This is weird.
We're walking side by side like it's the most natural thing in the world. And normally this isn't natural in the slightest. Natural for us would be chasing each other screaming - or laughing maniacally in my case - and literally trying to kill each other.
Just to make things weirder, neither of us is wearing what other people would expect. You would think it would make us blend in instead of stick out like a sore thumb. Shizuo especially is too renowned, so he's attracting more attention out of his normal bartenders garb. And I'm wearing a white long sleeved shirt that is clearly too big. It is so very obvious that it's not my shirt. If I'm being honest, I think I may have subconsciously left my jacket at Shizuo's apartment to flaunt that fact.
So yeah. This is weird.
We're going to have to learn how to accept this as the new norm. My eyes wander the crowd and catch people here and there gaping, seeming to recognize one or both of us. And across the street... Is that little Mikado? I laugh as I realize he's furiously typing on his phone with his mouth hanging wide open.
"What was that laugh for?" Shizuo says glancing at me sideways.
"Nothing important," I say with a sigh. "It just looks like the rumors about us might start spreading faster than anticipated."
Shizuo mumbles unintelligibly, irritation and anger simmering, while lighting another cigarette. I smirk at his grumbling, not even bothering to try to makes sense of what he's trying to communicate. It's nice to know that things didn't take a complete one hundred eighty degree turn. Well, situational we did... I mean, yes, we're together, right? But no matter what, he's still the same quick-to-anger, emotionally stunted monster: Shizuo Heiwajima.
"Now I can tell that you're thinking something weird, flea," he glances at me sideways again, seemingly subconscious to the fact that his pace is slower than normal to make up for the difference in our strides. The fact that he doesn't want to walk too far ahead of me makes me smile again.
I shake my head at him. "I don't think it's weird to think nice things about you." As the thought leaves my mouth, I blink slowly then raise a curious eyebrow. I open my mouth to say something else but close it again after nothing comes out.
Shizuo chuckles. "Good. I'm glad you realized how unnatural that sentence was," he says as he slides his cigarette butt into his vinyl pocket ashtray. He then stops mid stride, causing me to follow suit.
"Hmm? What's wrong, Shizu-chan?" I follow his line of vision to a small parking lot off the main road. I see motorcycle as black as the void with an iconic cat-inspired helmet wearing rider on it's back. And she's staring right at us. "Ah. I see. Well, should we go say hello?" I ask him in an overly cheery voice with a grin plastered to my face, turning to take a step in Celty's direction.
"Not now. I don't have the energy for that right now," he says exasperatedly, grabbing my arm to keep me from deviating from our current route. "I don't think that will be a short conversation and I'm still hungry. We're almost there anyway."
I see Celty tilt her head curiously as she sees Shizuo tug on my sleeve to prompt me to fall in step with him as we round the corner to Russia Sushi. Simon is standing out front and when he sees us he seems take a defensive stance as if he's expecting to have to break up a fight, which is understandable.
"Semyon! Long time no see," I say to the large man in Russian with an amiable smile, causing Shizuo to raise a curious eyebrow. Simon nods at me and continues to be on edge while looking back and forth between Shizuo and me.
"It's fine Simon. We're not going to fight," Shizuo says with his hands raised cautiously. "We just want to eat.."
Simon's confusion is evident but he puts on a smile and motions toward the door. "Please, yes. Sushi good! We have fatty tuna special for Izaya's honor," he says enthusiastically as we move past him to step inside. After a short pause, he adds, "I'm happy to see you finally growing up."
When I walk through the door I freeze, just barely registering Shizuo's grumble in response to Simon's comment as he walks in behind me. "I didn't realize you spoke Russian," he says curiously right before barreling right into my still frame. "Oi, flea. Don't stop so suddenly. What..." he says gently before realizing why I stopped. I hear him sigh loudly behind me and I elbow him softly as a warning to not act stupid.
"Um... hi?" I say to the faces of Kadota's gang. Their expressions range from anxious to confusion to flat out delight.
"What... what is going on here?" Kadota stammers.
"Hello Dotachin. Long time no see," I say with an smirk.
"Seriously. What is happening right now? How are you... why are you? Are you really both in the same place at the same time without fighting?" he continues to ramble. "You almost seem... friendly?"
I hear a slightly crazed, almost deranged giggle from behind him. "Dotachin, it seems that they've made their peace," Erika says with an almost lecherous grin plastered to her face. "I wonder how they went about doing that. Iza-chan... that shirt is a little big on you, isn't it?" She continues to giggle with wide day-dreamy eyes. "Eeheehee... moe sleeves..."
Shizuo sighs as he puts his hands firmly on my shoulders and shoves me almost roughly between the four person barricade. "Can we get through the door please? I'm hungry." he grumbles.
"You're eating together? I'm confused," Saburo mutters quietly. "Seriously. Is this real life?"
"Erika! This is only proof that we shouldn't give up on our quest to turn fantasy into reality! If your dreams can come true, I must be able to become transform into a 2-D hero and save my imouto-type princess from the clutches of..." I stop listening to Walker's otaku fueled rant as I subconsciously grab onto Shizuo's shirt to drag him behind me toward the end of the sushi bar, trying to escape the gawking group. Sitting down, I nod to Denis, who seemed to be ignoring the whole situation, then turn to look at Kadota who had followed us hesitantly.
"Yes Dotachin?" I look up at him from my seat with a raised eyebrow and a condescending smile.
"Seriously. What happened? Are you two feeling okay? The last I knew a pissed off Shizuo with a broken cell phone was going to try and avoid you like the plague after I told him I saw you in town," Kadota says trying to piece things together with a furrowed brow. "I'm not saying I'm not glad you two didn't fight like the old days... or cause some seemingly overdue damage to the city... It's just... I don't. I don't know."
The longer he speaks, the more confused he looks and the more incoherent his rambling becomes. I sigh and shake my head, unwilling to respond to such a pointless query. I look at Shizuo, eyes pleading him to get rid of Kadota.
Shizuo sighs and turns his attention away from me. "We came to an understanding is all," Shizuo says easily, brushing off the question as if it weren't important. The confidence in his voice is unwavering in the other's eyes, but I catch his insecurity by the way his betraying hands are fiddling uncomfortably with a pair of chopsticks. I smile secretly in his direction before he continues. "We talked instead of fighting for the first time. The end. Now stop looking at us like us being in the same place at the same time will bring about the apocalypse."
"It won't?" Kadota asks completely serious.
"It might, but not today. Now, go away Dotachin. Your resident fangirl is staring at us with an almost disturbing look on her face. It's making me lose my appetite," I say, craning my head to look behind Kadota. "Erika, dear? What do you think you're doing?"
"Not taking pictures for the Shizaya section of my BL blog?" she answers with a smirk, phone in hand. I blink in astonishment at her response. "Well, it's been a while since I have had anything this good, or concrete, to post... Dotachin do you see the way they're looking at each other? Izaya just spoke to Shizuo without using words... It's like they've finally become one..."
I see a vein start to pulse in Shizuo's forehead as he narrows his eyes and snaps his chopsticks in half. "I don't want to know what you mean by any of that. I'm starting to get really pissed off," he says irritably. "Please leave now so you don't interrupt this peaceful day anymore than you already have."
"Peaceful?" Kadota asks as if he doesn't know the definition of the word.
Continuing to ignore the commotion, Denis sets the sushi platters down in front of us and I clap my hands together in front of me in happiness. "Thank you Denis. Out of everything in Ikebukuro, I have missed your sushi the most!" I exclaim, my comment earning a growl from the man sitting next to me. I pick up a piece of nigiri with my fingers and pop it into my mouth with a satisfied sigh. I catch Shizuo staring at my mouth out of the corner of my eye and chuckle quietly. I am actually enjoying putting on this show right now.
"Yeah. Okay. Let's get out of here. I can't handle this," Kadota says as he spins on his heels and rushes for the door.
"I knew it. I knew it! I always told you, didn't I?!" Erika practically screeches as Walker and Saburo drag her out of the door.
Silence reigns as the commotion dies. We enjoy the quiet that has fallen over the restaurant, allowing us to eat in peace. Next to me, Shizuo makes an almost inaudible contented noise. Subconsciously watching him out of the corner of my eye as I eat, I notice that he didn't bother to find another pair of chopsticks. As he picks up a piece of nigiri with his fingers a secret smile forms my lips. This is disturbingly tranquil. Annoyingly enjoyable.
With a soft sigh, I decide to break the companionable silence. "So, still don't care what people think?"
"Well, they may be annoying but yeah, I really don't care," Shizuo says incredulously as if he's offended by the question. "When did you start caring what people thought?"
I shrug disdainfully. "Oh, I don't. I'm just asking out of concern for your fragile reputation." I smirk as I see him shake his head in my direction, chuckling quietly. "Plus, I don't seem to be pigeonholed by these people. They don't ever really know what to expect from me. So if they're going to be judging anyone in this situation, it's you Shizu-chan."
"Shut up and eat your fatty tuna you asshole," he says, earning a private tender smile. "And don't look at me like that in public. It's creepy."
"Oh? So you prefer I be a jerk to you in public? I didn't realize you were that much of a masochist, Shizu-chan," I ask with laughter in my voice before raising a finger to my lower lip in thought. "You know; perhaps we should run through the streets fighting like we used to. Oddly enough, that would probably be a good way to get people to leave us alone."
"I don't think we really need to go that far. That was the worst of the bunch when it comes to people we know who would actually approach us. So, I think we'll be fine, flea," he says as he nudges me almost affectionately with his elbow. The soft tone in his voice when he says the once derogatory nickname makes it sound less like an insult and more like a pet name.
"Now who's being gross?" I ask as I pick up another piece of nigiri and bring it to my mouth. Noticing Shizuo's eyes following my movements, I pause before eating it and look straight into his eyes, noticing a fire burning below the surface. "Seriously, Shizu-chan? With the crap you just gave me for looking at you funny in public? You're way worse than I am," I say laughing as I see his face flush scarlet before looking away guiltily.
"So cute, Shizu-chan," I say tauntingly as I pull my phone out of my pocket instinctively at the sound of incoming messages. "Anyway, should we just continue this pattern and get Shinra and Celty out of the way, too? I mean, she already saw us. I'll bet that she's already home, typing furiously at a confused Shinra."
Shizuo had finished his sushi and turned in his seat to look at me while drinking his tea. "Why would we purposefully seek out more annoying situations?" he asks straightforwardly. "I'd like to avoid it until I absolutely have to deal with it."
"Do I embarrass you that much, Shizu-chan?" I ask carefully while meeting his questioning eyes.
"No!" he answers instantaneously. I smirk as he clicks his teeth at his own overly eager response, raking a hand roughly through his hair before continuing more offhandedly. "You know what I meant, damn it," he grumbles then lets out a resigned sigh. "I just want to... I don't want to... I don't know what I don't want anymore. Can we just not stir the pot? Please."
"But it is so interesting to stir the pot Shizu-chan." I grin cheekily, putting my phone away, as he shakes his head while turning back around to face the sushi bar, setting down his empty teacup.
We sit in silence again while I finish my meal. From the outside, the atmosphere between us is tense but I know better. The silence, while not completely comfortable at this exact moment, is necessary. As expected, we're struggling with how to act together in public. I blink as I realize that I want to reach out and touch him subtly. I'm not sure how he would handle that.
I glance at him from the corner of my eye and catch him doing the same. He smiles knowingly and I can't help the small smile on my lips in return before I drop my gaze down to my hands on my teacup.
I hear a quiet scoff from beside me. "You eat slow. You know that?" he says mockingly as he motions for the check from Denis.
"Well I'm sorry for savoring my food." After a moment, I drop my voice to avoid being overheard. "But thank you, Shizuo. For the meal."
He stops as he's taking money out of his wallet to look at me with a small smile. "You're welcome," he says quietly. "Let's get out of here."
"Where are you taking me?" I ask playfully.
"Do I really need a plan?" He inquires as he stands up, setting the money on the counter and nodding to Denis. "Why don't we just see where the afternoon takes us, flea."
I feel the corner of my mouth tug upward in a small half-smile at his words. "That's more poetic and romantic than I expect from you," I say mockingly as I follow him toward the door. "But that sounds like a good plan."