had left, he couldn't just kick the damned kid out to fend for himself. Much as the Flea claimed he was a Monster, he wasn't a bad guy. And even if he refused to admit it, he had a weak spot for children. Even if they irritated him like mad.
"I won't be any trouble, promise! If you have some blankets, I can sleep in a cupboard or under the sink. And I'll be very, very quiet, you won't even know I'm here!" Haru said and looked up at him with those damned green puppy-dog eyes. Shizuo felt his heart melt a little, which only pissed him off more.
"Fine!" He grumbled and opened the door. "It's not much. And I don't have a futon for you." Shizuo grumbled.
"That's okay. Daddy thought you might not have it, so he made me bring my own!" Haru said happily, before snakingly waving goodbye to his dad, whom was hiding outside, to make sure he got taken inn safely.
Izaya knew Shizuo well enough to know that once he made a commitment to take care of someone, he stuck to it. No matter what.
Both Haru and Izaya let out a relieved sigh at that. They hadn't been entirely sure if Shizuo would fall for it and let him in, but now that he had, Izaya had assured Haru that he would be taken care of. Haru thought maybe he should be nice and buy him some food for taking him inn, his daddy HAD given him one of his many credit cards to buy anything he might need while he was away.
"Hey, Shizuo-san. Do you want some take-away? I want to pay you back for being so nice and taking me in, and I thought, Russian Sushi delivers, right? You like that food, right?" Haru asked carefully, worried he might insult him. Shizuo's stomach chose that exact moment to remind him that he hadn't eaten anything in almost 3 days. He couldn't help but twitch his lip into an almost-smile. Damn that kid was too cute for his own good. Shizuo didn't like the thought of making a kid use his money on him though...
"You don't have to do that, kid. I said I'd take care of you, yeah? So I'll... I'll..." Shizuo sighed as he opened his very empty fridge. "I'll figure something out!" He grumbled.
Damn. He couldn't even feed himself, much less a kid.
"Don't worry about it, Shizuo-san. My daddy has a lot of money. He taught me it's important to pay back your debts to people. I'm sure he would have offered the same." Haru explained in that way kids do when they try very hard to sound grownup.
It was all Shizuo could do to not melt into a puddle at the damned kid’s cuteness right there and then. Haru knew he had won when he saw the twitching lip of an involuntary smile grace Shizuo's face. He quickly changed it to a scowl, but Haru was getting better and better at reading people.
"Well... I suppose I have to let you repay your debt, kiddo," he said and hunched down before Haru, giving him a small smile and ruffled his hair.
As long as the kid used his dad's money, he supposed it was alright. That irritation idiot owed him for making him babysit anyway!
"Yay! Can I have Otoro?!" The kid said, hugging Shizuo tightly. Not that Shizuo had any problems prying him away, he felt really awkward around kids.
"O...Otoro?" Shizuo asked incredulously.
He only knew one guy who could stomach that bitter taste, and even a reminder of him made his eye twitch in annoyance. Until he looked down at the hopeful look on this damned kids face, and he sighed.
"Fine!" He walked over to the phone. "So kid... I guess if you're gonna stay with me, I might as well know your name," Shizuo said.
"It's Haru!" Haru replied, carefully avoiding his last name.
Izaya told him that Shizuo hated his guts. But even if Izaya lovingly called Shizuo-chan his arch enemy, Haru got the feeling that Izaya actually liked the guy. He just didn't like that he liked him. Or that he interfered with his plans. Haru wasn't sure. His daddy was terribly complicated to understand sometimes.

* * *

"So then, my dad told me he'd show me his favourite anime. And he's like, so... I thought it would be some kind of thriller or scary drama or something, cuz my dad always love to watch people and their dramas, and scary things, right? And then he showed me Hanamaru Kindergarden!" Haru said, and pulled out said anime from his backpack.
Shizuo laughed. And laughed. From what Haru told him, it sounded like his dad did things that were on the shady side of the law. Especially since he seemed to deal with the Yakuza on a regular basis.
Then it turned out that he loved something as childlike and innocent as Hanamaru Kindergarden! Shizuo had yet to figure out which exact person was Haru's father, and Haru refused to tell him. For some reason Haru seemed worried that Shizuo would hate him, just because he seemed to hate his father, and no reassurances to the contrary could change his mind.
Shizuo knew he got pissed off a lot, at almost everyone he met, but he wouldn't hold that against their kid! He felt almost insulted. But he was used to the reaction, and it wasn't Haru's fault. He just repeated what everyone else said, he was sure. Shizuo was happy that at least the father seemed to love and dote upon his kid.
From what few hints Haru had let slip about where he had been forced to live before his 'daddy' had adopted him, he was extremely happy Haru's new dad had gotten him away from there. Shizuo focused back to what the kid was saying again.
"And then...and then I did this...thing... My uncle would always call me a freak whenever I did something freakish, and hit me. But my daddy..." Tears welled up in Haru’s eye and he wiped them with his sleeves. "My daddy called it...amazing..."
The happy smile on the child's face almost broke Shizuo's heart. He remembered all too well what it felt like when the other kids had called him a freak, a monster, and everything else they could think of. But at least he had his family. His mother and his brother.... even the nice lady on the corner store had been kind to him. He couldn't even imagine....
"If I ever get my hands on your uncle...!" Shizuo threatened, crushing the can of beer he was holding in his hand.
"Don't worry. My uncle won't hurt anyone anymore now," Haru said.
However, the sinister grin on the kid's face when he said that made Shizuo feel incredibly unsettled. He wondered if the kid's father had done something...permanent...to those people. He also worried about just how happy an innocent little child was over the fact that someone, family even, was dead. Probably dead. Then he smiled grimly. He hated violence, but someone who would hurt CHILDREN.... Well... There was always an exception to the rule.
Shizuo couldn't help but smile at this kid. He had the worst case of hero-worship of his dad than any other kid he had seen. He couldn't stop talking about him. Shizuo wondered if it had something to do with his former caretakers...if they could be called that.
"I know people think my daddy is really mean, but he's just really scared that if he lets anyone close, he'll lose them. He has...what did Simon say again? He has a fragile heart." Haru suddenly looked worried. "Do you think he'll die? Is that dangerous?!" Haru suddenly asked.
Shizuo found himself in the uncomfortable position of awkwardly reassuring a child that his daddy wasn't going to die from a fragile heart. It was just an expression.... Shizuo sighed and began to explain the concept to the kid, but he supposed it explained why the kid refused to tell him who it was. He'd heard of people being assholes to others because they were afraid or some shit, he'd just never really cared enough to consider the concept.
The only thing Shizuo ever cared about was his friend, and that the rest of the world would stop pissing him off and leaving him the hell alone!

* * *

In the meanwhile, Izaya was boarding a plane to London. He was QUITE interested in finding out what his source there had to tell him. He smiled as he thought about how his favourite son and favourite monster seemed to be getting along, if Haru's text messages was anything to go by.
He was suddenly overcome with a feeling of gratitude towards Shizuo's weird need to act human and kind, and his abnormal strength and bad temper. He hated the fact that he seemed to have started to care about his little heir, but... Izaya bit his lip. If anything happened to him... He wasn't sure if he'd survive that.
Izaya knew he was a coward. But he also knew he couldn't handle losing someone he actually loved. It would crush him! Almost losing Shinra that one time had shown him just how fragile his heart was. He hated himself, just a little, for allowing himself to become so attached to the kid.
He sighed. He would just have to make absolutely sure the kid could defend himself. From anything. Maybe he should assign him a bodyguard? He wondered if he might be able to pay Shizuo-chan for the job. Shizuo seemed to like Haru well enough,-judging by his son's texts-, and Izaya KNEW he needed the cash. Especially after the rumour about him coming after people with gambling debts, and sending them to the hospital. It had made people who normally would hold out on it pay up before they had the chance to even hire him. Izaya chuckled to himself. His darling monster was so wonderfully terrifying.

Chapter Text

Shizuo walked down the street, licking at his ice cream and feeling a bit stupid, but damn...that was good ice cream! He glared at the kid who had talked him into it...and paid for the ice cream. Shizuo felt bad for allowing the kid to buy him so much food, and even candy. He silently cursed his inability to resists sweets. He'd pay him back, somehow, he swore to himself. He looked at the kid, taking a nibble of his own ice cream and wrinkled his nose.
"Why coffee flavor? How can you stand something so bitter?" Shizuo grumbled.

The ice cream was meant to be sweet. He was sure there was something wrong with both the kid and whatever moron that invent the stuff said kid was eating.
"What? I love things that taste bitter! Dad says I take after him," Harry said happily.
Shizuo only grunted a reply.

"Ooooh, can we go buy mangas? Please? Please? Please?" Haru piped, practically jumping with excitement.
Shizuo sighed and placed a hand on Haru's head and ruffled his hair.
"Sure kiddo."

Shizuo couldn't help but smile at his excitement. The kid reminded him of someone, but he couldn't place his finger on precisely who... for some reason he made him want to both laugh and throw something at him at the same time. Not that he'd ever do that to a kid. He refused to become the monster everyone else saw him as.

* * *

SHIZU-SHIZU~!!!" That....happy...exited...voice... Shizuo groaned.
"Erica. Walker." Shizuo grunted.
"Ooooh, Shizuo is babysitting today? Kawaiiiii*!!" Erica cooed.
"No, no, no! It's the kid of a mysterious woman Shizuo met in his wild youth, and now he discovered he had superpowers and was sent to Shizuo to train to join the secretive Shao Lin monks in a battle to save the world!" Walter spurted out, and Erica nodded along with him.

Shizuo tuned out what she said next. They always gave him a headache. What would he have to do to get some peace? Join a Buddhist temple? Suddenly he got an idea. It would save him two problems, all at once!

"Hey... Kiddo... Why don't you have those two manga-crazed guys show you the manga section? I'll just wait outside for you to finish," Shizuo asked him.
"Um, yeah, sure!" Haru said and grinned at them.
Shizuo did NOT like the look in their creepy, starry eyes when they looked at the cute little kid the way hungry tigers look at their prey... Maybe it was a mistake. Who knows what they'd do to the kid?

"On second thought, I'm coming with you," Shizuo said, flicked his cigarette away and stuffed his hands in his pockets.

He cursed himself for feeling the need to protect the little brat and thus being exposed to all this shit, but... He smiled as he listened to the three of them discussing mangas with a passion. The damned brat was cute, he couldn't help but admit that.

* * *

Shizuo was regretting his decision to follow them into a manga store before long, and after what seemed like hours, he'd had it! Shizuo grabbed Haru by the neck of his jacket and started dragging him out.

"We're done. Let's go!" He said grumpily and dragged Haru and his stack of books to the registry to pay it, before hauling him out of the store.
"Ah, Shizuo-san! Wait up!" Walter and Erica started running after them out of the store.

"Oi, Shizuo-kun." Came a voice from the parking space they ended up heading towards.
"Kadota-kun?" Shizuo said surprised, before giving a wry smile. "Should've guessed you'd be here too."

Shizuo exchanged a few words with Kadota while lighting up another cigarette. Those four always seemed to hang out together somehow. Usually in their van...
Come to think of it, where... He suddenly realised that Haru was over by the van with the rest of the crew. He smiled a little. Damn, that kid was sociable and jumpy. He almost bounced around as much and as quickly as that damned flee. Even now he was sitting on top of the railing they were parked by, and it wouldn't surprise Shizuo at all if he went on to balance precariously on it sooner or later, as kids are prone to do.

Shizuo and Kadota decided to haul their asses over to the rest of the crew. Slowly... Who knew what kind of fantasy nonsense they'd ramble on about now that they'd gotten an excitable kid to teach about the wonders of the manga?

"....and that's how you make a Molotov cocktail!" Walter said, and Shizuo facepalmed before he rushed over to cover Haru's ears.
"Walter-san! DON'T teach the kid that shit!" Shizuo grunted at Walter. 'Who the fuck taught kids shit like that?'

"Why can't I learn how to blow things up too? I wanna blow things up too!!" Haru harrumphed, crossing his arms, glaring at Shizuo.
"Look... it's not kid stuff. Heck... Shouldn't even do it as an adult...," Shizuo muttered out the last sentence, knowing full well it was lost on Erica and Walter...and probably the kid too.
"But I already know how to make napalm!" Haru stated stubbornly. "Daddy won't mind!" Haru said with a grin, making Shizuo snap the cigarette he was holding.
"THE FUCK KIND OF PARENT ALLOWS THAT SHIT!?!?!" Shizuo shouted at them, before snapping back, realising he'd just yelled at a kid.
Damn. Shizuo expected the kid to cry and want his daddy now. WHY couldn't he hold his temper?!
"Fuck, kid...I...I'm..." Shizuo didn't get very far in his apology before Haru spoke up, not looking even remotely scared.
"Scary, scary~," Haru said with a grin and patted Shizuo's head, standing up on the railing to reach his head. Something about the whole scenario just rubbed Shizuo the wrong way.
"Don't worry about it, Shizuo-san~," Haru chirped, making Shizuo twitch at the tone of his voice.
That damned kid reminded him of someone...he just couldn't quite place who... It kinda sounded like... No! That was just too ridiculous to even contemplate. Simon was right. He should stop obsessing over that damned flea, it messed with his mind.
"Oh, hi! I'm Haru. Hajimemashite!" Haru said to Kadota, attempting a formal bow...a little unsteady, but surprisingly enough he didn't fall down.
It was a pretty good attempt for a kid that didn't seem to be overly skilled socially. It was summer vacation, so he didn't have school, but Shizuo worried the kid might be home-schooled, he appeared to lack social skills a bit. Not that he cared. It was just some random kid that was dumped at his doorstep. At least that's what he told himself. But it just wasn't healthy for kids to be denied the opportunity to socialise with other children.

"Kadota Kyohei. Yoroshiku onigaishimasu," Kadota replied with a bow, a slight smile tugging his lips. He was surprised to see a kid hanging around Shizuo...not that it was the first time, come to think of it.

"Hey, Shizuo-kun. Another kid...?" Kadota said carefully, looking from the kid to Shizuo with a questioning look.
It took Shizuo a few seconds to process what he was asking.
"Ah, no. Absolutely not! Wasn't anything like that! I'm just...watching him. Yeah." Shizuo ruffled his hair in grumpy embarrassment.
Man... You have ONE kid try to kill you, and people never let you forget it.

"Hey, Dota-chin~?" Haru said, trying to get Kadota's attention.
It was what his dad always called this guy, so he figured he should too.

Said 'Dota-chin' froze up at both the nickname and the tone of voice, and Shizuo felt a habitual spike of anger. Both of them whipped around, almost expecting to see that damnable, exasperating information broker jump out of nowhere.

"Dota-chin? Shizuo? Why are you angry?" Haru said, looking confused up at them. Which made them realise it was just the kid.
"How did you... Never mind, I don't wanna know." Kadota said exasperatedly.
Rumours sure got around fast in this town.

"Thought I heard a damned flea," Shizuo grunted, before composing himself.

He didn't want the kid to see what a monster he was. But damn how hard it was to restrain himself, especially when the kid sounded like his mortal enemy. Just thinking about the damned flee sent his blood rushing and made his heart beat faster. It pissed him off!

* * *

Shizuo was stopping himself from breaking the table with his head, still tired from the craziness last night as he sat down by the desk the next morning.
For a moment he wondered where that damned kid was before he looked over to the stove and was greeted with the sight of Haru carefully pouring a portion of rice into two different bowls, and cracking a raw egg over the top of it, before sprinkling some sesame seeds over the top.*

Shizuo couldn't help but stare... Mostly because he KNEW he didn't have a rice cooker. Or rice. He couldn't afford it, and he usually just ate out anyway. Which meant the kid had been using the gas oven...

"Hey, kid! Don't touch the oven! It's dangerous."
His glare intensified when the kid just grinned and waved him off as he placed one bowl down in front of Shizuo.
"It's fine, it's fine~" Haru piped while waving away his worries. "I've been cooking since I was old enough to reach the stove standing on a footstool. I don't burn myself anymore."

He grinned broadly, which only made Shizuo worry all the more. Who made a CHILD cook?! He hadn't noticed before, but when Haru picked up his chopsticks, Shizuo saw there was a pretty big scar on his arm that was apparently a burn mark. Shizuo grabbed the kid's arm...as careful as he could, though he quickly let go when the kid whimpered, and he cursed himself for not being able to control his strength.

"Doesn't look safe to me," Shizuo said with a glare at his arm.
The kid twitched on his chair while rubbing his arm.
"Mh..well..." He rubbed his upper arm awkwardly, biting his lower lip. "...wasn't an accident," he muttered, looking down and away in embarrassment.
Haru hated to think how weak he was before his daddy saved him.

"WHAT?!" Shizuo stared at him in shock at his words.
"My aunt... When I burned the food..." Haru heard the chopsticks snap in Shizuo's hands and shrank away at the sheer rage he saw in those eyes.
His dad HAD warned him, but right now Haru could only hope his daddy was right that he never hurt children, because Shizuo was SCARY!

"The fuck kind of people would do that to a KID!" Shizuo yelled as he stood up. "Tell me where they live! GONNA KILL THEM!!! KILL! KILL! KiLL!"
Shizuo glared at what was now an awe-struck face of a child that previously looked terrified of him.

"You...you'd do that for me?!" Haru looked like he was on the verge of tears.
No one, NO ONE, had EVER lifted a finger to help him! Not even the teachers or neighbours whom he knew HAD to know and now this monster...wanted to protect him?

"..." Shizuo's anger dropped into confusion as a small body collided with his own and hugged him.

He knew fully well how terrified everyone got of him when he was angry, and yet this small, breakable CHILD was hugging him.
"Thank you!" Haru almost whispered the words, his voice thick with emotion.

It made Shizuo's heart constrict at the thought of what the child must have gone through to be happy about his own family getting killed. He carefully and awkwardly patted the kid's head. Children were so fragile, and he had no idea how to deal with them.

"Don't worry, Shizuo-san. Daddy saved me. They can't get me now," Haru told him, smiling up at Shizuo, still hugging him.

It made Shizuo understand why this kid loved his new dad so much, he supposed. He sounded like a shady guy, but he was apparently pretty damned good to the kid. Maybe he was a yakuza, Shizuo thought. Would explain a lot.

* * *

"I heard you had some information for me~" chirped a happy voice.
"Do you have the money?"
The guy looked around him in a shifty manner, as if he expected someone to pop out of thin air and descend upon him.
The Asian looking man that seemed to pronounce the r's as l's, although his English was mostly flawless beyond that, held out a convolute. But when the shifty man tried to grab it, he pulled back and wiggled his finger at him.
"Ah-ah-ah!" he said. "The information first."
The nervous shady man looked around himself yet another time, before taking off his backpack and held it out.
"It's all in there. Books, documents, addresses. Everything." He nervously licked his lips. "You...you're going overseas yeah? I can't have 'em trace it back to me, you hear!" The man lowered his voice and acted like he was in a spy movie or something, which only made the Asian man chuckle.
"Sure, sure~ I have a cover story, no problem."

He handed the thick envelope with the cash to the shifty looking man, whom promptly pulled out a stick and... hesitated.
"You can't see this! Go! Go!" The shady man prompted, shooing the Asian man away.
"Haaai-hai! A pleasure doing business with you." The Asian man said with a curt bow, before vanishing around the corner.
The other man waited to make entirely sure he was alone, before using his stick and promptly vanishing.

Above him, in the shadows on the roof of the building that the Asian man had vanished behind, it became clear just where he had gone.
"Fascinating ~!" The Asian man said to himself, before hoisting the backpack on his shoulders and vanishing over the rooftops of London.

* * *

In the meanwhile, in a castle in Scotland, an old man was sitting at his desk looking very, very tired. He was at his wits’ end and finally ended up sending Severus to rifle through the memories of the muggles in the neighborhood for any clues as to what might have been going on, or whom might have kidnapped their savior and killed his family...if that was indeed what had happened.

Something about it felt wrong though. Like he was missing an essential piece of the puzzle. He also felt distinctly uneasy with going to such lengths, toeing with something as borderline Dark as Legimens.

It was all for the greater good. Dumbledore had to remind himself of that. Nobody else could defeat Voldemort, he truly believed that. The prophecy was very, very clear. He HAD to find Harry and correct the mistake he had made with Tom Riddle. He HAD TO!

"Ah, Severus! How good of you to join me, my boy!" Albus smiled as Severus sneered at the nickname. The man never changed. "What did you find out?"
"The muggles clearly don't know what happened. Nobody witnessed anything unusual."

Severus grimaced at some of the things he had seen, hoping he was just misunderstanding the situation. Kids were prone to get into fights on their own, although it didn't explain how skinny the boy he had seen had been... Though the memories were old, and fuzzy around the edges. It was clear that everyone around there was convinced he was some kind of delinquent kid, and nobody really wanted to remember him at all. Guess his father's criminal tendencies showed up in the kid early, he thought to himself.

"Oh dear... Did you find any leads at all, dear boy?" Albus said.
"There was one thing..." Severus paused.
It was just a small detail. He didn't know if it even mattered.

"Several of the neighbors had observed an Asian man loitering around the neighborhood for a few weeks, or maybe months, it's hard to say for sure, before this happened."

It was the problem he had when dealing with disorganized minds. People didn't bother to remember WHEN it happened, especially something that was not worth much in the eyes of gossiping housewives and family fathers. He sneered at all the petty problems the damned muggles seemed to have, and that he had to sift through.

"Nobody ever saw him as much as talking to that blasted kid though. Could be a coincidence," Severus finished.
But Albus had a gut feeling that this might be important, and his gut feeling had never led him wrong before.
"What did he look like?" He inquired.
"Asian. They are indistinguishable for me," Severus sneered, and Albus sighed.
For a spy, Severus lacked an eye for details, and he had an unfortunate tendency to generalise everything. He stood up and fetched his Pensive.
"Show me."

* * *

Shizuo was pissed off. He kicked open the door to his house, nearly cracking the wall in the process, after getting back from work that day and kicked off his shoes before entering. The fucking asshole has tried to talk his way out of paying and pissed him off so much that he'd end up throwing him into the sky...again. Tom had been disappointed with him, he knew that. He hated himself for not being able to control himself, but that damned moron just pissed him off!

"Okaerinasai!~"* Haru's voice chirped happily as Shizuo walked in and the smell of food hit his nose, making him realise how hungry he was.
He sighed at the lost battle it had been to make Haru stop doing these damned nice things for him. He felt almost guilty for not being able to repay him adequately. He smiled as he sat down at the table. It looked like Haru had made omurice for dinner, and he wondered where the kid had learned to make Japanese dishes. From what the kid said, he'd come from somewhere overseas. Based on his looks, Shizuo guessed at Europe or America.

"Smells delicious. Where did ya learn to cook like that?" Shizuo said as Haru sat down after having placed the plates on the table.
"Some guy named Jun." Haru grinned. "There's this YouTube channel named Jun's Cooking..." When Shizuo looked blank, Haru continued. "You know...the Internet?"
"Oh. Yeah." Shizuo nodded and took a bit of the food. "Damn that's good!" he groaned, sounding surprised.
Shizuo wasn't used to proper home-cooked food anymore. He mostly just lived off ramen and was always eating out with Tom-san.
Haru seemed to beam at the praise, and it made Shizuo feel a calm, warm feeling spread in his chest. Which was why the next words out of the kid's mouth made him feel uncharacteristically sad...

"Daddy said he'd come to pick me up today!" Haru said excitedly, almost bouncing in his chair.
"Oh. Okay," Shizuo muttered, trying to give the kid a reassuring smile.
It wasn't his kid. He had to remember that. Kids...a family...that life wasn't for him, he knew that.
Who'd ever love a monster like him anyway? Never mind the fact that he'd likely hurt his partner in bed. The person would have to be one hell of a masochist who didn't mind gambeling with life, he thought with morbid humor. As if that existed! He thought he had accepted his fate, but this brat was making him think about those old dreams again...

He wasn't even picky about gender, not really... He'd be willing to give almost anyone a chance if he someday was lucky enough to find even a single person that wasn't scared of him...and that wasn't his brother, apparently.

"Don't be sad, Shizuo-san. I'm sure daddy will let me visit you. He doesn't say it, and he'd deny it if you asked, but I know he likes you!" Haru grinned, then lowered his voice to whisper conspiratorially to Shizuo. "He keeps a picture of you in his bedroom drawer. I'm not supposed to know, but he was teaching me lock-picking, and I practised it on every lock in the house!"
Haru looked immensely proud at this.

Shizuo was torn between amusement at his childish antics, surprise at the fact the man had his picture...and a small glow of warmth in his chest at the thought someone could even like him enough to keep a picture...still... no... he shook his head. It couldn't be...Shizuo thought sadly.

"It is! I've seen him stare at it when he thinks I'm not looking. And he smiles more softly that I've ever seen him do!" Haru insisted, making Shizuo stare at the kid in shock.

"The fuck...You some kind of mind-reader, kid?" Shizuo said, trying to push down the sliver of hope that the kid's words had lit.
Haru just laughed and shook his head.
"It was written all over your face." Haru grinned at Shizuo's embarrassed look. "I'm not nearly as good as dad yet tho, but he's teaching me. It's important to be able to understand people." He nodded in that endearingly way children do when they try to look adult. Shizuo felt a sad tug at his heart.

Haru nodded at his own words as if he spoke the undeniable, guaranteed truth, and Shizuo had to smile at the blind faith in his dad's words that this kid had. He supposed that was pretty normal for a kid tho, and it did sound like a good thing, to understand others. Maybe people would fight less if they did? Didn't some Indian guru on tv say something about that in some interview once? He couldn't remember.

Just at that moment, the doorbell rang.

* * *

Shizuo opened the door and instantly felt like flying into a fit of rage.

"Hi, Shizuo-chan~" The damned flea grinned happily up at him. "Don't mind me, I'm just here to pick up my..."
"DADDY!"

Haru ran up behind Shizuo and jumped into his dad's outstretched arms.
"I missed you!" Haru exclaimed as Izaya chuckled and whirled him around.
He wasn't going to admit it, but he had missed Haru as well. And from the delighted grin on Haru's face when he spun him around and made him giggle, Haru knew it as well.

Shizuo was standing on his doorstep, petrified at the scene...and its implications.

"Haru, go get your stuff," Izaya told his son and Haru rushed in to fetch his bag.
He already made sure it was packed and ready to go, having heard all about Shizuo's feelings towards his dad. But it seemed there was no rush, as the Beast of Ikebukuro was standing dumbfounded trying to mash the contradicting memories in his mind.

THIS was Haru's father?!
THIS was the loving father that bought him ice-cream and comforted him when he cried?
THIS was the man who had taken Haru to the zoo and told Haru he was wonderful and special, and...

His mind nearly had a small breakdown as his memories of the Flea, and his vision of the perfect, if shady, loving father mixed and merged like two different puzzles that were just never meant to fit.

Haru came back out, and Izaya helped him fit his backpack on tight.
"Get ready to run," Izaya whispered into his ear, and Haru nodded at him, wondering what his dad was planning to do.

"Ara, ara~ Did I break your protozoan mind, Shizuo-chan?" he teased, just as Shizuo's mind dropped by the memory of Haru's father and...that...picture... He blinked as the Flea stepped closer to him.

"Thank you for taking care of my precious son, Shizuo-chan~," Izaya said, then he pressed his lips on Shizuo's in a quick kiss, making the former bartender blush furiously and sputter with his hand held to his lips as Izaya grabbed his son's hand and began running before the beast’s mind could catch up with what happened.
"IIIIZAAAAAYAAAAAAA!!!!"

The yell of rage was running out over Ikebukuro, making its citizens shudder, before going about their day as usual. They were, after all, quite used to this by now. Izaya's high pitched laughter was soon accompanied by a child's, which was a little weird, but few, if any, noticed.

* * *

Chapter Text

If you had asked her, Namie would have been the first to tell you that she hated how Izaya went on and on about his plans to her. That didn't stop her from feeling horribly unsettled when he one day suddenly stopped.

What made her worry even more, was that she realised that Izaya was now going on and on about his plans and how fun it all was to the kid instead. Not to mention how the kid looked at him with starry eyes, clinging to every single word he said.

She knew Izaya viewed himself as a god, but this was the first time she had met anyone who treated him like one. She wasn't sure if she should take her brother and run, or shoot herself and get it over it. SURELY this was a sign of the Apocalypse looming.

It unnerved her, even more, how...nice he treated the kid. She could see clear signs that he was manipulating the kid, of course. But Izaya always did so to make the kid feel better, and it was unsettling to see how soft his eyes went when the kid tried his best to copy him right back. It almost made her wonder if maybe manipulating people was the only way Izaya knew how to show love for people. Namie shuddered at the realisation. Great. Now there was two of them!

She stared over at the desk where the two of them were putting their heads together and giggled over something that was written on the online forum Izaya was always hanging on. She wasn't jealous; she had her beloved Seji-kun after all. Even if he didn't have time to be with his big sister all that much, she had someone too damn it! And she did NOT think that they sometimes looked like adorable little kids. She cursed Haru to hell and back for even putting such stupid ideas into her head.

"Izaya! Get your lazy ass back to work! I'm not going to sit here and watch you goof off all day and risk losing clients!" She glared over at them.
Haru looked a bit crestfallen at her sharp tone, but Izaya just smirked like he always did.

"Ara, are ya jealous much, Namie-san?" Izaya teased, and Namie tightened her lips, glaring even more.
Damned ESP skills. It was downright creepy sometimes.

"Tch. I don't want to be left without a job when the Yakuza kills you for not doing your job," she stated angrily.

Izaya just laughed and patted Haru's head. Haru was slowly getting more used to Namie's harsh words against her dad, and the hatred she held for him, but he still felt a sting of fear whenever someone raised their voice in anger.

Izaya frowned slightly at his son. He would have to correct that. It wouldn't do to have his son fear confrontations. Izaya stretched like a cat and got up, after typing a goodbye in the chat.

"Ah, well... I might as well teach you the ropes kiddo." He smiled down at Haru, ruffling his hair. "C'mon!" He grabbed his jacket and headed for the door.

"I can come with you when you're working!" Haru ran after his dad. "For real?!"

Haru was excited! His daddy had never allowed him to come with him to work before! He always said it was too dangerous for a kid. He couldn't WAIT to see what his dad did when he wasn't pouring over the computer, or being chased by Shizuo-san!

"Well, it's a bit early for work, but I figured we'd have some fun at Sunshine 60 first, and then you can come with me later tonight for an appointment."

Izaya chucked at the joyful expression that fluttered across his son's face at the thought of being allowed to come and watch him work. The Dursley's had sure done a number on this kid, for him to think that he wasn't even important enough, or maybe not useful enough to be able to watch the grownups work.

Izaya had to hide a devious smirk. Oh, he was not going to stop at that! He would teach Haru how to do the same things that Izaya did, and at the same time, cement the kid's love and devotion to him. He could hardly wait to see how this highly interesting human would turn out!

* * *

It wasn't an unusual sight, exactly, that met the people who were walking down the street towards sunshine 60 that day. A father that worked as the occasional balance adjuster for a son that insisted on balancing on the railings wasn't entirely uncommon...depending on the area. It was much more WHO that father was. Izaya did, after all, have quite a reputation. Both good and bad, depending on who you were talking to.

But nobody in their right mind would ever trust him with a kid!

Izaya laughed as Haru was chatting excitedly about how he wanted to see all the fishes in the aquarium, and how Walter and Erica had gushed about something called 'Namjatown' or something at Sunshine 60.

Izaya merely smiled indulgently and steadied Haru yet again, while keeping up a reasonable walking pace. Haru would have to learn how to move quickly, even while balancing, and he was already pretty good at balancing on things, even as thin as the railings next to the road, but Izaya wasn't going to go easy on him. He pulled his phone out and checked the time.

"We have about 4 hours or so before I'm going to meet that girl I was talking to you about. I thought I'd be the nice, kind dad that I am and reward my hardworking son with a trip to Sunshine 60~" Izaya said and grinned as Haru almost lost his footing at the shock.

"Really?" Haru said incredulously.

He had been trying very hard to please his daddy and do the things he told him to do, but he never expected to get rewarded for it. The Dursley's certainly never did.

"Really!" Izaya said with laughter in his voice and a slight smirk.

Izaya fully understood the importance of gaining the trust and love of his recently acquired son, before he started pushing him into giving up on everyone else. He didn't like sharing, and he couldn't help but worry that he might lose him someday if he didn't make hundred percent sure that the kid was emotionally dependent on him, and him alone.

Izaya would use ANY means to make sure that his kid wouldn't end up breaking his fragile heart. It was unnerving enough that he had allowed the kid to wheedle his way into his heart in the first place, he'd be damned if he lost him now!

"Yappai~!" Haru said and tried to spin with his hands in the air like his daddy so often did.

Sadly, Haru wasn't as good as his daddy just yet, so he toppled over and fell, but Izaya was right there to catch him.

Haru had never in his life felt so safe and so happy as right now, at this moment. The fact that he didn't berate Haru for anything he ever does, and actively encouraged him to do whatever it was that he felt like doing, as long as he took the proper safety precautions to avoid death, made his little heart overflow with love for his daddy.

This strange, funny, unusual man that had saved him from the cops, and in many ways, also rescued him from the Dursley's. He was slowly beginning to realise that he would never have done what he did without Izaya there to encourage him, in that manipulative way of his.

But Haru didn't see anything wrong about that. He used it to save him, after all. It was just how his daddy showed love. Haru considered this for a moment as they walked towards the gigantic shopping mall of fun, and decided in his little heart that he too would learn to manipulate people like that. He would show his daddy he loved him; he would! Haru was determined.

"Remember to keep your tummy muscles straight, ne~" Izaya chuckles at his adorable son, whom promptly blushes and wiggles out of his daddy's grip to climb back up on the railing again.
'Never give up, never stop trying', he can hear his dad's voice echoing in his memories.

If he fell, even if he hurt himself, he had to get back on. He couldn't allow fear to stop him from doing something. It had been one of the first lessons Izaya had taught him.

'Fall seven times, get up eight.' And Haru was determined not to let his dad down. He would get up no matter how many times he fell in the attempt! The possibility that Izaya might have had too high expectations for a 5-year-old never even crossed his mind.

* * *

As they approached Sunshine 60, Haru jumped down off the railing he had been balancing on and stepped closer to hold his daddy's hand. The sheer amount of people who were shopping today was a bit overwhelming, even if he had gotten used to Tokyo in general by this time.

He was happy that his dad usually preferred to walk, rather than take the subway. Especially during the rush-hours. He had heard how people complained about how crowded the subway was at rush-hour, and he didn't want to be forcefully pushed into a ton of strangers.

"Daddy! Daddy! Look~! Oh!, Oh! Can we go to the aquarium?! And Namjatown?!" Haru yelled excitedly as he saw the large mall come into sight.

"Of course, we can. I have to spoil my son a little for studying so hard, ne~?" Izaya said with an indulgent chuckle and patted his head.

He knew how important it was to reward people for doing what he wanted them to do. And from the way Haru beamed up at him at the praise, he was sure that it also helped Haru love him all the more. He smiled down at his new...son.

He chuckled to himself as he patted Haru’s hair. It felt damned weird to say he had a son, considering he was only 23 years old and preferred to pretend that he was only 21, but what was it, people said again? 'Shoganai'. 'It can't be helped.'

He supposed that for once, the saying was quite fitting. He couldn't help getting attached to the adorable child that showed such promise to become very, very interesting.
To think...a child capable of killing someone at the age of 5! What would he grow up to be? What were his limits? How would he evolve?!

Izaya was very, very excited at the prospect and equally determined to not risk losing him for ANY reason. He knew his fragile heart would never be able to handle it. Moreover, he knew he couldn't always be there to protect him.

So, he was determined to teach him to protect himself. As well as using every trick he knew to make sure that Haru would love and adore him, and be loyal to Izaya, and absolutely nobody else!
He couldn't risk Haru getting attached to anyone but him! What if he decided to leave him someday? He couldn't take that risk! Just thinking about it made his heartache.

Izaya shook off the depressive thoughts and focused on plotting which actions to take to achieve his desired result. Could he manipulate some other child to befriend him, and then make him abandon him maybe? Or should he use an adult? Which was the best way to teach him that he couldn't trust anyone but his daddy?

As Izaya plotted Haru's future, Haru was pulling him along, blissfully unaware of the manipulations and potential heartache and pain that was being planned by the brilliant mastermind that was walking beside him, and that wore a mask of kind generously and looked upon Haru with such fondness that it made his heart swell.

If that look seemed a bit dark and obsessive at times, well Haru didn't have anyone normal that ever loved him, and so, to Haru, this was what love looked like. It was a million times better than what his so-called 'family' looked at him with at least. It made him determined to never, ever, ever let his beloved daddy down. What if he abandoned him?

What if Haru wasn't good enough? Haru felt the cold grip of fear just thinking about it. He would make sure that his daddy was happy with him! He would! He'd work super-hard! He nodded to himself in determination.

Then Haru grinned happily up at his daddy. He was the best daddy in the whole wide world! And the only person to ever treat him with so much kindness. He even took him to beautiful places, and listened to him when he asked for something! Haru wanted very much to hug him, but he knew his dad wasn't overly fond of body-contact, and from what he had gathered from the culture lessons, you shouldn't do that in public anyway.

So Haru was content with just holding his daddy's hand as if he was afraid he might get separated from him in the crowd. From the way his daddy smiled that sneaky smile of his when he tightened his grip and moved closer, he felt sure his daddy knew what he was thinking. His daddy seemed like he could read minds sometimes. He wasn't sure if it was scary, or just awesome.

"Oh, oh, Daddy~! Can we go to the aquarium? Please-please-please?!" Haru asked again, bouncing up and down as he tugged Izaya's jacket and pulled him with him.
Izaya chuckled and jumped on top of a fence and spun around to face his son.

"Sure, son. It's on the rooftop. Race you there~!" Izaya said and took off with a laugh.

"Wait! Daaaad!" Haru yelled and started running after him. "You're cheating dadddy~!" He yelled after Izaya.

All he got in return was a burst of laughter as Izaya jumped over some person's luggage as he headed for the escalator.

* * *

When Haru finally found his way to the aquarium, he glared at his dad and promptly kicked his leg.

"No fair! You know this place, and I don't!" He said with a glare. His dad just laughed jovially and patted his head.

"Life isn't fair. If you walk around expecting the world to be fair, you'll be sorely disappointed," Izaya paused, giving his son a look.

Haru paused. That look meant that he was expected to figure something out. His dad was telling him something important, but without saying it.

"So... You're saying..." Haru thought hard. "I shouldn't expect fair play?"

Izaya sighed at his son, and Haru suddenly felt terrible. He had disappointed his daddy, he knew it! Haru felt the cold grip of fear that he never quite managed to get rid of and stiffened. His eyes widened in surprise as Izaya hugged him, knowing his dad must have read what he was thinking again.

"Don't worry about it, son. You're still young. You'll learn."

Izaya smiled his usual charming, reassuring smile at Haru. Sometimes he forgot that his son was so young. He couldn't expect him to understand everything just yet and had to be patient, teaching him what he needed to know.

Izaya didn't quite understand why, but the thought of teaching his kid all the skills he needed to survive in the cruel, wonderful world filled him with a strange, glowing warm feeling in his chest that he had never felt before. He felt like hugging him again, and so he did.

"You're not entirely wrong, Haru." Izaya knelt down in front of Haru, talking to him in a more serious voice, well, as serious as Izaya ever got. "Playing fair is for suckers. People who play fair will always lose to those who don't play fair. Which is one of the many reasons that so many people who have understood how the world works, also have learned not to play fair." He looked at Haru, wondering if he had to spell it out for him. How much DID kids understand he wondered?

"Oh!" Haru light up in understanding. "So, I shouldn't expect that people play fair, because the world isn't fair, and I shouldn't play fair too! No, wait. What you're saying is..." Haru paused to think hard about it.

"Haru..." Izaya started, but Haru interrupted him.

"No! I can get this!" Haru said stubbornly, and Izaya felt a tingle of pride.

At least he had taught Haru to think for himself. That was an achievement in itself, considering how much that kid had been instructed to obey blindly in his early life.

"If life isn't fair...and if fairness depends on the person...and every person views the world differently...then..." Haru paused. "Fairness doesn't matter!" Haru yelled out, then covered his mouth and blushed. He hadn't meant to be so loud, as he was just excited to have solved the riddle.

"That's right, son. Fair or not fair...it doesn't matter. You accept the world for what it is; Accept humans for what they are..."

"...without judgment," Haru almost whispered in awe as he looked up at the benign smile on his father's face as he smiled down at him.

It was moments like this that made Haru think his father was an all-seeing, all-forgiving God.

He always, always knew what Haru was feeling, and what he needed to hear and he never judged him. Izaya never judged humans. No matter what they did to him, or how cruel they were to him.
Haru stared up at his dad in quiet admiration and swore to himself to be more like his dad. He too would learn not to judge. Not ever! No matter what humans did, they were doing what it was in human nature to do.

Humans were always lying, cheating, stealing and stabbing each other in the back while pretending to be their best friend. The world wasn't going to change to accommodate any single person. Because then, what about everyone else?

So, each person had to look out for themselves, because nobody else would. Because you cannot be sure who you can trust, and who you can't. Everyone was ultimately looking out for themselves...which meant that you couldn't trust anyone. Ever.

Humans knew that. Or...some humans knew that. And then they also knew that sometimes they had to do horrible things to get by. But were those things so horrific then? If they served some purpose...If they filled a need.

Haru shook his head. No, he decided.

'There are no such things as horrible acts. All there was were people, humans, and the millions of individual motives that collided and slid around each-other like dancing galaxies as he had seen on tv. And it was beautiful!' Haru thought breathlessly.

"Thank you..." Haru whispered and hugged his dad tightly. He felt like someone who had just experienced religious enlightenment, and for the first time, they could see the world, in all its complexity, bathed in the divine light of the heavens.

There was no good or evil; there were only humans and humans were never good or bad. What was it his daddy loved to quote?

'It is ridiculous to separate people into good and bad. Humans are either tedious or charming.'

Something like that, Haru thought. It made so much sense now! When he stepped back to look up at his dad, the brilliant smile, and worshipping look on his face melted Izaya's cold heart just a little bit more.

* * *

Haru smiled as he enjoyed his daddy's favourite hobby; People-watching. They were sitting in a cafe that had a good view of the streets below, and Haru felt happy just by looking at his daddy's serene smile as he watched over his beloved humans.

He had to admit he was beginning to enjoy watching over humans with his daddy, with Izaya ever so often pointing out different people that were interacting, and making Haru guess what they could be talking about, or at least what kind of emotions they seemed to be experiencing.

It was difficult, especially for adults who were hiding their feelings so much, but Haru felt he was getting better and better under his daddy's guidance.
Izaya pulled out his Mobilphone and typed something on it, then checked the time.

"Alright, kiddo. Time for us to get going! Oh, this city is never still! So many humans, so little time~!" Izaya practically bounced with excitement as Haru rushed to keep up.

His dad didn't mean to leave him behind, but Haru knew that he sometimes forgot himself when he was in an excitable mood, and his...no...their beloved humans, and his daddy's games going well, always seemed to get him in a volatile mood.

Haru couldn't help but smile. How different wasn't this from those awful, awful people who called themselves Haru's family? Haru was yet again struck with an immense feeling of gratitude towards his daddy. He'd never, ever, ever let him down! No matter what! And they'd be together forever and ever and ever. His daddy said so!

But right now, Haru couldn't help but wonder what it was that his daddy was going to do, and where they were going. For some reason, maybe in an attempt to teach Haru to learn how to predict people or something, he never told Haru where they were going, and encouraged Haru to try and guess it himself, using logic, reason and knowledge of the person in question.

Except with Izaya...you never could be too sure. He changed so often. But that made it all the more fun. His daddy was the best daddy in the whole wide world, and nothing could convince Haru otherwise!

"Come on Haru! We gotta take the subway for this," Izaya said and grabbed Haru's hand, so he wouldn't accidentally lose his son in the evening rush.

Well, it wasn't quite rush-hour yet, but it was getting close, and there was always a risk of overcrowding when you left a popular station like Ikebukuro.

"Where are we going daddy?" Haru asked curiously as he placed his Pasimo card on the beeping machine to the entrance, before waiting for his daddy to do the same.

"Ginza," Izaya said, in a whimsical moment of sharing. "Shiki-san's bosses were worried some foreigners were trying to hog their lucrative drug-business out there. You remember Shiki, ne?" Izaya said and smiled down at his son.

"Mh!" Haru nodded rapidly.

He hadn't been allowed to come with his daddy when he picked him up but had watched him from the cafe he was dropped of outside. He didn't like that he had to wait for his daddy, but he understood that the Yakuza was not to be trifled with.

It only made Haru more determined to learn how to defend himself better. He wished he had a knife like his daddy. He tried to hint at it, but so far, he hadn't gotten one. He wasn't sure if he would ever get one, but he always looked for a folding-knife in every store they went to. This far though, he hadn't found anything, to Haru's big disappointment.

The trip there took entirely too long for Haru's liking, being pressed against the butt of some businessperson that was entirely too animated and twitchy to be on his way home Haru wondered if he was going to see his mistress or something, and decided to ask his dad about that later.

His daddy knew everything. And what he didn't know, he always found out. Haru pressed closer to his daddy for balance, and the subway rolled to a stop, precisely on time as usual.

He vaguely remembered a few times back in Surrey he had to go on the bus, and it seemed like it was always late, but here, it was continuously accurate, down to the second. Haru had laughed hard when he read the public apology one company had made in the newspaper when their train had been a single minute too late, but now he was getting used to it, and his memories of Surrey was slowly fading from his mind. He didn't like to think about that horrible time, in fact, he tried very, very hard to forget it.

"Come on, Haru. Hurry up!" Izaya urged him and pulled him off the subway at a quick pace. As soon as they hit the streets, Izaya let go of Haru's hand, and let him fend for himself as he rushed to keep up with the fast pace and high stamina of his daddy.

It was times like these, with the increasing crowds of people, that Haru muttered silent thanks to whatever whimsical gods that may or may not exist that his daddy wore a jacket that stood out as much as it did. Especially since nothing else stood out, and he would have lost sight of him in a second.

He watched his daddy weaving left and right through the crowd, apparently knowing exactly where they were going, even if he hesitated slightly here and there. Izaya was not quite as familiar with Ginza as he was with Ikebukuro and Shinjuku, but dealings with the Yakuza brought him into their centre of business now and then.

Haru watched his father pick up a camera that was neatly concealed by some bushes, and rested on a beanbag.

"What are you doing?" Haru wondered curiously.

"Ah, you see... Over there is one of the spots those deals I was talking to you about usually take place, according to the rumours."

Izaya smiled down at Haru, tossing the beanbag to him, and placing the small camera into his pocket.

"Why a beanbag?" Haru stared at it with curiosity.

"Stability," Izaya said as if it explained everything. "Come on. We have a lot of cameras to pick up." Then he smirked at Haru. "Then you get to spend aaaaall night watching them!" Izaya laughed at the disgruntled face of his son.

"Joy...." Haru muttered.

Izaya had made him watch tapes like this before with him, teaching him how to look for whatever clues it was that his client was asking him to find. It was boring. So, so boring...

* * *

Haru woke up after having fallen asleep watching the videos from last night and looked around in confusion.

'I'm in my room?'

He pushed his blanket away from him and got up from him comfortable futon. Voices were coming from the office, and Haru realised he must have woken up from that.

Well, there was a voice, but his dad sounded like he was talking to someone else, yet he never heard them respond. Was he on the phone with a client? Haru decided to sneak a peek at the office. He wasn't allowed in there when his dad had a client present, but it never hurt to listen in.

"Not really." Izaya chuckled. "Unlike a certain perverted, black-marked scholar, I don't lust after headless or bodiless girl--" Haru was about to snicker to himself when he saw a black, rope-like shadow swirl from the hand of his daddy's client to wrap itself around his neck.

Haru covered his mouth to stop himself from screaming. He wanted to burst in there and save his daddy, but he was just a kid, what could he do?! His admiration for his dad grew when he watched his daddy merely smile. His life was in danger, but all his daddy did, was laughing and continue talking as if nothing had happened.

"I'm sure you two love each other, ne?" His daddy said in a condescending voice, and Haru wished he could see what the mysterious black-clad person was typing on her mobile phone? But he was too far away and faced his dad more than the dark shadow sitting on the couch.

Haru kept listening in to their conversation, his eyes growing wider and wider with each word. Headless? Dula-Dullahan? What was that person his daddy was talking so calmly with?! At least the creature released the dark shadow-rope, and it looked like his daddy had talked himself out of it.

Haru decided that he would learn how he did that! It must be an incredible skill to have to be able to talk your way out of danger!

He watched his dad break out in that sharp, mocking laughter of his at something the other person said.

"That's surprising! You've become even more human!" Izaya laughed, and it was sinking in that, that thing - whatever it was - was not human.

Was it a monster? It seemed dangerous, with the swirly shadow thing that threatened to strangles his daddy.

Bits and pieces of the puzzle were coming together to Haru. The creature - whatever it was - seemed to have lost her head somehow and was still looking for it. Was she trying to get his daddy to find it for her? Was that why she was here? He did sometimes find people and property that went missing. He listened in fascination at the tale of Saika.

Finally, the creature went up and left in a rather thoughtful mood.

"You can come out now Haru~," his dad said in a sing-song voice.

Haru flushed with embarrassment at having been caught and flinched in fear as he approached the desk of his smirking father. He gulped heavily, wondering how badly his dad would punish him. Surely, something like this would merit a punishment, no matter how nice his dad was.

"So... Did you learn something new?" Izaya asked with a mischievous grin, ignoring the fear that was bothering his son.

Honestly, he had to break Haru out of that habit. He had to learn that the only appropriate response to fear was to run away, or failing that, fighting. Not to merely accept whatever punishment that was coming your way. What kind of life was that?

"Y...you're not mad?" Haru looked at his daddy with big eyes.

"Why would I be? Listening, sneaking, stealth, they are important life skills. You need to work on concealing yourself better, so that next time, I won't notice you're there."

Then he smiled an unnerving smile down at his son. The fear flashed through Haru again.

"But you can't trust all humans to be as understanding as me, Haru. Some humans will do pretty mean things to you if they discover you. So always be careful never to get caught, okay?" Izaya got up and smiled as he patted Haru's unruly hair.

Haru's eyes went wide with wonder.

"So...it's...it's not bad?" Haru said, and Izaya sighed, making Haru feel horrible for disappointing his beloved father.

"Oh, Haru..." Haru felt guilt and shame drop like a heavy rock in his stomach. "What did I tell you? THINK Haru. Think!"

Izaya sounded frustrated, although the frustration was more for show than anything else. It was important that his son learned this, and if he felt sorry about it, it would make him learn faster.

"Um...I..." Haru stuttered, trying desperately to figure out what his daddy wanted of him. Then it hit him. "Oh! That...that there are no good or bad acts? But then why do people punish people? And why do people things they get punished for? But if they're not bad, then...then..."

Izaya sighed and then launched into a long, convoluted lecture about human morals, society as a whole, and how all forms of laws, morals and norms were a human invention. However, Izaya was interrupted by another client ten minutes into the lecture and told his son to buy the Audible speech called Explaining Social Deviance by professor Paul Root Wolpe, before he promptly ran out the door, leaving a confused Haru behind to fumble for his phone before he forgot the name.

'Great' he thought. 'The whole damned lecture is in English....' Haru was barely allowed to speak while in the care of his Aunt and Uncle, and after he learned Japanese, he never wanted to think about those bad days at all. Consequencially, his english was slowly deteriorating, and lectures always used such big words too...

Chapter Text

 

 


"Why is this so important to you? And why are you making all this...Eggu-noggu...thing?" Izaya complained to his son.
Because it's Christmas, dad!" Haru said and stared up at his daddy with his best puppy-dog eyes. "And...I had to watch my cousin getting gifts year after year, and I never got any! Why can't I have presents too, daddy?" He said, making sure to choke up a little. Izaya stared at his son, his eyes wide in horror.


"Stop looking at me like that!" Izaya yelped out, but Haru kept up the puppy-dog look. Were they actually getting...bigger?! Izaya backed away in horror. He didn't like this...tugging at his heartstring. He didn't like it at all! "Stop it!" He stumbled backwards over a stack of books and fell to the floor.


"Okay! Okay! You can have your Christmas! And gifts! Just stop looking at me!" Izaya screeched out and ran for his bedroom, unable to handle these scary emotions any more. He failed to see the devious smirk of his son as he shut the door behind him and made a decision there and then to order some western doors, the kind that came with a lock, just so he could escape those horrible, adorable, painful, green gems that he was sure would haunt his nightmares forever!

 


So it was that a few weeks later, and a lot of strings pulled, Namie was seriously contemplating a carrier change to join the Yakuza, or American chemists...or absolutely ANYTHING that didn't involve standing in a line in KFC to pick up their overrated Christmas special meal for Christmas for her irritatingly insane boss. The absolutely only upside to this was that she would get Christmas off as soon as she was done here, and she got a nice, fat bonus check, with which she had bought THE most romantic gift for her dear brother. She briefly wondered if she could somehow get close enough to that hussy he was chasing after to hospitalise her so he would spend this romantic holiday with her instead.

 


 

"Namie~ There's enough food here for four people! Were you going to steal some for your incestuous romantic rendezvous?!" Izaya exclaimed in shock as his secretary picked up her jacket and got ready to leave.


"You ordered the food. I just picked it up." Namie said grumpily, not about to let her annoying employee stop her from her well deserved day off.
"They must have gotten it mixed up. Namieeee~" Izaya whined, much to Haru's amusement.


"Too bad you don't have a dog!" Namie said and slammed the door shut, refusing to spend her precious time off arguing with the managers of a fast-food chain when she was planning to surprise her brother with her beautifully decorated homemade Christmas cake.


"But... What do I do with all this food?!" Izaya yelled after her in despair. Then he sighed and looked at his son, who was trying hard not to laugh.
Just then, a glimpse of gold in the streets below caught Haru's attention.


"Don't worry dad! I know how to fix this!" He grabbed his jacket and keys. "Just play along when I get back, ne?" Haru grinned mischievously.
"What are you..." Izaya narrowed his eyes suspiciously at his son.
"Just play along! You'll see~" Haru yelled back as he ran outside, leaving Izaya to stare at the mountain of food in despair.

 



"Hey, kid. Didn't expect to see anyone outside today. Freaking cold," Shizuo grunted out and light another cigarette to hide the small smile that threatened to break out when he saw the hyper kid bounce down the street. It always irritated him when Izaya did that, but now he realised how damned cute and childlike it was... He refused to finish that thought.
"Hello, Shizu-c..san~," Haru said, quickly changing the honorifics when he saw Shizuo's eyebrow twitch. His daddy always used -chan, but he supposed his daddy was much closer than he was. It was like they were dating already. A wicked grin threatened to break out on his face as he pondered the possibilities, but he managed to keep it innocent and child-like...suspiciously so. Shizuo narrowed his eyes at him, and Haru almost winced. His dad was right...the man was a walking lie-detector. Or...whatever. It was like he could smell when someone was up to something. He decided to distract him before he could think too hard about his smile.


"So what are you doing all alone on Christmas? I would have thought the ladies were all over someone as strong and handsome as you," Haru said with child-like innocence. Shizuo laughed bitterly, before chocking on the cigarette smoke.


"Nobody wants a monster like me, kiddo. It's not like in the mangas. You'll understand when you're older," Shizuo stated, all too used to being shunned.
"My dad does," Haru said, in a way that made it sound like he was speaking the absolute truth. At Shizuo's incredulous and somewhat sceptic look, he quickly continued. "He won't admit it. Not in a million years. But I've seen the way he looks at you and talks about you! And he keeps a picture of you in his drawer!" Haru said, wide-eyed. Which was true...as of late...even if it was because Haru had put it there, and Izaya was always half asleep when he opened his underwear drawer and didn't notice.


"Sure. And the sun rises in the west," Shizuo snorted. If Izaya really liked him, he had a funny way of showing it. Usually with a knife.


"Nuh-uh. It's true! He's just scared of getting close to someone and being hurt, so he does mean things to scare them away. I think that he thinks that as long as people hate him, at least they won't forget about him, and they can't make him love them and leave him or something," Haru said, his voice filled with conviction. He was totally getting better at this, he decided as he watched Shizuo hesitate just a little. He wasn't buying into the idea just yet, but he was considering it.

If Haru was right, Shizuo needed to believe that there was someone who wasn't scared of him, someone who wanted him. The few days he spent with him, and the occasional other times they had met before made Haru think that Shizuo really just wanted love like everyone else. He supposed that even monsters needed someone to love and be loved by... It was undoubtedly true for aunt Celty. At least from what his dad told him about her.


"Hmm," Shizuo grunted non-committing as he pondered what the kid said. Sure, would be nice to have someone, anyone, that would...well...he'd always longed for a wife and a family, like everyone else. He always wanted just that nice, normal life... He stared down at the happily bouncing kid, wearing a copy of his father's jacket and looking too damned cute for his own good. He supposed...if he allowed himself to think about it, the kid's dad looked pretty cute sometimes too.

He smiled slightly to himself as he remembered the time he had seen some dogs chase him up a light-pole. And his joyful, carefree expression when he balanced on the walls...arms to the side...and when he ate that stinky tuna-roll shit. At least before he noticed Shizuo coming and started ru...he didn't start running, he realised. Izaya always talked to him, like it was nothing. He dodged whatever Shizuo threw at him and then taunted him like Shizuo couldn't have killed him just a second earlier.


He wasn't too sure about what this kid was saying, but he had to admit that it felt kinda...good...to have someone, even an enemy, that wasn't afraid of him. Haru broke him out of his thoughts before he could get any further.


"Oh! That's what I was gonna ask you! Daddy ordered way too much food, I think he did it on purpose...and when we saw you in the streets, he told me to invite you up. Oh, shoot! I wasn't supposed to say that he said it!" Haru schooled his face into a suitably horrified expression. "Please don't tell him I told you! He'll be so embarrassed..." Damn. He still couldn't blush on command, though he managed to look appropriately bashful.


Shizuo felt a strange, warm glow in his chest at the kid's words. Izaya had indeed said that?! He felt a very slight heat in his cheeks and turned away to cough to get rid of the embarrassing lump in his throat.


"Yeah, sure, kiddo. I won't tell."


He smiled and placed a hand on Haru's head and carefully ruffled his hair, pushing the kid down closer to the ground, just a little. He smiled even more as he heard Haru's happy laughter, and he was yet again reminded that those strange Oriharas didn't seem to be afraid of him at all. The small hope in his chest that refused to die, no matter what he told himself, blossomed up in his chest again.

 



They might not be normal. Heck, his potential 'wife' wasn't even a girl. But... they might be...just maybe...a family...

"Daddy~ Look, I brought Shizuo-san like you told me~!" Haru yelled as they entered the apartment.


Izaya quickly hid the look of incredulity and surprise that fluttered across his face. And just as quickly replaced it with a genuine look of suspicion. He knew his son was up to something, but he didn't know what. Which made him feel butterflies of excitement, and made him look at Shizuo with a gleeful, almost giddy expression that someone with the right expectations...or rather the wrong ones...might mistake for infatuation.


"Why, hello Shizuo~chan~" Izaya chirped, in his usual chipper voice. "We happen to have too much food, it'd be so sad if it went to waste. You'll help us eat it, ne~?" Izaya grinned when Shizuo stared at him with a confused look...as if he'd never seen him before.


He stared back curiously, wondering what the heck his son had told the Monster to make him act so...strange.


"I...uh..." Shizuo looked nervous, which was highly irregular behaviour for him. "Can't let the kid down on Christmas," he settled with.


It wasn't a lie, but it also wasn't the entire truth. He had always been annoyed by the nickname Izaya had for him. Made him sound like a girl or something, feh. But now, in the light of what Haru had told him...some girls did use -chan on their boyfriends, and he wondered if maybe it was more a term of endearment, or if Izaya just wanted to irritate him enough. So he missed things like that stupid, dare-he-say, longing look on his face.

Oh, he changed expression pretty damned quick, but now that Shizuo knew what to look for, he realised that Izaya was always wearing a mask. An irritating, flea-like mask! But a mask non the less... The kid said he was just scared of being hurt, and he wondered how someone could be afraid of that when they didn't fear a monster like him? It was all making him feel terribly embarrassed, so he sat down and tried to cover it up by changing the subject.


"Ever gonna serve that food or what?!" he demanded, fighting back a blush at being stared at that intently.


"Hai-hai!" Izaya said and chuckled.


He went to fetch the plates, waving Haru over to start putting out the food on the plates that he had already put there while Haru was out.


Shizuo was terrible at hiding his emotions, and yet somehow Izaya could never even begin to guess what he was thinking. It was absolutely fascinating! Er...as a study of a wild beast. Naturally.

He was nothing at all like his beloved humans. Thus he had to study him. Yupp.
That was the only reason!


It had absolutely nothing to do with his good looks and beastly strength, and how the exiting danger he exuded from every pore of his body. Izaya shuddered in excitement at the thought and cursed himself. He might be a coward, but he was terrible at lying to himself. No matter how good he was at lying to everyone else. He accepted himself for who he was and what he wanted. No matter what anyone else said. He refused to judge himself, even if the mere thought was unsettling in so many ways.


In the meantime, Haru finished setting up the table, and then he placed a bottle of beer in front of his dad and a glass of wine in front of Shizuo before they could even protest. Of course, Shizuo still tried to claim he didn't drink, while Izaya amusingly popped the cork off it, using the table for leverage.


"It's traditional," Haru insisted, giving Shizuo his best puppy-dog eyes. Shizuo sighed.


"Alright... Just one glass." Shizuo said and sniffed it sceptically, making a face at the taste. Too damned bitter. But he stopped Haru when he tried to open a bottle of beer for himself.


"Not for kids!" Shizuo grumbled as he swiped the bottle, ignoring Haru's pouting. "Kids drink...milk...or something," he grumbled, much to the amusement of the other two. "Coke rots your teeth," he added when Haru went to the fridge and got out a bottle of said sugary treat, but he made no move to stop him.


It did make him think that he was right. Izaya made a shitty dad, no matter how much he might love the kid. Kids needed someone to teach them right from wrong, and Izaya didn't even know the difference himself!


They shared the meal with what was a surprisingly pleasant atmosphere, and both Izaya and Haru seemed to go out of their way to make him laugh, and talk about things he liked. It was...pleasant. And strange. He felt accepted in a way, not even his best friends achieved. Even Celty disliked his violent rampages, but here was the man who had seen him at his very worst, a man whom he had hurt on several occasions and an innocent child, who should be scared of a monster like him.


Yet they weren't.


They accepted and forgave him for what he was, even his most horrible sins. And he realised that once he put aside his constant suspicions, and Izaya wasn't taunting him, he actually enjoyed their company. Listening to the story Haru told about the one time when his dad ended up helping him ride the lama in the petting zoo, and they were chased by this rabid zoo-keeper, Shizuo couldn't help but laugh joyfully. How long was it since he had felt this carefree and happy he wondered.


Suddenly an image popped into his head about him helping Izaya raise the little hellion. In a short flash, he saw himself reading to him before bed, telling him the stories and legends that his mother told him. The ones that taught him how to be kind to others and stand up for himself. He saw himself coming home after a hard day's work to this very scene; a nice, pleasant dinner and that happy feeling inside of him grew. Was it peace? Was this what happiness felt like? He quickly suppressed the warm smile that threatened to break out on his lips. 'Family'... Huh?

After dinner, Haru ushered them over to the couch, and Izaya turned on the TV. Haru rushed back into the kitchen to fetch the traditional Christmas cake, although Shizuo quickly took away the knife from him, despite his adorable pouting, and went to cut the cake himself. He glanced over at Izaya, but he was busy with putting on some kind of DVD, and probably hadn't even noticed Haru running around with a knife...though on second thought, it was Izaya! He probably didn't see anything wrong with letting his kid play with knives. He glared at Izaya's back. He was not looking at how his perfectly shaped ass was wriggling in the air as he bent over to put in the DVD. Nope, not at all. The slight blush to his cheeks was undoubtedly caused by the wine.


Well, he supposed he would have to come by here more often just to make sure Haru was raised right and didn't play with knives. It was the only right thing to do. That was the only reason, really!


"Oh, dad! You have to give Shizuo your present!" Haru suddenly said and ran for his work desk.


"Haru, what are you..." He stopped himself as he noticed the devious look on his son's face, before wondering how the heck the kid had gotten into his drawers. He always locked them so Namie wouldn't snoop around there. At the same time, Shizuo stared incredulously after Haru.


"Present...?" He blinked, unsure how to react.


Izaya had gotten HIM a gift?! He felt strange...touched. He'd never gotten a present for Christmas before.* Mainly because no woman would ever date him for long, if at all. He tended to scare them away with his freakish strength.


He turned towards Izaya, who was now holding a gift-wrapped box of some kind, and he suddenly got curious about what he could possibly have gotten him...and why did Izaya look so amused? Could he see what he was thinking? Shizuo had a small breakdown at the idea of Izaya realising what was going on in his mind, which in turn made Izaya even more amused, although he had no idea why Shizuo clearly had a panic attack.


"Of course I had to get my favourite monster a little something, something~" Izaya chirped, highly amused by his son's scheme...and a bit curious.


He had to admit that for all his information gathering, he didn't exactly have a file on Shizuo-chan. Although he suddenly felt like he should be making one. It seems like Haru was quite intent on adding the monster to their lives. He mentally sighed. He supposed all children needed a pet. At least this one could feed and walk itself. "Movie premier tickets...?" Shizuo said confused.


"For your brother's new movie. Where he signs autographs and meets with the audience at the after-party!" Haru chirped. "Dad knows how much you love your brother and how you don't get to see him enough!" Haru grinned and nudged his dad with his elbow.


"Happy Christmas, Shizuo-chan~," Izaya said, spreading his arms wide in a pretence of generously.


It was wonderfully amusing to watch how Shizuo's eyes widened, and he looked up at Izaya with a shocked expression. Maybe his son was onto something. Shizuo had such honest expressions. Non of his humans were ever like that, not to the same degree as Shizuo-chan.


"...Those are REALLY expensive!" Shizuo said with wonder in his voice. "And almost impossible to get..."


He blinked back a tear at the thought, money and hard work that must have gotten into acquiring one of those. Even his brother hadn't been allowed to give those away as they were sold to the more wealthy fans as a means to raise money for charity.


"Thank you..." Shizuo said breathlessly, pulling Izaya into a very awkward bear-hug.


He could hear a sharp intake of breath from Izaya as he did so, and he had to wonder, yet again, if Haru might be right about Izaya...liking him. He blushed at the thought and tightened his grip, suddenly wondering if he heard right, as Izaya seemed to breathlessly mutter something that sounded suspiciously like 'oh, god...'


Izaya on his side was mortified. He wasn't used to getting hugs, but this close proximity to the blond beast did something to him. The way he crushed him as he tightened his embrace made Izaya wonder about certain...other things...that beast could do. It didn't help that his blood went straight south, making his pants uncomfortably tight. It was incredibly embarrassing, and he prayed that Shizuo was too focused on the gift to notice his predicament.


Shizuo looked at the tickets again. Tickets...as in plural.


"Izaya...why are there two of them...?" He asked hesitantly. Luckily for Izaya he was good at thinking on his feet and knew how humans usually worked, or this would have been even more embarrassing. That, and he was a hell of a good liar.


"Silly Shizuo-chan~" Izaya rubbed his head, as if embarrassed. "Like I'd let you go alone to a party like that. Somebody has to protect my humans there from a monster like you, ne? And protect you from the vicious women, when they realise you're related to their beloved movie-star," he added thoughtfully, narrowing his eyes at the thought that just now hit him. "You'll steal all the attention from your brother, what with your looks and all," he said, waving his hand dismissively at the backhanded compliment.


But to Izaya, Shizuo really was the one that was hottest. His brother was just so...boring. And weak.


Shizuo stared at him in shock.


"You...think I look...good?" He said in disbelief.


"You look like a monster, don't twist my words!" Izaya said and looked away blushing. "You just look better than your brother, that's all."


Izaya crossed his arms and stubbornly stared at the wall. He didn't want Shizuo to get any ideas. Just because he was hot...and strong...and dangerous...it didn't mean he...liked him or anything. He blushed, even more, when he heard the deep, rich laughter of Shizuo-chan floating through the room.


"Sure, sure. Whatever you say Izaya-kun," Shizuo said, a bright smile gracing his lips.


He felt his heart beating in his chest in a strange way that made him want to laugh and cry at the same time. Izaya looked absolutely adorable when he was angry! He was like a cat. He laughed again at the image. It made him want to cuddle him, it really did. But he didn't think Izaya would be entirely...happy...with being treated like a cat. And this kitten had some very sharp claws hidden somewhere on his person. He didn't feel like ruining the good mood.


"Eggnog, people?!" Haru said, bringing over a tray with glasses and a big mug of eggnog in it. Shizuo merely stared at it.


"Yuck! That sweet shit?" Izaya scrunched up his nose in a way Shizuo found adorable.


"I got you beer dad~," Haru said, fetching a whole pack of them, and making Izaya narrow his eyes at him in suspicion. The innocent look on his face merely confirmed it; His son WAS plotting something. He stared at the beer and wondered what kind of plot that required copious amounts of alcohol.


"The hell is that?" Shizuo said, staring suspiciously at the eggnog.


"It's a Christmas drink with milk and eggs!" He answered cheerfully. "It's sweet and yummy!" He looked excited and took a small sip of it. "Yum!" He grinned at Shizuo, who proceeded to taste it.


"It's good!" he said, looking surprised.


Izaya snorted amusedly. Not because Shizuo was acting like a child right now, but because he'd watch his son make it, and he knew just how much alcohol he'd put in it. Which was, from what he could gather, as much as you could put in it without actually tasting it.

He did, however, keep an eye on his son as they were watching the movie and eating cake. He might not be a typical dad, but he didn't think it would be a good idea to let his son drink too much alcohol either. Which is why he swiped his cup before he could get halfway through it and forced himself to drink it, trying hard not to make a face at the horrible sweetness of it.

Izaya much prefers bitter tastes. Just at that point, his son decided to push him in the side, hard enough that he fell into Shizuo's lap. And while he was sure it was for taking away his drink, he had to admit the kid could have some...other motives.

It did not help that Shizuo, who was now more than a little buzzed, placed his arm on him and held him down, making him pounder the proximity of certain...other...sources of bitter tastes. He was suddenly happy his face was less visible to Shizuo from this angel...especially since the man was following the movie, trying to figure out the plot of what was apparently a romantic comedy of some kind. What that movie had to do with the holiday season, he'd never know. Maybe it was the whole fairytale come true or something that his son liked.

 


 

The movie had long since past, and Haru had put in what looked to be yet another romantic comedy before claiming tiredness and gone off to bed. Although based on some of the more...adult scenes in this movie, Izaya was liable to believe that Haru had chosen a very opportune moment to leave. But it was becoming difficult to think, his head was getting a bit fuzzy, and he was relaxing and...dare he say it...even enjoying leaning into Shizuo's strong embrace. The blond monster had wrapped his arm around his shoulder and pulled him close.


In a fit of childish petulance, Izaya decided that if the man was going to insist on holding him, he might as well sit on his lap too, which he promptly did with carefree laughter.
"Woa, care...frul...Careful..." Shizuo slurred as Izaya wiggled into place in his lap.


"Pffft. You deci'ed to hold me, ne? Might as well go all the way, ne~?" He teased him, wiggling his butt. Izaya wasn't even looking at the TV anymore at this point, too pre-occupied with studying Shizuo's face and hair, wondering in fascination about how the light was hitting his hair, and how nice his body was feeling right now.


Shizuo, however, was watching the movie, which was currently in the progress of becoming more adult as the characters were shown doing very naughty things in bed. Even if it covered up all the essential bits. It only made Shizuo all the more aware of how the adorable, and...he had to admit...kinda hot...guy in his lap was rubbing against his private parts, in ways that caused him far too much of a distraction from the movie to really pay attention, other than listening to the moaning in the background, which made his current predicament even worse.


Izaya, in the meantime, was suddenly finding that his comfy seat was not quite as...soft...as it had started out.


"Wha's that...?" He slurred, fumbling around Shizuo's lap with his hand, brushing past him, by now, very hard private parts.


Shizuo tried very, very hard not to moan. And it was all he could do to hold himself back from ravaging the damned tempting little minx right where he was.
'Self-control, Shizuo. Self-control!' he tried to tell himself.


Not that he had much. He always followed his emotions, and he consistently failed to control his anger, he somehow doubted he could control this. Thoughts of rape and jail managed to keep him calm for a short while, however.


"My, my, Shizuo-chan~," Izaya said, having finally noticed his predicament. "I didn't know you wanted me that bad~" he teased, brushing his hand across Shizuo's hard member when suddenly the thought from earlier struck him. Izaya had always followed his whims and fancies, no matter what the consequences. Of course, the alcohol didn't help him in resisting either.


"Ah..I..no..don't.." Shizuo tried to remember just why this was such a bad idea when Izaya decided to unzip his pants and tug down his boxers. "N..s..Ah..." Shizuo lost what little self-control he had when he felt a well-placed lick on his member.


"Tasty~," Izaya said, pulling back to watch how his teasing affected the beast.


Shizuo let go of his resistance and growled in frustration, before pinning Izaya to the couch.


"My, my, Shizuo-chan~ So forcef...mph."
Izaya was abruptly cut off from his teasing as Shizuo's mouth assaulted his own, his s

trong hands pressing him down in a way he just knew would result in bruises...not that he minded. But Izaya wasn't one to surrender without a fight and twisted himself, and Shizuo with him, so they crashed down on the table and broke it, tumbling to the floor, before proceeding to straddle the delightful wild beast underneath him as forcefully as he could muster. At this point, Shizuo was too far gone to even notice when he hit the floor, only thinking about how much he desired to ravage the jumpy little flee as he pushed him over. He only vaguely heard the sound of something breaking, before Izaya moved off him, making him growl in frustration.


"We should take this to the bedroom, don't you think~?" Izaya teased.


"Talk...too...much!" Shizuo growled and stood up to make a grab for him, barely missing as Izaya jumped out of reach. "Gonna shut you up!"


Izaya had to pull himself together to not give in right there an then, a shiver running down his spine at the dangerous, lust-filled tone in his voice.


"You have to catch me first~" He teased and ran off. Instinctively Shizuo ran after him, like he always did, except this time, Izaya allowed him to catch him...once they were inside his bedroom. Shizuo slammed Izaya's slender body into the wall, hard enough to leave a slight imprint on it, and make Izaya gasp at the pain. Yet he wrapped his arms around his neck and kissed him ferociously back, loving every second of their desirous battle.


"Ah~" They crashed into the wardrobe, almost knocking the door off its hinges.


"Too...much...clothes..." Shizuo said feverishly and grabbed Izaya's sweater, tearing it open, rather than bother with taking it off. Making Izaya gasp and shiver, something that turned him on even more. While Izaya pulled open Shizuo's west and shirt, buttons flying everywhere.


By the time they made it to the bed, the room was a mess, and their clothes were mostly non-existent or in rags which they tore off...Izaya digging his nails into Shizuo's back as they fought for control, fueling the passion of the beast even more.


"Such a beast, Shizuo-chan~" Izaya gasped out as Shizuo ripped away his boxer impatiently, licking his lips in nervous anticipation, before reaching over opening the drawer next to the bed.


"Tch. What's that?" Shizuo grunted as Izaya pushed a tube of lube into his hand.


"I know you're a beast, Shizuo-chan, but I personally would prefer being able to walk tomorrow." Izaya said, rolling his eyes. Really. Shizuo was so clueless sometimes. Then again, he supposed he would have scared away anyone willing to go to bed with him by his beastial 'mating-rituals'... Shizuo might not have noticed the cuts and bruised he inflicted, but Izaya was sure the bed would be stained by his blood before they were over, and...well... he licked his lips and he grasped the lube back and poured out a generous amount, before wrapping his hand around Shizuo's rather impressive member.


"Such a beast~" Izaya said, his voice thick with desire. Shizuo held back a moan of pleasure, and he couldn't help but noticing that Izaya clearly thought it was a good thing, when he called him a beast... If he wasn't already pushed to the brink of what he could take, he would have wondered if maybe Izaya called him a monster as a compliment, rather than an insult, but the thought barely even registrered in his lust addled mind.


He growled and pushed Izaya back on the bed, biting his neck, while his hands ran down the slim and fit sides of Izaya's body.


"Beautiful..." He muttered, as in awe, before his instincts guided him again, and he forced his legs apart, positioning himself between them. He was too focused on his own pleasure to notice the slight play of fearful desire that was written over Izaya's face, before he forcefully shoved himself inside of his warm, tight hole, forcing out a chocked scream from the smaller man.


"Ng...Aaah...~" Izaya forced himself to relax, as much as he could, to minimalize the damage and pain, although he took pleasure in both. He moaned out in pain-filled pleasure and clawed at Shizuo's back as the beast rammed into him with a savage ferocious, again and again.


"Ngh... Fuck!" Shizuo grunted out. Izaya was so warm...so tight... And fuck, how good it felt! Shizuo had never in his life felt anything nearly this amazing! The alcohol had loosed what restraint he had, and he was far past worrying about the consequences of his actions, lost in the red haze of lust...so much like when he lost control of his temper, but still so very different.


"Ah~" Izaya moaned out hotly as Shizuo hit his that sweet spot inside him which made his world dissolve in pleasure, and made him cling to the beast, moving in a steady, breakneck rhythm with him, both chasing after their own pleasure in a intense, almost desperate way.


"Ah... Izaya..." Shizuo growled, biting down on his neck once again, driven by his instincts and the desperate desire for release that he knew, instinctively, would be absolute perfection. His mind was lost to the haze of fucking the delicious, hansom man under him, the one who accepted him for everything he was, and that fueled his desires as well as his emotions. He rejoiced in his every moan and whimper, striving again to hear that note of pleasure in Izaya's voice, as he hit just the right spot...


Shizuo might not have much experience, but passion, along with being observant and responsive to the other man's reactions and emotions made up for alot. Izaya couldn't remember the last time when his every nerve was on fire like this... when he felt so much alive, letting go of the weight of the world and everything else, until only this pleasure and pain and extacy existed...


Shizuo's breath came out in short, gutteral grunts as his pleasure mounted, and he drove himself even harder into the smaller man under him. Izaya moved under him in, wriggeling his hips, forcing them upwards to meet him, and moaning in a way that was driving Shizuo mad with desire. Suddetly Shizuo felt the smaller man tighten even more around him, gasping out, moaning in pleasure.


"Ah, god~..." Izaya's body stiffened up as he felt the oncoming rush of extacy flushing over him, tightening his muscles and clinging to Shizuo's back, his nails digging inn deep enough to draw blood as he moaned loudly with the orgasmic pleasure washing over him in waves, pulling Shizuo along with him.


"Izzayaa..." Shizuo moaned, the tightness and spasms of the smaller man milking him for every last drop of pleasure, making his vision blurr in delight and extacy as he was pulled over the edge himself, lost in a sea of pleasure as he gave one last push inside this man whom he was right now very sure he loved.


"F..fuck..." Was all Izaya managed to say, his eyes unfocused, his hair clinging to his head in a obvious just-been-fucked look that made him look amazingly alluring. "Gods... Izaya..." He breathed out as he finished, looking down with a tender, loving look at Izaya, before kissing him deeply, strange, warm emotions fluttering in his chest. His mind dazed and happy, both from the alcohol and the pleasure, and unable to think much more at all. He suddently felt extremely tired...


"Izzzaya...L'v...y'..." Shizuo said before rolling himself off the beautiful man at his side, and moved to hold him close instead, letting sleep claim him.


Izaya smiled tiredly at his antics, but he was too tired and exhausted to fight it, and he decided he could always push him away tomorrow. There was...always...tomorrow...

 


 

In a different bedroom not too far from the desirous carnage, a young boy was lying and struggling to fall asleep himself. He was happy that his scheme had worked out...and just a little traumatized when he thought about the weird things that adults did. But it wasn't like he didn't know how it all worked. He'd read some of Erica's yaoi after all. it just...his dad... ewww...


Still... Haru was pleased. His scheme worked out perfectly, and he was sure that Shizuo-san would spend more time with them and protect his dad. His dad really needed protection, with all the dangerous stuff he was always doing. And Haru really liked Shizuo-san. He was so nice to him, even if he was a monster. And he kinda acted like a second father to him. He liked that. Everyone else had two parents. Haru wanted that too!


He fell asleep with a smile on his lips, surrounded by all the wonderful things his daddy had given him, and he only spared a brief, happy thought of how much his life had changed since he was a helpless little kid in a cupboard, and how amazing his new life was. He looked forward to the future with hope and joy in his heart. And tomorrow it would be another, wonderful day...

 



* Xmass in Japan is really more like a weird version of Valentine's day than a western style xmass. Gifts between adults are not common if they're not dating.

Chapter Text

Izaya was the first one to wake up. His body ached in pain, and it would have been a bit troublesome to sleep, if it wasn't for the fact that he was completely exhausted.

Being brutally fucked by a beast would have that effect on you, he pondered vaguely before he carefully slinked away from the arm that was very nearly strangling him. He smiled. Even while he slept, Shizuo-chan was still trying to kill him. Some things never changed.

Izaya slowly made his way to the bathroom and studied the various cuts and bruises on his body in the mirror. He really did look like he'd been fighting a wild beast last night...and lost.

He barely held back an insane chuckle that threatened to well up at the thought. He managed to hold back, if barely. It wouldn't do to wake the sleeping beast up after all. At least not before he'd covered his body in some clothes and... washed the stench off.

He quickly hit the buttons that were controlling the tap to his bathtub, and after a quick cat-wash in the shower he sank down. He sighed happily at the lukewarm water, and marveled at how it still stung his body. Even in places the water should not be able to enter. He grinned as he thought back on the events of last night. He had never felt more alive in his life!

He was just happy that it was only his body that was damaged, and not his face. That would have been far harder to hide. And he really didn't want to explain what had happened to anyone. Never mind allowing Shizuo to see him hurt. He had his pride.

 


In the room next door, Haru groaned at the light streaming in from the window, and silently cursed the delicious eggnog that he might, just might have snuck more than a little off after the adults had forgotten about him and went off to do...whatever grown-ups do. From the sound of it, either remodeling the house, or killing each other. Or... He shuddered, refusing to think about the third option. Damn Erica and her explicit yaoi! Damn her to Hell!

He threw the pillow across the room and got up. Maybe he'd get rid of the image if he went to watch some tv. If he was quick, maybe he could catch the last half of Doraemon...


 

Shizuo woke up, a slight smile playing on his lips. He had the strangest dreams, but for some reason, he felt...satisfied? Was that what this feeling was? It was almost like happiness. Nearly peaceful. Something the fortissimo of Ikebukuro did not feel too often.

He sat up and shook his head, grumbling a bit over the slight headache he felt.

"Kch." Did he drink too much? He still wasn't entirely awake, and he vaguely wondered where he was. This wasn't his own shitty bed. It was...soft. Practically luxurious. Probably expensive too, by the feel of it. Had he passed out in a hotel?

He looked up and did a double-take as he looked around the room.

There was a large crack in the wall. A large wall-fastened mirror was cracked and broken as if someone had slammed into it, and there was specks of blood on the bed next to him.

"The fuck...?!" He grunted, before his eyes shot up wide as his memory flooded back to him. It wasn't a dream!!! He quickly glanced around the empty, broken bedroom that looked like he'd had one of his rage-fits before flopping back on the bed, pressing the palm of his hands against his eyes. Fuuuuuuck....

Suddenly he shot up, his eyes shooting from side to side in what could only be conceived as panic. Izaya!

He threw the covers to the floor and rushed off, nearly tearing the door of its hinges before his brain caught up that there was a kid in the house, and he grabbed a pair of boxers and his shirt to cover himself up, but leaving it mostly unbuttoned.

"IZAYA!" He called. Fuck! What had he done?! He'd practically raped him! How could he?! He cursed silently as he rushed into the living room.

 

"IZAYAAA?!" He skidded to a stop, and could do nothing but blink at the sight that met him.

"Ara, ara~ In such a rush to see me, Shizuo-chan~?" Izaya's teasing voice chuckled at him over the coffee-cup he was holding, before he took a calm sip.

As Shizuo rushed over to him, Izaya merely stared at the beast over the steaming hot coffee in his hand. Izaya's ever-present sardonic smile gracing his face as he spun his office-chair to face him.

"Izaya." Shizuo breathed his name in relief and disbelief as he spied the fleabag sitting behind his desk, looking to all the world as if he'd been up working all night. As if nothing had even happened.

He hadn't run away! He didn't even look hurt! He wasn't.... Before Shizuo even realized what he was doing he had rushed over to hug him, thanking all the gods he could think of that he was all right.

"Shizuo-chan..." Izaya froze, unsure what to do. This... this was not how it was supposed to go.

He had expected Shizuo to be embarrassed. Possibly angry. Maybe he'd even shout at him, or just run out the door, regretting it had ever happened. Not...this!

He could hold back a slight hiss of pain as the emotional Monster hugged him. He didn't think anything was broken, and he'd be damned if he'd ever let his best friend check him over without one hell of a good lie! But he knew he was pretty badly bruised, and had more than a few cuts and scrapes hidden away under the clothes. He also wasn't entirely sure he could...or should...walk right now.

"I'm sorry." Shizuo whispered into his chest, having sunk to the floor, hugging him as gently as he was able too. He felt incredibly guilty at the hiss of pain. As if he had read his mind, Izaya quickly replied.

"You're crushing me with your beast-strength, that's all." Izaya struggled to keep his voice steady, because it really fucking hurt. "Let me go, you beast!" He tried to sound stern, but it came out pretty weak. It wasn't helped by the fact that he was still holding on to Shizuo's shirt. He quickly let go.

"Last night... I couldn't... I didn't..." Shizuo carefully let him go, not wanting to hurt him further.

"What? That's what all this is about?" Izaya said mockingly light. "Like you could ever hurt me!" he grinned that infuriating grin again. It was almost convincing. If it wasn't for the fact that the hand that held the cup was shaking just slightly... And... Izaya noticed what Shizuo was staring at and quickly pulled the sleeve down to cover the rapidly blackening bruise on his wrist.

"Did I...?" Shizuo made a grab for him, making Izaya instinctively jump away, only to fold over to hold his side. "Ow-ow-ow." He cursed himself and his own weakness as he sank to the floor.

"It's nothing. Don't worry about it!" Izaya growled out, pushing himself back up. "See? I'm fine!" He said as he stood up. "Go help Haru in the kitchen before he burns something!" Izaya's wide grin became a bit more forced, and he prayed that Shizuo would get the hell out before he collapsed. Maybe he should call Shinra after all...

Shizuo wasn't exactly a gentle lover. But Izaya didn't want that anyway. It wouldn't have been nearly as exciting if he was.

And, even if he refused to admit it to anyone --barely even to himself-- deep down he knew he was an asshole.

He wasn't an idiot. And even if he didn't agree with the rules and morals of society, it didn't mean it didn't affect him, just a bit. Just enough to be well aware of how much he deserved every shitty thing that happened to him. That he deserved the pain.

But it didn't mean he'd ever let anyone else see it. Least of all the infuriating beast in front of him that could never behave in any predictable way! And a tiny, tiny part of him did kinda like that... even if it seemed like Shizuo lived to make his life difficult!

Thankfully, at least this time the beast decided to make it a bit less embarrassing at least.

"WHAT THE FUCK!? You're letting a KID cook for you!?! WHAT IF HE HURTS HIMSELF, HUH?!?!" Shizuo yelled at him.

"Better run and make sure he doesn't then~" Izaya teased, before gritting his teeth. The last thing he saw before the blackness that crept around the edge of his vision closed in on him was that the beast stalked hurriedly off towards where Izaya had pointed at, in search of the kitchen.

 

Maybe he shouldn't have pushed himself that much.... Maybe...

 


 

As he slowly faded into consciousness, he found himself on far closer to the floor than he was used to. Even his bed wasn't this low, being of a western-inspired build and all...

Voices floated to him from somewhere slightly above him and to the right.

"Stupid fly! Pushing himself like that! If only..." Shizuo's voice faded into an angry nonsensical grumbling as he muttered under his breath.

"Shizuo-san, please sit down! You'll wear through my floor walking in a circle like that!" The voice of Shinra sounded exasperated, and Izaya couldn't help but smile weakly as he cracked open his eyes.

"Ah. Izaya!" Shinra's face suddenly came in view...far too close for comfort. "How are you feeling? Any pain? What if I push here?!" The hyperactive doctor kept prodding and poking him until he smacked his hands away. "What were you even doing?! You don't usually get hurt like this? Was it Shizuo? Is that why he's worried? Did he think he killed you?!" Izaya chuckled at the thought. If only he knew...

"Hehe. Nothing to worry about. Just some people blaming me for their problems, you know how it is." Izaya grinned as he sat up, only to be pushed back down by the strong hands of the beast whom had inflicted it, before said beast blushed bright red as he realized Izaya was shirtless.

"Tch. Stop lying you damned fly." He grumbled, more out of habit than anything, Izaya supposed.

 

"Ara?" Shinra looked between them with a confused expression. Shizuo was blushing like mad. Izaya was grinning mockingly, the same way he always did, but there was something...different... A slight glimmer in his eyes maybe? The way his eyes lingered a bit longer than absolutely necessary on Shizuo's exposed chest...he had put on pants, but decided there was no time to button his shirt.

"Well..." Shinra cleared his throat, unsure what to say. Shizuo didn't seem to notice, too busy with his own embarrassment and where to focus his eyes... Anywhere but on Izaya.

"Wait! Did Shizuo...?" Shrinra's eyes widened even more as the realization hit him, before he took a deep breath and sighed, then pushed his glasses up on his nose and said in his most professional voice; "I suppose I should check for damage...other places as well then. Turn over!" He said, a slight gleam of humor in his eyes at the horrified looks he got in return.

 

"Wha... No! NO! Absolutely NOT!!" Izaya nearly shouted at him, pulling the blanket closer around him, his cheek heating up slightly. Honestly! Shinra had no sense of decency! And that came from him!

Shizuo, tho mortified and embarrassed, couldn't help but twist his lips in a small smile as he watched the flea fight off the black marked doctor, hissing like a cat, and Shizuo could have sworn his hair got even frizzier than usual. It was adorable! Wait...did he really think that?

Shizuo did a double-take and stared at the cat-like man that was reduced to scratching at the indecent doctor with his claws, as Shinra had foresight enough to remove all his knives.

In the end, Shinra threatened to enlist Celty's help if he didn't lie still and let him examine him. And threatened with the indignity of a woman seeing him like that... Izaya finally relented, even if he demanded that Shizuo left the room, which was almost enough to make the chain-smoking monster laugh. 

 

He'd seen far more than that of Izaya last night, but somehow he felt a twig of sympathy for the annoying man, and he hid his grin as he walked out to light a cigarette on the balcony, and left Izaya to what was left of his wounded pride.

Shizuo felt a lot less cheerful when Shinra lectured him about controlling his strength before he gave him an improvised lecture in safe sex while hiding behind Celty.

He felt his eye twitch in annoyance, and if it hadn't been for Celty, a lot more than their table would have been broken during that conversation.

But the thought of Izaya's pain, and how it was caused by him, did make him twitch with guilt. So in the end, he decided he should at least apologize to the flea.

 

Shizuo had no idea how he ended up hugging him to comfort him when he went on about the indignities Shinra forced on him, after brushing aside anything Shizuo said with;

"Fear you? Don't make me laugh!" And when Izaya chuckled. It felt like a tease. His breath warm on Shizuo's ear afterward and whispered a suggestion to repeat the action again someday, the only thing Shizuo could do was to breath in relief and hug him yet again.

Izaya didn't fear him. He didn't break! Nothing, absolutely nothing Shizuo did could scare the damned flea away! And in many ways, that was a comforting thought for a monster like him, who was used to elicit fear even in his closest friends.

Izaya rolled his eyes at Shizuo's hugging. The beast was pretty good in bed...especially for someone who had never done it before...and he didn't mind a repeat. But he really hoped he wouldn't have to put up with all this emotional bullshit every time.

 

Then an idea came to him, and a devious, calculating smirk graced his lips, and his fist gripped Shizuo's shirt a bit tighter. An action that Shizuo naturally mistook for emotional turmoil, rather than the sexual possessiveness and scheming delight that it was, and carefully held the smaller man tighter, stroking his back as gently as he could.

Izaya had to bite his tongue to not burst into maniacal cackles at his own genius. That would totally ruin his plans. Shizuo was a beast! An untamable beast, some might say... And yet Izaya was struck with a sudden desire to tame him! He grinned at the thought.

Oh, what a triumph that would be! To tame the great Beast of Ikebukuro! It would be his greatest challenge yet!

 


 

Haru was pacing. Not that Namie was particularly helpful, muttering about whatever her asshole boss had gotten himself into this time, she hoped he died, but still....

He almost burst with relief when his daddy and Shizuo busted in through the door. His dad yelling at Shizuo to put him down, while Shizuo demanded he'd stay still and let him take care of him.

 

Haru had to hide a smile and choked back laughter at the endearing scene they were making. But he was also very revealed to find that his daddy was very much alive, and just needed some bed-rest. Although Haru doubted very much he'd actually rest.

He was proven right not even ten minutes after Shizuo had physically forced him into bed. Izaya already demanded to at least get his laptop so he could work! And he really didn't have time to rest!

Shizuo only relented after Izaya pointed out that if the Yakuza didn't get their info, they might come after both of them AND Haru.

And while Shizuo was pretty sure they wouldn't be able to hurt him, he wasn't so sure about the flea...no matter what Izaya claimed himself. The damned fleabag lied constantly anyway, and he looked as scrawny as an ally-cat and he was hurt as well. Probably didn't eat enough either. And a kid was a kid.

 

Shizuo relented with a grumble, under the condition that Izaya didn't leave bed that day. Which introduced the small make-shift family to the wonderful world of curry. And more curry. For Every. Single. MEAL!*

Needless to say, by supper Izaya had demanded that he either ordered sushi from Simon, or let Haru cook! The latter suggestion brought on a whole new discussion.

 

"I can't believe you made a kid cook for you!  What kind of sicko forces a kid to cook, huh!?!"

"Apparently his former guardians, along with threats to burn him if he burned the food. And don't look at me like that! He offered!" Izaya defended himself, and Shizuo got a distinctive homicidal gleam in his eye.

"They. Did. WHAT!?!?" the beast yelled loud enough for the windows to shake.

"Don't worry about it. They're all dead now." Izaya smirked darkly, knowing all too well how Shizuo thought...most of the time. This stopped Shizuo in his tracks.

"Y..You killed them, didn't you?" Shizuo asked in a weak voice. There was an undertone there that even the great expert on humans could not quite recognize.

He wasn't sure if Shizuo was accusing him or just horrified at the thought. He did, however, hear the slight catch in his son's breath and he watched the fear creep into his eyes out of the corner of his own. Haru's whole body tensed up, clearly worried what Shizuo would do if he found out he had killed someone. Shizuo never did hide his absurdly moralistic tendencies after all.

 

"And if I did?" Izaya said, tilting his head up in a silent defensive challenge, as he glared at Shizuo. What was one more sin on his head? There was no need for his son to suffer if he could take the burden upon himself.

"Che." Shizuo huffed and lit another cigarette. "Got what they deserved," Shizuo grumbled and stalked out of the room, leaving two shocked ravenetts behind.

 


 

Time flew by quickly, and it didn't take long before Izaya was back up and running. Much too quickly for the overprotective beast. And somehow, the strange new pattern just...stuck.

Izaya would continue to tease the monster and play with his beloved humans --as he had always done -- until said monster hunted him down and leaving behind a trail of destruction behind them. That part was certainly nothing new, or unusual.

However, they always ended up... 'making up'... in a dark ally somewhere. Which the horrified citizens were convinced was a sign that they finally were getting very close to killing each other. It certainly sounded like they were at least, although no one had the courage to actually check.

It barely took a few months before that too became a normal thing that most people paid little to no attention too. Just like their normal city chases had been. Well, except to the occasional, terrified tourist and out-of-towner of course.

 

However, that brings us up to that very special day in the yearly life of every couples... Even one as dysfunctional as this.

And it all started in the living-room of their happy little... well... For all the time Shizuo spent there, both him and Izaya would refuse to ever call it 'their' home.

 


 

"Tch." Shizuo grunted to himself. He was watching Haru while Izaya was out, claiming to do his job.

"Up to no good again." He glared at the door, wondering what kind of mischief the damned flee was up to this time, and why he had agreed to babysit his kid instead of trying to stop him.

"He's not a bad guy you know," Haru said, making Shizuo jump.

"What?!" Shizuo glared at him. How the hell did he manage to creep up on him like that?! No doubt something Izaya had taught him.

"Dad. He's not really a bad-guy." He sighed and sat down on the floor with their new pet monster/Haru's second father.

"Tch." Shizuo said, not believing it for a second. He wanted to say 'I know he's your dad, but he's also an asshole that hurts people for fun!' But he couldn't get himself to hurt a kid like that, or destroy the image he had of his father as perfect, and he refused to lie to anyone. He hated lies!

 

However, the emotions must have shown on his face... that kid was really too damned perceptive sometimes, because the next thing he said was;

"He doesn't really mean to hurt them. He actually helps them. They just don't know it." Haru said quietly. "They just can't see it, because..." he waved his hand in a vague gesturing motion. Shizuo knew what he meant tho. Because he always acted and sounded like an asshole.

"Don't need to be an ass to help people," Shizuo stated. He didn't need to lie and hurt people.

"He can't." Haru sighed. "Be nice I mean. If he was nice, people would like him."

"..." Shizuo's eyes widened in disbelief. "Fuck is wrong with him, huh?!"

How could someone not want people to like him?! Shizuo hated it when people got scared of him, and he valued those few who liked him despite his flaws all the more for it. He wished he could get people to like him. He wished they knew he didn't want to hurt anyone!

For all his big talk and god complex, Izaya was still very much human. He didn't have the horrible curse Shizuo had. He'd never hurt anyone by accident, or because he got angry. He actually envied Izaya's carefree attitude...just a little bit. Just like he envied everyone who could connect with other humans in a normal human way.

 

"If people liked dad, he might end up caring about them." Haru sighed again. The monster really needed everything explained in detail, didn't he? He really was all brawn and no brain, for all that he occasionally showed something that resembled intelligence. Maybe his dad was right and it was just animal instincts...

"Isn't that a good thing?" Shizuo felt his anger rising. He hated not understanding, and the damned flee just pissed him off!

"If you care about someone, they can hurt you," Haru said, rolling his eyes when he saw Shizuo clearly didn't see what he saw.

"Daddy's heart is very fragile. If you fill it with human emotions like love and betrayal, it will break," he looked down sadly at the floor. "Uncle Shinra told me that once... And..." he took a deep breath. "I can see it. You can see it too! I know you can!" his little eyes glistened with defiant tears. It was so sad that nobody else could see it. See just how hurt his daddy was. Why he did the things he did.

Shizuo, however, had his own demons to battle when it came to the self-proclaimed god of humanity.

"The fuck?! He never tells me anything! It's like every time I think we're having it all nice and romantic, he does something to piss me off! I swear he's doing it on purpose!!!" he yelled and punched the wall next to Haru. Haru didn't even flinch, acting just like the damned flea. It was infuriating!

 

Haru merely gave him a blank stare that turned into a small smile. He knew Shizuo wouldn't hurt him. He'd never hurt him! Not like his uncle and aunt had done. That thought was why he smiled, but all Shizuo had seen was the same attitude Izaya always had. It seemed mocking to the enraged monster.

It was only his constant focus on Haru being a child that kept him from lashing out and breaking his little body.

That thought, however, drained away his anger and filled him with fear. 'I almost hurt a kid! A fucking child!' he admonished himself, suddenly filled with a bout of self-loathing.

 

"I need to... I need to go," he muttered and rushed out the door before Haru could stop him. If he stayed a second longer he might do something he'd regret for the rest of his life. He didn't think he could live with himself if he killed someone. Especially someone that young and innocent.

"That's what I meant!!" Haru yelled after him as he left. Then he sighed and shook his head.

 

"He'll figure it out sooner or later," Haru said to himself, before stalking into the kitchen. Shizuo had forgotten to order them food, he was soooo forgetful! The big friendly beast really needed his daddy and him to look after him, Haru thought as he plopped a few eggs into the frying pan.

But that was okay. He knew how to take care of himself. And his parents. Even if one of them was a forgetful doggie and the other one a bit flighty and emotionally stunted.

They both needed him. And that thought made him smile. It felt good to be needed.

 


 

After Shizuo had calmed down, he had sat down to ponder on what the kid had meant.

 

Haru always saw the good in everyone, no matter how bad they were. He was such a wonderful child. Haru seemed to possess a rare kindness. Something innocent and untainted, despite all he had gone through in his short life.

But Shizuo was still convinced that some people had no niceness in them at all. People like Izaya.

What did Haru mean? Izaya pushing me away was somehow related to....to... His eyes flew open and he suddenly felt a need to smash his head again the wall. He settled for slapping his palm over his face.

 

"Fuck!" he said to himself. "I'm fucking blind!" he muttered, before he got up and kicked a can straight over the nearest rooftop to get out some frustration. The kid was right!

When did Izaya push him away? It was always, always when they had something close to an intimate moment! How could he not have noticed it before?!

Then he winced. And he'd played right into his trap, hadn't he? Allowed him to push him away. Every single time!

 

But if he didn't care...why would he come back? Again and again, Izaya always came back. He did care! That was the only logical explanation!

And Shizuo, like an idiot, kept hurting him! Kept attacking and belittling him. Him! The only person who wasn't scared of his monstrous strength. The one person who might actually...dare he think it? ...care about, maybe even love this monster that was him!

Oh, sure, the kid liked him well enough, but it just wasn't the same. Children were too innocent to fully understand what he was, unlike Izaya.

 

Shizuo sat down on the sidewalk and groaned, clutching his head and tugging at his hair. Fuck, he was such an idiot! 'Who's the asshole now?!' Shizuo thought, letting out a broken, self-deprecating laugh.

If there was one thing Shizuo despised, it was hurting people. Especially the few people who cared about him. Especially the few people he honestly cared about.

"Fuck, I must be insane." he declared, lighting himself another cigarette. Somehow the damned flea...or maybe he really was a cat? He remembered how he had acted when he got hurt, at Shinra's place...

Cats were always like that. They waltz into your life like they own the place. And no matter how many times you throw them out, they just keep coming back. They're also far too quick to ever catch it when you want to. And before you know it, they've wormed their way into your heart.

 

The flea was like that, he realized. He thought he hated him. Had always hated him. But lately... And when he got to know him...

"Fuck me..." Shizuo said. "I'm so screwed." He chocked out a pained laugh. The irony was not lost on him.

 

Well... He supposed he knew what he had to do now... A soft smile tugging at his lips. And Shizuo was not one to waste time when he knew what to do.

 


 

Shizuo was cursing up a storm in his kitchen. Which, at the current moment, looked like a bomb had exploded in a chocolate factory, and burned a hole through several pots and parts of the sink.... for some reason.

"Stop it! You're going too fast!!" he shouted at the laptop-screen, while furiously mixing the brown batter he was currently working on.

"Stupid Wa-ru-ti-nu day guide." he cussed some more and poured what might, with a lot of imagination, be chocolate, --very, very lumpy chocolate-- into a form so it could set.

It hadn't been easy, and he absolutely refused to let any of his friends get a wind of what he was doing, much less that damned flea he was doing it for!

 

He could already hear Tom asking him who the lucky girl was, and he wasn't sure he wanted to explain that!

And his brother would probably just tell him to watch his movies. His brother didn't exactly know any more about love and romantic feeling than he did himself.

Celty would probably laugh at him, trying to hide it, and then suggest the over-the-top shit that Shinra always did... he really wasn't sure that was something he wanted to get into.

Not to mention Shinra himself... He shuddered at the thought. Nope. The internet would be better!

 

He had almost considered asking those teenagers he kept running into about it, but he didn't really know them. And it would just look weird and suspicious if he tried asking teens for dating advice. He was not Izaya damnit!

 

So he decided to find a chat forum, and hope it had some sensible people in it. He found one called 'Love Chat', it sounded about right...once he read the translation of the title anyway.

And the girls in the forum he had found were very nice and helpful when he asked them for what the best way to confess your love for a guy was. Although he immediately dismissed their fashion suggestions. He'd seen some guys in dresses before, but he refused to be one of them!

He didn't want to hurt their feelings by saying it, however, so he let them rant.

Apparently there was a whole day set aside for romantic confessions. And, as luck would have it, it was only a couple of days away. Well, tomorrow -- now.

 

Which is why he was in his kitchen making home made chocolate, by following a cooking video on a blog page the girls had suggested for him.

 

He glared at the chocolate. Was chocolate supposed to be black? And lumpy? 

He glared at the girl proudly showing off her creation on the screen. It looked nothing at all like what he had produced.

Did he use too much cocoa? Too little sugar? But Izaya hated sweet stuff, so he had decided to drop any sugar. Cocoa was pretty bitter already. And the recipes he had read suggested you could add coffee. And Izaya loved coffee, so he added coffee.

He stared at it again. Maybe he should have ground the coffee better? He could still see the grains.*

He looked at the resulting mess and sighed. If only it had been next month, he could have asked his boss if he could work a few extra shifts, so he could have just bought Izaya some of the expensive stuff the girls had raved about.

 

But it was nice of them to understand he didn't have much money and send him to that blog. He somehow doubted they'd been as nice if they had known who he was... Maybe the flea was right. He smiled wryly. Maybe the internet wasn't all that bad.

 

He looked over at the clock on his wall. He still had time for one more try, --everything else was already set up-- maybe he should try again. And this time he'd use a metal bowl to crush the stupid coffee in, not the easily broken stone bowl!

 


 

Shizuo glared at himself in the mirror and wondered if maybe he should have gotten a suit. Was a suit something you wore to dates? He really didn't want to ask the girl he had been talking too.... they were clearly obsessed with dresses. Probably some teenage fashion. He had seen some of them talked about on tv some time ago. Rock bands or some-such nonsense.

In the end he decided to just be casual about it. Izaya was always casual anyway, even if his clothes were clearly expensive. Maybe a suit was better after all? Izaya seemed to like expensive things.

But Shizuo just couldn't imagine Izaya wearing anything formal, and if he wore something formal himself, then Izaya might feel pressured to do so to, but maybe it was better to look your best for your date? Then on the other hand, he didn't want to make Izaya feel like he had to do something. Did the guy even own anything but his normal clothes anyway?! He'd sure as hell never seen him in a suit. What if he hated them? He never wore the school uniform the way he should back in high school...

 

Shizuo grabbed his head and groaned. He was overthinking things again.

He had considered if he should follow their advice on making it a group-date, but he really didn't want anyone he knew to know about it yet. It might embarrass Izaya too... the damned flea was much more sensitive than people thought him to be. He might get embarrassed if Shizuo acted presumptuous when he hadn't even actually asked him.

He had thought long and hard about what exactly he should say... and written a long note on it, just so he remembered. He glanced at the watch to see if he had time to rehearse it one more time...

 

"Shit!" he exclaimed. He'd spent so much time worrying that he was going to end up being late if he didn't get going... not that his table reservation would go anywhere, considering where they were going, but he didn't like to inconvenience people.

 

He grabbed the box with the now clumsily wrapped chocolate and headed out the door.

 


 

Shizuo paused for a second in front of Izaya's door, before taking a deep breath. 'If you do not enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub',* he thought and knocked.

 

When Izaya finally opened his door he was looking exceptionally grumpy, as if something had just happened. He was also looking incredibly hot as he seemed to be missing his usual sweater... and any undershirts...

Shizuo felt his mouth go dry. With his brain suddenly shutting down, his well rehearsed speech was all but forgotten. He roughly trusted the heart-shaped, badly wrapped home-made chocolate at him and grunted out;

"I like you. Date. Russian sushi." Shizuo felt his cheeks flush red when Izaya looked confused for a second, then he read the label on the chocolate.

"Honmei Choco..." he read, lips quirking up in amusement. Shizuo was trying really, really hard to act normal, and like the Beast he was, he failed spectacularly. He must have mixed up the chocolate types. This was the one you gave to your boyfriend, not your friend. Silly Monster~

 

He halfway considered pointing out that it was girls who gave boys chocolate on Valentines Day.... boy didn't do so until White Day... but he quickly decided it would be far more amusing to go along with it and see what else the big beast had come up with. Plus... Sushi sounded good right about now. He could use some cheering up after that accident with the coffee maker. And Otoroo always cheered him up.

 

"Daddy, I think I managed to get that stubborn coffee stain out, and it's in the wash-bin now. Here's a new sweater... oh, hi Shizuo-san" Haru said, handing Izaya a new sweater, while smiling at his adopted father/pet. Haru had decided to adopt him at least, regardless of anyone else's thoughts on the matter.

"Thank you son," Izaya said, ruffling the kids hair, a small but genuine smile gracing his lips.

"Looks like I'll be going out a bit. I'll call someone to come and watch you." he glanced over at Shizuo, and his eyes shone with amusement.

But the only thing Shizuo saw was the endearing picture of a Family... one that could be his, if he played his cards right. He also saw a man and a kid who didn't fear him. A man whom might even like him back!

 

"Sushi. Now." Shizuo said, hiding his embarrassment by grabbing Izaya's arm and dragging him along, barely allowing him to grab his coat on the way as Haru ran after them with it.

"So forceful~" Izaya said teasingly.

Shizuo never stopped surprising him. And Izaya loved surprises. He chuckled when he saw how flushed Shizuo was, and leaned closer, letting his warm breath caress the man's ear, teasing him even more.

"Suki~" Izaya said. Because, he did in fact, love the forceful side of the beast. It was exiting. Intriguing. Fun!

 

Shizuo, on the other hand, felt as if his hear skipped a beat, and his breath caught for a second. 'He likes me? He likes me! He likes me back!' *

How could such a small word have such a large impact?

 


 

"SHI-ZU-OH! I-ZA-YA! Friends good. Make love, not war! Come, have free Sushi. Good sushi to celebrate friendship. Wait, no free, I go broke. You pay. But celebrate! Come, come!" Simon smiled at the strange sight of Shizuo blushing, while Izaya went along with everything, and taking it in strides.

"What do you say, Shizuo? Want to make love, not war?" Izaya wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, making Shizuo choke on his cigarette and drop it.

"Izaya!" he hissed, blushing furiously. They were in public! The damned flea had no shame! Non!

All he got in return was laughter, and Izaya ordering them both beers, as well as accepted from Simon what could be sushi....or maybe a science experience gone horribly wrong. Shizuo leaned toward the latter option.

But Izaya just grinned and nodded at Simon, who lit up with joy over selling the 'house special'. It did not pass Shizuo by that the damned flea told Simon to put it on Shizuo's tab. It was just like him.

 

And he did all of this, even when Shizuo knew that Izaya was well aware of how much he hated beer, and that whatever Simon suggested as the 'house special' was probably lethal. Or at the very least would give you food poisoning. And that wasn't even mentioning sticking him with the tab!

He shot a glare at the smaller man. Standing there with his cocky grin and slightly tousled hair. And his stupidly sexy body slightly exposed as he lifted the tray up higher than necessary, to avoid that a pair of teenagers that was running past him to crash into it.

Shizuo blushed again and stalked over to a boot in one of the darker corners, the one he had reserved. He quickly removed the reserved-sign before Izaya could notice it.

 

This was a bad idea. Going anywhere public with the damned flea was always a bad idea. His lips twitched in amusement as he watched his date dodge through the suddenly incoming crowd, all nimble and cat-like. He also somehow managing to balance the arrangement of food and drinks that perched precariously on top of a tray that could barely fit everything on it.

Shizuo couldn't help but admire the man's dexterity. And that brought back other memories, of an entirely different setting the smaller man was all too good at using that hot body of his, and he blushed deeply again. Maybe getting drunk wasn't such a bad idea after all? Even if it was bitter bear. At least if he were to survive the night without dying of embarrassment. He reached for the glass closest to him as Izaya placed down the plate on the table.

 

Izaya chuckled to himself as he watched Shizuo scrounge up his face in disgust at the bitter-tasting beer. It was amazing how committed the Monster was to acting human. It was nearly adorable and cute... once he was tamed anyway. And not a threat to his beloved humans or the city itself.

It was strange, he thought, how comfortable he had become with his greatest enemy. Although he supposed that they had been enemies for so long now... that perhaps it made them kinda-sorta friends. How did that strange english proverb go again? 'Opposites attracts', or some such rot.

 

He glanced over at the Beast that was currently smelling one of the strange concoctions Simon had pushed on them. He chuckled and sipped his wonderful beer. Cold and bitter... Perfect!

He supposed there might be some truth in that saying. There really was no other explanation for why he found the beast that was currently viciously chomping down what could only be described as a health hazard with such foolish gusto.

 

Izaya smiled sweetly at Shizuo when the old man put a plate of delicious Otooro down in front of him. The glare he got in return made him grin. Really... Shizuo should have known better than to allow him to order for them.

"Mmmmh~" Izaya half-way moaned at the taste, dragging it out and licking his fingers to tease the beast even more. He half-way wondered if he should try and trick him to eat a piece, but it really would be a waste of good otooro. Shizuo would never appreciate the bitter taste of the fatty tuna, sadly. The man had an unhealthy appetite for sweets.

 

Luckily for the establishment, Shizuo suddenly had far worse problems to deal with than anger at the information broker across the table from him for ordering him food that he was very sure the damned flea knew he hated.

It was not made any better by Izaya casually leaning close enough to brush up against his leg, leaning on his knee with one slender, tempting hand as he dangled a piece of the damnable bitter version of tuna in front of his face. He felt like squirming in his seat. Whether to get that hand closer to the problem or further away, he wasn't sure of.

To cover up his embarrassment...and just to be obnoxious right back at him, he chomped down on the tuna that was held out at him, his lips brushing the delicate fingers of the man opposite of him.

 

Shizuo held back a laugh. It helped that the fact that the taste of the tuna was truly disgusting and made him want to throw up. But Izaya suddenly looked like a cat caught in the flashlights, with a light blush dusting his cheeks.

'Good', Shizuo thought, 'At least I won't be the only one with that...problem...now'.

The next second he got surprised again as Izaya threw his head back and laughed.

 

"Ahahahahaha! You never quit surprising me, Shizuo-chan~" he said, breaking into the most adorable chuckles towards the end.

How had he never noticed how child-like and honest Izaya was in his every action before? He might lie his ass off when he spoke, but his body and his actions never lied. And everything he did, he did with every fiber of his being. Completely honest and carefree. Just like a child...

Shizuo had never heard Izaya laugh. Not a real laugh anyway. There was something terribly attractive about it. And the way his red-brown eyes sparkled in the light. And the way his hair fell in a chaotic mess around his face, and yet somehow always was perfect.... Shizuo took another sip of the beer to cover up his thoughts, only to find it empty.

 

He went to grab the beer from Izaya, only to grab Izaya's hand instead. He marveled at how soft it was. How small it was and how it seemed to fit so perfect in his own. And how cute Izaya looked with that strange, vulnerable look in his eyes as he was staring directly into his own eyes...

"Izaya...I..." Shizuo hesitated, wondering how to explain what he was feeling. How his heart was beating faster and he felt... Was this love? Real, deep love, and not just caring and lust? Shizuo wondered, staring deeply into those wonderfully enticing eyes... Like a seductive demon. That suddenly looked far more vulnerable than he had ever seen him before.

 

Of course, just when they seemed to be having a moment Izaya quipped:

"I knew you would like the beer. Maybe I should call and cancel the assassination attempt on you this month, since you've been nice enough to foot the bill," Izaya grinned and acted like he meant every word, then proceeded to pick up his phone and text someone.

"There we go, all done." he grinned at Shizuo, already halfway off his chair in anticipation of what would happen next.

 

Shizuo's eye twitched. The damned flea with his damned lies, as if he couldn't smell each and every one of them! The chopsticks broke under his fingers.

"Oh, look at the time, I better go meet my client. This was fun, we should do it again. Byee~" Izaya said and took off running before Shizuo could say anything, leaving him with the bill....

He had intended to pay it, of course, but the incredible rudeness of not even offering was the last straw in a long line of insults.

 

"IIIIII-ZAAAAA-YAAAAA!!!!" he crashed the table over and ran after the damnable flea, leaving even Simon too dumbfounded to stop them. All he could do was to shake his head sadly and sigh.

"Ara, Ara~? Shizuo-chan is getting slow in his old age?" Izaya teased

Shizuo responded by grabbing the closest vending machine and hurling it at him. Incidentally, as it turned out, that was a flower vending machine, and it sprung open and showered his dodgy target in a variety of flowers as it hit the wall behind him. Izaya couldn't help himself. He grabbed a surviving red rose and pretended to swoon over it.

"What's this? Shizuo-chan is giving me flowers? How romantic~" he laughed. Right before he had to dodge a small table Shizuo had picked up from a nearby cafe.

"Yeah?! How about a plush toy to go with that stupid smile?!" Shizuo shouted, as he ripped up a claw game and hurled it at his nemesis-lover, ignoring the shouts from the teens who had been playing with it.

"Ah, my monster is so nice to me~" Izaya laughed teasingly and shaking a plushy at Shizuo teasingly, right before throwing the nearest plushy --which happened to be a black cat-- in his face and running away.

"IZAAAAAYAAAAAAAA!!!!!" Shizuo screamed "Stand still while I beat you to death with my love!!" he shouted and took off after him, the toy cat still in his hand. Ironically enough, the rose had somehow found its way into one of Izaya's buttonholes, and the teddy vanished into his pockets. Shizuo was convinced he was a kleptomaniac, not that he paid it much attention.

 

To his own surprise, Shizuo managed to catch his prey after only running a few blocks and down an ally.

"What's the matter? Can't run so fast on a full stomach?" Shizuo said triumphantly. And a little confused. Usually he couldn't catch the damned fly no matter how hard he tried.

"Maybe I wanted you to catch me~" Izaya said teasingly, a strangely hoarse note to his voice, and a dark passion burning in his eyes. Then he grabbed Shizuo's collar and pulled him into a searingly hot kiss.

 


 

Several blocks down Simon shook his head sadly, hearing the echos of their screams.

"Is no good, this fighting," he said. "Maybe I should..." he stopped as he felt a hand on his shoulder.

"Don't worry about it," his boss said in russian with an amused tweak of his lips. "They'll be fine."

"But boss! They're killing each other. It's not good if they kill each other." Simon injected.

"They'll be fine. Trust me. You're young. You have much to learn," his boss said, a glimmer of humor in his eyes, before he returned to polish the glasses.

"Now come. Help me clean up the kitchen. Don't worry so much." Then he added as a side-note, "We make them pay for damages when they come back next time."

 



 

 

NOTES:

 

*Shizuo can cook exactly ONE thing, according to the author, and that is Curry. If I recall correctly, he's pretty good at it, but it's also the only thing he can cook. And he'd refuse to let Haru cook for them, being a kid and all.

 

*As may be obvious, the girls thought he was a girl too. Shizuo obviously didn't realize how he sounded asking for advice on how to woo a guy. lol

 Also... He doesn't realize you have to brew the coffee before adding it to the chocolate.

 Yes... Shizuo really, REALLY can't cook! xD

 

*Suki means 'to like/like'. And you use context to figure out WHAT said person like. It is also the most common way to confess your love for someone.

Izaya is just teasing Shizuo, saying 'I like it' --it referring to Shizuo being rough-- in a naughty, bedroom way.

Shizuo, having just made his own love-confession (which Izaya read as 'I like you as a friend'), thinks Izaya returns his feelings.

 

Isn't the japanese language wonderful for drama and misunderstandings? lol

 

“If you do not enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub.”

Meaning: You can’t achieve anything without taking risks, or “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”