Shit. I let my guard down too much. I really hate how smart he is. Maybe if I hadn't told him to pay more attention to those around him... damn it. I shift uncomfortably, turning to my gaze anywhere but in front of me. Attempting to keep my eyes on anything but the man sitting across from me.
I lean my elbow on the table, struggling to look nonchalant. "You're wrong, Izaya. There's no hidden emotion in the way I look at you. You must be projecting something," I say as dismissively as I can manage.
I see him sink back into the booth out of the corner of my eye. "That must be it. Maybe I am projecting," he says quietly to himself. Almost quiet enough that I don't hear him. If he admits that he could be projecting... what... what did that mean?
I risk a glance across the table and see Izaya with his eyebrows sewn together staring pointedly into his now empty soup bowl as if he hopes it has the answers he seems to be looking for. Again, his uncharacteristic uncertainty captivates me and I find myself unable to look away. "Why have you been so... weird tonight, Izaya?" I ask carefully. "Why did you come back?"
His hands close around the empty bowl in front of him as an almost inaudible strangled sigh escape his lips before answering me. "To be honest with you, I didn't realize where I was headed until I was getting off the subway in Ikebukuro. Some subconscious part of me brought me here. At first, I didn't know why..." he pauses and looks up at me listening to him intently before returning his gaze downward, fingers visibly tightening around the bowl in his hands. "I just thought I wanted to walk around and reminisce. But little by little I found my thoughts constantly returning to something specific. Someone in particular..." Izaya lets the thought die on his lips as a wistful smile ghosted his lips.
A not entirely uncomfortable silence starts to stretch out between us as he pauses in his thoughts. I watch him start to gnaw on his lower lip, unsure of how to continue, causing me to sigh softly and shake my head. "Is it the person you're trying to... to change their opinion of you? The person I'm helping you practice for?" I prompt when he stays quiet.
He glances up at me and nods, leaning back into the booth. Izaya's hands release the bowl and he absentmindedly drums his fingers on the table. He starts to open his mouth to continue, but the waitress takes the quiet as opportunity to refill my coffee and remove the empty bowl. I nod my thanks as she walks away, returning my gaze to the man across from me who can't bring himself to meet my eyes.
"I realized that this person means more to me than I ever cared to admit. I think that the power this person held over me made me twist my emotions into anger and hatred instead of the truth," he admits quietly.
His hands are shaking subtly and I instinctively reach over to grab them in mine in an attempt to comfort him. "Hey, it's okay. I know you may find this hard to believe but... but I think I know where you're coming from."
He furrows his brow as he stares at my hand holding his. Then he looks up into my eyes in confusion. I must be giving him that look again. Damn it. I reluctantly pull my hand away from him and force a smile. "You can tell me this without fear of judgment because, let's be honest, you really don't care what I think, right?"
"You're so stupid, Shizu-chan," he sighs before continuing, confidence seeping back into his expression. "Anyway. I was walking the streets of Ikebukuro tonight blissfully ignorant of any and everything but this person kept haunting my thoughts. I couldn't get them out of my head. I still can't. They're the reason I came back here. I think I want to tell them... I want to tell them how boring and meaningless my life has become since I left the city. Since I left them behind. I thought the distance was going to help, but it made it worse. I think I've had them on my mind every day since I left and that part of me that I had been suppressing got too strong, leading me back here."
I clench my teeth in anger. I can't believe what I'm listening to. He's practically saying everything I have been thinking earlier. How I had been thinking about him. And he thinks that way about someone else? I can't believe how jealous I am getting. It's ridiculous. "Well, if it makes you feel any better... I can feel how genuine you are regarding your feelings for this person." I practically snarl. "And that means a lot coming from me."
"Yeah..." he says sadly. "Because you hate me so much, right?"
"Damn it, Izaya. Stop saying that," I growl.
"What? Why?" he asks bewildered.
"Because it's not true damn it! Not anymore. I feel... I feel like I've gotten closer to you in one night than anyone... I feel like I... I don't know, damn it." I trip over my thoughts, blurting things before thinking about what I'm saying. "So... if you wanted to, you know. I guess you could consider me a friend."
His eyes widen in shock. "What?"
"You heard me," I affirm almost angrily. "I guess I'll stop trying to kill you now." I add nonchalantly.
"I don't understand." He looks so confused and a little vulnerable. So very unlike Izaya it makes me want to punch him.
"Congratulations you damn flea. You've convinced your arch-enemy to consider you a friend. You're done with your practice run. Go tell his person how you feel," I say bitterly. "Just make sure you keep this almost disturbingly genuine side of yours when you're talking to them." I slide out of the booth and pause briefly to smile sadly at him. "If you pay for the coffee, I'll consider us even. And thanks. Thanks for talking to me. I'm actually glad that you wandered back into my city..."
I turn around and rush out of the diner. I almost stumble as I walk out of the open doorway and clutch my chest as I feel a confused and pained look form on my face. "What the hell is wrong with me?" I ask myself for what feels like the thousandth time that night as I practically stagger down the sidewalk.
I drag myself in the direction of home. That coffee didn't do much to help me ward off my sudden wave of exhaustion. How long had we been talking? And why did it feel like we weren't quite finished?
I feel like my whole world has been turned upside down.
"Damn it Izaya," I groan as I reach my building quicker than I anticipated. I must have been really lost in thought. I sigh heavily as I realize I had let him get even deeper under my skin. That was so damn stupid. Whatever I had thought my feelings were toward him earlier tonight had ballooned out to something that was completely undeniable.
Did I... love him? What the hell?!
I'm standing in front of my door with one hand jingling the keys in my pocket and the other covering my face, completely lost in thought. "What are you doing to me?"
"What is who doing to you, Shizu-chan?" Izaya asks quietly from behind me.