This year, May fourth was a Sunday. A boring old Sunday. One that was stupidly sunny with a cool wind in the air. And just like any date, the calendar passed it without fail. No matter how many people dreaded its arrival.
Which, for the record, was probably just one person.
What was a birthday if not just another year closer to the death that Izaya feared so much? He could lie to himself with the “What are you talking about? I’m forever twenty-one!” nonsense for the rest of his life, but eventually it was going to show that he was not, in fact, twenty-one any more. Aging was such a burden, one that Izaya never wanted to bear. Wrinkles? Grey hair? Bad joints? Absolutely not.
He refused to acknowledge any of it.
No. Izaya pulled the comforter over his head and ignored the incessant reminder that time was an uncontrollable element. That it would tick and tick, go and go, and that Izaya would wither away with it.
The alarm clock continued to ring until Shizuo walked back into the bedroom - with coffee, by the smell of it - and chucked the damn thing against the wall.
“Thank you,” Izaya mumbled into the mattress.
Shizuo replaced the clock’s place on the bedside table with a steaming mug of black coffee. He took a sip from his own mug. Slurp. “Not getting up today?”
Slurp. “Why not?”
Slurp. “...Dying, huh?”
“So are you. We all are. You’re dying faster than I am, by over three months. And all those childhood injuries you sustained don’t help either. I bet you’re well on your way to arthritis, and sooner or later all those once broken bones are going to crumble beneath you. And you smoke! Your lungs are already collapsing. Say goodbye to our wonderful, youthful bodies and embrace the impending life of hunched backs and brittleness.”
The comforter suddenly removed, leaving his hair in disarray. Shizuo stood over with him with a bemused expression.
“It’s Sunday, so you don’t have to get up. But you don’t have to be such a depressing brat,” He said, “Just go back to bed if you want.”
“I can’t go back to sleep,” Izaya said. “I may never wake up again. And wouldn’t that be the worst? No show, no ‘out with a bang.’ Millions just go to sleep at night to never awake in the morning again.”
Shizuo reached down and smoothed over Izaya’s hair. “I think that sounds kinda peaceful.”
Izaya’s eyes narrowed. “Are you saying you want me to die in my sleep?”
Slurp. He headed for the door. “Lie here in self-pity for all I care.”
Izaya rose and stretched. An audible crack alerted him. “Wait, Shizu-chan! Did you hear that?”
Shizuo just shook his head disapprovingly before leaving the bedroom.
Finally, Izaya dragged himself out of bed and moped off to the bathroom. At least Shizuo would never make a big deal of his birthday like some overbearing, overcompensating, overenthusiastic boyfriend. Maybe it was because Shizuo wasn’t a fan of celebrating his own birthday. That was always a day for Izaya to rub his nose in it, to tease. Shizuo, though, had always been more considerate.
After a morning piss and washing his hands, Izaya ended up staring at himself in the mirror for nearly ten minutes. He examined and scrutinized every detail on his skin. He still looked young, thanks to years of meticulous hygiene and pampering. But how long would that last? He’d always had some noticeable crinkles around his cheeks by cause of common grins and smirks.
I have to stop laughing so much, he told himself. No more laughing.
Then he saw it, just barely. His eyes widened in horror as he latched on to a strand of hair between his fingers. Bringing it closer to the mirror, he inspected the hair further. Yes, it was unmistakable.
Izaya ran out of the bathroom and down the hall. Shizuo was flipping between old wrestling matches and reports of last nights baseball game. A bowl of cereal rested in his lap, which Shizuo then defended as Izaya charged onto the couch and pulled his hair in front of Shizuo’s face.
“Shizu-chan! Shizu-chan look!!”
An annoyed sound escaped Shizuo. “...What?”
“Don’t you see it?!” Izaya tried desperately to make it more obvious, but Shizuo kept leaning back.
“Yes but look!! Right here!!” Izaya pointed to the strand.
Shizuo rose an eyebrow. “It’s black.”
“What, no! There’s one grey hair!”
“...It’s all black.”
“You’re blind, it’s right there!”
“You’re just paranoid.” Shizuo said, “You’re way too young to get grey hair.” And he returned to his cereal and channel flipping.
Izaya sat back on his ankles and pouted at Shizuo. “What if it’s a sign I’m meant to die young?”
Shizuo afforded him a moment’s stare before turning back to the television. “Nah.”
“How can you know? You don’t know!”
“If you were going to die young, vending machine number seventy-five would have done the trick. Nothing like natural causes will kill you. You’ll outlive me and everybody else until the apocalypse comes - which you’ll probably cause.”
Ragnarok was the goal. Izaya bit his lip down on that. While the prospects of living forever had their appeal, he wanted to keep his options open. Maybe that wasn’t the best way to go.
“Dying young might not be the worst,” he said, and began twirling the strand of hair he’d mistaken as grey around his finger. “Getting old can only become a hassle. If I died now, I could skip all that saggy skin and achy joints. I’ll stay young and devilishly handsome forever. That’s how you’ll remember me, at my finest. And everybody will miss me. Everybody gets more attention when they die young, like they’re martyrs. ‘Gone too soon,’ they’ll say. If I wait around any longer, humans will just get sick of me.”
A silence followed that was only broken by the crunch of Shizuo chewing his cereal thoughtfully. His eyes remained fixated on the television, while Izaya watched him carefully. Of course, Izaya didn’t really feel like dying just then. Though he wondered what Shizuo would do with such a morose topic. If their relationship held any merit, Shizuo would hopefully argue against Izaya’s premature demise.
Shizuo finally swallowed his breakfast and what he had to say left Izaya disappointed. “What makes you think humans aren’t already sick of you?” How rude!
“That’s what you’re going to say?! That’s a terrible thing to say! We’re breaking up.”
Moving his empty bowl aside, Shizuo pulled Izaya into his lap. Izaya should have resisted as revenge for Shizuo teasing him so mercilessly on his birthday of all days. Even if he hated his birthday, Shizuo should show some respect. But it was early, and his birthday, and he wanted attention.
“You’re extra annoying today, aren’t you?” Shizuo pecked Izaya’s lips and proceeded to pepper his face with lazy kisses.
“Well you’re extra mean,” Izaya said, wrapping his arms around Shizuo’s neck. He caught Shizuo’s mouth in a deeper kiss than before.
There was an undeniably possessive presence on Shizuo’s tongue and in the hands with which he grasped Izaya’s hips, telling Izaya that Shizuo wasn’t ready to release him into jaws of Death just yet. And Izaya was thankful for it. They lapsed into a round of heated morning makeouts that reminded Izaya of one thing for certain.
To die at this stage in life would definitely be a huge, huge waste.