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Unintended Reconnection

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How long has it been since I've been back? No. A better question would be: What brought me back in the first place? That's the question to which I don't quite have a good answer. Before I know what I'm doing, I'm getting off the subway at the Ikebukuro stop.

It's stupid of me to come here. I almost turn around but something pushes me to continue up the escalator, emerging out onto the street. In the evening light, I glance around, taking in the familiar surroundings. Smirking to myself as I think about all the havoc I stirred up. All the widespread destruction of innocent lives - as well as a few not so innocent ones.

"Good times," I murmur to myself as, my face falling, leaving my stare almost vacant. As I walk through the almost comfortingly familiar streets, I wonder how the city has been getting along without me. Probably pretty well, albeit a little boring.

I guess I could know everything about the goings on in Ikebukuro at the present time if I had wanted to. It's not that difficult, but there was something that kept me from doing so. Something that made me want to turn a blind eye to the city and its interesting people that I so loved.

When I realize I am walking in the direction of Raira Academy, I subconsciously and quite abruptly turned down an alley to avoid stirring up any high school memories. I absentmindedly wonder how Shinra is doing. Did he actually manage to get Celty to marry him? The thought makes me pause - my steps almost faltering - causing me to raise an eyebrow internally. Since when would I care about something so trivial? He may be the closest thing I have to a friend and the only person I honestly believe deserves happiness... but we're by no means close. I'm not close with anyone, am I?

Another odd musing. Did I just feel an ache in my chest at that thought? I must be getting soft. Or just maybe keeping people at an arm's length hasn't kept me as strong as I had thought. I sigh heavily at the absurdity of the idea as I come out on a main street and pause to consider my next destination.

I see a conspicuous van drive past me with a ridiculous anime girl adorning the rear sliding door. I raise an eyebrow and smirk. "You haven't changed I see..." I mutter under my breath, turning to walk in the opposite direction of the aforementioned van. I think Dotachin would be as happy about running into me as Shinra would. It would be cordial but tedious. I should just avoid that encounter.

It's almost liberating to walk these streets with no idea of what's happening underneath the surface. Not knowing every dark secret and illicit detail about its salacious underground activities. Don't misunderstand; I do thoroughly enjoy near omniscience, maybe even omnipotence, but it feels oddly enjoyable to be detached. I don't know what it is but this almost innocence in my step is a new and slightly enjoyable feeling. I have no ulterior motive in my movement, no intention in the direction I am heading.

I'm just here. In the moment.

I don't think anyone would believe that I'm enjoying my current state of blissful ignorance, but who cares what anyone else thinks. No one knows anything about me. Not really. So how could they understand how much I'm enjoying my view from the outside looking in?

"No one really needs to know, do they?" I almost whisper to myself with a sigh and a tiny smile.

As if some unknown higher power decides to take away this sliver of undeserved happiness, I see the back of the head of a certain monster I had hoped to avoid. My face drops and I narrow my eyes minutely. I drop back and follow him for a block before I see him walk into Russia Sushi. This prompts me to turn down another alley to make my way around the restaurant. Damn. I could have stopped in for some otoro to-go.

Sighing, I pull out a cell phone and send an irritated message to Namie. [[ I thought you told me he wasn't in town... ]] I don't bother to read the almost instantaneous response. It's probably some trivial, not to mention snarky, comment.

Why did I even bother to ask her to find out about Shizuo's whereabouts in the first place? I was already on the subway before I realized where I was heading and wasn't really considering turning around. But after our final confrontation before I left Ikebukuro... I guess I don't know where we really stand if we were to run into each other after all this time. There wasn't really any form of closure for either of us. I mean, we're both still breathing, aren't we?

Why is that, I wonder.

He could have hunted me down if he had really wanted to end me. I must not be that important to him. "Ouch," slips out of my mouth before I have time to think. I raise an eyebrow at the direction in which my thoughts are steering. Why should I care? I mean, he isn't important to me either.

Somewhere deep down I can feel the lie. I hate that it's a lie. When did this hatred turn into something so...I shake my head unable to find the right word to finish my thought. I sigh so loudly it's almost a groan.

It makes me sick to think of how much I don't hate him.

Clenching a fist at my side I stop walking and lean against a concrete wall, closing my eyes tight. I need to clear my mind but I just can't stop my thoughts from spiraling down to the part of me that I had suppressed during my self-imposed exile from Ikebukuro.

What sort of closure had I been looking for from our final stand-off? Was one - or both - of our deaths really the thing that would have made me happy? And why had terrified me to think of what my life would be like if I had succeeded in my task? There was a moment when the roof went up in flames that I had actually panicked. Had I really killed him?

I just couldn't accept a world where he didn't exist. The relief I felt when he got back up - and hit me with a fucking steel beam like a goddamn baseball - was irritating. Was my life really built around that monster? It had been a shocking revelation.

Something in me broke that night. Well, actually, a lot of things broke... but some part of me that I had assumed lay forever dormant forced me to acknowledge it before it shattered into tiny, seemingly irreparable pieces.

That was what kept me out of Ikebukuro. That's what stopped me from keeping up with the city's inner workings. The thing had constantly drawn me in to Ikebukuro, subconsciously or not, had turned into what made me stay away.

Shizuo Heiwajima.

Shizu-chan.

Damn it.

If he only knew, I'm sure he's be overjoyed to know that it was him that finally kept me away. I had always wandered around knowing full well that we would see each other. I had thrived on the fact that I knew he'd always find me. Find me, chase me away, repeat. It was... fun. A stable source of amusement that warped into something twisted and confusing over time.

Thinking back on it now, I scoff at how I constantly flaunted my disregard for his demand to stay out of Ikebukuro. It was that order that pushed me to quite literally skip through "his" streets so carefree. I wanted to prove that he didn't scare me. He wasn't a threat to me. But he did scare me. In a way.

It was only that night, when we went all out, that I finally realized why he scared me. I had always claimed that I loved all humans with the obvious exception being Shizuo. That day I realized it was quite the opposite.

I could live if some silly girl killed herself. I could live if a gang war ripped through the streets, causing people to leave Ikebukuro. Either temporarily or permanently. I could live with anything these humans did to each other. But I couldn't live if Shizuo was no longer in this world...

And I hated myself for it.

I truly love that monster.

When did that line between love and hate blur so much?

If I was honest with myself, I think I've known on a subconscious level since... we met? Damn it. He was different. Special. Always so unpredictable and... interesting. No one has ever caught me off guard like him. No one has ever been such a challenge. No one could ever take this place he had dug into my very soul. I would be nothing without him.

That must be why I've felt so utterly empty. Something had forced me back here. Someone not something. Someone that would hate to know that I'm here. The only person who could make me feel... anything.

He must have been the drawing force that pulled me back to Ikebukuro before I even had a moment to stop and think it though. I know I shouldn't be here. And I certainly shouldn't be thinking like this. What would he say if he knew? What would he do? That thought alone terrifies me.

I duck into a small cafe and sit in a far corner booth to try and collect my thoughts. I pull out my cell phone and scroll through my contacts. Just contacts, no real friends. How sad... There really is no one to talk to about this. Not that I want to talk to anyone about this.

With a sigh I put my phone back into my pocket and lean back against the cushion. "When did everything get so tangled?" I ask myself before shaking my head with a small, bitter smile. "Damn you, Shizu-chan."

Chapter Text

Before ducking into Russia Sushi, I pause momentarily to turn around, looking up and down the street suspiciously. Something feels... off. For some reason, I could have sworn I had seen that stinking flea behind me somewhere. I must be imagining things in the deceiving evening light.

I shrug as I walk into the restaurant alone, nodding to Simon and Denis before taking a seat at the end of the sushi bar, lost in thought. It wasn't possible. Izaya hasn't shown his face in Ikebukuro since that night. I honestly wasn't even all that sure that he was alive for a while. Shinra, at one point, had confirm that he had survived.

For some reason I had been relieved. I'm not even sure why. We had been trying to kill each other since the day we met. I should have been pleased if I had found out that he was no longer breathing. You'd think so, right?

Somewhere in some seriously sick and twisted part of me - a part of me that I vehemently ignored - I knew that my life would be meaningless without him. Meaningless and boring. What the hell is that all about?

Before he disappeared, I had spent a great deal of time tracking him down. Constantly trying to beat the shit out of him whenever I had a moment to myself. Somewhere along the line, that had warped into a game of cat and mouse that I indulged in every chance I got. A messed up little game that I enjoyed. Thoroughly.

Without him around anymore I had no idea what to do with myself. I worked with Tom as much as possible to fill my days but at night... I was lost. I continued to patrol the streets and I knew, though I would never admit it aloud, I was still looking for him.

I'm always looking for him.

Izaya fucking Orihara.

Chasing him relentlessly had turned into an important part of me. That very idea made me want to scream. I unknowingly clench my teeth as I screw my eyes shut tightly.

"Ah, Shizuo," Simon calls to me, pulling me out of my increasingly disturbing train of thought, making me open my eyes and look at him. He has a sushi platter for one in hand while he's looming over me from across the counter. "You have face of anxiety today. Sushi good. Eat so you no fight." He smiles broadly at me while setting the food in front of me.

"Thanks," I say, forcing a small smile as he nods while walking away. Looking down at the sushi in front of me, I sigh.

At one point a while back, I took up Varona on a visit to Russia. I guess I was trying to get my mind off the Izaya sized hole in my life. Trying to convince myself it wasn't even there to begin with. I thought getting away from the city that was starting to feel empty and lifeless would help me to reset my life.

Every day had become repetitive and monotonous. Work with Tom, run into my few precious friends on the street, food at Russia sushi, sleep, repeat. Every once in a while, I'd get invited over to Shinra's to have hot pot with him and Celty. Sometimes even Kadota and gang were there. But everyday life had become so tedious and so incredibly boring. I just didn't know how to change it.

So I visited with Varona. It was an okay time, I guess. She was a pretty awkward host and even though she meticulously planned what to do every day, it just seemed so... robotic and forced. I don't know what I was expecting to be honest.

At one point, I could have sworn that one of her planned outings had meant to be some weird version of a date but that was just made everything even more awkward. Varona's a friend and I can't see her any other way. What the hell is wrong with me? She's very attractive and she seems to like me for me. I guess. Shit.

I know what's wrong with me. I clench my teeth and snap my chopsticks in half in frustration. Simon thoughtfully drops off a few extra pairs with a knowing smile. Nodding silently I set the broken ones aside as I pick up a second set.

While attempting to push my thoughts aside, I feel my phone buzz in my pocket. Setting my chopsticks down, I flip the phone open to find an email from Kadota. It took all my strength to not snap my phone in half. I really couldn't afford to buy another one this month.

The email's subject reads "thought you'd want to know..." and includes a picture of a certain flea sitting in a cafe somewhere nearby. Snapping the phone shut, I slam it down onto the counter.

I can feel my face start to turn red and my pulse is racing. I attempt to slow my breathing as I try push the image out of my mind, failing miserably. "What is he doing here...?" I grumble to myself. I shove another piece of nigiri in my mouth, glaring at the phone as if it had offended me personally.

"Shizuo. Need more sushi?" Simon asks with concern coloring his voice. He's way too in tune with people's emotions for my taste today.

"I'm fine. Thanks," I say shortly, snatching the phone up again and flipping it open again to stare at the picture. "What the hell is he doing here...?" I repeat, cracking my second pair of chopsticks in half.

Looking closer at the image on the screen, he looks so innocent. Just sitting in a booth, sipping tea. No nefarious look on his smug, stupid face. He almost looks serene. I know better than to believe that. He's up to something. Why else would he be back here?

For some reason I feel a small smile form on my lips. Some part of me... that sick, twisted part of me... is, what? Excited? Thrilled? Fucking hopeful?!

I snap my phone in half. "Shit."

I stand up and shove the broken phone into my pocket. "Thanks for the sushi, Simon," I say as the Russian waiter comes over, that concerned look still plastered on his face. I force a smile. "I'm alright. Don't worry. I just need to go buy a new phone."

After paying, I turn to leave only to be met by Erika and Walker coming in through the door. The smile on Erika's face is obnoxiously irritating. "Hey guys," I say as they block the exit, causing me to pause and raise a questioning eyebrow. "What's up?"

"Did you get the message we sent you?" Walker grins. "We thought you'd want to... you know..."

"He must be back for you, Shizuo," Erika says with stars in her eyes. "He must have missed you all this time!"

"Erika," Kadota says as he walks in behind the two otaku, Saburo in tow. "Knock that crap off."

"But Dotachiiiin," she pouts. "Why else would Iza-Iza be back but to finally claim his undying lo...Mmmph!"

Walker quickly covers Erika's mouth and drags her away to an empty table behind Saburo who's shaking his head. "Don't listen to this one... she ships everything," Walker says apologetically over his shoulder with a small grin.

I raise my eyebrow again. "Ship?" I ask, looking at Kadota.

"Don't ask. You really, really don't want to know," he answers with a sigh. "Anyway, I take it you got my email. I almost didn't send it but, you know... it's him. I figured if anyone would want to know what he's up to, it's you. Are you headed out now? Do you want to know where we saw him?"

"No," I force through clenched teeth, feeling a vein pop in my forehead. "All I know is that I need a new cell phone now. Maybe I'll just take care of that and ignore that flea."

"Really?" He asks dryly. "I didn't think you knew how to ignore him."

"I'm going to try my damnedest. Maybe he'll just disappear again and I won't have to worry why he showed up out-of-the-blue in the first place," I grumble as my hands clench tightly into fists at my side. "I'm going to buy a new phone. If I end up running into that fleabag it's because he's looking to start something. It won't be my fault."

Kadota shrugs. "Well, let me know if you need me," he says as he walks over to join the others at the table. "And Shizuo... you're probably right. He'll just disappear again so try not to let him get under your skin."

I mumble an unintelligible response as I push the door open, walking out into the night in Ikebukuro. "Damn it, Izaya," I mutter to myself. "You're always under my skin, aren't you?" I head off to buy another phone.

Chapter Text

Shaking my head in an attempt to clear my mind, I pick my phone resolutely up off the table. With a deep breath I scroll through my contacts finding the number I had been debating on calling. My finger hovers over the screen briefly before finally pressing the send button. I hold the phone cautiously to my ear.

"The number you're trying to reach has been changed, disconnected or is no longer in..." I end the call before the automated message can finish. I know he tends to go through more phones than your average person, but I'm sure he always keeps the same number. Maybe he changed it so I couldn't... No. I don't think I mean enough to him for him to change his damn phone number.

"Fate must be sending me a message," I whisper to myself bitterly as I finish my tea, which has been cold for some time now. I didn't even want it, to be honest. I just needed somewhere to sit and think... and hide. Why in the hell am I hiding? I've never done that before. I always strolled brazenly through these streets as if I owned them... I practically had.

I lean my elbows on the table and rub my eyes roughly with the heels of my palms as if trying to scrub the thoughts out of my head. Dropping my arms to the table, I hunch forward and stare out the window across the room with a frown on my face. It's dark enough outside that I can't quite make out any details of the people walking by. Even so, I could have sworn that I was watching the subject of my inner turmoil pass by the cafe.

I hate that I don't need to see him clearly to know it's him. That stupid hair paired with the way he towers over most of the people around him and that obnoxious, self-assured swagger of his... he's pretty hard to miss. Especially if you add in the way he hunches over slightly when he's walking with purpose. He's most likely muttering to himself, too.

What was that comment I made to myself about fate?

I sink back into the cushion of the booth, trying to look as small and unimposing as I can in order to avoid drawing his attention. It looks like he's not completely aware of everything going on around him so he most likely won't even look my way. I see him stop abruptly, turning his head to stare into the window. "Crap," I sigh as I can feel his eyes boring a hole into my head.

Shizuo bellows to himself so loudly that the sound practically shakes the glass separating us. Then he does something completely unexpected. Instead of coming in to drag me out, he continues on his way.

"What... what was that?" I ask myself in a daze as he disappears from view. I don't think he has ever, ever flat out ignored me. He definitely saw me. Right? Why do I feel disappointed?

I hate myself right now. I don't think I've ever been so confused and unsure. Or ever felt something so closely resembling vulnerability. Not in public anyway. What is wrong with me? Some part of me had wanted more of a reaction out of him but he just utterly disregarded my presence. Is he really... over me?

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" I growl to myself. He wouldn't have to get over me... there was nothing to get over. Unless you include his undying hatred for me. Does that count?

Does he not hate me that much anymore? My eyebrows raise in thought as I sit forward in the booth again, pulling my hood up over my head to hide the odd expression I can feel on my face. With a deep sigh, I let my head fall down to smack on the table in front of me. "Ow..." I mutter as I take a few deep breath keeping my forehead plastered to the edge of wood laminate table. "Why did I come here?"

"I've been wondering the same thing," I hear an angry voice growl from above me. "What are you doing here, Izaya?"

Hearing that voice say my name again sends an odd thrill up my spine. I continue to stare at the floor between my feet, unsure of what I will see if I actually look up. "I don't know," I mumble honestly.

"That can't be true." I hear a chair being dragged over and feel it get pushed up against the end of the table. "You always have a specific and usually twisted reason for everything you do." I hear some of the anger drain out of his voice but it still holds a dangerous edge.

I see his feet tapping in frustration under the table as he's straddling the chair. "Not everything," I sigh. "Not anymore."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Shizuo grumbles. "You're not making any sense, damn it."

"What do you want from me, Shizu-chan?" I ask the floor exasperatedly. "I don't know what to tell you. I'm here and I don't fully understand why. That's the truth."

"You're lying," he declares as he boldly pulls my hood back off my head. I can hear his knuckles crack as he clenches an angry fist on the table. "Why won't you look at me, damn it? That's the least you can do after all this time... acknowledge me."

My eyebrows raise against the table as I shake my head slightly. "Why?"

"I... I don't know," he stammers. "Just... Izaya, look at me."

With a sigh I brace myself for his furious and irritated face as I lift my head off the table. When my eyes meet his something constricts almost painfully inside me. He's not looking at me with his normal unabashed hatred. Is that... concern?

"What is that gross look for, Shizu-chan?" I ask suspiciously. "I don't know what you want from me! I can't... I don't... I don't have any answers for you."

"What's wrong with you, Izaya?" he asks quietly, his brown eyes softer than I had ever seen them. I guess that's not saying much since he's never looked at me with anything kinder than disdain. "This isn't the you I know..."

"And you know me so well, Shizu-chan," I declare mockingly. "I happen to take pride in the fact that no one really knows me."

"I don't believe that at all," he replies simply, face blank. "And yes. I do know you, Izaya. Better than you or I care to admit."

I shake my head as if to reset my reeling mind. With a grunt and a smirk I move to get out of the booth. "I highly doubt that. Now if you don't mind..."

He raises his arm to block my exit. "I do mind, actually. Talk to me, Izaya."

Chapter Text

I've never seen him unsure of anything in his life. No, unsure of himself is more accurate. It's unnerving to see him so... insecure. What is going on in his head?

"Just let me leave," he tries to sound aloof but fails, letting a sliver of that insecurity slip out. "I don't have time to play with you right now, Shizu-chan."

"Damn it Izaya. Stop calling me that and be serious for once!" I growl, dangerously close to losing the little bit of the control I have on myself. "Stop acting stupid."

Izaya pushes against my arm and I let him shove it away so he can stand up. "I don't know what you're thinking but I'm fine. I assure you," He states simply. When he looks down at me, it seems like he has gotten a grip on whatever thoughts had been coursing through him. He always had felt more comfortable when he was looking down on people. Quite literally in this situation. "I'll be leaving again soon so don't worry, Shizu-chan." He smirks as he turns and walks to the door.

What the hell was that? I watch him disappear into the night and growl to myself. At some point I had grabbed onto the sides of the table and ripped the top off the legs that were bolted into the floor. "Huh... must be getting better at holding back," I shrug as I let go of the now broken table to stand up.

Shaking my head, I walk over to the registers. "Sorry about the mess." I smile sheepishly as I apologize to a terrified woman. "I don't know if I have enough to cover the repairs but here... take what I do have." I say softly as I take my wallet out to give her money to fix the table.

She blinks rapidly and snatches the money quickly out of my hand as if I'm going to hurt her. I clench my teeth in irritation. "Sorry again." I mutter and turn to leave.

I step out into the night and take a deep, grounding breath. I can still smell that damn flea. I grumble to myself as I light up a smoke, turning to continue my almost forgotten quest for a new phone.

That woman was so scared. Just like everyone else. No, not everyone. There are those rare individuals that find my unnerving strength... interesting? I don't know what they really think of it but I just know that they have the strength to look past it, or maybe just plain ignore it, trying to see me as the man I am. They're pretty special people. I don't know if special is good or bad in this case.

At least he sees me for everything I am. Not one or the other. Not my strength or my humanity. In his eyes, he sees everything. I still don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. That scares me. He's the only one who can see me as a whole.

I clench a fist at my side and growl to myself again. Why can't I stop thinking about him? I can't keep my thoughts from going back to that interaction in the cafe. What was wrong with him? Damn it. What was wrong with me? I don't want to care so much about someone so insignificant.

That's such a lie. I grind my teeth and snap my cigarette in half with a curse. Shit. That was my last one and I gave all my cash to that terrified cashier.

Shit. I gave her all the cash I had on me. I guess the cell phone replacement will have to wait until tomorrow too. I hope no one tries to get in touch with me, although I seriously doubt it. I'll see if Tom doesn't mind making a side trip with me tomorrow.

Somehow I had managed to stop thinking about Izaya for a moment but that was short lived. There he was. Walking ahead of me. Completely oblivious to the people around him. I clench my teeth and feel a vein pop in my forehead. I wish I hadn't run out of smokes... He was staring down at his cell phone instead of watching where he was walking. What an idiot.

He still has an air of uncertainty surrounding him. He's walking like he's lost. Almost like he has never been here before. I can see the tension in his shoulders as he continues to fiddle with his phone.

What the hell is going on with him?

I really want a cigarette...

Chapter Text

This must be my punishment for all the shit I stirred up in this city. I don't know why I thought I could get away with doing whatever I wanted without consequences. Although I'm an atheist, I'm under the impression that someone is up there laughing at me right now. My pain clearly amusing to them.

But it's not solely pain, is it? It's more like... emotional upheaval. I'm suffering through some inner struggle with a part of me that I have denied for too long. I think all that suppression has made that hidden part of me rear its ugly head with seemingly reckless abandon.

I don't know who I am if I don't hate Shizuo with every fiber of my being.

That statement in itself is horrifying. If I had been questioning whether or not I define myself by that man, the answer is painfully clear now. I don't know what to do with this information. I don't know what to do with it and I can't deny it anymore.

I'm staring down at my phone debating on what to do. I'm very tempted to call Shinra to see if he would be willing to meet up with me. I think he's the only person who I would even consider talking to about this. Hell, for some reason, I don't think he'd be all that surprised.

I'm not paying attention to where I'm going but it doesn't really matter. I really should be heading to the closest subway station and getting the hell out of Ikebukuro. Maybe distance really is the thing I need. Although, it didn't help before, did it? Some day in the future I'll just be back here exactly where I am now. Confused and wandering these streets trying to figure out what I'm feeling.

I guess I do know what these feeling are... I just need to come to terms with them. Or figure out a way to extinguish them. The latter seems like a more pliable option in this situation. My thoughts begin to wander back to what he would say... Yeah. I definitely need to figure out a way to get this insane notion out of my head.

I'll call Shinra. Maybe he knows of some way to brainwash this out of my head... or maybe he knows of some crazy experimental program that can...

Before I can finish my thought, I feel myself getting ripped out of the street and thrown onto the opposite sidewalk. Someone pulled me out from in front of a car that was careening right for me. I guess I really wasn't paying attention.

I blink slowly as I sit up, rubbing the back of my head, trying get my bearings. "Who..." I start to ask then pause as I look at the center of the slowly gathering crowd, my heart stopping. "Why?"

Shizuo is hunched over on the sidewalk, not five feet away from me. He's breathing heavily and it looks like his arm is bleeding. My eyebrows knit together in confusion as I look into his irritated eyes. "What the hell were you thinking? Were you even paying attention to the crossing signal?!" he bellows at me as he pushes himself up to stand. He takes the now cracked sunglasses off his face and puts them in the front pocket of his vest as he walks up to tower over me.

The crowd that had started to gather collectively murmur his name in fear as they recognize him. They suddenly begin to dissipate as quickly as they had appeared. I blink dumbly up at him. There he goes again doing something unpredictable. I never know what to expect from him. I just don't understand why he would save me like that.

"Well?!" he demands. "Are you going to answer me?"

"I... what?" I look up at him with a raised eyebrow. Confusion, not condescension. "What am I answering?"

He mumbles angrily to himself and I can see him repeatedly making a fist with his left hand. "Never mind," he grumbles under his breath. "Are you okay?" he adds roughly.

I nod listlessly as I continue to sit on the sidewalk and stare up at him. I don't know how to move to get myself off the ground. It's as if he's holding me in place with his damn eyes. I suddenly miss those stupid sunglasses of his.

"Do you need me to help you up or something?" he asks quietly and when I shake my head he sighs. "Then do you want me to call Shinra for you? I think he's in town and I'm sure he'd look you over if you needed it."

"No. I'm alright," I finally manage as I push myself up off the sidewalk, playing at brushing myself off. "So, um... thanks," I stammer before turning abruptly to rush away.

"Oi!" he yells after me. "Don't just walk away from me like that you damn flea!"

I stop mid-step and look over my shoulder at him. His face is red and I can't read his expression. It's something like anger, obviously, mixed with something akin to expectation. "I... I thanked you, didn't I? I don't know what you want from me, Shizuo!" I yell before I tear my gaze away from his and shove my hands in my pockets, walking briskly away from him.

After a few minutes, I realize that he must have given up on me because I don't hear him following. I release a breath I hadn't realized I was holding and slip into an alleyway. I take my hands out of my pockets and stare at them in confusion. Why are they shaking?

Am I trembling? Did almost getting hit by a car affect me so much? I mean it's not certain that it would have killed me if I had been hit. Or maybe it was it the fact that the very person who saved me was the very same person who has threatened to kill me on multiple occasions. He almost succeeded once. The very same person who is the very center of my internal conflict.

I bury my face in my shaking hands and slide down the concrete wall I was leaning against. I've never truly known what feeling utterly broken was. I thought I had... but apparently not.

This.

This is what that feels like.

Chapter Text

I stand there dumbly staring at the empty space that Izaya had left when he walked away. Had he actually... called me... Shizuo? No stupid nickname? What the hell was that about?

After a few minutes of confused contemplation I unexpectedly take off at a run in the direction that he headed. What the hell am I doing? Why do I care so much? He wouldn't want me to care... would he? I just couldn't shake the idea that something was wrong. Even if there is nothing I can really do to help, I want to know what is bothering him.

Why?

I stop abruptly when I realize I would have overshot him at this point. He couldn't have gone this far in such a short time frame. I raise a confused eyebrow as I circle around, trying to figure out where he could be. Damn it, he's gone. How does he do that? He always seems to simply vanish.

I shrug and force myself to give up. If I had a functioning cell phone, I'd call that bastard but that's not an option. Maybe he'll show up again later or tomorrow, if he's still around. It seems like we're always destined to cross paths anyway.

It's too late to do anything else tonight so I may as well go back the way I came and head home for the night. I amble back down the sidewalk wishing like hell I had cigarettes. I'm mumbling unintelligibly to myself when I pass by a small alleyway. Something catches my eye and I stop dead in my tracks.

'See?' a small voice in my head says smugly. 'Something always brings us back to each other.' With another sigh I turn into the alley and walk up in front of Izaya who's sitting broken against the wall. I look down at him hiding under his hood with his face in his hands. Is he shaking?

"Izaya?" I ask quietly. He stiffens but doesn't answer me. It's the second time tonight that he refuses to even acknowledge me. "You can pretend all you want but it's clear that you are not okay."

His hands drop as he brings his knees up, resting his forehead on them with his arms over his head with eyes trained on the ground. Shaking my head, I edge around him and slide down the wall next to him. "Are you ready to talk about what's wrong?" I ask him gingerly.

"I'm fine," he mumbles into his lap. "And even if I were to admit that I'm not, why would you care?"

"I don't know," I admit aloud. "I just... I don't like seeing you like this."

He raises his head abruptly and peers almost angrily into my eyes. "Why? I would think you'd love seeing me so utterly... shattered," he practically snarls from the safety of his hood.

I shrug at him and try to keep my face blank. "I know... you would think, wouldn't you? I can't explain it myself, Izaya. But... I guess... Ah, hell. Never mind. I'll just leave you alone to wallow in your unexplained misery..." I move to get up but a hand on my arm stops me. I look back at Izaya who looks as bewildered by his movement as I am.

"Don't," he says almost inaudibly.

"Don't what?" I ask numbly, staring at his hand on my arm. I don't think he's ever touched me without some murderous intention before.

"Don't leave," he whispers almost pathetically.

My heart stops at the desperation in his voice. "I... I won't. Do you want to talk about it now?" I ask as I lean back against the wall and stare sadly into his distracted garnet eyes. "I know we've never been friends, Izaya, but if you need someone to talk to, I guess... I don't know. I guess I'm here for you."

"You really are more human than I ever gave you credit for..." he mutters as he slowly and almost reluctantly removes his hand from my arm. "I'm sorry."

I almost laugh at the absurdity of the situation. "You're sorry? What the hell are you sorry for? I know there's a lot but I want to know exactly what you're apologizing for," I say before my brain processes that it was insensitive.

"And then you go and do that..." he sighs. "You've never done exactly what I expected from you, Shizu-chan... it's a part of your charm, I suppose..." He trails off quickly. "What am I sorry for? Well... I guess everything."

"Everything?" I almost demand. "How the hell can you say something like that? If you're sorry, you shouldn't have done all your past meddling in the first place..."

"Oh, no. You're mistaken," he amends. "I'm not sorry for stirring up Ikebukuro. That was fun. But I guess I'm sorry for everything having to do with you."

I clench my fists angrily. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" I growl. If he's saying that he wishes he never met me... or that we never... what? What if he is saying that? What is this ache I feel growing in my chest?

"Same ol' Shizu-chan... always jumping to conclusions and reacting with anger instead of using your head," he says with a mocking air that for some reason makes me feel better. Something is really wrong with me.

"Well then, explain it to me," I urge with more unguarded emotion than I had intended as I reach over and pull his hood back.

This seems to throw him off guard and he quickly tears his gaze away from me to study the ground between his legs. He stays quiet as if calculating his next move. Trying to figure out the right words to say.

"Shizu-chan," he begins slowly. That damn nickname again. "What would you do if everything you thought you knew about something was wrong?"

I stare blankly at his profile, the almost abrupt change in topic causing me to blink slowly. He still doesn't seem to want to look at me while he's talking. I suppose it makes sense... I mean, he probably doesn't want to be telling me anything that makes him look vulnerable. Did I just admit that Izaya Orihara looks vulnerable? I never thought I'd see the day.

"I, uh... I guess I don't really know what I would do in that situation," I declare, leaning my head back against the wall. It's almost a lie. I had been wrestling with my feelings toward this flea recently and I guess that's kind of a similar situation. "What is it that you think you were wrong about?" I prompt him when he stays quiet.

"I..." he starts but pauses briefly. He still doesn't seem to know how to put words to his problem. After a deep breath he continues, "I think I've been wrong about someone. Not something. There's this person in my life that I have forced into a certain role. But they seem to keep breaking out of it. They're unpredictable and always keep me on my toes. I think... I think that I'm starting to realize that they are the only person who has ever made me feel something. The only person who ever will make me feel anything. I don't want to continue down this destructive path that we have chosen to take together. I want our relationship to change... grow into something better than it is. Something... enjoyable?" he says the last word like he's unsure that it's the right fit.

I clench my teeth in anger. Anger? No... is it jealousy? What the hell? "Well," I say, trying to keep the irritation out of my voice. "What's stopping you from fixing this relationship?" I practically spit the word. I can't believe I'm so agitated over the fact that this fleabag potentially has someone special in his life. What's worse is that I don't know if I'm jealous of him or the object of his attention.

"It's kind of a long story," he says with a small chuckle. "The short of it is that this person essentially hates my guts."

"That doesn't surprise me. You do tend to have that effect on people," I mumble before continuing firmly in a more self-assured voice. "I still don't see what the problem is though. You're normally so sure of yourself that it's annoying. I wouldn't think that you would truly let someone hate you if you didn't want them to. I mean, you play with people's emotions like they're your own personal toys... and I hate to admit it, but you're good at it."

He scoffs softly at me before I continue. "You really don't think I know you, do you?" I pause to shake my head. "Izaya. I really don't think you're as evil as you pretend to be. This moment is proving that. You are human so you must have the capacity to care about someone other than yourself. You do have the ability to... to love. And I'm not talking about that stupid 'I love all humans' bullshit you like to spout. I think that if you look deep down, you'll find you're just like the rest of us. You want nothing more than to love someone that loves you in return, flaws and all. And you do have many, many flaws."

He stays silent forcing me to continue further. "I think that you are terrified that you've put yourself in a position that you believe makes obtaining and keeping an actual relationship, one built on trust and mutual respect, an impossible feat... but, in truth, I also don't really think anything is impossible for you."

My almost kind revelation about Izaya's character comes as a surprise to me. It just sort of came out of my mouth without a moment's forethought. I can't believe I said any of that, so I can't even imagine what's going through his head.

After a quiet moment, I notice that his shoulders are shaking. I reach over to put a tentative hand on his back in an effort to comfort him. If anyone saw this moment, they'd be very confused or scared. Probably both. I know that's how I'm feeling.

Izaya still has his eyes downcast and I feel the shake in his shoulders intensify. "Hell, maybe I don't know you as well as I thought I did. Am I completely off base?" I ask quietly, my hand subconsciously rubbing his back softly. When he doesn't answer I shake my head softly. "I can't tell if you're laughing or... or crying right now."

"You're an idiot, Shizuo," he almost whispers.

There it is again. My actual name. My hand freezes in place on his back as he finally raises his eyes to meet mine. My hand clenched onto the back of his jacket as his tear filled garnet eyes bore into my soul. "No. I don't think you were completely off. I guess you know me pretty well after all," he says with a small, defeated smile on his face. "It surprises me. I didn't think anyone knew me... Or, perhaps more accurately, that anyone cared to know me."

"Well... I do care. I mean... after all... I had to understand the guy that's been trying to kill me since the day we met," I declare brazenly although I feel lost in his uncharacteristically soft eyes. I pull my hand away from his back and pinch the bridge of my nose while screwing my eyes shut tightly as if I'm trying to reset my brain.

"Hey. You've been trying to kill me right back, so don't take that 'holier-than-thou' tone with me," he says, a playful smirk creeping onto his tear stained face. He sighs heavily and leans his head back against the wall, wiping his eyes almost petulantly. His face falls as he stares up at the dark sky between the buildings, not meeting my eyes again. "If you know me so well, how do you think I should go about changing this person's mind about me? How should I convince them that we don't have to hate each other?"

My irritating and completely unfounded jealousy flares again. But instead of blowing up, I take a calming breath and pull a knee into my chest. I stare blankly at the wall across from me as I rest my chin on my knee and hum thoughtfully as I try to come up with an answer. "I don't know. Have you tried just talking to this person?" I ask simply.

"I didn't think that it was really an option before," Izaya says as he chuckles to himself.

What is it that he finds so damn funny? "Well, if you and I can talk like this, I'm sure you could talk to whoever this person is that 'hates your guts' as you eloquently put it. I mean... who could possibly hate you more than I do?" I ask while trying to keep my voice plain and emotionless. Somewhere deep inside, I hear a small mocking voice call me a liar.

Chapter Text

I'm completely baffled by our interaction. I cannot believe Shizuo hasn't figured out that I'm talking about him. I didn't think I'd ever be able to tell him any of this but I seem to have found a creative way to get my feelings out in the open without telling him directly. Maybe if I can talk about it, I'll be able to get over it.

When he asks me who could possibly hate me more than him, I swear I hear some form of rage simmering beneath the surface of the calm mask he's attempting to wear. While this wouldn't normally surprise me, the context in which it was instigated confuses me. Is he... jealous? What could he possibly be jealous of?

With a shake of my head, I clear my mind of everything but the matter at hand. "You really hate me that much, don't you?" I ask almost dejectedly as I turn my head to gaze at his profile.

"Yeah. I guess," he responds quietly. " I mean... that's how it's supposed to be isn't it?"

"Yeah. I guess I hate you too, Shizu-chan," I mutter halfheartedly.

After a few moments of silence he sighs. "I think..." He pauses briefly as if trying to organize his thoughts. "I think in another life, we could have been good friends, Izaya," he declares as he turns his head to look directly into my eyes.

I'm not quite sure what I'm looking at right now. Who is this man? His soft brown eyes are almost unrecognizable. They're filled with regret, uneasiness and... disappointment? There's also a hint of something I've never witnessed from... anyone. I don't even know if I can put my finger on the exact emotion since I've never seen it first-hand before.

After a very long and quiet moment of staring at each other I break the not entirely uncomfortable silence. "Is that what you want?" I ask apprehensively, raising a questioning eyebrow. "Do you want to be my friend, Shizu-chan?"

He clenches his jaw in contemplation. That unreadable emotion flashing in his eyes again before turning sour. "Is that even possible?" he asks bitterly.

"Would it be so outlandish to try?" I retort angrily, unable to hide the heartbreak that his question unexpectedly caused. "Why is it that the first person I try to connect with is too stupid to reach back?"

"Well, maybe if you didn't have a history of being a psychopathic two-faced asshole, I'd be more likely to believe that you're being genuine," he snarls back at me. I fail to hide the pain his comment causes me. "Why the hell do you look so hurt? You don't care what I think of you. You don't even like me you damn flea!"

"Damn it... Shut up!" I yell at him, unable to hide my anguish anymore. He didn't mean to provoke me just like I didn't mean to snap to him. We apparently can't help but be at each other's throats.

"Why the hell should I shut up?! It's true, isn't it? You don't like me at all. You never have and you never will." As Shizuo makes this declaration of what he believes to be fact, disappointment flashes through his eyes before he quickly tears his angry gaze away from mine.

After a minute of staring the sidewalk in almost deafening silence, I sigh. "I guess we can never be anything other than bitter enemies. Too much that has happened in our past to change that simple fact," I resign sadly. "There really is no talking to you, Shizu-chan."

"You're not too easy to talk to yourself, you know," he mutters under his breath.

"Of course I know that," I continue to mumble to the sidewalk. "Why do you think I'm trying to talk to you about this... of all people. Maybe it's because I know you won't really care about any of this... or maybe it's sadder than that. Maybe I really consider you to be the closest thing to a friend I have."

"You're right. That is pretty pathetic," he attempts derision but fails. "How is it possible for one person to not have a single person that they consider a friend? What about Shinra? Isn't he your only friend in the world?"

"I guess... but our friendship works best when we're 'hands-off'. And also, what kind of friend hangs up on you when you call them from the hospital because you've been stabbed?" I mutter bitterly.

"A friend of yours," he states plainly. I can feel his eyes on me again but I don't look up. "I can't believe you're still hanging onto that after all this time. But seriously, you keep everyone at a distance so you shouldn't be surprised that you don't have anyone you can really consider close."

I scoff, unsure if it's aimed at him, myself or just the absurdity of the situation. Maybe all of it. "You must be in heaven," I mumble sourly and raise my head to stare at the wall across from me. I refuse to meet his eyes that I can still feel on me. "I mean, seeing me like this and all. It must make you laugh to have me practically beg for your friendship. You said it yourself... you hate me. I don't know what I was thinking. Trying to see if you could ever..." I trail off as I move to get up.

I'm about to admit defeat and leave again but I hear him sigh sadly. "There you go again," he announces dejectedly. "I've never known you to give up on anything."

"Yeah? Well, I guess I can still do something to surprise you." I stand up and risk a sideways glance at blonde man who had unexpectedly made the chaos amassing in my soul even worse. "Why are you trying so hard to talk to me? I don't believe that you really want to make me feel better." I look away again, unable to keep up my emotional walls to maintain eye contact.

"That is part of why you have no friends, you know," he declares with a sigh. "You don't think about anyone but yourself so you don't have the wisdom to try to understand other people. And again, I'm not talking about your twisted 'study' of the human race... I mean on a personal level." He pauses to take a deep breath. "I think it's a sort of defense mechanism. On some level you're terrified to let someone in because you think they'll end up hurting you. You don't bother to get to know someone because you know that it's a waste of time since you've already decided that everyone who truly knows you will end up leaving."

"You know, Shizuo... you're pretty empathetic for a superhuman monster," I try to sound condescending but fail.

"Stop that," he says firmly.

"Stop what?" I raise an eyebrow as I lean back against the wall, apparently unable to leave. Unable or unwilling? Maybe both.

"I don't know," he starts with confusion in his voice. "Take your pick: Stop avoiding eye contact when you're talking to me. Stop pretending you don't want to talk to someone about this. Stop lying to me and yourself. Or maybe just start by stopping the whole flip-flopping back and forth between my name and that stupid nickname of yours. What the hell is that all about? I don't think you've ever called me Shizuo to my face before today."

I didn't even realize that I had been using his name... What the hell is that all about? My eyebrows knit together in confused contemplation. "How?" I ask quietly. "How is it that you can read me like a book?"

"I guess I just pay attention," he mutters resolutely. "Anyway. Make a decision. Either stop looming over me and sit back down or just leave already."

My hands ball up into fists. "Fine," I spit angrily. "I'll get out of here. You don't have to ask me twice." As I move to leave, I feel him grab onto the hem of my pants, keeping me from taking a step forward.

"See?" he says quietly. "You really don't know people as well as you claim." He lets go of my pant leg and punches me not quite so softly behind one of my knees.

I crumple as he effectively forces my knees to buckle and I fall back down to the ground. On the way down, I practically stumble into him. I feel heat flare up where we touch and I immediately pull away to a safe distance. I risk a glance at him and I catch that odd and hard to place emotion flash in his eyes before he smirks at me.

"What?" I ask with a raised eyebrow. "What's that look for?"

"You're right," his smirk deepens and a playful glint shines in his eyes. "I actually am enjoying seeing you like this."

I feel my face burn and before I can stop it, I realize a blush has spread across my face. I quickly turn away to hide from him. I can't believe he made me blush... What the hell is wrong with me?

Chapter Text

What the hell was that? Did Izaya just blush? Wait. Did I just... tease him? Like in a playful manner. What the hell is going on tonight? I need to go see Shinra as soon as possible. Something must be wrong with me.

"It's not very nice to kick someone when they're down, you know. No matter who they are," he murmurs. "I have feelings you know. Just... don't tell anyone," he adds petulantly.

"Technically I punched you," I amend. "Plus I didn't mean that I'm enjoying seeing you at what I'm assuming is a pretty low point for you. I just meant... I don't know. I guess I enjoy seeing you act like a normal person."

He turns back my way and looks at me quizzically. "What?" I ask him.

Izaya points at himself and tilts his head. "But... but I'm not a normal person," he states simply but still looks confused.

I shake my head as a small smile forces its way onto my lips. "I know you're not, flea. If you were..." I trail off, unsure of where the thought is taking me.

"If I were what, Shizuo?" Izaya prompts, his voice oddly and unexpectedly hopeful.

"I... I don't know. If you were normal, we wouldn't be having this conversation," I say stupidly. "I don't really know how to talk to you."

"Well that's quite the paradox you have there, Shizu-chan. We've been talking for quite some time now, a lot of the talking coming from your end, mind you... but you suddenly claim that you don't know how to talk to me. I think you're a bit confused," he smirks at me and I want to punch him. "I think you know very well how to talk to me."

"That's not what I meant." I hang my head and stare at the ground between my knees trying to avoid his mischievous eyes. He's all over the place tonight. It's really throwing me off. "You know, this talking is getting tiresome. It's easier to just beat the shit out of you every time I see you..."

"Aw, but what fun is that, Shizu-chan?" he asks, mockingly yet lighthearted.

"Plenty fun... Plus, you really are throwing me off by calling me Shizuo randomly, you know that?" I grumble as I raise my head and run a hand roughly though my hair.

"I am? I didn't realize I was doing it," he says absentmindedly. "Why would it throw you off? It is your name after all."

"Yeah. It is," I answer quietly.

"Could it be that you actually enjoy it when I call you Shizu-chan?" When I don't answer him right away, his smirk changes to a self-satisfied smile. "You do, don't you? All these years you like my 'stupid nickname' for you... Wow, Shizu-chan. What else have you grown to like about me?"

I practically choke then sputter and murmur something unintelligible under my breath. Something about the flea needing a beat down to put him back in his place.

"Aw... Shizu-chan. I was right! You do want to be my friend," he continues mockingly.

"Shut up you damn flea," I growl and I turn my angry eyes at him. "While I begrudgingly admit that I have grown to... not hate the nickname, I prefer it when you call me Shizuo." My voice trails off at the end and I widen my eyes slightly as if I said something by mistake.

"Oh, don't be so flustered Shizu-chan. I know that you would rather me call you by your given name but I don't see that happening. These random 'Shizuo's that I've been tossing around carelessly just show you how off my game I am tonight. I wouldn't get too used to it if I were you."

Sighing, I shake my head as I feel a small smile grow on my lips. "I wouldn't dare," I retort playfully. I'm confused at myself. Why is it so easy for me to talk to him? I mean we've never truly tried to before tonight. It was always fight first, ask questions later.

I look at his face again and for the second time tonight I see his face flush slightly. "Hey... Are you sure you're okay?" I ask, concern lacing my words. "I know it's been a while since I pulled you out of the street but maybe I did use too much force when I threw you onto the sidewalk. Maybe you didn't notice something was wrong right away."

"No. I'm fine. I promise," he says shaking his head.

"Still, maybe we should get out of the street. You might be getting sick or something. Your face keeps getting red," I hold up a hand to feel his forehead for a temperature. "I don't know why I'm even doing this. I don't really know what I'm feeling for..." I mumble, trying to concentrate.

His cheeks flush again and I cock my head to the side and raise an eyebrow questioningly. "There it is again." Without thinking I drop my hand from his forehead to the side of his face. "Your cheek is on fire! Does that mean you're sick?" I ask, panic edging into my voice.

"I'm fine!" he shouts as he pushes my hand away, bringing his own up to his cheek.

"See? It's hot. Something's wrong," I reinforce strongly as I push myself up to my feet. "Come on."

"Wh... what?" he asks bewildered.

"Let's get you inside somewhere," I demand. "I think there's a 24-hour diner close by. When was the last time you ate? Maybe food will help."

"I'm really okay, Shizu-chan. I swear. While I can't quite explain why my face is getting so hot, I know it's nothing severe," he explains calmly while looking up at me. "Why are you so concerned anyway?"

"I don't know. It seems silly for me to have saved you from that car only to have you catch a cold or something," I explain dumbly then tentatively reach a hand down to him. "Anyway, come on. Let's go. It's silly to be sitting in this dark alley for so long anyway, isn't it?"

He looks at my hand like it will bite him if he touches it. "You... you still want to talk with me?" he asks pathetically. He looks so fragile and small from where I'm standing.

"Yeah," I assure gently. "You want to practice making a friend out of an enemy don't you? I'm good for that."

Confusion flashes through his eyes before he nods and takes my hand as I pull him up easily. Upon standing, he grabs my wrist and pulls my arm closer to inspect a small splash of blood that stained my shirt. "You were bleeding before weren't you?" he asks, his eyes knit together in concentration. "Are you okay?"

I unbutton the sleeve of my white button down and roll up the sleeve enough to inspect where I had somehow gotten cut when I pulled Izaya out of the road. "Huh. Look at that. I didn't even notice," I frown as I rub the once bleeding area. "Nah, I'm fine. I heal quick, as I'm sure you know. It looks like the cut closed up a while ago. It's just messy looking at this point."

His eyes widen acutely before he releases my wrist and a small smile ghosts his lips. "Good. I'm glad you're okay."

My heart stops. "You... are? I never thought I'd see the day where you are happy that I'm not hurt," I mutter, looking into his garnet eyes. "It's a weird feeling... I don't know if I'll ever get used to this..."

"Maybe we both just need to try a little harder, Shizu-chan," he says softly. "See? I've already started trying. I'm trying to pay closer attention to someone else besides myself."

I scoff at him. "Yeah, I guess you are."

Chapter Text

I always thought I paid attention to those around me, but I guess it was a superficial attention. I only took note of something if it was interesting or was something I could use for my benefit. But him? I never realized how much attention he paid to those around him. Even me. The person he hates most.

All I did was blush - quite stupidly, mind you - and he went into full on guardian mode. I never thought I'd be the object of his protection. I really hate how good it feels. That thought causes my face to flush slightly again.

"That's it. We're going," he states resolutely as he grabs my hand and pulls me out onto the street, heading toward the diner he had mentioned. I stare at his hand grasping mine. Then I do something that surprises myself... I subconsciously hold onto his hand in return.

He either didn't care or didn't notice but he, for some reason, doesn't let go as he drags me down the sidewalk. I did notice and I did care. "Um... Shizu-chan?" I question quietly.

"What?" he growls over his shoulder.

"You're... um. You're holding my hand," I say dumbly. A small part of me doesn't want to let go but I ease my grip off of his so he can pull his hand away.

He stops mid stride to grimace down at his hand as if it had betrayed him. "What the hell? What is going on tonight?" he asks no one in particular.

"You know... I'm kind of surprised that you want to leave the safe seclusion of that little alleyway. Someone may see you with me and take note that we're acting friendly. I mean... you just held my hand, Shizu-chan. What would your friends think?" I ask, my voice mocking.

He shoves his hands in his pockets and rolls his shoulders before he continues walking. "Who gives a damn what people think?"

I blink rapidly before jogging to catch up to him. I walk next to him in silence for a few minutes before breaking the silence. "So. This is new."

"Yeah it is," Shizuo grumbles. "Still don't know how I feel about it. I'm pretty sure I hate it."

"Then why are you letting it happen?" I ask bewildered. " Why are you trying to be so nice to me?"

"It's practice for you, isn't it? It's not like any of this is real, is it?" He can't hide the frustration in his voice.

"Why do you think it's not real?" I don't know why but his comment hurts. That's a lie. I know very well why it hurts. But I feel like it shouldn't hurt.

"There is no part of me that feels like I can actually trust you. Trust is a huge part of friendship, Izaya," he says matter-of-factually as he turns into the diner.

I pause in the doorway briefly. If I go in I'm sure there will be no going back. I've already opened up to him more than I had intended and I'm sure if I continue down this path... What? What am I sure of? What is the worst that could happen if I tell him how I truly feel? It can't be worse than the pain of keeping it in any longer.

With a final deep breath I step into the diner and walk over to slide in the side opposite him in the far corner booth he has chosen. He is drumming his fingers on the table irritably. "I really want a cigarette," he growls.

"That's right... I haven't seen you with one all night. What happened? Are you finally trying to kick the habit?" I raise an eyebrow at him.

"Hell no. I just ran out and I gave all my cash to the woman working at the cafe where I found you earlier." He crosses his arms in front of his chest. "So it's technically your fault."

"Wait, why?"

"If it weren't for you I wouldn't have broken a table in there. I gave her money to cover the repairs. Even if she looked terrified of me, I couldn't just break her table and not offer to fix it," he declares. "And if you think about it, you're the reason my phone is broken right now."

I raise a suspicious eyebrow at him. "How the hell is that my fault?"

"Well, Kadota sent me an email telling me that he saw you which caused me to snap my phone in half. See, it made me angry to see your smug face in Ikebukuro again," he grumbled. "So I guess you owe me."

"I do, do I?" I ask as he nods in return before motioning for the waitress. "Hold on. You knew where I was? Aw, did you really miss me so much that you came to find me as soon as you found out I was in town? I'm flattered, Shizu-chan."

"Don't be. I had fully intended to ignore you," he said quickly before asking the waitress to bring him a cup of coffee.

"Anything for you?" she asked, turning her bored eyes to me.

"Just water will be fine," I answer.

"No it won't," Shizuo said firmly. "Remember, I brought you here so you'd eat something. I still don't believe that you're feeling okay."

"Fine." I roll my eyes. "Bring me something. I don't really care what it is. Some kind of soup I guess. Is that good enough, Shizu-chan?"

"Yes," he nods, smiling apologetically at the waitress who walks away to fill our order.

We sit in silence for a while before I break it again. "You know, I really am fine."

"I know you think you are. Just let me try to take care of you, okay?" he almost pleads.

He wants to take care of me? Is that pity? I can't really tell. He has that weird look on his face again. I narrow my eyes at him as I try to figure out what he's thinking.

"What is that look for?" he asks with a raised eyebrow.

I stay quiet as the waitress returns with the coffee, water and soup. She sets everything down in front of us with a forced smile before turning on her heels and returning to her post at the counter. I continued to stare at Shizuo the whole time. "I'm just trying to figure you out. You're quite the mystery tonight."

He picks up his coffee and takes a thoughtful sip. "I don't know. I don't think I'm any different than normal," he declares.

A laugh rips through me. "Are you kidding me? Are you sitting in the same booth as me? Are you seeing what's happening?"

"Izaya, this is who I am normally," he affirms. "You just never gave me a chance to show you who I am. Instead of trying to get to know me and be my friend, you decided to test my limits until it became a weird obsession of yours. While I admit that I didn't make the best first impression..." He narrows his eyes slightly as I interrupt his thought briefly with an uncontrollable laugh at the obvious understatement. "Anyway, you didn't understand me when we first met. You don't like not understanding things, so you did everything in your power to take me down. When would you have gotten the chance to know who I really am?"

"You're unnervingly and quite annoyingly smart sometimes," I proclaim into my bowl of soup.

"Thanks. I think." I can see him smile to himself from the corner of my eye.

After a few minutes of quietly eating my soup, I hear him hum thoughtfully. I look up at him and he has that foreign emotion in his eyes again but he quickly shakes his head and it's gone. "So... good soup?" he asks.

"It's not bad." I nod after eating another spoonful. Stirring my spoon in the bowl absentmindedly, I look at his annoyingly soft brown eyes. "What is that look that you keep giving me?"

He raises an eyebrow and shrugs dismissively. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"You keep looking at me funny. I don't know how to place the emotion behind it and it's driving me insane. As you said, I don't like not knowing something," I narrow my eyes in thought slightly as I continue to stare at him.

He stares right back, refusing to be the first one to break eye contact. "I really don't know what you're talking about Izaya," he reaffirms softly, the emotion flitting through his eyes again.

"THERE!" I literally point at his face. "What was that? What were you thinking just now? How did you feel when you looked at me like that? It's killing me."

He blinks as he considers my question. His mouth drops open in surprise and I see his cheeks turn a subtle shade of pink which he tries to hide by taking a long sip of his coffee.

"Shizu-chan... you're blushing!" A grin crawls across my face. "Now you have to tell me. I'm even more curious!" I lean my face into my hands with my elbows propped up on the table, anticipation clear in my expression.

"I... I don't know. It's a weird feeling." His blush deepens slightly before he takes another long sip of his coffee.

"Maybe Shizu-chan is getting sick now! Should we get you some soup, too? Maybe you caught whatever you think I have," I say with a smile. "That would be quite the interesting development," I add quietly earning a raised eyebrow. "Never mind. Are you really not going to tell me? I'll figure it out on my own then." I continue to stare at him intently.

"Stop that," he says sheepishly.

"What? Am I making you uncomfortable?" I ask innocently without taking my eyes off the man sitting across from me, a small smirk forming on my lips.

"You always make me uncomfortable," he murmurs, averting his eyes momentarily.

"Hmm... well that's not very nice, Shizu-chan. I'm just trying to pay attention like you told me to. I want to try and get to know you as well as you apparently know me," I admit honestly. "But to tell you the truth, I think I'm making you uncomfortable because this is new territory for you."

"No shit," he growls.

"No. I mean in general this is new territory for you," I clarify. "Now, tell me if I'm wrong but I don't think you are used to the luxury of talking so openly with someone who isn't really all that scared of you. Besides Simon, I'm the only person who has gone toe-to-toe with you on multiple, multiple occasions and still isn't scared of you. I know all about your superhuman strength but I'm still sitting here with you like you're a normal person. I'm treating you like a normal person. I'm not walking on eggshells with you, nor will I ever. It must be refreshing."

He blinks at me and his mouth opens and closes as if trying to find words. Finally his eyes soften as he looks at me and a genuine smile crosses his face. "I can't really argue with you there. It is kind of nice that I don't scare you at all."

Earlier tonight I would have argued that point but little by little I'm slowly growing unafraid of the feelings he has stirred up in me. I return his smile and shrug. "See? I do know you a little bit. Even if I don't pay as close attention to you as you do to me," I laugh lightly as he lifts his mug up to take as sip of his coffee. "You know, it's almost a little creepy how well you seem to know me. You're a little obsessed with me aren't you, Shizu-chan." I wink at him playfully.

He practically spits his coffee back into the mug. "What the hell? Why would you think that I'm... I'm not obsessed with you, you stinking flea!" he growls angrily, his face turning red and a vein popping in his forehead.

"Hmm... that was quite the passionate rejection, Shizu-chan. It sounds to me like someone is in denial." I laugh mockingly before my face falls into a pout. "You know, that isn't the nicest nickname. Like you're learning, I do have something resembling feelings."

"Old habits die hard. I don't think I can stop that one," he mumbles. "Sorry..." He sounds genuine as he looks at me with that new softness creeping into his eyes.

I blink repeatedly at him. The confusion on my face contorting into disbelief and a little bit of fascination.

"What?" he demands.

"I think I've figured it out," I proclaim quietly.

"Figured what out?" he asks suspiciously.

"The emotion that I keep seeing flit through your expression," I continue. "I don't know if I want to say it though... I'm not even sure I believe it." I think aloud.

"Wh... why?" he stammers nervously. "Whatever you think it is you're probably wrong."

"I.... I must be," I say bewildered. "There is no possible way..."

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

After I pay the woman at the counter I step out into the night. My heart was starting to get lighter with each admission to Shizuo. Plus he admitted to being able to consider me a friend, albeit begrudgingly. Then he went and looked at me like that... seeming almost jealous of someone that didn't exist. So stupid. It almost made me want to stab him. Just a little.

But as he left, I finally figured it out. I figured out the look. It was tenderness... affection. Dare I say love? But that couldn't possibly be correct.

Maybe he was right and I really was projecting. Maybe it truly was wishful thinking on my part. I mean if he felt anything akin to how I had realized I felt about him, it would be easy to admit to it. Right?

Looking up and down the street, I purse my lips together in thought. "If I were a Shizu-chan where would I go?" I look down at my phone. One in the morning. Where did these past hours go? After realizing the time, I head toward the building where he lives. He most likely would have just headed home, right? He didn't have cash on him for cigarettes so stopping first wouldn't be an option.

He looked kind of upset when he left so abruptly. Even if his voice was attempting to stay calm, I could see a storm in his eyes. "So stupid, Shizu-chan," I mutter with a smirk on my face. He really didn't put two and two together and figure out that the person I was referring to all night was him? "So very, very stupid."

After a quick stop, I turn onto his street and slow my pace. What the hell am I doing? He wouldn't accept my feelings for him... would he? I mean, getting him to admit his friendship was hard enough in itself. Now I'm pushing even further?

I guess it wouldn't be so bad if he rejected me but agreed to at least try to be my friend. But what if I push him away by telling him... What? What do I really plan on telling him?

For the second time in the past twelve hours, my feet lead me somewhere before my brain has a chance to catch up. I walk up to the landing in front of Shizuo's door only to find him standing at the door looking confused and torn.

"What are you doing to me?" I hear him mutter and I feel my expression soften.

"What is who doing to you, Shizu-chan?" I ask unable to hide the concern in my voice.

I see him stiffen before he drops the hand from his face to glare at me. Pain and confusion clear in his eyes. "What the hell are you doing here?" he growls.

"And here I was thinking we were friends now," I murmur. "I was kind of... worried about you when you left. Plus, I wasn't quite done talking to you."

"It's late, Izaya." He looks emotionally drained as he pulls the keys from his pocket and unlocks the door but doesn't open it. "I would like a chance to get a little sleep tonight."

"I thought you wanted to help me with my... friend." I don't try hide the warmth that creeps into my voice as I take a step closer to him. "You know, you didn't answer my question."

He turns his head to look at me, confusion evident in his eyes. "What question?" he practically whispers.

"When I came up I heard you say 'what are you doing to me'... What were you talking about?" My voice is quiet and a little shaky. I take a few more steps toward him, his rattled expression unable to stop the whirlwind of emotions from passing through his eyes.

"I..." He stops before he even starts. He grimaces and runs a hand through his hair roughly. "I don't know, Izaya. I'm pretty tired. I don't think I was really alluding to anyone or anything in particular."

I'm leaning against the wall next to his door now, peering into his brown eyes. "I don't know, Shizu-chan. You don't look that tired to me. Plus, that thought was too well put together for someone claiming to be too sleepy to know what they're really saying."

He sighs. "I liked you better when you didn't pay attention to people's feelings."

"Your feelings, Shizuo. Not people's," I reinforce.

I hear him inhale sharply, a breath caught in his throat. "Wha... What made you call me Shizuo just now?" he questions.

My eyes soften again as I feel a smile creep across my lips. "Well... I think it depends on the context, but in this instance? I wanted to stress that I was paying attention to you and your feelings. Not the feelings of just anybody," I explain simply.

"Wh... why?" he stammers dumbly.

"Because you're important to me, Shizu-chan." I shrug as he stares at me like I've grown a second head. "Is that so difficult to understand? I mean, you did agree to be my friend didn't you? I think that I shouldn't take that for granted and prove that I genuinely appreciate your friendship. You told me earlier that you don't fully trust me so I want to do everything I can to change that."

He blinks rapidly before shaking his head. "More practice? I thought I told that you were ready to tell this person how you felt about them..."

I smile knowingly, earning a raised eyebrow from Shizuo. "Maybe I am... but like you said it's late. I don't know if I should bother them at this hour."

"You're bothering me, aren't you?" he grumbles as he opens his door in an attempt to get in and away from me.

"I am, aren't I?" I chuckle to myself before my face grows serious. "If you're really that tired, I guess I can just go away then. Thank you for tonight, Shizu-chan." I smile softly and turn to leave.

I stop when I hear him clear his throat. "You know. I'm not so tired where I would turn a friend away at this hour," he says with a gentleness in his voice that feels almost out of place. "And if you really want to talk more... I guess you can come in."

I spin back around, unable to stop the enthusiasm I feel flash though my gaze. "Really?"

"I guess," he sighs. "You're not like... a vampire or anything. Can I never get rid of you if I invite you in?"

I slip past him and look up at him playfully from inside the door. "If I am, it's too late now isn't it?"

"Damn it," he grumbles as he roughly shoves me through the doorway so he can walk in behind me. He closes the door with an exasperated sigh and turns left to head into what I assume is a kitchen. "Do you want something to drink? Water or something?"

"No. I'm fine," I proclaim brightly as I wander into his living space. I glance around at the simple furnishings: a plain black leather couch, a simple coffee table and a wall mounted television that doesn't look like it gets much use. "You know... you're neater than I expected."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" he growls from where he's leaning over the pass-through kitchen counter. He takes a long drink of water from a simple glass, staring at me.

"It was a compliment, Shizu-chan. Calm down." I wave a hand dismissively as I walk over to look out his window.

After a moment's thought, the sparse furnishing makes sense. He probably doesn't want to break anything by mistake. "That's kind of sad and... endearing," I mumble quietly to myself as feel his eyes still on me. "Why are staring at me?" I ask with my back to him.

"It's kind of unnerving having you in my home," he mutters before sighing heavily. I hear him scour around his kitchen loudly.

"It's not like it's the first time I've been in here. Although this is the first time we've been here at the same time," I admit freely, earning disbelieving scoff from the kitchen. "What are you doing in there? Do you hate having me here so much that you're trying to stay as far away from me as possible? Or maybe you're looking for something with which to murder me? I never thought you'd go so low as to lure me into a false feeling of friendship just to literally stab me in the back."

"Don't be stupid, Izaya. If one of us were to stab the other in the back, that would be you," he scoffs as his rummaging stop. "Shit... I really don't have any cigarettes stashed anywhere," I hear him mutter to himself.

"Well, that is a shame isn't it?" I tease as I reach a hand into my pocket, still gazing out the window. "You know, you never did admit to what you were mumbling about when I showed up at your door."

"You're right. I didn't," I hear him murmur close behind me.

I startle slightly and spin around to see him lowering himself to sit on his couch with a smirk on his face. "Geez! I need to put a bell on you or something... you're too quiet for your size." I match the look on his face before pulling my hand out of my pocket revealing a pack of cigarettes in my hand.

His eyes widen slightly and I grin at him. "When did you...? Why did you...?" He stammers.

"See? I do pay attention. I made a quick stop on my way over here. I hope that wasn't too presumptuous of me." I wink playfully as I toss the pack at him.

He plucks it out of the air with a sigh. "Thank you. Honestly. Tonight has been hard enough as it is," he says as he practically rips the pack open and brings a cigarette up to his mouth. After lighting it and taking a long drag he smiles at me. "There. Now I can continue with a little less of an edge."

I can't stop the laughter that spills out of my mouth. "Shizu-chan without an edge... that is something that I would pay to see."

"Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up," he grumbles.

"Back to the subject at hand," I declare, earning a raised eyebrow. "I'm determined to find out what you were talking to yourself about when I showed up at your door. Nothing is going to make me forget. Maybe now that I've presented a peace offering of sorts, you'll indulge me."

He sighs. "I already told you... I was so tired that I didn't know what I was talking about."

"No... you used the word allude. Allude. Tired people tend not to use a language like that," I say wagging a finger at him.

"Can we just drop it, Izaya?" he pleads.

The tone in his voice and the way he says my name makes me pause."I... I guess. You know that I'll figure it out sooner or later, right?"

He rolls his eyes. "I know you will, you fleabag."

I pout at the derogatory nickname. "Shizu-chan... can you at least try to call me Izaya? My name sounds much better coming from you," I tease. His face flashes scarlet and he tries to hide it by turning away from me. "Aww! I made Shizu-chan blush!" I exclaim as I practically jump onto the couch next to him, craning my head around to look at his face.

He turns away even farther. "Stop it."

"Stop what, Shizu-chan? Am I not allowed to tease my friend?" I continue relentlessly with an infectious grin on my face.

I see him fail to fight the smile the grows on his lips in return while pushing me away. "You're just asking me to kick your ass, aren't you?"

"Maaaaaybe," I proclaim in a singsong voice.

As he looks into my eyes, I see the smile slowly fade from his lips. "Why isn't this as weird as I know it should be?"

I shrug as my face turns serious. "I don't know. It really isn't though, is it? Well, it is a little odd that we're sitting here like this but it's not uncomfortable. Or is it just me?" I can't help the insecurity from sneaking into my voice, causing it to quiver a little.

"No, Izaya. It's not just you," he affirms softly, that odd affection sneaking into his eyes. I can't be completely imagining that, can I?

I take a deep breath. "Shizuo..." I start as he tilts his head slightly, his eyes turning serious. "I really did figure out what feeling was behind that look you kept giving me. The look you continue to give me. Since it hasn't stopped since I brought it up earlier, I really don't think I'm imagining it."

He takes a shallow yet thoughtful drag from his cigarette. I can see him force himself to keep his expression calm and try to keep his eyes on mine. He fidgets slightly in his seat and nods at me. "Oh yeah? What do you think you figured out?"

"Well at first I didn't understand it... because I've never really seen it before. At least not as... genuine and intense as I saw tonight." I pause briefly to take another deep breath. I keep my gaze locked on his. "I think it was... affection."

Shizuo gulps audibly. "Well... I guess friendship and affection are pretty closely related."

My face falls slightly and I give in to my nervousness and avert my eyes. "I guess that's true," I mutter dejectedly. "Maybe I was projecting after all." I add quietly before I realize I said it out loud.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Shizuo asks awkwardly.

"Nothing," I state, waving a dismissive hand in his direction. I keep my gaze firmly on my lap. I can't believe I said that. He's not going to let that go...

"Izaya. You just admitted to projecting. Are you telling me that you have some sort of... affection for me? That you care about me?" he demands as gently as he can.

I sigh and continue to stare downward. No use in hiding it now, right? "Maybe," I admit quietly.

I hear his breath catch in his throat and wait for him to punch me or... I don't know. Something. I brace myself while I watch him out of the corner of my eye. He's just sitting there staring at me, cigarette hanging loosely from his lips.

"I... I don't understand," he finally mutters. "You... you've always hated me."

"I don't understand it either if it makes you feel any better," I clarify.

"Well, it doesn't," he claims with an edge in his voice but it doesn't sound solely like anger.

I sit there pathetically, waiting for him to blow up.

Chapter Text

Affection? For... me? What the...?

"I don't understand it either if that makes you feel any better," he says dumbly.

I want to punch him so badly right now. He's telling me all this and he still won't even look at me. "Well, it doesn't," I grumble.

The look I catch on his face is... heart-wrenching. I can't believe that I'm the reason he looks so miserable right now. I shake my head vigorously and lean forward to put my cigarette out in an ashtray on the coffee table. I lean back again, looking at him in confusion. "Wait a minute... what about the person you were talking about earlier? Shouldn't you be saving all this, you know, for them? If this is still practice, it's a bit heavy handed," I mutter feebly.

"You're lucky you're so pretty because you really are a moron, Shizu-chan," he mumbles into his lap.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" I ask angrily.

"You still don't get it, do you?" he whispers.

"What are you...?" I start, the words die on my lips when he finally raises his eyes to meet mine again.

"It's you, you idiot. It's always been you." He chuckles and smiles weakly, forcing his eyes to stay on mine.

My heart lurches in my chest and my breath catches in my throat. I can feel my mouth moving as if to say something but no words come out.

He blinks at me slowly. "Did... did you hear me, Shizu-chan?"

"Um... yeah... I did. I just. I'm processing. I don't. I don't know what to do with this information," I sputter.

He chuckles softly to himself again. "I had the very same reaction earlier."

"But... wait. When did...? You hate me. When did you... not?" I force out.

"Wow. Eloquently spoken, Shizu-chan," he teases, earning a glare from me.

"No. What I meant was," I shake my head, finally able to clear my thoughts. "When did you start NOT hating me?"

"If I'm honest with you, and myself, I don't think I ever truly hated you, Shizu-chan," he admits, looking away again. "I think I knew you were special from the moment I met you and - like I figured out for myself earlier - I didn't know what to do with my feelings. So, they just twisted into... Well, you know the rest of that story, don't you?"

I continue to stare at his profile and sit there dumbly, trying to absorb what he's telling me and piece together everything he had said throughout the night. When I don't say anything, he fidgets in his seat and resumes his explanation. "Shizuo... I think my feelings were so strong that I couldn't admit what they really were. I had never felt anything like this my whole life... it confused me. Such a strong feeling for me had to be hatred, right? It wasn't fear because you didn't scare me... you still don't. At least not in a formal sense of the word."

I drop my gaze to his hands and see that are trembling. Before I realize what I'm doing, I reach my hands over to grasp his, trying to stop their shaking. He looks at my hands in disbelief. "I... I'm sorry to put all this on you like this. I must sound ridiculous," he says sadly as he starts to pull his hands away from mine, emotionally backpedaling.

"Izaya. Damn it. Look at me," I say firmly, trapping his hands in mine. Finally meeting my gaze, his garnet eyes sad and full of questions. My heart pounds in my chest, so loudly that I swear he can hear it. "Why do you look so sad?"

"I... I don't know. I'm just getting ready for your reaction. Your... rejection. At least I got to be your friend for a few hours," he says shakily, with a smile that doesn't reach his eyes as he tries to sound like the normal carefree Izaya I know. He fails miserably.

I shake my head at him and my eyes soften as I give his hands a small squeeze. "Remember earlier when you caught me talking to myself at my door?" He nods, eyes confused at the seemingly abrupt change of subject. I take a deep, shaky breath before continuing. "Well, I was talking about you. So I guess what I technically said was 'what are you doing to me... Izaya?'"

His mouth drops open slightly and he snaps it shut before saying anything. His eyes drop back down to where my hands are holding onto his firmly then look back up at my face. I smile softly as I watch him trying put everything together.

Something finally clicks and Izaya grasps my hands tightly. "What... what do I do to you, Shizuo?" he pleads, eyes begging for me to clarify.

"Do I really need to spell it out for you?" I ask as he nods eagerly. I sigh and pull him over into my arms, holding him close to my chest. He stiffens slightly as if unsure of what to do. "I don't know... I guess you're not the only one who feels that way, you idiot. You make me feel things that I don't really understand... but I guess they're not completely unenjoyable. At least they aren't now. Since that they're straightened out and in the open."

I feel him relax and turn into my embrace. His hands tentatively wander up my arms and clasp behind my neck as pulls himself in closer. "That's exactly how I feel, Shizu-chan... I just didn't expect to be able to talk to you so... openly. Nor did I expect this outcome," he mumbles against my neck. "You know... I was terrified when I realized why I wandered back into Ikebukuro. Now, I'm really glad I did."

"So am I," I murmur, my arms wrapping tighter around his frame, almost possessively. I feel him laugh lightly against my neck causing me to shiver slightly. "What is so funny?"

"This," he says plainly.

Chuckling in response I run my hands soothingly over his back. "It really is... but honestly this is much better than fighting."

"I'm sure this isn't the end of that, though," he claims as he pulls away from my neck and backs out of my embrace slightly. "I always did enjoy our battles, Shizu-chan. It would be a shame if they stopped all together."

"Yeah, it would." I pull my arms away from him and he frowns slightly. "What? What's that face for?"

"Shizu-chan let go of me..." he whines.

My face deadpans before I burst out laughing. "God... who knew you were this needy?"

"Really?" he inquires incredulously with a raised eyebrow.

"Yeah... You always needed to be the center of everything. I don't know why it would surprise me that you would be like that in a relationship," I declare.

"Relationship?" he whispers in disbelief.

"Well... um... you know what I mean... friendship?" I stammer, trying to correct my obvious misstatement. "We're... friends right?"

"Is that really what you want?" Izaya asks quietly.

"I... don't... I don't know," I mumble. "What is it that you want, Izaya?"

"You," he says with a serious face. "I thought I was clear about that."

Chapter Text

He stays quiet for a while, his eyes unfocused. "Was I not clear enough?" I ask him in earnest. "I mean... While I admit I never really flat out said how I feel about you exactly, I thought I had gotten my point across."

"How you feel? About me?" he mutters, eyes still blank.

"Yes. How I feel about you. Did you miss everything we talked about tonight?" I raise an eyebrow and shake my head with a sigh as I sit back, giving him a little of the space that I think he wants. "Maybe I misread the situation. I mean it might have just been a hug but it didn't really feel like an entirely platonic embrace."

Shizuo blinks slowly focusing on me and his eyes hold mine intensely. "It wasn't," he acknowledges. "I just... this is all very new to me."

"And it's not for me?" I demand. "I've never done anything like this before. I've never felt anything remotely close to this about anybody. Ever."

Shizuo's eyes soften while still demanding my attention. He reaches forward to pull me closer to him and close the distance that had started to form between us. "I know, Izaya," he murmurs, taking hold of one of my hands, his eyes pleading. "But, if I may... what exactly is it that you feel for me? Plainly."

"I..." The words catch in my throat as I drop my gaze nervously. I shake my head and chew on my lower lip. Why is this so hard? "I don't..."

He catches my chin with a hand and pulls my face up to meet his eyes. "What did I say about looking at me when you're talking to me?" His gentle smile soothing my unease.

"Shizuo," I whisper. "I..."

"Say it Izaya," he urges firmly. "I need to hear you say it."

"I... I love you," I admit almost shyly, my voice unexpectedly nervous and I feel a blush spread across my cheeks to my embarrassment.

Shizuo nods solemnly before a small smile creeps across his lips. Then he does something truly astonishing. It's the most unpredictable thing he has ever done. He reaches forward and almost roughly pulls me into his lap, covering my mouth with his.

Instinctively, my body tenses as if preparing for a fight. I freeze and my eyes widen when my brain finally registers that he's kissing me softly. Is this really happening right now? With a satisfied sigh, my eyes slip shut and I return his surprisingly gentle kiss.

One of my hands sneaks up to run through his blonde hair, pulling his head closer to mine roughly. I feel him rather than hear him growl at my response, his hands gripping my hips almost painfully tight. As he tries to deepen the kiss I suddenly pull away from him, emotionally and physically distancing myself.

"Wha... what's wrong?" he stammers.

"I don't know..." I say guarded. "I just... I don't..."

"It's not like you to be scared, Izaya," he says breathlessly. "I promise you... I'm not going anywhere. Please let me love you, too," Shizuo almost begs.

My eyes widen slightly before I feel a grin spread across my face. "Say it Shizu-chan... I need to hear you say it," I parrot his own words back to him.

He sighs and shakes his head exasperatedly. "Do I really have to?"

I pout and nod my head.

"Izaya," he says my name slowly as he reaches a hand forward to trace a finger along my jaw tenderly. His soft yet serious eyes demand my complete attention again. "I love you."

My face lights up as I smile broadly. "Was that so hard, Shizu-chan?"

"Yes," he says simply before returning my smile with a smirk. "Now... will you get back over here?"

I raise a finger in thought to my pursed lips, glancing skyward. "Hm... I don't know, Shizu-chan. How do I know your intentions are pure?"

"I'm pretty sure they're not..." he admits, a dangerous light glinting in his eyes.

My mouth goes dry and I don't have a good response. I bite my lower lip as I try to form some sort of snarky remark... any smart-mouthed comment I can come up with. There's nothing. For once.

"Really? Nothing to say? Have I said something to surprise you again?" he questions mockingly. When I don't answer, he smiles. "Good..." He reaches over to me and pulls me back up against him. I can't hide the nervous and almost hesitant expression that I feel cross my face.

His eyes search mine and he sighs softly, brushing my cheek with the back of a hand. "Now the blushing from earlier makes sense," he jests lightheartedly. "You have it bad for me, don't you?"

I cough and sputter at the comment. "Shizu-chan! You're too cruel!" I whine before grinning at him. "Plus, it sounds to me like you're projecting a little bit."

"Maybe," he whispers. "If I'm honest, I still don't understand what's happening but..."

I cut him off by leaning up and planting a small kiss at the corner of his mouth. "Don't think too much, Shizu-chan. You may hurt yourself," I murmur against his cheek, feeling heat creep up as he blushes slightly.

"Damn it, Izaya," he growls but the normal edge in his voice has turned into a whole different type of danger. The expression on his face matching his tone in his voice.

I pull back and smile almost innocently at him. "What's that look for, Shizu-chan?"

Chapter Text

I don't quite have an answer. He still knows how to push my buttons and annoy the hell out of me but... how do I react to that? "I don't know... I'm confused," I admit, irritation creeping into my voice.

"Well let me guess... You don't know whether to punch me or kiss me at this point," he says with a self-satisfied smile on his face as he pulls himself back into my lap, leaning his head on my shoulder and tracing slow circles with a slender finger on my chest. "And I'm sure you know this, but this doesn't really change anything. I will always fight back."

I shake my head and chuckle quietly. "I don't doubt that nor would I have it any other way. You know, you're such a smart ass. I don't know what to do with you, Izaya," I state honestly as I lace the fingers of on hand roughly into his hair. I pull his head back, angling it slightly so I can look down into his eyes. "Can you guess whether I want to punch or kiss you right now?"

Izaya furrows his eyebrows and purses his lips in thought. "I'm quite torn. I don't want to prove you right and tell you that you want to kiss me. But I also don't want to be wrong and say you want to punch me."

"You talk too much, you know that?" My hand tightens in his hair and pull his face toward mine, crashing my lips against his. Part of me hates how much I am enjoying this. Part of me hates how good his lips feel and how I growl when he nips at my lower lip playfully. That same part is trying to fight me because it's confused by what's going on and can't accept this as reality.

As if he can sense this, Izaya pulls away from my lips and his eyes turn serious. He adjusts his position so he's straddling my lap, giving him an advantage of looking straight into my eyes, he pushes me firmly against the couch earning a growl. "Shizu-chan... unless we both try to make this work, it's going to fail..."

My hands find his thighs and squeeze tightly. He smirks at me and sits up on his knees with his body flush up against my chest. Peering down into my eyes darkly, he continues with a dangerous edge to his voice. "If that happens, you'll have lied to me when you told me that you're not going anywhere. We can't have that, can we? In that situation, I may have to try to kill you again. Only this time, I'll have an actual reason to go through with it," he says darkly, and almost unnervingly playful, with serious eyes. "Now, I'm all in. Are you?"

I don't answer right away because I don't honestly know how to answer. He makes me nervous but that's nothing new. He's still the same Izaya I've always known and, as I've come to learn, I wouldn't have him any other way.

He doesn't seem to be concerned as I silently consider his words while continuing to gaze deep into my eyes as if seeing into my soul. It certainly would be easier to go back to the way things were, wouldn't it? No. It wouldn't. After opening these flood gates, there was no going back. I shake my head and sigh heavily as my hands travel up his thighs to grip his waist. "Would you really kill me?"

"I suppose not," he pauses thoughtfully. "But I would put you in a position to be killed. So technically... yes?"

"Is it weird that hearing you talk like that makes me feel better?" I ask with a small smirk.

"Absolutely." He sits back onto my knees, crosses his arms across his chest and raises a curious eyebrow, his expression urging me to explain.

"I don't know... I think that my brain refuses to process the idea of a reformed Izaya. So when you act like your normal self, I realize that you're still you." I smile easily and shake my head as if to dislodge my doubts. "And for some idiotic, maybe even masochistic, reason I happen to like you as you are."

"You like me now? But before you loved me," he pouts again and it makes me want to punch him. Or maybe kiss him. This is so confusing. "So, Shizu-chan... again you avoided answering my question."

"You really do talk too much," I pause to raise a hand to my head and rub my temples as if to ward off the Izaya instigated headache that I feel forming. "Am I all in? Well, I'm here, aren't I?"

"You live here..." he points out dumbly.

"Damn it. You know what I meant," I clench my hand into a tight fist against my forehead. When I look into his smiling eyes, I can see that my simmering anger is apparently amusing to the man who is still straddling my lap. "Yes, Izaya. Yes. Is that what you want to hear? Unfortunately for me, somewhere along the line you became a part of me... and I wish like hell it was a part of me I didn't need as much as I seem to. So, yes. I'm all in."

The mischievous grin on his face softens slightly. "Was that so hard, Shizu-chan?"

"Again. Yes," I mutter irritably but my hands betray my voice as they move to slide under his jacket and trace small abstract patterns against his back. "All your annoying chatter is tiring."

"I suppose too much thought is draining for you," he teases, earning a warning growl. "Shizu-chan! So passionate! I truly don't know how you are planning to attack me now." He chuckles, obviously amused with himself.

"I don't know either," I respond honestly with a dangerous edge in my voice. My hands sneak up his slender chest and slide under his jacket to his shoulders, gripping them roughly. I see uncertainty flash through his eyes quickly before a grin reappears as my hands move down his arms, pushing his jacket down his arms and onto the floor. "What's that look for Izaya?"

"What look?" he asks with a raised eyebrow.

"For a split second you looked scared," I murmur as I pull him forward to bury my face in his neck.

"I thought I told you. I'm not scared of you," he sighs as he threads his fingers into my hair, tugging lightly.

It's maddening how with just those five words, Izaya captures my heart. I pull him in closely, holding his lithe body against mine tenderly. "You really aren't, are you?" I murmur into his neck.

"Of course not," his voice unwavering, fingers sliding from my hair as his arms wrap loosely around my shoulders. "I'll never be scared of you, Shizuo."

"Good." I try but fail to stop the yawn that forces its way out of my mouth, earning a frustrated sounding sigh from Izaya.

"It's suppose it is getting late. Are you going to ask me to stay the night?" he asks brazenly. I stiffen beneath him earning a chuckle. "You're such a pervert Shizu-chan. I meant sleep... get your mind out of the gutter."

"I knew that you asshole," I grumble as I feel my face turn an embarrassing shade of red. "But you're mistaken if you think I'm going to let you have my bed while I sleep on the couch."

"But... I'm a delicate flower. I can't sleep on a couch," he pulls back and pouts at me.

I feel a laugh rip through me. "Delicate, my ass. If you were, I wouldn't be so drawn to you." I had intended my voice to sound mocking but turns soft. "But I honestly wasn't insinuating that you sleep on my couch."

"Well... this place looks like it's too small to have a guest room. Spare futon?" he questions, a mischievous look plastered on his face.

"Not what I was implying," I declare simply. "Don't be stupid, Izaya. It doesn't suit you. My bed is plenty big enough and it's much more comfortable than the couch." After a brief pause my arms tighten around his frame, pulling him flush up against me again. "Plus, I don't intend to let you go yet," I murmur, our lips a breath apart, earning a satisfied shiver from the slender man in my lap.

"Good. I was hoping you'd say something like that," Izaya says breathlessly.

Chapter Text

I groan to myself as I open one eye suspiciously the following morning. It's so bright. Did I forget to draw the curtains last night? As I slowly start to remember what had happened, my eyes pop and I sit up abruptly.

I look down at the bed only to find it empty. Did that... actually happen? Was it a dream? A really weird, almost crazily unrealistic dream? I blink rapidly as I pull the sheets up away from me and look down. I... why do I not have clothes on?

Okay. Not a dream.

I turn my attention back to the empty bed and feel anger starting to simmer. Where the hell is he? Did he just leave after all that happened last night? Was any of that real to begin with? Maybe he was just playing with me... again. Damn it!

This isn't funny. This is not okay, Izaya. It's one thing to frame me for a crime I didn't commit and get me arrested; insinuate that I am behind some attack on a gang member to try and get me killed; or even get me run over by a fucking truck. Twice. But to convince me that you love me and make me realize and admit that I'm in love you? Sleep with me? Then leave?

It's not okay.

I angrily climb out of bed and storm into my bathroom, forcefully turning on the shower as hot as it can get. I don't know who I'm more angry at: Izaya or myself. I glare into the mirror as it slowly starts to fog up, blurring my reflection as steam starts to billow out of the shower.

With a growl, I fight the urge to punch the mirror and step into the scalding hot water. I don't adjust the temperature. I don't want to it to be comfortable. I want to scour every inch of my skin to erase the feeling of Izaya smooth skin against mine. Erase his cool touch that turned almost too hot wherever our skin made contact. I want to scrub the feeling of his slim fingers, his delicate mouth, his teeth biting into my shoulder... I screw my eyes shut trying to push the unwanted thoughts and images out of my mind as one of my hands clenches and releases repeatedly at my side.

I roughly grab the bar of soap and as I scrub my body, I feel small stinging crescent shaped marks peppering my back. My eyes widen before they narrow angrily. I clench my teeth as I'm forced to remember his nails digging into my back sharply as I reduced him to a begging, pleading mess. That image is etched into my memory now. No matter how hard I try, I don't think I'll ever be able to forget that image.

The water continues to fall in fiery rivulets down my skin, I blink repeatedly trying to banish the scenes that won't stop replaying in my mind. I growl irritably as I realize that I'm more mad at myself than I am at him. I let that happen. Hell, I'm pretty sure I started it.

I punch the wall before I can stop myself, shattering the tile and almost damaging the shower's plumbing. "Shit," I mutter, not knowing if the curse is directed at the damage or my situation. I rinse off the pieces of broken ceramic and grout that stuck to my wet hand, watching the water tint pink as it swirls down the drain. "Shit."

I shut the water off abruptly and barrel out of the shower. I glare at myself the mirror again, surprised it's still in one piece, as I dig in a cabinet for something to wrap around my bleeding hand. In the end, it didn't matter how hard I scrubbed, I can still feel and smell the flea on me. What is wrong with me? What was I thinking?

How stupid can I be?

After getting dressed in a plain white tee shirt and jeans, I think about trying to get in touch with Tom. I don't think it is in anyone's interest if I were to work today. I'm definitely not in the right state of mind to be... anywhere. As I start to look for my phone, I remember that it's broken. Again. Shit. I have to buy a new phone and fix the tile in my shower now. I'm going to kill Izaya if I ever see him again.

The thought causes my heart to lurch painfully in my chest. If I ever see him again. I feel myself grimace as that idea echoes through my mind. I try to stop my thoughts from spiraling even farther down this self-pitying, self-destructive path they seem to be taking as I make the decision to head to the office. I'll find Tom there, tell him about my phone and make up some excuse about why I can't work with him today.

With a clear plan set in place, I walk into the living room to continue my search for my broken cell phone. I will at least replace that today. As I search the couch cushions, my mind is again thrown back to the previous night. I can't help but think about how playful he was when we were sitting on the couch together. How vulnerable he looked when he finally opened up about his feelings for me.

"No," I growl at myself, angry that my thoughts had steered back to the flea again. "His feelings weren't real. Nothing was real. He was just..." I trail off as I see the pack of cigarettes he had bought for me. I shake my head angrily. "No. It was all an act. He wasn't being thoughtful. He wasn't vulnerable. He wasn't playful and... No. He was acting."

And I fell for it.

I abandon my search for my phone. I need to get out of the apartment. Everywhere I look makes me think of him and last night. My mind traveling back to our conversation when he practically threatened to kill me if I ever left him. "Damn it, Izaya. I'm really going to kill you now."

It was past the point of him being under my skin now. I don't know how to describe how much of a part of me he became in one night. He's a part of me but he's gone.

No. It's more accurate to say he was never really there.

I grab the cigarettes off the coffee table and my keys off the kitchen counter and storm out of my apartment, not even bothering to lock the door behind me. I won't be gone that long and I don't think anyone is stupid enough to break into my apartment at this point.

I light a cigarette irritably and start my brisk, rage-fueled walk to the office. With every step, my eyes search the passing city for any sign that the flea is still somewhere nearby. Every alleyway I walk by summons the memory of our conversation last night. Every cafe makes me want to break another table.

The sea of people parts in front of me as I continue to make my way down the sidewalk, my anger practically billowing off me in waves. I vaguely hear Simon's voice but I don't register his words. I just ignore him and walk on.

I finally reach the office and as I start to push the door inward, Tom emerges with a smile. "Morning sunshine. You look extra happy today," he says cheerfully as he walks out of the door, subtly herding me out of the way of the flow of pedestrians.

"I'm not in the mood, Tom," I grumble, trying not to misplace my anger on him. "I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I don't think I can work today."

Tom raises a concerned eyebrow as he looks me up and down, questions forming in his eyes. "I can see that. It's weird to see you not wearing the clothes your brother gave you. You could have just called me you know," he says thoughtfully.

"I couldn't. I broke my phone last night. I didn't want to just not show up and leave you hanging," I explain, keeping my voice even. "I was going to go get a new one today."

"Well, do you want company? I don't have any appointments for about an hour," he says as he looks at me sympathetically. "Want to talk about it?"

"Not really. I'm fine by myself." I try to smile reassuringly but fail as I feel my face twist into a grimace, earning another sympathetic look from Tom. "Really. Stop looking at me like you just accidentally kicked my puppy. I'll be fine. I just had a very, very rough night."

"What? Did you have a date that stood you up?" Tom jokes, attempting to lighten my mood. I stiffen at his words earning a surprised yet questioning stare. "Seriously?" he asks incredulously.

"Shut up. That's not what happened," I explain, Izaya's face popping unbidden into my mind, his mouth upturned in a soft smile. I shake my head angrily at my thought. "I had an unfortunate run-in with an old acquaintance."

Tom's jaw drops in disbelief. "No way. He just magically appeared? After all this time? What happened? Did you guys fight? You fought, didn't you? How much damage did you two cause to this poor city?"

"Not that much actually... my phone and an unfortunate table at a cafe," I explain quietly. I feel the corner of my mouth tug upward slightly in a secret smile before my face twists in confusion, anger and regret earning yet another questioning look from Tom. "I don't really know what happened last night," I say, trying to avoid telling him anything.

"What do you mean?" Tom raises a suspicious eyebrow. "You didn't fight?"

I let out an exasperated sigh. "Not really. Kind of? I don't know!" I trip over my words, unable to figure out what to tell Tom to satiate his curiosity. "We talked. We argued. I thought we came to an understanding. He messed with my head. Then he left. End of story."

"That seems pretty standard. Minus the understanding part." Tom nods then tilts his head at my expression that I can tell is betraying how hurt I feel inside. "Why do you look so upset? I know it's been a long while since he's shown up, but why does it seem like you're taking this so horribly. You seem different today than any other time you've had a run-in with Izaya."

Hearing his name causes my heart to lurch painfully in my chest again and a low growl escapes my throat. "I don't know, Tom," I explain quickly. "It's different but the same. Actually it might be worse." I shake my head and raise my hand dismissively as I turn to walk away. "I don't actually think I'm going to be replacing my cell phone today. I'm going to take a few days off, if that's okay with you. I'll let you know when I have my new phone."

"Sure," I hear Tom say as I walk away, his voice bewildered. "Let me know..."

As I make the walk back home, I continue to try and think about anything but Izaya and what happened last night. It's sad how not surprised I am at this outcome. But even sadder still is how much my heart is aching to see him again.

"I can't believe he just left," I murmur to myself. My mind reels as I feel my world falling away from me. I thought everything had finally come together. Last night - all of it - just felt so right. How was I so sorely mistaken?

I find myself standing motionless in front of my apartment before I realize it. With a sigh I remember I didn't lock it and turn the handle, swinging the door inward. I freeze in the open passageway as I notice the smell of coffee that wasn't there when I left.

Chapter Text

From my spot on Shizuo's couch, I hear the front door slam shut followed by the sound of angry, hurried footsteps. I sigh to myself as I absentmindedly pick up the remote to turn off the television, not taking my eyes off my cell phone. "You know, it was a little unsettling to return after being thoughtful enough to go buy you a coffee and breakfast to find you missing," I chastise halfheartedly. "Oh, and what the hell did you do to your poor shower?"

I finally raise my eyes and meet Shizuo's gaze. My eyes soften as I toss my phone aside and stand up, taking a few cautious steps toward him. His eyes are shifting between anger, confusion and relief. Did he really think I would just leave?

"Izaya?" he ask dumbly as if he doesn't believe I'm standing in front of him.

"Yes, Shizu-chan?" I respond softly.

In response, he closes the distance between us and pulls me into a tight embrace, holding me as close as he can. "I thought you left me," he practically whispers.

I reach my hands up and lace my fingers into his hair. "So stupid, Shizu-chan. Why would I do that? You really don't understand do you?" I murmur soothingly. "I meant everything I said last night. Everything we did last night meant something to me. I'm yours. I always have been, Shizuo. Nothing has the power to change that, not even me."

"I just... I assumed the worst when you weren't there when I woke up." His voice wavering slightly as he feels like he has explain himself, causing me to push against his chest slightly trying to loosen his death grip on me so I can look up at his face.

"I'm sorry. I didn't think you would doubt everything this much. I didn't think you would question everything that happened last night. I should have expected that given our history. Given my history." I feel my lips turn downward in a self-critiquing frown. "I'm sorry, Shizuo."

"Stop. Stop apologizing. It's okay. It's all okay," he reassures, while brushing my bottom lip with his thumb, he finally smiles at me for the first time today. "I feel like we are probably going to go through an unavoidable adjustment period."

I chuckle quietly. "That sounds about right." I narrow my eyes as I look at his right hand which is hastily wrapped in a bandage. After a moment, I let out an exasperated sigh as I raise an eyebrow and tilt my head thoughtfully. "Seriously though. What happened in the shower? Is the bandage on your hand related?"

His expression darkens and nods. "I guess I couldn't get myself under control when I thought you played with my emotions and left. I honestly thought yesterday was all just an act to mess with me," he pauses when he sees the hurt that flashes in my eyes. "I know. I'm sorry Izaya. I just... adjustment period."

I smile again. "I know," I say with a shake of my head as I look around him at the kitchen table, drawing his attention with my gaze. "You know, your breakfast was warm and fresh at one point. And the coffee was hot, too. It probably won't be that good anymore."

He turns around to look straight at the pastry bag and paper coffee cup with a smile. "You really got me breakfast?" he asks bewildered before turning back to me, gazing into my eyes.

It's not hard to place the emotions fueling the way he looks at me anymore and it makes me shiver with pleasure. "Well, yeah. I don't cook, so this was the next best thing," I explain myself, trying to brush it off like no big deal. I turn my head away to avoid Shizuo catching the light blush I feel creep onto my cheeks.

He follows my face with his, grinning as he catches my cheek with his hand to keep me from turning even further away. "Why did you feel it necessary to feed me, Izaya?" His deep voice doing strange things to my insides. "Were you trying to thank me for something?"

I shove him away from me and saunter back over to sit back on the couch. I need to get away from him before I show him that submissive and vulnerable side of me that he found last night. "Stupid Shizu-chan. You have to eat something, don't you? What do I have to thank you for, anyway?"

"All I just heard was 'thank you for making a beautiful mess of me last night, Shizuo. You're amazing'," he teases as he chuckles and walks over to the table, peeking into the bag holding a sweet, flakey danish.

I pause as it takes a moment for what he says to sink in. "Well... what it really says is 'you're welcome for letting you touch me at all, Shizuo. You need practice'," I throw back at him from across the room. I can hear my embarrassment coloring my words as my face flushes scarlet, remembering the way I mewled beneath him, practically begging him for everything he offered me.

"Beautiful?" I ask him skeptically, my voice breathy and quiet.

"Extremely," he pauses to look at my flushed face, his smirk alluring in it's self-confidence. "Yeah, I'm going to stick with my version of what breakfast means. It's more accurate." He nods as he removes the pastry from the bag and takes a large bite with a small, appreciative moan. I can't help but shiver at the noise.

Before he can hear me, I swallow back a small moan of my own as I am forced to think of the sounds I didn't know I knew how to make that he had pulled from me last night. I gnaw on my lower lip at the thought of his rough hands, his smooth skin, his soft lips, his teeth nibbling... his dark eyes constantly holding mine intensely. Everything. I shiver again.

"This danish is really good, Izaya," he says as he looks over at me, causing me blink repeatedly as my mouth drops open slightly, my thoughts interrupted. A slow, knowing smile forms on his lips as if seeing exactly what I was thinking about. I shiver again before I snapping myself out of my reverie influenced by the previous night.

"I'm glad you like it," I say as even and calmly as I can manage, watching him pick up the coffee and remove the lid to peer inside. "Anyway, I don't know if something that sweet can be considered coffee. But I was assured by the barista that, even if it didn't have caffeine, there would be enough sugar in there to wake you up. So, you know, that should mask the bitter coffee taste." I pause to shrug dismissively. "You can just throw it out if it's not good or too cold at this point."

He rolls his eyes and smiles as he looks at me shaking his head. "Why do you have to try to turn something this thoughtful into something so unimportant?" He pauses to take a deep drink from the coffee cup and tries to hold back a grimace. "It's cold."

"I told you it would be," I say quietly, picking up my phone again to try and distract myself.

"Izaya," Shizuo says strongly, causing me to look up at him again. "It's delicious. Seriously. Thank you for breakfast."

My heart hammers in my chest at the simple words that seem to say more than they mean. "You're welcome," I say as I only just notice that he's wearing dark fitted jean and a slightly too large white tee shirt, not his normal 'uniform'. I shiver again as I watch him set the coffee down to reach over the kitchen counter for something, his shirt lifting enough to let me catch a glimpse of the smooth skin of his back.

He places the pastry on the paper towel he had procured and picks the coffee back up, heading in my direction. Taking the seat next to me, he catches me gnawing on my lower lip again while staring intently at him. "What's that hungry look for, Izaya?" he asks with a smirk, snapping me back out of my less than pure thoughts again.

"N-nothing. I was just thinking how rare it is for me to see you in normal clothes," I answer with a dismissive shrug.

"Is that really all you were thinking?" he asks mischievously. "You look guilty."

"That's all... and I'm not guilty," I reply petulantly as I shake my head, mentally kick myself. I motion toward the television to change the subject. "Want the remote?"

"Nah, it's okay. I don't really want to watch anything right now. You're acting amusing enough to keep my attention," he says as he takes another sip of the coffee and sets it down on the table in front of him. "You know, even though it's cold, it's very good."

"I thought you'd like it. I asked for a drink that a little kid would like," I tease, dodging the halfhearted punch that swings in my direction. "What? You have the same taste buds as a child, Shizu-chan! If I had gotten you a drink like mine - a grown up drink - you would have hated it. Just like I would hate the taste of that." I point at the coffee cup on the table and stick out my tongue in mock revulsion.

He stares at me thoughtfully while finishing the last bite of his pastry. "Let me see if understand you correctly, Izaya," he pauses to finish the overly sweet coffee with an exaggerated gulp before continuing in a deeper voice. "I just took a sip of this drink that you claim you would hate the taste of," he pauses again to set the empty cup onto the table. As he sits back, he reaches over and plucks my phone out of my hand, tossing it carelessly to the side to gain my undivided attention. "So does that mean you would hate it if I kissed you right now?"

My pulse races as my gaze wanders to his mouth, more images from last night flashing through my mind. So much for changing the subject. "I..." My mind goes blank as my eyes finally tear their gaze away from his lips only to be caught by the smoldering look in his brown eyes.

"Well?" he prompts, slipping an arm around my waist to pull me closer to him. When I don't answer, he grins and slides his hand down my back to slip under my shirt, leaving a burning trail in the wake of his wandering fingers. "I didn't realize how much power I had over you. I like turning you into putty in my hands."

"Be careful, Shizu-chan," I admonish carefully as I slowly back away from him.

"Be careful of what, Izaya?" I shiver at the sound of my name and he follows every little movement as I back away from him. Another playful smirk forms on his lips. "Why are you running away? I thought you weren't scared of me."

"I'm not running away and I'm certainly not scared," I retort, finding myself pushed up against the arm of the couch and out of room to continue my retreat. "What exactly are you planning to do to me, Shizuo."

"What do you want me to do to you, Izaya?" His asks as his eyes light up as he looks at me like a predator stalking his prey.

My lip turns up in a small smirk as I steal the initiative out from under him, pushing him backward onto the couch suddenly. He looks up at me slightly startled as I stand up and lean over him, our lips almost touching. I hum appreciatively as I gaze into his surprised yet heated brown eyes.

"I don't think I'd terribly mind it if you kissed me even though you drank that awful coffee," I pause to lick his lower lip slowly feeling a rumble in his chest under the hand I used to pin him to the cushions. I raise an eyebrow at the sweet taste on his lips. "On second thought..."

He doesn't give me a chance to finish my thought as his head raises slightly to catch my lips with his. I smirk into the kiss, pulling my lips away the instant he tries to deepen it. "I was right. Way too sweet."

"Damn it Izaya," he growls, his hands darting out to catch me but I twist away as I stand up straight, escaping his grasp. "Now I wish I didn't drink that stupid coffee."

I chuckle as he sits up with a groan, following me with his eyes as I walk around the other side of the coffee table to stay out of reach. I peer down into the empty cup with a smile. "I am glad you enjoyed it even though it was cold." I pick it up gingerly and continue over to the kitchen table to pick up the empty bag that once held the pastry, dropping the empty cup inside.

"Are you seriously cleaning up right now?" Shizuo asks incredulous as I disappear into the kitchen. "You would rather pick up after me than be over here?"

"Don't be silly, Shizu-chan," I say as I reemerge with a glass of water. I walk back to the kitchen table and lean against it, taking a thoughtful sip as I meet Shizuo's heated gaze from across the room. "Maybe if you have some water to wash away the too sweet taste that's lingering on your lips, I'll be more inclined to give into your demands."

He's next to me before I can blink, taking the glass from my hand and downing it in one gulp. I raise an eyebrow at him. "Wow, Shizu-chan. You want me that bad, huh?" I taunt, earning a blush causing me to smirk at his expression. "And here I was thinking that you were the one who held all the power over me in this aspect of our newly established relationship." I pause as I chuckle and take the glass out of his hand. "You continue to surprise me, Shizu-chan."

He reaches for me again but I dance out of reach. "Where the hell are you going?" He follows me as I try to escape back into the kitchen.

"That was my water you drank," I state with laughter in my voice as I go to the sink and refill my cup, drinking it quickly. "I was thirsty," I point out as I look over my shoulder at Shizuo who is now smirking darkly at me. "What's that scary look for?" I ask suspiciously, setting the empty cup in the sink.

"I've just decided we're not leaving this kitchen," he pauses as he comes up behind me, boxing me in as he pushes me roughly against the counter burying his face in my neck. I feel his lips move against the sensitive skin just below my ear as he speaks, making my breath catch in my throat. "We're not leaving until I hear you beg me to make a mess of you again, Izaya."

His voice is husky and demanding, forcing a strangled moan to escape my lips. "That is an excellent start," he praises in my ear.

Chapter Text

A few hours later, I find myself sitting on the floor next to my couch staring at Izaya's sleeping face. His messy hair still a little damp from the shower and he's only wearing one of my tee shirts that, on him, looks over-sized and baggy. I just had put a blanket over him, thinking he would get cold because he's so damn skinny.

I wrap my arms around my knees as I pull them into my chest, chewing on the side of a thumb absentmindedly. Is this really the same Izaya?

As I continue to sit there, staring intently at my once enemy and rival, one of his bare legs sneaks out from under the blanket as his face scrunches slightly. A small protesting moan escapes his lips. "...zu-chan... stop..." he mumbles causing a corner of my mouth to twitch upward in a small satisfied smirk.

He makes another unintelligible noise as his brow knits together in his sleep. "I'll... I... cut you..." he continues, making my smirk grow to a full on grin as I stifle my laughter. Yeah. He's still the same Izaya.

My quiet laughter causes one of Izaya's eyes to open lazily. "What are you laughing at Shizu-chan?" he grumbles. "You're loud. And close. What are you staring at?"

"Such a grumpy flea," I murmur. "I was watching you talk in your sleep. That's also why I was laughing."

He grunts as he turns over on to his side, his back to me. "Don't do that. It's creepy," he mutters groggily. "What was I talking about?"

"You seemed to be threatening me," I reply, my grin still plastered on my face.

"Sounds about right." Izaya pulls the blanket up over his head causing my eyes to wander down to the skin he has carelessly exposed. "I can still feel you staring, Shizu-chan. Stop it."

"No," I state simply. "Is it really so bad that I actually enjoy looking at you?"

"It's weird," he sighs. "Adjustment period, right? Now stop and let me sleep some more... my body is... exhausted."

"You're welcome," I say suggestively, earning another groan from Izaya on the couch. I laugh quietly as I push myself up off the floor to stand up and walk over to slide the window open, letting the cool afternoon air. I take a cigarette out of the pack and light it, leaning out the window and gazing down onto the street below.

After a few minutes, I hear an exasperated sigh from behind me. "Cooooold..."

"Are you kidding me?" I question incredulously over my shoulder, seeing him curl up into a tiny ball under the blanket. "It's beautiful outside. Plus, I thought I'd try to be considerate and smoke out the window."

"It doesn't help as much as you think it does," he says quietly from the couch. "Plus I really don't mind the smell. Actually, I kinda like it... it's always reminded me of you."

I stand there in stunned silence at his words, the cigarette between my lips almost falls to the floor as my mouth goes slack. I turn around, looking at the bundle on my couch, trying to figure out how to respond.

When I don't answer, I hear him stir before sitting up. "What, Shizu-chan? Do you not believe me?" he asks, raking the fingers one hand through his hair while the back of his other hand rubs the sleep out of his eyes.

He looks disturbingly adorable.

Izaya drops his arms and looks at my face curiously before raising an eyebrow. "Ew, Shizu-chan. You're thinking the word 'cute', aren't you? Gross," he says mockingly as he smirks at me.

I shake my head and fight the grin that wants to spread across my face. I continue to stay silent as I finish my cigarette, watching Izaya out of the corner of my eye. He had taken his phone out again and is typing away at it while chewing on his lower lip absentmindedly. I had begun to notice that he did that a lot and it seems to drive me crazy.

"Ew. Now I can tell that you're getting excited again. You really are an animal, aren't you?" Izaya says without lifting his eyes from his phone, but I see a small satisfied smile tug at the corners of his mouth.

"I'm pretty sure you love it," I say as I walk over to the coffee table, bending down to put out my cigarette. "Oh, that reminds me..." I start, earning a raised eyebrow and a scoff from the couch. "No, not that. Your phone. It reminds me that I couldn't find my broken one this morning when I was thinking about replacing it. You haven't seen it, have you?"

Izaya looks up from his phone with a guilty expression on his face.

"What did you do, flea?" I ask exasperatedly.

"I..." he starts to struggle with his words. "I took it."

"What do you mean you took it?" I ask, my voice dangerously even.

"I just... I borrowed it when I left this morning to get you breakfast," he says, a faint blush on dusting his cheeks. "Hold on. I'll get it. I promise I didn't do anything weird."

"I don't know if I believe that." I raise an eyebrow as I watch him get up and grab his discarded jacket off of one of the chairs at the kitchen table. He digs around in the pockets nervously. "If you didn't do anything wrong, why do you look like you did?" I ask as I can't help my eyes from roaming.

He sighs softly as he turns around with two phones taking a few tentative steps toward me. "So... this morning when I went to get you breakfast, I also took your phone with me." He holds up one hand containing the broken phone. "Now before you get mad for no reason, I only did that so I could get you a new one. I had them transfer everything from your old one to this one," he holds up a new one of the same model. "It's exactly the same so you won't even notice the difference."

"Why...?" I ask, blinking in disbelief. "Why did you feel guilty about doing that?

"I'm not used to doing things for people for no reason. It makes me feel like I did something wrong. I don't know what made me do it in the first place," he explains as he shifts back and forth uncomfortably. "I just... I remember you said it was technically my fault and although I don't actually feel responsible and I don't think you were entirely serious... I just wanted to make you happy, I guess," he finishes on an upward inflection, making it sounds like a question. He's obviously unsure with his own explanation.

"Izaya you shouldn't feel guilty for doing that. It makes me extremely happy that you even thought to do it in the first place. So, you succeeded," I affirm with a chuckle. "You're doing things that are out of your comfort zone without realizing it. You really love me, don't you?"

He sighs heavily. "Unfortunately," he says, his eyes betraying his words.

I reach out and pull him closer to me, causing Izaya to look up at me with an almost shy smile. "I feel the same way. Unfortunately," I say with a smirk, earning an eye roll. I chuckle before my eyes slides down is body, my smirk widening to a grin. "You look good wearing my clothes."

"Ugh... it's like you're claiming me," he says, feigning disgust.

"Oh, yeah? Really, Izaya? You want to go there?" I say, backing up slightly to pull my shirt up, exposing the scar on my chest. "Remember this? The first time we met? This is the only wound that I've ever gotten that really left a noticeable scar."

Izaya blinks slowly, running a delicate hand over the scar slashed across my chest. His cool fingers leaving a surprisingly hot trail along my skin. His garnet eyes sparkle as they look up into mine. "I know it is. It's beautiful, isn't it?" he asks rhetorically as he catches his lower lip between his teeth thoughtfully, his eyes falling back to follow his fingers dancing on my chest.

My breath catches in my throat as I look down at him admiring the only truly visible scar on my body. "Why does this excite me?" I ask honestly as I let go of my shirt, letting it fall back in place, Izaya's hands still on my bare chest underneath. "There is something truly fucked up about what you just said. Why did I love it?"

He smiles slowly, his dark eyes look up at me from under his lashes. "Because you love me. Every fucked up inch of me."

I growl at his words and grab him by the back of his head, fingers tugging at his hair. "You're such a know-it-all," I mutter quickly as I pull him into a rough kiss.

I hear and feel his muffled protests, but his betraying hands slide down scraping at my sides. I pull away from his lips and smile down at the disappointed look in his eyes. "So, what? This one permanent and extremely obvious mark isn't enough? You want to leave more of your claw marks on me?" I ask amused when he whines up at me. "You haven't seen my back, have you? You'd be even more proud if you had."

Izaya's eyes light up. "Really? I want to see!" he exclaims excitedly as he spins me around and lifts my shirt up again, sighing appreciatively at his handy work. "Hmm, you're right. I am pretty proud. But I doubt these will leave lasting marks."

I laugh at the disappointment in his voice and look over my shoulder at him. "Well," I say getting his attention as he looks up at me with a pout. "I'm pretty sure I'll always have these marks on me. I plan to make you scratch and bite at me as often as I can."

Izaya smirks at me before dropping his eyes back to the marks peppering my back. "Really now?" He leans against my back, trailing a wet line from scratch to scratch with his delicate tongue. "That sounds like a promise."

I shiver slightly before shaking my head resolutely and stepping away from Izaya's clutches. "Now who's the animal? How many times have I satisfied you already in the past twelve hours? You're practically in heat," I say, forcing myself to keep the distance between us. "Izaya. As much as I would love to stay and continue this marathon, we should probably get some food in us. I know I'm starving."

He huffs disdainfully but throws his hands up in defeat. "Fine. But you're buying me fatty tuna at Russia Sushi."

I look at him fondly. "I was actually planning on it," I admit easily.

Izaya blinks at me. "Really? But... we may run into people," he says insecurely.

"Is that not okay with you? Do you remember what I said yesterday? I really don't care what people think. Plus it's not like we're going to hide this," I respond as I point back and forth between us, trying to sound sure but my own insecurity creeps. At the same time, I can see his lack of confidence disappear from his eyes. "We're not hiding, are we?"

He smiles softly. "Of course not. I love you, Shizuo. Remember? If anyone has a problem with this, too bad? It's their issue, not ours."

I return his smile before looking around the room curiously. "Well, if we're going to go out, we have a very important mystery to solve," I pause thoughtfully at Izaya's questioning glance. "Where are your pants?"

After blinking at me few times, he laughs heartily.

Chapter Text

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.

My Shizu-chan.

"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."

Chapter Text

I'm pretty sure he feels the same way that I do right now. This whole being out in public together and not fighting? It's different. I don't care what the people around us are thinking, but I still don't really know how to act.

Although I'm probably overthinking things. I'm pretty sure normal couple-ish things are not really our style. For example, I'm sure he would laugh at me if I tried hold his hand. I know I would probably punch him if he tried to hold mine.

I mean, I'm not actually thinking about holding his hand. I'm not. Really.

Shit.

"What's wrong with you? You're making a weird face," Izaya teases from beside me as we wander aimlessly through the streets of Ikebukuro. "Please tell me you're not trying to think and walk at the same time. Don't do that, stupid Shizu-chan. You could hurt yourself!"

"You know, there's only so many times you can use the same insult before it becomes meaningless. Plus, if you think I'm so stupid, that makes you an even bigger idiot for falling for this idiot," I reply with a quiet chuckle. "And to answer your question, nothing is wrong."

Izaya looks straight ahead with a pout. "I'm not an idiot," he mutters petulantly.

"Yes you are," I dispute plainly.

"No, I'm not," he whines. Like a child. "Shizu-chan, just because I told you not to be gross doesn't mean I want you to be mean to me!"

"Izaya. I didn't think I needed to tell you this but this is not me being mean to you," I say with a raised eyebrow as we turn into Nishiguchi Park. "Do you want me to actually be mean to you so you feel justified in your thoughts?"

"I'd prefer it if you didn't." Izaya sighs as he tugs on my sleeve to pull me toward a bench. "It's actually pretty quiet at this hour. Let's sit for a little while."

I snicker. "Are you tired, flea? We've barely been walking for an hour." I watch him roll his eyes as he sits down. I light a cigarette as I stay standing, watching as Izaya raises his arms above his head to stretch his shoulders with a soft groan.

"Do I need to remind you of how used and abused my body feels?" he asks suggestively, looking up at me from under dark eyelashes. I had only just recently started to notice how long they were. No man should be this pretty. Especially one who's usually such a manipulative asshole.

"You didn't have to but I hate to admit that I don't mind being reminded," I concede with a smirk, playfully kicking his foot with my own.

"Disgusting. I didn't realize how much you would be into public displays of affection," he says with a raised eyebrow and a teasing smirk. "Although I guess it does make sense that a beast would want to stake his claim out in the open."

"Shut up, flea," I warn him. "You still have no right to give me shit about staking claim. At any rate, I'm sure that the bite mark on the back of your neck is more than enough proof of ownership." I add while nonchalantly taking a long drag from my cigarette.

"Proof of... What?!" he cries, his hand instinctively slapping onto his neck as if to hide the mark that had gone unnoticed. Well, unnoticed by him.

"You really didn't see it?" I ask bewildered before chuckling. "I thought you were vain enough to have seen it in the mirror before we left my apartment. The intriguing question is: How many other people have seen it?"

Izaya stands up suddenly, stepping into me, his eyes a swirl of emotion. "Stupid Shizu-chan," he growls. "I can't believe you left such an obvious mark on me. I can't believe you didn't tell me!"

I blow out a stream of smoke calmly, then dispose of the half finished cigarette. "I didn't think I needed to tell you. And do you really want to get into leaving marks again?" I ask, taking another step into Izaya, our faces so close that our foreheads practically touch. "Izaya. Does it really bother you so much that I marked you?"

He narrows his eyes at me. "I don't know. It's embarrassing," he hisses. "It's one thing to have marks from obvious fighting..." he trails off, his anger softening, as if just realizing for the first time how close we are. His breath catches in his throat.

"I don't understand why is this kind of mark so much more embarrassing. Plus," I pause and instinctively lower my voice when I realize how he's reacting to our closeness. "I had always thought of all the cuts, scrapes and bruises I left on your body after our fights as my way of marking you. It might have been under different circumstances... but you were always mine, Izaya." I lean forward an inch more so that our foreheads actually do touch.

From the outside, we look like we're heatedly arguing with each other. But from where we're standing, it's very very different. Intimate.

Izaya's mouth drops open and a small strangled noise escapes. He quickly shuts his mouth and shakes his head before I let him shove me back a few feet. "Shit, Shizuo. You have to stop that," he says shakily sounding both angry and aroused.

I grin at him but before I can respond, as if by magic, Celty pulls her bike abruptly between us. Her PDA is already out as she's typing furiously. [Stop it you two. What's going on here?]

Izaya sighs, almost sounding relieved. "Hello, transporter. Thank you for saving me. I thought Shizu-chan was going to attack me!" he says with mock fear in his voice. "I swear this monster was..."

"Shut up, Izaya," I say shaking my head. "Hey, Celty."

[Shizuo! What is he doing here?]

[Are you two fighting?]

[What were you two doing when I saw you earlier?]

[Are you okay?]

[Are you being blackmailed into helping him with some job?]

My head spins at the speed that she types out her questions. "Can you slow down a little? I can't read and answer you that fast. We're not fighting, okay? Maybe we were arguing in a way just now, but not fighting," I answer calmly. "We ran into each other yesterday and talked out our differences and... a lot of stuff."

Celty stares at me as Izaya is leaning around me, peering closely at her PDA. "Blackmail? Wow, Celty. You really have a low opinion of me, don't you?" Izaya asks, sounding hurt.

[Yes.] She types without hesitation.

I shake my head and laugh. "Well, to be fair, I'm pretty sure everyone has a low opinion of you," I say as Izaya glares at me and stands back up straight.

"Rude," Izaya says haughtily, my eyes following him as he steps back to sit on the bench again. He starts fiddling with his cell phone and pretends to ignore our conversation.

I sigh as I look back at Celty who has her head tilted in confusion. "I know, I know. It's hard to explain but we're not fighting anymore, okay?" I try to explain it as simply as I can, hoping she just accepts it without further questioning.

After a long pause she types quickly. [HOW?!]

"We had a really long talk last night. Well, last night into the morning," I continue to try and clear up her confusion. "He explained some things to me. I explained things to him. We actually know each other surprisingly well, so when we put the effort into not fighting, it was pretty easy to talk."

Celty starts typing but pauses again as if unsure of what to say, staring at me.

"Yeah. That seems to be the general consensus today. People have been at a loss for words," I say with a sheepish smile, rubbing the back of my neck with my hand.

[You told OTHER people about this?]

I blink at her words then raise an eyebrow. "I don't think I follow..."

[I mean, I just... I don't know! Maybe I'm just hurt you didn't tell me!]

[Were you ever going to tell me?]

[I thought we were friends, Shizuo!]

"Whoa. Calm down, Celty. Of course we're friends. Other people just happened to find out. And when you saw us earlier, we were going to grab a bite, so I figured it would be better to wait and tell you when we had the chance to seriously talk. Like this," I say trying to calm my friend who is reminding me just how girly she can be.

She seems to let out a relieved sigh before typing again. [So what? Are you like, friends now?]

"Something like that," I say almost nervously.

"What exactly is that supposed to mean, Shizu-chan," Izaya says from the bench behind me.

"Shut up, flea," I say carefully.

"Why?" he asks me rhetorically as he stands up and walks up next to me. "A more accurate answer to your question, my dear transporter, would be," he pauses as he smiles and reaches down to hold my hand tightly. "We're lovers."

"Izaya!" I exclaim as my cheeks turn bright red, yanking my hand out of his. "How can you say something like that so easily?"

"Shizu-chan, I thought I didn't embarrass you. Plus, you constantly remind me that you didn't care what people think," he says pouting, turning toward me as he grabs my hand again with both of his and holds it to his chest. He looks up at me pleadingly and I want to punch him when I catch the amusement gleaming in his garnet eyes.

I let out an exasperated sigh and look apologetically at Celty who looks even more confused. She tilts her head and lifts her PDA, beginning to type and stopping a few times before finally figuring out what she wants to say.

[Is he telling the truth, Shizuo?]

I blink at her and before I answer, I glance at Izaya. The laughter in his eyes from before is gone as he is looking down my hand like it's precious to him and he's scared to let it go. I sigh and smile softly before turning my attention back to Celty who is still waiting for an answer. "Yeah. He is," I say confidently as I unexpectedly pull Izaya toward me by the hand he's clinging to. It causes him to stumble into me and I wrap an arm around him possessively. "Please don't ask me to explain this anymore. I don't know if I can."

Celty raises her PDA and thinks about what to type for a very long minute before simply saying: [Okay.]

"Okay?" I ask in disbelief.

[Okay.]

[You're my friend, Shizuo. As long as you're happy, I'm happy.]

[Although I can't say I understand how your happiness is Izaya...]

[I support you. Always.]

"Thank you, Celty," I say with a relieved smile.

"So. Now that you've made your point, you can let go of me, Shizu-chan," Izaya says quietly from where he's trapped in my arm.

I look down at him and see that his cheeks are lightly tinted pink. "Are you seriously blushing right now, Izaya? You totally asked for that. Plus, I thought you weren't embarrassed to be with me."

"This is different," he whispers, still clutching my hand as if it's his lifeline to reality.

I chuckle and reluctantly unwrap my arm from around his slender frame and he lets go of my hand. As soon as he's free, Izaya rushes away to sit cross-legged on the bench behind me again, facing away to hide his flushed face from Celty.

I roll my eyes in his direction before turning back to Celty. She is looking at me with what I can only assume is a blank expression. Tilting her head slightly to the side she types quickly: [Did he just blush?]

"Yeah. He did," I say with fondness in my voice. "Disturbingly cute, right?"

After a moment, Celty clutches her sides tightly as she seems to be laughing.

"It's not funny. And I wasn't blushing," Izaya mutters irritably.

[Okay, okay. I have to go finish a job now. I'll talk to you later, Shizuo.]

[Thank you for telling me so straightforward.]

[I really am happy that you're happy.]

"Would you do me a favor and tell Shinra so I don't have to?" I practically plead.

[Oh I couldn't keep this to myself if I tried.]

[But you WILL have to tell him yourselves. He would never forgive you if you didn't.]

I groan at her words. "I know. Wishful thinking on my part," I resign. "Thank you, Celty. Have a good night."

Izaya stands up as he seems to have regained his composure. "Before you go," he says grabbing her attention. "I just want you to know that I know Shizuo is a dear friend to you. This is not some passing fancy, nor is it some sick twisted way of messing with him - which I'm assuming was a thought that may have crossed your mind. I really am in love with him. I have been for some time now. I just want you to know I don't plan on hurting him."

Celty is speechless, as am I. She looks straight at Izaya for a few moments before nodding curtly and turning to speed away on her bike.

I look down at Izaya who is still looking in Celty's direction. His eyes are serious and he is chewing on his bottom lip thoughtfully. "What... why did you say that?" I ask him, astonishment clear in my voice and, most likely my expression.

He turns his head toward me and looks up into my stunned eyes. "She's important to you. I don't want her thinking badly of me or us," he says as if it's obvious. "Celty has never had the best impression of me. While I don't think I can change that fact any time soon, I still don't want her thinking I will mistreat you."

I don't know how to react to that.

I really want to kiss him.

"You're giving me that look again, Shizu-chan," Izaya points out with a smirk plastered to his face.

"I know. I can feel it," I respond, my voice a low rumble. Izaya shivers subtly as he looks up into my eyes. "What about the look you're giving me?" I ask darkly, taking a step closer subconsciously.

"I don't know what you're talking about," he whispers in a breathy voice as he, in turn, takes a step closer to me. His cheeks are just barely a subtle shade of pink as he continues to look at me with what can only be described as hunger.

"Izaya," I say his name slowly, putting emphasis on each syllable. "Save those looks for when we're alone. I don't want to share this side of you with anyone," I growl low and dangerous.

He gnaws on his lower lip again, trying to keep back the strangled groan that I hear threatening to escape his throat. "Damn it, Shizu-chan," he says, trying to even out his breathing. "I'm so mad right now. So mad that you make me look like this. Especially in public. It's disgusting."

"Very," I murmur. "I'm pretty mad that I'm making you make that face right now, too. These lewd faces of yours are driving me insane." I pause as I realize my hands are starting to reach for him. I pull them back quickly. "I-I don't know how to react to you right now." My voice is husky and I can feel how heated the look on my face is. I quickly take a step back, unsure of whether or not I can keep myself in check.

Izaya is staring at me with glazed over eyes and his mouth hanging open slightly.

"What did I just say? Don't look at me like that out in the open," I say gruffly as I grab his hand and drag him out of the park. "Damn it, flea."

"W-where are we going?" he asks, sounding disoriented.

"Somewhere where I don't have to think about how my actions will be perceived by others," I mutter, my mind searching for a place to hide Izaya from everyone. "Somewhere I can make you look at me even more hungrily without the fear of getting unreasonably jealous that someone else can see this side you, too."

He gulps audibly. A weak "O-okay," is all he can manage in response as he lets me drag him away.

Chapter Text

Shizuo dragged me in silence for a few blocks until he came to an abrupt stop in front of a chain link fence around a construction site. He releases my hand he had subconsciously had a death grip on to turn and face the unused lot. Shizuo raises a hand to his chin, as if contemplating his next move.

I had managed to calm myself down a little on our trip out of the park. But while watching him fidget and shift back and forth from foot to foot, I realize he seemed just as worked up as before. I can't help the self-satisfied smile that slowly appears on my lips.

"What's wrong, Shizu-chan? Lose your resolve?" I ask mockingly from beside him, watching him look around discreetly. "And, by the way, you're acting rather suspicious."

"Well, I really don't want anyone to see me do this..." he pauses, glancing around us one more time. I open my mouth to question him but before I can get a word out, he rips the chain and padlock off the gate of the fence and pushes it inward. He looks at me with a smirk. "After you."

I raise an eyebrow before an amused smile creeps its way across my lips. "It's nice to see you using your monstrous strength with intentionally mischievous, maybe even beneficial, purpose for once," I say offhanded before slipping through the gate to sprint into the partially finished building, effectively losing Shizuo.

"Iiiizaaayaaa!" Shizuo shouts after me as my laughter beckons him forward, echoing off the concrete and exposed rebar. "Damn it, flea! Where are you going?"

"Shizu-chan is just too slow," I throw over my shoulder as I continue to race up the partially built stairs to the top floor. "You never could catch me, could you?"

"I'm pretty sure I have caught up with you at least once or twice," Shizuo says as he is running up the stairs behind me. I can practically hear the smile on his face at the thrill of chasing me. "Though somehow you always managed to slip away."

"And I plan to continue that pattern," I say as I round the last landing before the top floor.

I hear his laugh reverberate through the empty and unfinished staircase. "Come now, Izaya. What fun would that be?" Shizuo retorts just loud enough for me to hear as he continues his approach.

"Plenty fun." I take the last step and find myself in an large empty space. The outer walls are half built and the inside has spray paint markers indicated where there would be walls for me to hide behind. Unfortunately I can't put theoretical walls between myself and Shizuo when he reaches the top floor.

More importantly, there doesn't seem to be any other way up or down besides the way I came. Or out the openings where windows will be. "Shit," I mutter under my breath, looking around frantically for a way up to the roof which seems to have yet to be built.

"Nowhere to go, huh? Looks like I caught you again, Izaya," Shizuo murmurs behind me. "Now - if I remember correctly - I believe I promised to make you look at me with hungry eyes." I hear him start taking slow, deliberate steps toward me.

"Though, I never did agree to let you," I retort as I glance over my shoulder at him with a playful smirk after finding what I was searching for. "Plus, you haven't caught me yet."

I dash about ten feet to the corner where I find a sizable gap in the ceiling. When I am right below the eventual roof access, I twist and leap up, grabbing onto the ledge. I smile smugly at Shizuo's surprised face as I pull myself up through the opening.

Once on the roof, I take a breath as I walk out to the middle, looking around me. Night is starting to fall as the sky turns a dusky pink bleeding to mauve and indigo the farther away from the horizon my eyes wander. The sky hasn't looked so beautiful in a very long time. Or maybe it's just been a while since I really looked at it.

A slight breeze plays with my hair as I wrap my arms around me, warding off the chill that's starting to set in without my jacket. I let out a long, content sigh, my breath visible in the rapidly cooling night air. I heard Shizuo follow me up almost immediately but instead of approaching me, he stood in silent contemplation as I admired the sky.

"Beautiful," Shizuo says quietly from behind me.

"It really is. I really missed this city," I murmur, smiling softly as I catch a glimpse of a few stars starting to pepper the highest point in the sky.

"I don't want to lie to you and say the city missed you too," he teases with a low chuckle. "And I actually wasn't referring to the city..."

I raise an eyebrow as I turn to look at Shizuo. "First you insult me then you say something gross. Do you even want to be here with me?" I question him rhetorically. I shake my head at his silent and amused smile. "Well, you caught me, Shizu-chan. I have nowhere to go. What do you plan to do now?"

"I honestly wasn't thinking that far ahead," he admits. "But I guess I'll start with this."

He is in front of me before I can blink, pulling me into his strong arms. He buries his face in my hair and sighs happily. "I hate how badly I've been wanting to touch you," he murmurs. "I hate how badly I don't want to punch you anymore. It's confusing."

I smile as my arms wrap tightly around his waist, stealing as much of his warmth as I can. "I know. It's funny to think that all this time, instead of fighting, I'm pretty sure we wanted something more like this." I pause as I chuckle quietly. "All this passion focused into fighting. What a waste."

"I know, right? I'm pretty sure my mind translated my apparent need to touch you as a need to punch you," Shizuo says as he pulls his head back slightly to look down into my eyes. "Although I really didn't like you when we first met. That's all on you, though."

"I know. I'm very good at antagonizing people," I answer with another self-satisfied smile. "But I think in your case, it was all just to get your attention."

"Well you got it." Shizuo smirks as his voice drops lower. "And you still have it." His brown eyes darken the longer he looks at me.

"Good." I smile and feel my cheeks warm slightly under his heated gaze. "Shizu-chan, I thought you threatened to make me make lewd faces, not the other way around." I tease as I let one of my hands slip under his shirt and scratch along his spine, causing him to shiver.

"Is that an invitation?" he challenges, his hands falling to grip my hips tightly.

Before answering, I surprise him by nipping at his Adam's apple then trailing my tongue up his neck to his chin, pausing to plant a barely there kiss just under his mouth. "Do you want it to be an invitation, Shizuo?"

The hand not caught under his shirt, reaches up to roughly grip the back of his head by his shaggy blonde hair. He shudders under my touch and, at the sound of his name escaping my mouth, he leans down to catch it as it falls from my lips. I sigh into his kiss and I feel his appreciative groan vibrate through me.

I pull away from his mouth, my hands still wandering. I want to have a little fun before I completely give in, so I try my best to keep my need under control. With playful eyes, my desire sparkling at the edges, I look up at the man who already trying to close the distance again. I put a hand up to his mouth earning a growl. "Tsk tsk tsk, Shizu-chan. So impatient," I scold.

"Damn straight I'm impatient. I still have a lot of years of frustration to take out of you," he responds with a smirk.

My breath catches in my throat. Shit. My eyes darken and my vision seems to go slightly out of focus as I feel my mouth hang open slightly.

"Ahh... There it is," Shizuo points out quietly. "There's the look I was waiting for."

At his words, I snap my mouth shut and narrow my eyes minutely at him while attempting to free myself from his arms. "Let go of me, stupid Shizu-chan." I hear how much my voice is lacking conviction and scowl at myself.

"That's an interesting look too. Although, I sure hope that one's not directed at me," he warns as I continue to squirm in his hands, trying to break free. "Do you really want me to let you go, Izaya?"

I don't answer right away, earning another annoyingly knowing smile from him. I pull my hands into myself as I drop suddenly to my knees and quickly roll away from Shizuo before standing back up straight. I indignantly brush the dust off my borrowed shirt. "Well, I would have stayed there if you hadn't given me that annoying look just now. You know, you shouldn't think that you know what to expect from me now, Shizu-chan. I still intend to keep you on your toes." I smirk at him as I back away slowly.

"Damn it flea. Where are you going again?" He takes a few cautious steps toward me as if he's nervous he'll spook me, causing me to disappear.

My smirk widens in response and bolt away from him, disappearing down the roof access opening. I laugh so lightly that it's almost a giggle as I hear Shizuo's signature "Iiiizaaayaaa!" as he starts to rush after me. We, almost intentionally, keep the distance between us smaller than the previous chase.

"After hearing you scream my name like that again, I just want to make you do it again and again," I toss at him suggestively as I continue to stay just out of reach. I hear him stumble subtly at my words. "Dirty dirty, Shizu-chan. What thoughts did I provoke only by saying 'scream my name'?" I emerge at street level and rush to slip out the still open gate and head in the direction of Shizuo's apartment.

I look over my shoulder to catch him pull himself up over the top of the chain link fence. Why didn't he just use the gate? Such a beast. I chuckle to myself before I continue to taunt him. "And here you thought you caught me. You never will. You never have, Shizu-chan. I always let you catch me and when it seems like it could be fun for me," I continue telling him as we bound through the streets and side alleys of Ikebukuro. "This really brings back memories, doesn't it?"

"It really does," he chuckles, his voice closer than I had anticipated. "Though you seem to be slower than usual tonight, Izaya."

"Stupid Shizu-chan. If that's true, it must be your fault," I interject mid stride as I turn sharply around the corner, spying my final destination with a smile. I hear Shizuo stumble behind me again but this time because of the abrupt change in direction. "You really need to work on your agility. That's why you've never been able to catch me without my allowing it."

He growls behind me as our distance grows slightly. "Watching you run ahead of me is more distracting than it used to be," he admits with embarrassment coloring his voice slightly before he lowers his voice dangerously. "And how is it my fault that you're slower than usual?"

"I'm sure you know to what I am referring," I retort playfully. I glance over my shoulder again at Shizuo with a smirk. "So are you really trying to catch me anymore? You seem to be running in slow motion, Shizu-chan."

"Damn it, flea. Get back here!" he shouts, picking up his pace slightly and reaching out in an attempt to grab me. "Shit. I never thought I'd miss that stupid jacket of yours... I have nothing to grab onto!"

I laugh as I continue to dance out of his reach. "Come now. Isn't it more fun when I make things difficult for you?"

"Not really... well, maybe sometimes," he says honestly as he follows me around the back of his apartment complex.

I nimbly pull myself up into a tree next to the building and climb my way up the branches to the top. I jump over to an empty balcony and continue pulling myself up the side of the building, from ledge to ledge, balcony to balcony. I vaguely register a few shouts of surprise or anger from other tenants before I finally pull myself up onto the roof.

At the top, I peer over the edge to see Shizuo following my path, earning even more surprised cries from his neighbors. "I don't think you're making any friends right now," I call from the safety of my high perch.

I hear him laugh almost bitterly. "They don't like me anyway." He pauses for a moment before continuing. "Now then, why did you lead me back home?" he asks as he pulls himself up over the edge of the building.

I back away from him slowly with a self-satisfied look on my face. "I didn't really have a set-in-stone plan. I just thought it would be a good idea," I say nonchalantly as Shizuo starts forward. "I guess I'll let you catch me now."

"Because you think it will lead to some fun for you?" Shizuo grins wickedly, his face flushed from the chase. "You know, you can at least pretend that you aren't letting me catch you. It kind of takes the thrill out of it." His deep voice doing weird things to my insides.

I back up against a large utility enclosure with a smirk that falls instantly when he pushes me firmly against the cold metal. I shiver as my skin cools quickly without the insulation of my usual jacket. Although I'm sure there's another reason I'm shivering.

"Now. Should we continue from where we left off when you ran away from me?" Shizuo murmurs, close enough where I can feel his warm breath on my face.

I try to smirk but the hand holding me against the wall starts to travel up, brushing tenderly against my neck until it reaches its final destination in my hair. I can feel my face heat in contrast to the coldness permeating the rest of me as I give in and finally look at Shizuo with the hungry eyes he's been looking for. "For the record," I say breathlessly. "I didn't run away from you. I simply led you to another rooftop."

"I'm pretty sure that counts as running," he says darkly. His hand falls from my hair to brush along my cheek before he wraps his arms firmly around me. "You're cold, aren't you?"

"No," I lie.

"Yes you are," Shizuo retorts matter-of-factually.

"Not really," I try to convince him but my hands sneak under his shirt and betray my words.

"Shit! Izaya! Your hands are freezing!" he roars. "I'm getting you inside now."

My cold hands find a spot on his overheated lower back and I dig my nails in sharply. "I don't want to go inside yet," I purr, looking up at him from under my eyelashes. I bite my lower lip purposefully and release a soft whine to hold his attention. "You're not going to force me to, are you?"

"Part of me really, really wants to," he mutters, his arms wrapping tighter around me.

I chuckle quietly. "It sounded like you were referring to forcing me to do something other than go inside." I punctuate my statement by dragging my nails up his back. Hard.

Shizuo growls and winces slightly before lifting me up off the ground, holding me firmly against the metal at my back. Instinctively, I bring my legs up to wrap around his waist, earning an appreciative groan.

"You know," he pauses to position his arms securely, and thoughtfully, between my chilled back and the cold metal. "If - at this time yesterday - you told me that you'd be clinging to me like this, I would have thought you were crazy."

"Are you saying that I'm not crazy?" I ask with a smirk.

"Oh, hell no. You're insane," he teases playfully, his desire reflecting my own that I can feel dancing in my eyes. "But, so am I."

"Very true," I practically whisper, my mind starting to blank at the feel of Shizuo's body pressed firmly against mine. My cold fingers trace the outlines of the muscles of his back before sneaking around to trail up his stomach pushing his shirt up along the way. "It's not fair that your body temperature runs so hot. Share." I hold on tight to his waist to hold myself up as he lets go of me momentarily so I can push his shirt up over his head.

His arms wrap almost painfully tight around me again. Shoving me roughly against the metal surface at my back, his eyes burn into mine as desire completely takes over. My mouth goes dry as I gape at the lustful look on his handsome face. "I can tell by your face that I shouldn't promise that I'll be quiet enough that your neighbors don't hear wha-..."

Shizuo growls low as he cuts me off mid sentence, his lips attacking my own. His kiss is deep, rough, desperate and pleading. It's as if he's pouring all the built up passion and aggression from the day straight into the very core of me, further igniting my fire. My mind goes utterly blank, completely devoid of whatever thoughts I was having before this moment.

Chapter Text

This still doesn't feel like real life.

How can this be real? How is it possible that I'm laying on my side in bed smiling as I watch Izaya sleeping peacefully? He's curled up on his side with his hair is swept across his forehead, partially covering his eyes. His mouth is hanging open slightly, his breathing tickling my face.

He is not the kind of person to sleep so openly in front of someone else. He's helpless right now. Though, I don't think I really gave him a choice but to sleep this soundly. He quite literally passed out in my arms on the roof last night. I smirk to myself at the thought.

At first I thought something bad had happened. I thought I lost myself and hurt him. I panicked and rushed him down to my apartment, but when I had slammed the door behind me, he groaned and muttered a frustrated "So loud, Shizu-chan."

I don't think I had ever been more relieved. He's supposed to be the only one who can handle me. The only one who doesn't expect me to hold myself back. Hell, I think he would be offended if I ever did hold back. What would I have done if I had hurt him?

But, knowing that he passed out from... pleasure? Yeah. That makes me happy. Undeniably, irrevocably, stupidly happy. I can't help but grin at his sleeping face.

"Shizu-chan," Izaya mutters under his breath as he turns over onto his back, eyes still shut. "You're staring too loudly again,"

"That doesn't make any sense, flea," I say softly, shaking my head with a chuckle as I sit up, continuing to look down at his relaxed face. "Hey, I know you're tired, but we keep forgetting to eat. I take full responsibility for that, by the way. Do you want me to make you something?"

Izaya turns his head toward me slightly and opens a curious eye. "You can cook?"

"You don't have to say it so insultingly," I growl, trying not to be offended when I realize he's trying to rile me up. "But, yeah. I can cook a few basic things. So, what do you say? Are you hungry, Izaya?"

"Probably," he forces through a yawn as he closes his eyes again. "As long as you don't expect me to help you. I seriously don't think I can move yet."

I smirk and lean over him, trapping him between my arms. "That almost sounded like a complaint," I murmur as I lower my face toward his.

He opens one eye again and I can see him fighting a smile. "I'll let you interpret that any way you want." He closes his eye again. "You're still staring too loud."

"Shut up, flea." I kiss him sweetly before rolling off the bed. I slip on my jeans from the day before then go over to open the closet, digging around for a shirt. "Get some more rest. I'll come get you when I finish making something to eat."

"No shirt," Izaya mutters under his breath.

"What?" I ask as I look over my shoulder to see him roll onto his side, facing me.

"No shirt," he repeats firmly as he peers at me through half-lidded eyes. "I marked you up good last night. I want to enjoy it for a while."

I raise an amused eyebrow in response before chuckling and abandoning my search. "No shirt it is." Izaya sighs happily as I leave the bedroom and make my way into the kitchen.

Staring into my refrigerator, I instantly regret offering to make something to eat. I, essentially, have nothing. "Shit."

He was thoughtful enough yesterday to get me something for breakfast, and this time I want to treat him. I feel like I've failed. I'm no good at this. I'm not good at boyfriendy things. I guess I could offer to take him out to breakfast. Or go pick something up for him? But I don't really know what he likes.

I stop rummaging around in the refrigerator at that thought. I don't really know much about him, do I? I mean I do know him as a person, emotionally and now... physically. My face burns as my mind wanders back to the roof last night.

He had indeed made me scream his name again as he had teased earlier in the night. Shit. My hand subconsciously drifts to clasp my shoulder where his teeth had dug in as he had tried to keep his voice down. Tried being the key word.

He tried again to stay quiet as I shoved him roughly against the metal utility box. My hands had gripped the back of his head by his hair and I had pressed his cheek flush up against the cold surface. When he had reached back to claw at me as he begged and pleaded with me...? Shit.

My neighbors must hate me even more now. I don't even care. It was totally worth it. I growl at the memory.

"Shizu-chan. That doesn't look like cooking," Izaya says in an amused voice from the doorway into the kitchen, causing me to spin around and face him. "Oh ho? What's that look for?"

"N-nothing," I stammer guiltily. I suppress a possessive growl as I see he had commandeered one of my white button downs.

"You're such a bad liar," he says with a smirk. "Let me guess. You're thinking about how you practically suffocated me while trying to keep me quiet last night?"

"I didn't suffocate you! You asked me to cover your mouth!" I defend too loudly. Too quickly. I feel my face flush again. "Plus, I didn't care that you were loud... Damn it, flea."

He laughs loudly as he crosses his arms across his chest and leans against the door frame. "I didn't think I'd hit the nail on the head that accurately with one guess. Do I know my Shizu-chan, or what?"

"Damn it, flea," I repeat as I keep myself from crossing the kitchen to put my hands on him again. I want nothing more than to stop his incessant laughter with my mouth. After a moment, I sigh loudly and throw my hands up in defeat. "This is ridiculous!"

"What's ridiculous, Shizu-chan?" he asks still smiling once his laughter subsides.

"This! How is it possible that I want you again? Already?" I feel my eyes darken as his smile turns into a smirk.

"I don't know how to answer that one, Shizuo," he replies honestly. "Is it really that much of a problem for you?"

"YES!" I counter forcefully. "I can't just... do whatever I want to you whenever I want."

"That seems like it would be up to me, don't you think?" Izaya says as he takes a few careful steps toward me, his bare feet making no sound on the kitchen floor. "I don't think you'll hear me complain if you do."

"Is that so?" I ask, as he continues to stalk toward me. I feel a smirk on my lips as I can't stop my eyes from wandering down to his bare legs. "So, I was wondering... Is this, like, a rule now? Do you just not wear pants in my apartment anymore?"

"I didn't think they were necessary," he shrugs gracefully once he stops right in front of me. "So, are you really that concerned about how often you want me?"

I groan irritably as his question instantly changes my mood. "I don't know! I feel like I shouldn't want to jump on you every second like I do," I confess guiltily. "Plus, I was just thinking that, while I know you, Izaya, I don't really know much about you."

He looks at me quizzically. "What do you mean?"

"For example, I was trying to make you breakfast - we're going to have to go out by the way, I didn't know I had nothing to make you - I realized I wouldn't know what to make you or what to get you without you telling me." I sigh and hang my head, almost shamefully. "You know more about me than I know about you. You knew my tastes enough to get me breakfast yesterday. I feel guilty about that. I want to learn more about you so I can properly take care of you. I want to be a good boyfriend to you, Izaya."

He's staring at me like I grew a second head. "I don't..." he starts but stops, shutting his mouth, apparently unable to respond. He chews on his lower lip, starting to get lost in his thoughts.

"See? It's true! God damn it. I'm terrible," I groan again. After a pause I carefully add: "Is this all just physical, Izaya?"

He is literally taken aback by my words as he stumbles against the counter-top behind him. "I-I... That can't be true. I-I don't want that to be true." His eyes are unfocused as he stares at me unseeing. His hands grip the counter to hide the fact that they're shaking. I'm not really sure if he's upset or angry.

"Izaya," I say soothingly, taking a cautious step toward him. "I didn't mean to... I don't... I wasn't saying that..." I stumble over my words as I try to get him out of his head. "I don't want it to be just physical, Izaya. I want more than that. Please believe me. These thoughts just popped into my head and I wanted to talk about them. Isn't that what we're supposed to be able to do? Talk to each other?"

I reach out to pull him into my arms and he reluctantly, almost begrudgingly, lets me. When he finally looks at me and sees me, his eyes have a harsh, almost ruthless edge that I haven't seen since before our talk the other night. "It sounds like you're just trying to appease me, Shizuo. I mean, you're right, all we've been doing for the last two days is... I mean... you just..." He pauses as he sneers and I'm not sure what exactly it's aimed at. I wait patiently for him to continue.

He lets out a frustrated and angry groan before continuing with a scowl. "You're right. You take me whenever you want. All you do is take. Do you even care about my needs and wants? You're rough and almost angry the whole time. I don't know why I thought this was anything more than sex. That's all this is! Hell, maybe you're just fucking me into submission so we don't fight anymore! This must be a huge joke for you!"

His words are painful and completely crazy. I feel my face contort in anger as I let go of him, stepping back to look straight into his now openly hostile eyes. "What the fuck are you talking about? I don't care about your needs and wants? Are you fucking kidding me?! I just want to make you happy, damn it!" I can't stop my voice from raising as I feel a rage bubble up that had been starting to turn dormant when I was with him. "Damn it, Izaya! What is wrong with you?! Do you not see the way I look at you? Do you not hear the words I tell you? These aren't things that I can fake. I'm not like you!" The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them.

"Like me?" he spits venomously. "What the fuck is that supposed to mean? I've been doing nothing but make you happy! I've done things for you that I would have never even dreamed of doing for any other living being. And I'm not just referring to the sex." He says the last word like he's disgusted by the very idea of us together.

"God damn it, Izaya! Come on! I didn't mean... I didn't mean that," I try to apologize but I'm so angry at his words that I honestly don't remember what I'm supposed to be sorry for. I'm starting to see red and it's not good. "What the fuck is wrong with you? How did this... how did we get here right now?!"

"I don't know," he says dangerously quiet. "This must have all been one big mistake."

"What? What are you talking about?! I meant how did this whole conversation take such an insane twist?" I try to even out my breathing but fail when Izaya takes a taunting step toward me. Instinct kicks in as I step back and feel a glare on my face. Shit. Not good.

"What's that look for, Shizu-chan?" he says mockingly. "You look like you want to kill me again. But you look like there's a part of you that still wants me. Disgusting, Shizu-chan. Maybe you'll switch things up and instead of beating me to death, you fuck me to death. You could probably do it, too. Now that I know how rough you can get..."

Before I can stop myself, I swing a fist at his face that he just barely dodges. For a few excruciatingly long moments we start at each other silently, both with surprise plastered on our faces.

"I-Izaya... I'm... I'm sorry," I stammer as I stare at my betraying hand. "I didn't..."

"I-I... I need to go," Izaya says refusing to meet my eyes as he rushes out of the kitchen and into my bedroom.

After I hear the bedroom door close, I ball my hands into tight fists at my sides as I turn around angrily and make my way over to the couch. I sit down heavily and reach for the cigarettes on the coffee table. I rip one out of the pack and light it angrily.

I hang my head in my hands, cigarette hanging from my lips, as I try to piece together what the hell just happened and how to fix it. He's a lunatic! He was being irrational! But was what he said rooted in truth? Even just a little?

After letting the words replay in my mind I realize that Izaya really was wrong. Paranoid and wrong. There wasn't a single seed of truth. Well yes, I am rough in bed... but that was the thing that upset me the least. Plus, he fucking likes it!

"God damn it," I mutter as I raise my head, taking a long, calming drag from my cigarette. I hadn't even been smoking that much this time we've been together. I felt like I had been a better version of myself these past two days. My edges softened.

Why, Izaya? Why did you say all that crazy shit?

After about ten minutes of brooding, I realize he has yet to come back out of the bedroom. I don't know how long he needs but I need to make sure he's okay. Even if he doesn't believe it for some stupid reason, I love him and I don't want him to be this angry at me. I want to fix this.

We need to fix this.

With a sigh, I lean forward and put out my second cigarette before standing up. I wish I had a shirt on, damn it. What was supposed to be me indulging Izaya's playful request to admire his handy work turned into something awkward and embarrassing. I hate myself for the small shiver I feel run through me at the thought of his nails on my back again. "What the fuck is wrong with me?"

I stop when I reach the door to my bedroom and raise a nervous hand to knock. "Izaya... I want to talk about this," I say softly through the door. "Please."

He doesn't answer and after two minutes I sigh. "Look. I'm sorry. I don't know what to do to make you understand how sorry I am. I really want to talk about this. Please help me understand what happened in there."

After a very long and quiet minute I raise a curious eyebrow. "Izaya?"

Still no answer. "I'm coming in," I announce firmly.

When I open the door, I see why he was so quiet. The room is empty and the curtains flutter in the breeze of the open window. I look for his jacket in a panic. It's gone.

He's gone.

Chapter Text

It's been three long days.

Three days, seven hours and thirty-eight minutes. Not that I'm counting. But, I promised myself that I wouldn't go rushing after Izaya when he disappeared right out from under me. I thought he'd eventually come back when he was ready or at least try to get in touch with me. I still don't know what is going on in that crazy head of his.

I'm almost at my limit. I need to know what he's thinking.

I'm glad I had told Tom I was going to take a few days off because I would have not been the best of company right after that shitty fight. Today, I thought I could handle it since I was starting to feel guilty about leaving him hanging. I had surprisingly made it through the day, thanks to Tom holding me back every chance he could and his constant reassurance that the day was almost over.

Why are people such idiots? Have they always been this stupid? Or am I just extra sensitive since the flea ran away from me...? It feels like they are even more stupid since I've been listening to Izaya's smart mouth. And I mean that both literally and figuratively.

For the thousandth time since Izaya disappeared, I feel my heart ache painfully in my chest as I think about the way his voice sounds when he teases me, his playful smirk and infectious laughter. Everything that used to send me into a fury, now makes my heart do weird things in my chest. The emotions are still confusing, especially now that he has tainted my thoughts of what we had with his venomous words and sudden disappearance.

"Damn it," I mutter irritably as I take a drag from my cigarette.

"Do you want to talk about it yet?" Tom asks sympathetically as he walks back to me with two cans of coffee, holding one out to me. "I don't mean to pry, Shizuo, but you've been acting weird all day. You were extra aggro with clients, too."

"They are all morons," I say matter-of-factually as I graciously accept the coffee. I open the can while looking down at the label. Black coffee. I wince as an uninvited memory invades my thoughts of that first morning. "I don't know if I can to talk to you about it. I don't think you'll believe everything that I have to tell you," I admit with a sigh.

"Try me," Tom asserts as he starts walking, beckoning me to follow him which I do instinctively. "I'm your friend, aren't I?"

"Okay. But, before I start, I need you to promise you won't freak out or judge me," I demand, to which he nods firmly. "Okay. Remember the other day when I showed up at the office acting strangely? The day after I had a surprise run in with Izaya after all this time?"

"Yeah. You had me really worried. But I know you, so I didn't want to push you about it," Tom confesses before taking a sip of his coffee.

"Well," I pause to take a deep breath, trying to find the courage to tell him what I had been attempting to avoid thinking about these past three days. "I told you we didn't fight but I didn't tell you what really happened. We sort of... made up for all these years."

Tom looks at me with wide, surprised eyes. "Seriously? How is...?"

"I'm not finished," I interrupt him before I get a chance to back out of telling him. "We talked a lot that night and... we ended up... I-I don't know how to talk to you about this, Tom."

He stops walking and turns to look straight at me. "What are you saying, Shizuo? Did he do something to you? Is that why you're like this? Did he deceive you into thinking he was your friend?"

I hold my hand up to stop him. "Hold on. Let me finish while I still have the resolve before you start clucking at me like a mother hen." I turn to continue walking, disposing of my cigarette and instantly lighting another. I wait until I hear his footsteps hurry to catch up with me before I continue. "So, when we were talking, we confessed that our feelings toward each other were twisted and fucked up from the moment we met... which everybody obviously already knows. But, what everyone doesn't know and what we both figured out independently over time, is the real root of our feelings. We thought it was hate but we were wrong. Dead wrong."

"I-I... don't understand. Please just spit it out. This isn't good for my heart," Tom says anxiously.

"Sorry... I spent too much time with the flea recently. I feel like I have started to pick up the roundabout way he goes about saying things. Shit... I'm sorry." I pause to take another long drag from my cigarette. "We were in love with each other, Tom. I'm pretty sure we still are. At least I am..."

Tom literally trips when I finally say it outright and I don't blame him. I sigh when he stays silent, forcing me to continue. "That morning when you and I ran into each other, I was in a very dark and angry place. We had... er... spent the night together and, when I woke up, he was gone."

"Shit! Are you kidding me? He did all of that to fuck with you," Tom pauses and his cheeks momentarily flash pink at his wording before shaking his head angrily. "That's low, even for him! Where is he now? I can call in some favors... He can't get away with this."

"While I appreciate the way you aggressively care about me right now, that's not necessary. I had the same reaction when I saw you that day. Hell, I even punched a hole through my shower wall... but I was wrong. When I got back home, he was waiting for me." I stop my explanation, unsure of how to proceed.

I'm sure Tom doesn't know how to respond. I know I wouldn't in his position. We walk in silence for a block before I hear him sigh loudly. "If that's the case, then I don't understand why you're so mad right now. If he was still there, that must mean that it was real. You should be happy, right? I mean, I don't really understand anything about you two, but I would think that if you figured out your mutual feelings and actually confessed to them then... err... consummated your relationship...? I don't know! How is it that you so upset right now?"

"Yeah... that's the part that I don't really know how to explain," I pause to light yet another cigarette. Damn... I've been a chain-smoking fool recently. "So, three days ago, we had an argument. A terrible, potential relationship destroying argument. And, he just disappeared. Two days, Tom! We only had two days together. I have never been as happy in my whole life as I was during those forty-eight hours." I feel my hands start to tremble.

"Shit, Shizuo. I'm sorry. I don't know what to say. I've never seen you like this before," Tom says sympathetically. "How do you know that it was relationship destroying though? I mean, you two have tried to literally kill each other before. What is so bad can't be forgiven?"

"I don't know well enough to explain it. He freaked out on me and I still don't really understand where it actually came from. I just wanted to talk to him about some things that were bothering me... mainly that I was starting to wonder if our relationship was purely physical..."

"Whoa. Stop right there. I can't say anything about being with a guy, but if you said that to a woman? She'd freak the fuck out," Tom says with wide, unbelieving eyes. "That was probably your first mistake."

"But you should have heard the shit he said to me, though!" I shout defensively. "I don't think I did anything to deserve that," I pause to sigh heavily. "I don't know, Tom. I don't know what he's thinking because after that argument, he closed himself in my room and literally jumped out the window to get away from me."

Tom looks at me apologetically and stays silent as I groan and take the last long drag of my cigarette before disposing of it. "Fuck," I mutter, as I let the end of our fight play through my head again. "Tom, I got so mad. I took a swing at him! Shit! I know that probably doesn't sound like a big deal given who we're talking about, but you don't know him like I do now... I can't believe I... I just..." I let my thought die on my lips as I toss my empty coffee can into a recycle bin in passing. "I also may have insinuated that he was good at being fake..."

"Well?" Tom looks at me incredulously.

"Tom. I know what that look is for, but I can't feel that way anymore. I should try to give him the benefit of the doubt. I only said something like that to him because it just sort of slipped out in my rage and frustration," I continue to defend myself.

"But, honestly, I really don't see how that could have upset him so much that he would just disappear. I'm sure he knows how deceitful he comes across. That's not really news," Tom says evenly.

"I know, but... I don't really like to think, let alone talk about him like that anymore. I'm serious when I say I'm in love with him. It pisses me off but I am. I can't help it..." I stop mid-thought and mid-step. "I gotta go."

I abruptly turn around and hurry away as Tom shouts after me, "Where are you going? Don't do anything stupid!"

"I need to find him!" I yell over my shoulder as I pick up my pace to rush to the closest subway station.

It was such a shitty shitty shitty fight. We need to talk about this. Do I really mean so little to him that he can just ignore everything that happened between us? All the good stuff? After that lofty promise of nothing being able to stop his feelings for me? That idiot. Why is he hiding from me?

I pull my phone out of my pocket, my heart skipping a painful beat as I remember him surprising me by replacing it. I was so mad at him that morning, too. But as soon as I walked back into my apartment and saw him there, I completely forgot how crazy I was acting.

He had forgiven me then when I told him what I was thinking. And, in retrospect, it was something that he could have gotten extremely bitter over. Izaya could have been furious with me for assuming he'd just leave after that night. But he wasn't.

But he was mad now.

I forcefully scroll to his contact information and press send. "Come on, damn it. Pick up, flea," I whisper angrily into the phone.

No answer. Of course there's no answer.

I round the corner to the subway station only to be confronted by a surprised Celty. I halt in my tracks to waiting impatiently to listen to my friend when I see her start to type away on her PDA.

[Shizuo! What's wrong?]

[You look... more than angry.]

"Relationship issues," I mutter while I try to get away, but Celty grabs my arm.

[Talk to me, Shizuo. I'm your friend.]

"I don't really have the time. Izaya disappeared on me and I thought I could wait for him to come back to me... but I don't actually know if he will come back." I feel my hands start to shake again, and she releases my arm. "I need him, Celty. I can't let him go now that I've seen how we can be. I don't care if we argue or bicker... but this fight? It was bad. Really bad. Really early in the relationship."

[How are you so sure that he wants you to go to him?]

I shoot a surprised look in response as she thinks a moment before typing, as if she's unsure of how to ask her next question delicately.

[Are you sure it wasn't all some elaborate plot to break you?]

"It wasn't. I know Izaya. He's not that good of an actor," I say as my hands ball into fists at my sides, in an attempt to keep myself from screaming at Celty for asking me something so terrible. "There's no way that was all a scheme to hurt me. That's impossible"

[I believe you believe that.]

[But like you said, it is early in your relationship. Is it really worth the pain?]

[Don't you think it would be easier to just let it go?]

"Let it go? Why would I do that?! Did you hear me? I need him," I glare at my friend. Why is she saying all this?

[Please don't be mad. I'm just trying to understand.]

[...]

[Why do you need Izaya so badly, Shizuo?]

"I'm in love with him, Celty. Together... we were the best versions of ourselves. Yes he teases and mocks me. Yes I am protective and possessive of him. But it works... He's changed but he's the same. I'm the same but he is changing me. And it's all for the better. It all works so well that I don't know if I could ever get over him if he pulled away from me completely right now," I confess to her seemingly blank expression. "What if, all of the sudden, Shinra was gone..."

[He would never.]

"Yes, I know. But what if!? How would you feel? What would you do?" I needle her into understanding where I'm coming from.

Celty looks at me with her hand on the chin of her helmet in thought. After a moment, she nods at me before typing quickly. [Get on.]

"What?" I ask sharply, bewilderment evident in my voice.

[Get on. We'll find him.]

I breathe a long sigh of relief as she hands me a shadowed helmet. "Thank you."

She just nods at me before I get on and we speed off into the early evening.

"I'm coming for you, flea," I whisper into the wind.

Chapter Text

Stupid Shizu-chan.

Didn't he understand that he was supposed to come after me? Weren't men like him supposed to fight tooth and nail for who and what they wanted? Well, maybe he hadn't really wanted what I thought he wanted.

But we were building something, weren't we? But when he asked me if it was purely physical... He's so stupid. Why would he say something like that? There is no way that's true. Right?

This is so stupid! I thought I was over my anger regarding the fight. I thought I was going to let it go when he didn't come after me. If he didn't want to put the effort into us, why should I? I mean, it was purely physical anyway, right?

I grit my teeth and spin my chair away from the window to stare into the relative darkness of my old apartment in Shinjuku. Even though it had gotten dark pretty quick, I don't make a move to turn on any lights, so the only light is coming from the rising full moon filtering in through the wall of picture windows behind me. I hadn't really been here in some time but for the past eighty-two hours, I haven't taken a single step out the door.

I shake my head and release a frustrated, self deprecating groan. What is wrong with me? I'm the stupid one. I'm blaming him and waiting for him to come after me. These past few days I've been replaying the scene from Shizuo's kitchen over and over in my head and, no matter how I try to spin it, I'm the idiot.

That day, I had instinctively backpedaled when Shizuo started getting serious. Looking back, that was beyond ridiculous since I had continuously stressed how serious I was about him. But when he started opening up about how he was feeling...? Why did I get so spooked?

Everything about our relationship had turned out differently than I expected. Somehow has me wrapped around his little, yet extremely powerful, finger. It's infuriating. It's terrifying. He was supposed to be the one to hang on to my every word. He was supposed to be the one to submit to my every little whim.

How did this happen?

I can't seem to survive without him.

I begin mumbling to myself. "Damn it. I'm so ridiculous... I can't believe I paid..." Before I can finish my thought, I hear a loud crash and snap my attention to the front door which had been kicked in. I hear a very angry "Iiiizaaayaaa..." from the hallway.

At Shizuo's voice, I stand up abruptly, my chair rolling away from me to smack against the glass of the window. "Sh-Shizu-chan..." I don't know why I hear surprise and trepidation in my voice. Isn't this what I wanted? I wanted him to come after me.

"I can't wait anymore," Shizuo grumbles as he slams the door and stalks toward me. "I can't just wait for you to be ready to come back to me, damn it."

He slams his hands down and leans in toward me from across the desk. I hear the wood groan under his palms. Shit. "What are you talking about, Shizu-chan?" I ask dismissively. "Who said I was going to come back to you?" What the fuck am I saying?

"What the fuck are you saying?" His voice drops a dangerous octave as he gives voice to my silent question to myself.

"I'm saying that I'm done," I mutter. "It was interesting while it lasted... and I thought there was something there, but I guess I was wrong." I need to stop... Why am I saying this?

"Seriously. What. The fuck. Are you talking about?" Shizuo growls, the expensive wood of my desk bowing and cracking under the pressure his hands are creating. "Have you finally lost it?"

"Did I ever actually have it?" I hear my voice say mockingly. I feel like I'm having an out of body experience right now. I'm watching myself add salt to this already excruciatingly painful wound. "Besides if all you need is an outlet for all that frustration you apparently have, you'll have to find it elsewhere. I may break if I let you continue to do whatever you want to my body." Damn it. My body won't survive much longer without his touch...

Shizuo digs his fingers into the desktop and abruptly shoves it to the side, sending it flying into my book shelves. "Are you insane?" He starts stepping closer to me after taking care of the barrier between us, causing me to back up instinctively. "Izaya. Stop saying stupid shit. You're mine and I don't intend to let you go."

I raise an eyebrow at him as he takes another step toward me. "See? Just a primal drive to fornicate... gross. I may be a manipulative psychopath - as you have lovingly pointed out - but I like to think that if I finally give myself to someone that there would be more driving the relationship than sex. If all I wanted was sex, I could get it anywhere..." Why can't I stop these venomous words from spilling from my mouth? Oh, how I want to stop them.

"You could, could you?" he growls, his dark eyes possessive as they reflect the moonlight. He steps another step closer and I find myself stepping back once more. I instantly feel myself stumble backward as I'm forced to sit the chair against the window. I feel my eyes widen apprehensively.

"What's that look for Izaya?" Shizuo grumbles as he leans down to look me straight in the eyes. "How many times have you said you're not scared of me... please don't start now." The anger in his eyes slowly fades to heartache and confusion. "Why did you leave me?"

A breath catches in my throat before my expression morphs into defiance against my will. "Did you not hear everything I just said? I'm done," I explain coolly.

"Oh I heard you," he murmurs as he drops to his knees in from of me, holding on to the arms of my chair to keep me from escaping. "I just don't believe a word you have said. I'm giving you a chance to start over. Why did you leave me?"

"Why would I need to start over, Shizu-chan?" I retort but I can feel my expression betraying my words.

"Are you serious right now? Have you not noticed how you continuously gravitate toward me even while your steps are retreating? Did you not realize your body has been trembling while you've been talking all this bullshit? Do you not know that your eyes are telling a different story than that smart mouth of yours? Why do you think I haven't blown up? I'm listening to all of you, Izaya... not just the shit spilling out of your stupid mouth," he explains, his voice cutting straight through me. "So, I'll give you one more chance to start over. Explain everything, Izaya."

I bite my lower lip as if to keep myself from saying things I don't want to. I see Shizuo's eyes drop to my lips momentarily before looking back up into my eyes. He's going to be the death of me. "I... I don't," I stop mid-thought and drop my gaze.

"Really? We're going back to this?" Shizuo asks gently as he reaches a hand toward my face before quickly pulling back. I catch the hesitation on his face out of the corner of my eye. "Will you please look at me, Izaya?" he urges softly. "Look at me and talk to me. Stop lying to both of us again, while you're at it. Tell me what happened. Why did you freak out in my kitchen? Why did you leave me like that? And why did I have to hunt you down?"

I don't answer right away but I hesitantly give in to him, turning my face back to meet Shizuo's gentle brown eyes. What I see makes my heart lurch in my chest. I don't know why I ever let his question of whether or not this was all physical affect me. I can feel how much he loves me just by how he looks at me. How he's talking to and acting with me... It was never only physical.

I was so stupid. I am so stupid.

After a few minutes of staring at each other, I sigh defeated. "I was scared."

"Scared?" Shizuo asks me unbelieving. "I didn't think I'd ever hear you admit to something like that before. What scared you, Izaya?"

"You. Me. Us," I admit quietly. "It was too much. Too good. It made everything weird and convoluted in my head. I mean... how are we really supposed to work? Are we just going to pretend like everything in the past hasn't happened? That's impossible." I pause and drop my gaze, earning a sigh from Shizuo. "I hated you but I love you. I wanted to kill you but I want to make you happy."

"But do you still want to kill me? Do you still hate me?" he asks quietly, gripping my chin softly and bringing my eyes back to his. "I thought we had already worked through that. I know that things won't be perfect, but can we just let ourselves let go of all of the misplaced hatred?"

"Is it possible to let go of something like that? I didn't know anything else for so long. All the hate... I just... I don't think I know how to be happy, Shizuo," I say sadly.

"Honestly, I don't know if I do either but let's try it. Let's try together. Please. I don't want to lose what we had," he stresses, his face contorting in anguish as though the thought of losing me is the worst thing that could happen to him.

After a moment of studying his face and processing his words, I sigh. "But it was only two days," I mutter as I feel a puzzled look cross my face.

"I don't care! I need you Izaya," he declares boldly and sighs before admitting: "I need you in order to be happy."

"Wow. That's a weird thing for you to say," I say before I can stop myself.

"Shut up, Izaya. Stop belittling my feelings for you. Stop acting like you don't feel the same way that I do," he says in a much more affectionate tone than his words deserve. He knows me too well by now. He knows that I can't help but be condescending when I'm insecure and uncomfortable.

When I continue to stay quiet he sighs and reaches up to cup my cheek tenderly. I subconsciously lean into his touch. "See?" he whispers with a small smile before resuming. "You promised me, Izaya. You promised that there was nothing that could change the fact that you loved me... not even you. Why are you doing this?"

I groan and pull my face away from his touch. I feel my walls slam back up at the idea of my being vulnerable again. "Why am I doing this? I'm a liar, right? I'm a fake. Maybe this was all an act that you were stupid enough to fall for."

"Stop it, Izaya! Stop this bullshit right now. Stop trying to confuse both of us. Damn it! It feels like there are two of you trying to fight for dominance in this conversation," Shizuo growls. "Why are you trying to drive me away? Why won't you let me love you? Well, fuck you! I'm going to love you whether you like it or not."

"Don't be stupid, Shizu-chan," I say without thinking. What am I saying...?

"You're the one being stupid. You love me. I love you. Let's put the effort into making this work. Didn't anything that happened between us mean anything to you?" Shizuo demands, hurt creeping into his eyes.

"Why? Did it mean something to you? I thought this was purely physical," I say as I cross my arms and lean back in my chair, looking down my nose at him. Stop it, Izaya...

"Is that seriously what this whole thing is about? What the fuck is wrong with you? Of course I enjoy the physical aspect of our relationship... and if I'm not mistaken, so do you! But that's not all there is to it. I love that you're this passionate crazy person! I love how smart you are. I love how you are sarcastic and have a tendency to be sadistic. But you are secretly sweet and, when you want to be, you're extremely caring. I love how you make me feel like a better version of myself when we were together and happy. I just want to be happy with you, Izaya!" He stops his impassioned speech and stares deep into my eyes. His breathing is fast and ragged as though he forgot to breathe while speaking.

"I..." My mouth hangs open in bewilderment at his confession and I'm at a loss for words. "I... thank you..." I mutter stupidly.

"Izaya. Please stop this insane way you've been acting. I don't want to go back to the way things were. It's not possible. I will always be in love with you so - sorry - but you're stuck with me." Shizuo pauses to grab my face between his hands, making sure my eyes are looking directly into his. "Izaya, I'm crazy about you. I just wanted to learn more about you so that I can be the best boyfriend I can be for you. That is where this all stemmed from, isn't it?"

"There's that word again," I whisper as I feel my face heat up. Great. Now I'm blushing.

"What? Boyfriend? Wait... is that what this has been all about? A stupid fucking title?" Shizuo looks at me bewildered as he releases my face.

"Not really... It's also about the physical thing and the fact that you practically called me a liar. But I'm not as upset about that as I should be. Why doesn't that bother me as much as the whole... b-boyfriend thing?" My face continues to burn as I drop my voice and my gaze simultaneously.

"Izaya. What would you call us? I mean, is it so bad that I want you to consider me your boyfriend? I guess we don't really need to put a title to us, but we're not just friends... And before you get weird again, yes, we are friends. So I guess I just don't know how to refer to you. Lover sounds to... formal? I don't know." He shakes his head, effectively stopping his rambling defensive explanation.

"But the title makes it... real," I whisper dumbly.

"Well, I hate to break it to you, but it is real." He sighs and chuckles lightly, my admission amusing to him. "I'm glad to finally understand why you actually set you off."

"I'm sorry, Shizu-chan. I'm not used to being this kind of happy... I think I subconsciously tried to tear everything apart. My brain just exploded and imploded at the time... I couldn't stop my mouth as soon as it started," I admit with shaking hands but I force myself to raise my eyes to meet his. "It's just... I want this. I really want this. That's what makes it so scary. I want this so bad and I don't want to do something to destroy it... so, naturally, I tried to sabotage it before it got anymore serious. That was stupid though. I'm already serious and I'm already in too deep to be able to back out. I don't even want to back out. I don't know what to do to fix this. I don't know how to make this up to you... I said some terrible things to you, Shizuo."

"Yeah. You did," he says with an unexpected smirk. "But as far as fixing it... talking like this is plenty. Plus... I like when you act like yourself. Remember? I don't ever expect you to be someone you're not. Just don't leave me if you freak out again."

"Are you saying that you expect me to go crazy on you all the time?" I lean forward with my elbows on my knees and raise an amused eyebrow. "Just how masochistic are you, Shizu-chan?"

"Hey, I don't expect it all the time, but I seriously would miss fighting with you. There is something very wrong with me," Shizuo admits with a chuckle. "Plus... for couples who argue, I hear what comes after the fight makes it all worth it."

I sit up straight again and move my hands to slide up his chest. "My, my, Shizu-chan. To what are you referring?" I say, feeling my eyes spark with interest.

"Damn it, flea. I don't know what to do with you," he says as he wraps his arms around my waist and leans his face into my neck. "I mean I have some ideas... but seriously. How did we get here?"

Wrapping one arm around his neck, I let my other hand travel up to twine in his hair. "I'm not sure," I say with a sigh. "Though I do feel it necessary to flat out apologize right now. I was an idiot, Shizuo. I'm sorry."

He lifts his head to look into my eyes. "Did you just admit to being an idiot and apologize in the same thought?"

I raise an eyebrow and smirk, wrapping my arm tighter around his neck, pulling his face back into my neck. "Shut up. It's not going to happen often so don't get used to it."

I feel him bite at my neck, causing me to shiver. "You know, flea, we have a problem," he murmurs, his breath tickling my skin.

"What problem would that be, Shizu-chan?" I chuckle.

He pulls back and looks at me with a mischievous grin. Before answering, his arms tighten around my waist as he lifts me up out of my chair and into his arms, wrapping my legs around his waist. "I seem to remember vowing to always have your claw marks all over me to prove just how much I belonged to you."

I hum thoughtfully. "I vaguely remember such a promise," I tease as I let my hands unbutton the front of his shirt slowly. I feel him growl as I pout up at him when I reach the shirt buttons right above the top of his vest.

"What?" His voice rumbles through me causing me to shiver.

"I know your loving brother gave you these clothes... but are you attached to THIS particular set?" I ask impishly.

Shizuo growls low. "Not very," he admits quietly, eyes filling with desire.

With a smirk, I grab his button down and the vest in my hands and rip them open sending buttons flying. "Hmm... that's better. It's been too many days, Shizuo," I run my hands lightly over his sides before scratching sharply up his back causing him to growl appreciatively. "I don't feel any of my scratch marks."

"Yeah. I think I need a refresh," Shizuo murmurs darkly as he kicks the chair to the side before roughly pushing my back against the cool glass of the window.

"Now now, Shizu-chan," I purr playfully. "Be careful with me against this glass. We can't have you breaking it by mistake. It would be a very long fa..."

He doesn't let me finish before his lips meet mine in an urgent, passionate kiss. How did I ever think it was possible for me to give this up? I sigh against his lips and I feel his growl reverberate through my body as I cling to him desperately.

He breaks our kiss momentarily, his lustful eyes boring through me. "Izaya," he says roughly, running his hands down my back to grip my hips almost carefully. "Don't leave me again."

My heart leaps into my throat and I can do nothing but nod before my hands run through his hair. I grip his blonde locks tightly as I bring his lips back to meet mine in a fierce kiss indicating that he used up all his time for talking.

Chapter Text

It's infuriating how complete I feel when I wake up with Izaya tucked in my arms and his head on my chest. It's irritating to look down at this face looking so deceivingly angelic when he's unconscious. When he's awake though? That face? I just want to... I feel the need to...

Ahhh, who the hell am I kidding? I love it. I can't stop myself from pushing his bangs away from him eyes as I take a deep breath and release it as a contented sigh.

"Shizu-chan... why are you always staring at me when I'm asleep?" Izaya turns his face to mumble against my chest. "It's really unnerving."

"You're one to talk about watching someone when they're unaware..." I say quietly. "Why are you awake? Go back to sleep."

"I can't sleep anymore," he grumbles as he squirms in my arms, trying to get away. "Too. Hot. Let go, Shizu-chan."

I smirk down at him as he opens his eyes, defiance written across his face, spurring me to tighten my grip on him even further. "No," I declare brazenly. "This is mine. I'll do what I want with it."

"Ew, Shizu-chan. Let gooooo," he whines without conviction. "I'm hungry..."

"Such a noisy little flea," I purr into his ear before attacking his lips with mine, muffling his continued whining. I reluctantly pull away from him and look down at him. "What?"

"I'm huuuuungry," he repeats with a pout causing me to sigh loudly.

"Well, do you have anything in your kitchen? I can actually make you something this time," I say as I loosen my arms, allowing him to slip away to sit up with a stretch. I reach over and softly run the back of my fingers up and down his spine affectionately, causing him to shiver and lean back into my touch.

I can't help but smile as he practically purrs, either ignoring or not realizing he didn't answer my question. "Izaya?" I prompt when he continues to stay quiet, leaning against my hand caressing his back. "Do you have anything here for us to eat?"

After another moment he shakes his head and looks over his shoulder at me. "I honestly don't know. I may have something in the refrigerator. I'm not really sure though. I've been living on delivery these past few days."

"Why? Did you lock yourself in here after you realized you were a complete lunatic?" I say mockingly. When he doesn't answer I look straight at him with questioning eyes. "Seriously?"

Izaya sighs and turns his body toward me, looking directly into my eyes. "Yes. Does that make you happy, Shizu-chan? Does it make you happy to know that I sat here for three days running that horrible scene through my head over and over again? Does it make you smile to know that I kept trying to make what happened your fault instead of mine?" He pauses to shake his head. "But it was my fault. All my stupid fault. Happy now?"

"Happy that you were miserable? Sort of," I admit honestly with a smirk as I sit up. I reach over and pull Izaya back against my chest, wrapping my arms around him tightly and burying my head in his neck. "I was miserable, too."

"I'm sure you were, Shizu-chan. You had no one to play with." He turns his face to rub his cheek against my hair. "Plus, anyone would be unhappy if I left them."

I growl possessively at his words and bite his neck earning a surprised yelp. "Well, I don't intend to let anyone else know that feeling. No one else can have you," I mutter against his skin.

"No one else can have me," I parrots back to me with a shiver. "You know, you don't have to leave marks on me to claim me."

"I know I don't have to," I say with a smile as I pull away from his neck before my face turns serious. "Izaya. I don't ever want you to be miserable. I want to make you happy," I proclaim tenderly. "I'll always come back to find you when you do something stupid," I say earning an indignant grunt. "Hey. You know that you will so don't pretend to be so innocent. You can't cure your kind of crazy."

"You're right about that," Izaya says with a resigned sigh. "But I think it's cute that you think you coming to me last night was all your idea."

"What are you talking about?" I raise an unbelieving eyebrow at him. "I was just finishing up with Tom when I finally snapped and couldn't take it anymore. I just happened to run into Celty and after talking with her a little while, she... took me... here." I put the pieces together as I explained myself to him.

Izaya smiles at me knowingly. "You just happened to run into Celty, did you? Our very talented transporter? And she just happened to take you right to this door? Somewhere I hadn't been in quite some time? How do you think she knew I was here?"

"Are you kidding me right now?" I mutter as I drop my face back into his neck. "Wait... how did you get her to help you? She doesn't like you enough to do something like that."

"Rude," he huffs. "I paid her of course."

I look up at him abruptly in disbelief. "Why would you go that far?"

"I missed you and wanted to see you... but, I didn't know how you were feeling after 'the incident'. So, I called her and asked her to check on you," Izaya admits like it's the most normal thing in the world. "Although I honestly didn't expect her to bring you right to me."

"Why?" I question with confusion in my voice.

"I only paid her to make sure you were okay. You must have said something to her that made her feel compelled to bring you here," Izaya smiles knowingly before turning his eyes upward and pursing his lips in thought. "That actually makes me happy. I can only imagine what sort of impassioned speech about me you gave our dear Celty."

"I may have said some embarrassing things..." I mutter, tightening my arms around him, feeling his laughter shake his slender frame.

"Silly Shizu-chan," Izaya states lovingly yet condescending. His tone so incredibly him that it makes me kiss him to shut him up.

I grumble as I release him from my grasp, allowing him to scoot away from me. I watch him smile to himself as he gets up out of bed before following suit. "You know," I say as I stand up. I have to tear my gaze away from his pale, slender body as I force my eyes to scan for my pants. "You owe me a shirt... I won't be able to wear that one again. If it were only the buttons, I could fix it if I tried, but it's more than that. You practically ripped it to shreds."

"I couldn't help myself," Izaya says matter-of-factually with a shrug. "It was in the way."

"You're crazy, you know that?" I ask rhetorically as he flashes me a sheepish and endearing smile. I find and put on my pants then run my hands along raised skin where Izaya's nails had raked down my sides repeatedly. "Anyway, I think you subconsciously made it so I couldn't wear a shirt this morning... enjoying the view?"

His eyes shine appreciatively as he quickly pulls on a pair of black jeans and a red tee shirt. "Always."

"No fair, Izaya. Why are you so dressed?" I ask as I stalk over to him, eyes threatening to even out the clothing situation.

He spins out of my grasp and heads down the stairs. "I live here from time to time. So I have clothes here. I would have gotten dressed when I was in your apartment but I, unfortunately, was ill equipped for a two day romp," Izaya retreating form calls from below. "I'll check my kitchen for food while you find a shirt that will fit... if you have to."

I laugh to myself before heading toward the stairs. I pause at the top, a memory of the other morning flashing, unwelcome, through my mind. I wince at the thought of me standing in my kitchen shirtless, yelling. The very idea makes me turn to dig through his dresser to find a black tee shirt that seems a little larger than the rest.

I pull it on over my head and look down at myself. Damn it. Still too small. I guess it will have to do for now since I can't really bring myself to go into his kitchen shirtless right now.

"Shizu-chan! I have some things but only staples. Come and see for yourself. I don't know what to do with this stuff," Izaya's voice carries softly like an echo from the first floor.

"Are these all your shirts? They're all too tight and... flea sized," I tease on my way down the stairs. "I must look ridiculous."

I see Izaya poke his head out from his kitchen, a smirk forming on his lips. "Mmm... no it looks fine. I mean if you have to wear a shirt at all," he purrs before retreating back into the kitchen. "It may be tight, but it's fine."

"Well, I feel stupid. It's too short on top of being too tight," I declare, stepping into his immaculate kitchen. "Do you even know what this room is used for, Izaya? It looks like you've never even been in here."

"Well, back when I was working out of this apartment, my snarky secretary would be the one to cook or make tea or whatever it is women do in the kitchen," Izaya says, a grin appearing on his face as an amusing thought seems to occur to him. "So, if you're going to cook for me... Does that make you my woman, Shizu-chan?"

"That's rich coming from you," I smirk knowingly at him as I stalk toward him. "Of the two of us, you're calling me the woman?" I spin him around and shove him against the counter, earning a surprised squeak. "What the hell kind of noise was that, Izaya?"

He elbows me in the ribs sharply. "Stupid Shizu-chan. Get off of me, you monster. Are you going to mount me right here?" he taunts with a smirk. "Such an animal. I mean, the spirit is willing but the body needs a break. And food... I really am hungry."

I growl as I bury my head in his neck. "Can't you wait like... 20 minutes to eat?"

"Oh my god, Shizu-chan. NO!" He can't stop the laughter that tears through him. "I'm serious. Feed me. Pleaaaase?" he whines so softly it's almost a moan.

I groan at the noise. "Using that voice is not helping your situation." I nip his ear before kissing his temple lightly, releasing him from my clutches. "Fine. Let's see what we have to work with. Tell me you at least have eggs..."

Izaya breathes a sigh of relief as he pushes himself away from the counter. "I think so... I don't know why though," he says as walks over to the refrigerator and opens it wide, pulling the requested item out and holding them out to me. "Yeah. Eggs."

"Okay. Easy then." I say taking them from him, my fingers brushing lightly against his. He smiles softly to himself at the barely-there contact. "Oi, Izaya... stop being cute. It's weird."

"What? I'm always cute," he proclaims, raising an eyebrow questioningly. "I can't stop being something I am innately. It's impossible."

"You're right about that. Your smart-ass-ery right now is proving your point," I tease with a smile to which he huffs indignantly. "Okay. Out. Your cuteness is distracting. Go do whatever it is you do while I make you breakfast."

"But I can't do whatever it is I do normally... someone destroyed my desk last night. Along with the electronics that happened to be unlucky enough to be on top. My poor computers," he says with mock anguish as he comes up and clings to me, feigning desperation. "How will I ever survive?"

I smirk down at him and raise a questioning eyebrow. "Are you really complaining about last night? Because I vaguely remember you purring and moaning repeatedly about how you don't know how you ever survived without my touch," I murmur, desire creeping into my voice. "Izaya... if you really are hungry, you should probably let go of me right now. I can't be held responsible for what I'm about to do to you if you don't."

He releases me and steps back a few paces, hands held up in a sign of surrender. "Fiiiine," he says in a defeated voice, turning to leave the room. "I'll let you get to your womanly duties in the kitchen..."

I growl at his retreating form. "Oh, by the way. I figure we should pay a visit to Shinra later," I call after him.

"Sounds like fun," Izaya mutters from the other room as I set to making something resembling breakfast.

Chapter Text

"Celtyyyy!" I whine from the couch at my beautiful dullahan who's ensconced herself in the kitchen. "Why are you going through so much trouble for those two? You don't even do this for me!"

[What are you talking about? Yes I do!]

[Plus if I don't keep busy, I'll be forced to think about what's about to happen.]

"True... I'm still in shock. I know you told me what's going on between them, but I don't quite believe it myself. I need to see it," I explain with a resolute nod of my head. "It's not that I didn't believe you when you told me - because you're the only person in the world I trust - but I just have to witness it first hand."

[I understand.]

[Plus, I never insinuated that you didn't believe me!]

"I know, my dearest Celty... but your expression seemed sad when I said that I didn't believe it. So, I thought maybe you were imagining that I didn't believe you and that is definitely not the case!" I defend passionately as she appears to shake her head and sigh heavily.

I have to be honest, I wasn't all that surprised when Celty told me about what she learned when she ran into Shizuo and Izaya about a week ago. I should have been surprised but I've had a feeling that those two could get along if they tried since the day I met Izaya. It's nice to know that my two friends finally get along... kind of. I mean... they really get along now.

I can't stop the shudder that shakes through my being.

[Are you okay, Shinra?!]

[Do you feel sick? Should we cancel?]

"No... we shouldn't cancel but I think I do feel a little sick," I admit with an uneasy look on my face before shaking my head. "I don't really know how to feel about what is going to happen. What even is going to happen? Celty! Be ready to restrain them if they get out of hand."

[SHINRA! I don't think they'd do anything inappropriate in our home!]

"Wha...?" My eyes widen as my brain processes what she is insinuating. "Oh my God! Celty! NO! Just... no." I pause for a moment to think before releasing a resigned sigh. "But maybe be prepared for that, too. I seriously don't really know what to expect."

At that comment, which oddly enough doesn't make me entirely uncomfortable, the doorbell rings. Celty and I look at each other apprehensively before walking carefully down the hallway to the door together. We stop to take a deep readying breath.

"Shinra, I can hear you sighing. Open up, damn it." I hear an irritated voice from the other side.

"Shizu-chan, calm down." I hear a second voice whisper. "They won't want to let us in if you sound like you're already mad."

"But I'm not mad!" The first voice increases in volume.

"Then why are you yelling at me right now?" The calming voice lowers subtly, sounding more soothing than before.

"I'm not yelling," the angry sounding voice growls low.

"Shizu-chan... so passionate," the calm voice purrs.

I can't help my mouth from dropping open as I blink repeatedly. Celty drops her shoulders as she sighs in a puff of black smoke, before gently shoving me out of the way to open the door. I snap my mouth shut quickly and plaster an easy smile on my face.

When the door is opened fully, we're met with a grinning Izaya standing slightly in front of a flustered Shizuo. "Good evening, Shinra. Celty." Izaya says cheerfully.

"Hi?" I respond, my voice raising in a surprised upward inflection. "Is... Are... why are you blushing, Shizuo?"

"I am not blushing," he argues before getting elbowed in the ribs by the still smiling Izaya. "Thanks for inviting us," he adds hastily.

[Of course! We're glad you two could come.] Celty types quickly, motioning for them through the doorway. [Please. Come on in! Dinner will be ready in a little while. So, we can all talk until then.]

"Celty you're so sweet to them even though you're as freaked out as I am," I say with a nervous laugh. Celty jabs me in the side sharply. "Ooof. Heh, sorry guys. Come in. I'll try to calm down."

"It's okay, Shinra. I would probably feel the same way if I were in your position," Shizuo says as he rubs the back of his neck sheepishly.

"Shizu-chan, are you insinuating that you would prefer him to be in this situation with me? Do you want me to be with Shinra instead? While I admit I may have thought about it once or twice in high school..." Shizuo sends Izaya a glare to shut him up with a smile.

I blink repeatedly again as the temperature around Celty and Shizuo drops a few degrees, both of them emitting waves of illogical and baseless jealousy. "Okay!" I say with another nervous laugh while wrapping my arms tightly around Celty. "But that was a looong time ago." Celty looks at me in surprise. "And I had no idea! I swear!" She relaxes in my arms as I pull her out of the hallway and into the kitchen, Izaya and Shizuo following suit.

"Seriously, thank you for inviting us, Celty. Shinra. I was very excited about the opportunity to share a meal with you, and I can see the lovely Celty has cooked for us! What did we do to deserve our local Dullahan's fine cooking?" Izaya says with a smile that, for once, seems genuine.

"Of course. I'm glad you two decided to come over and tell me, or maybe show me what's happening in person. Of course Celty has already told me... she practically had a meltdown when she was explaining what she had seen. I didn't really understand it... or believe it. And seeing it first hand is... enlightening. I'm still confused. But you seem happy in your own way," I admit with an honest smile.

"We are," Izaya sighs contentedly.

"Oi. Don't speak for me, flea," Shizuo interjects, causing Izaya to look up at him with a mix of irritation and sadness. He looks truly upset by the blonde's words but his expression softens when Shizuo pulls him back into an embrace and squeezes him tightly. "Calm down, Izaya. I just wanted to say for myself that you make me happy. When you're not being a whole can of crazy."

"And when is that?" I ask with smirk on my face, earning a scowl from Izaya and an amused grin from Shizuo. "Seriously though, congratulations on finally seeing what I've seen all these years; as weird as it is to witness. I guess it'll take some time for me to adjust."

[Yes. This isn't even the first time I've seen them like this and I'm still confused.]

[But, again. Congratulations.]

"Thank you, Celty," Izaya's expression continues to be genuine. I'm a little thrown off by his out-of-character attitude but when I don't over-analyze it, I realize he's just trying to show his appreciation of our acceptance of him and Shizuo.

I smile knowingly at Celty who responds with a small shrug. "Well, my beloved has been slaving away all day in the kitchen trying to figure out what to serve. I'm sure no matter what it will be perfect, just like her."

"Interesting. Has she improved upon the flavor compositions?" Izaya questions with a raised eyebrow and a smirk. Celty bristled as his comment. "I'm sorry, dear transporter. I didn't mean to offend. Ah, wait. I have a gift for you. And judging by the delicious smells from your oven, it should complement your meal." Izaya holds out the bottle of wine to her.

She takes it cautiously. [Thank you very much.]

"Why did you bring a bottle of wine?" Shizuo asks Izaya quietly.

"Shizu-chan it's the polite thing to do. It's called a hostess gift," he hisses in response. "And how did you not notice that I've been carrying it the whole way here?"

I can't help but stare blankly at the two bickering in front of me. I don't even know what's going on right now. Am I dreaming? Or would this be considered a nightmare? Yeah. This is confusing to watch. I glance sidelong at Celty who is also staring at the scene in front of us as they continue their disturbingly normal 'couple-like' conversation.

"Where did you even get that? It looks expensive." Shizuo continues to question.

"I have a few bottles hanging around for these types of situations," he responds quickly, attempting to shut the blonde up. "And it's none of your concern how much money I spend on things like this..."

"Damn, flea... you really are a woman." Shizuo shakes his head with a chuckle.

"Hey!" Izaya says raising his voice as he glares at the man who still has and arm wrapped his waist.

Shizuo raises a questioning eyebrow. "Plus, Celty can't even enjoy that... why didn't you bring like... a video game or something?" he asks with a shrug.

"That hardly seems appropriate," the shorter man hisses, untangling himself from Shizuo's arms.

"What? Why?" Shizuo asks with a raised eyebrow before defending his choice in gifts. "Celty loves video games... and Shinra loves a happy Celty. It would have been a win for everyone."

Izaya lowers his voice and speaks right in Shizuo's face. "Can we not right now? If you had an opinion, you should have spoken up sooner."

[Seriously, guys. It's okay. Thank you.]

Celty's words cause the two of them to look at her in unison.

[I'm sure Shinra will enjoy this.]

[We'll serve it with dinner.]

"Look! Now, you made her feel obligated to open it tonight," Shizuo urges with a sigh as he turns his gaze back to Izaya.

"Oh my god, Shizu-chan!" he shouts in response to the blonde as he raises his arms in exasperation.

I sigh heavily before clearing my throat to interrupt their bickering. "Hey, guys... I'm still... just... I don't know. I mean Celty told me what's going but seeing everything I've seen first hand tonight... I can't... I can't even..."

Izaya smirks and puts his arm around my shoulder, leading me over to the living room, where I cautiously step away to sit on the couch. "I would say I'm sorry, but I'm really not. But thank you for inviting my wife and me to dinner."

"OI! FLEA!" Shizuo yells as he follows behind us with Celty. "Celty, I'm sorry in advance for everything that I'm sure will go wrong tonight." He finds a seat in a chair across from my spot on the couch.

"Rude." Izaya glares at the blonde from a spot near the sliding glass door, crossing his arms in a huff.

I can't help but laugh at the situation as I grab onto Celty's hand gingerly and pull her over to sit next to me. We have the best seats for this overly amusing show. Never in my wildest dreams, did I expect my two friends to become... lovers. I'm oddly not surprised but I can't help the creeped out look I feel on my face as my laughter dies.

"Shinra. That is quite an insulting look you have after openly laughing at us. I'm assuming the face is also directed at us?" Izaya smirks as he deposits himself with purpose in Shizuo's lap.

"Oi, Izaya. You can sit somewhere else. Somewhere less... uncomfortable." Shizuo mutters under his breath.

"Oh but I'm quite comfortable. Are you uncomfortable, Shizu-chan?" Izaya asks, his face showing mock concern.

"Damn it, flea. You know I'm not... I was referring to our hosts' comfort," Shizuo hisses in response, but he wraps an arm possessively around Izaya and pulls him in closer.

"You know," Izaya says with a smirk, "this is almost like a double date." He bounces excitedly in his blonde counterpart's lap with sparkling eyes.

"Don't be gross, Izaya," Shizuo grumbles, trying to hide the subtle smirk I see creep across his face. His eyes narrow and I hear him growl slightly as he tightens his grip on Izaya to stop him from squirming so much.

Oh dear god... I think to myself.

"What? It is like a double date," he mutters with an oddly cute pout before crossing his arms defiantly. "You really need to stop thinking I'm acting gross. I'm being adorable, damn it."

Celty and I look at each other blankly.

[You were right, Shinra. I may need to be prepared to restrain them.]

"Celty!" I exclaim in horror.

[What?! They look too... close.]

"We can't help it!" Izaya exclaims, wrapping his arms around Shizuo's neck to hold the blonde's face tightly against his chest. "We're so in love!"

"Flea. I can't breathe," Shizuo warns as he carefully disengages Izaya's arms from around him. "I'm really sorry, guys."

[Don't be. As unnerving as it is, it's actually really sweet.]

"Celty! We're so in love too! Are we really sweet, also?" I hold Celty's squirming form close to me.

[Shinra...]

"I've always thought that you guys are really sweet together," Shizuo admits as he interrupts Celty with an easy smile. His comment causing everyone to stare at him open mouthed. "What? Really?! That is what surprised everyone to silence? Not Izaya in my lap? Not the odd, coupley banter? Not how weirdly genuine Izaya's expressions have been so far this evening?"

"HEY!" Izaya shouts, looking annoyed.

[On that note...] Celty starts to type.

"Let's have dinner," I proclaim in an attempt to put a stop to the passionate argument I can see brewing between the two men seated across from us.

It's going to be a long night.

Chapter Text

It's been a few months now.

Shizuo and I really haven't had as much time together as I was hoping for.

After that dinner at Shinra's - which was quite a source of amusement - we both realized that we did, in fact, have lives. As much as we wanted to be together twenty-four seven, we couldn't just lock ourselves away from the world that continued to go on around us. I had work to be done and Shizuo has his bodyguard gig in Ikebukuro.

Though, is it really both of us that wants to spend a lot of time together? Maybe I'm being stupid in thinking that he wants to see me more than this. Is it just me?

Damn it.

I'm being ridiculous again. I need to stop over-analyzing and being overly critical. I really need to remember that Shizuo and I are happy. I can't let myself screw this up by overthinking everything.

I can't stop myself from thinking that everything will be different now. It isn't. Well, relationship wise, it is. Job and real life wise, it isn't. Though I have been daydreaming, every now and then, that the door to my Shinjuku flat will get passionately kicked down in the middle of the day. I keep fantasizing that Shizuo will bust in, throw me down on my desk and we'll get lost in each other, forgetting everything else...

Stupid.

If I'm honest with myself, we have seen each other enough by normal people's standards. But is it really ever enough? I've taken up residence in Shinjuku again so I can be close enough but not too easily accessible. I laugh at myself when I realize how ridiculous that makes me sound. I want to be easily accessible! I want to see him whenever I want. I want him to want to see me whenever he wants.

Stupid.

My phone rings suddenly, startling me out of my thoughts. I sigh as I pick it up, glancing at the caller ID before ignoring the call. It's just my current client. Such a bothersome fellow.

My phone notifies me of a voicemail followed by a text message and I can't help but roll my eyes. "Pushy. How many times do I have to tell you... I'll be in touch," I mutter to myself as I turn my full attention back to my computer.

I raise an eyebrow when I hear my doorbell ring. I blink as I look down at the time, realizing I had gotten lost in my research for about an hour. I spin in my chair and glance out the window with an absent minded sigh. I can't help but notice how beautiful the sky looks, seemingly set ablaze as the sun has dropped below the horizon. When the hell did I get so sentimental?

Continuing to ignore the door, I get up from my chair and walk over to stand in front of the window. I look down at the buzz of the people far below as they head home from work or out to dinner with a significant other or just wandering aimlessly. Maybe I should take a trip to Ikebukuro. I haven't seen Shizuo in a few days now...

An almost irritated knock makes me turn my head toward the door. I feel a hopeful look cross my face as I make my way almost carefully to open the door. I pause momentarily to look through the peephole and a smile finds its way across my lips. I slowly unlock the door and swing it inward. "To what do I owe this pleasure?" I ask leaning against the half opened door.

Shizuo is looking at me with a raised eyebrow as he holds up a bag. "I texted you a while ago but you didn't respond. I thought you had probably gotten lost in your work and I had a sneaking suspicion that you had forgotten to eat dinner," he says, trying to keep the sneaky smile off his face.

"That is quite the creepy look there, Shizu-chan. I can't help but be weary of you when you show up unannounced bearing gifts." I raise an eyebrow as I keep the door half-closed, making it hard for Shizuo to enter. "What expectations do you have if I accept your kind offer of..." I pause to peek closer at the bag. "Oh, dear. Russia sushi? How ever will I be expected to repay you for this gift?"

"I'm sure we can come up with something," Shizuo says darkly as he smirks at me. "Now, are you going to let me in, Izayaaa?"

I shiver at the way he lets the last syllable of my name drag out slowly before opening the door all the way and motioning him in with a smile. He steps in and pauses right in front of me almost reluctantly. "What is it, Shizuo?" I question him almost nervously.

"I just..." He stops and shakes his head, grinning widely, making my heart pound in my chest. Shizuo then pulls me into his arms closely and rests his forehead against mine, causing me to sigh happily. "I just missed you, is all," he breathes before catching my lips in a sweet, tender kiss.

"I guess I missed you, too," I murmur against his lips before pulling back and sneaking out of his grasp. "Now... I didn't realize I was hungry until you dangled sushi in my face." I snatch the bag out of his hand and head back into my flat, making my way to sit on the couch. I set the bag down on the coffee table, hearing Shizuo shut the door quietly before following me.

"Oi, flea. What are you waiting for?" he asks as he sits down next to me on the couch, watching me carefully. "Eat, damn it. You're too skinny as it is."

I chuckle at him before opening the bag and pulling out the food. "I was waiting for you, stupid," I say, snapping the takeout chopsticks apart then looking at him curiously, "What about you? Where's yours?"

Shizuo rubs the back of his neck sheepishly - something that has begun to kill me - before smiling guiltily. "I... I already ate," he admits carefully. "Tom wanted to treat me to dinner since I had been so calm and patient with our asshole clients this week."

I raise an eyebrow and grin at him. "Why do you look so guilty?" I tease him with laughter in my voice, as I reach over to pluck the sunglasses off his face and toss them aside. "Can you not wear these when we're alone... and inside? But seriously, did you think I'd be upset that you ate without me? Or maybe jealous?"

"Hell, I don't know! The littlest thing seems to set you off," he mumbles in response causing me to pout. "Hey... don't be cute. Eat your fatty tuna, flea."

"Fine... but not because you told me to," I say with a smirk as I take a slow, savoring bite out of the first piece of sushi. I glance at Shizuo with a small satisfied smile. "Are you going to watch me eat?"

"Yeah," he answers without thinking, his eyes locked on my lips. He quickly blinks after realizing what he said and he turns away to hide the embarrassed blush that spreads across his cheeks. "I mean... I don't know, damn it. Why do you continue to affect me so much, Izaya?"

I chuckle before eating the rest of my first piece of sushi. "Does it bother you?"

"I guess not," Shizuo admits with a smile while I continue to eat. "Did you know that you eat really slow?"

I raise an eyebrow before taking a purposefully small bite of sushi and chew painfully slow, looking into Shizuo's soft brown eyes defiantly. "I do?" I ask innocently, earning a growl from the blonde man staring at me intently. "I would ask what that look is for, but I'm pretty sure I know the answer." I smirk before shoving the rest of the piece of nigiri in my mouth roughly.

Shizuo visibly shivers. "What the fuck, Izaya...? Stop it so I don't attack you right now," he warns quietly, his voice darkening, causing me to chuckle in response.

After a long pause, while I eat another piece of nigiri with a sigh, Shizuo clears his throat and adjusts his seat on the couch. I glance over at him, noticing a slight grimace on his face. "What's wrong, Shizu-chan?" I ask genuinely concerned.

He practically flinches before looking at me. "I don't know. I've been wondering something recently," Shizuo says carefully. "I want to talk about something that I think is kind of important but I don't want to freak you out again."

I blink rapidly, and my heart drops in my chest. "W-what is it?" I ask, setting down the chopsticks and turning to look directly Shizuo with on leg bent up on the couch. "I... I mean, is something bothering you. Something about us?"

"I don't think bothering is the right word." He pauses momentarily to look directly into my eyes. "I... I don't know. Is it just me or do you also feel like we don't get nearly enough time together?"

My mouth drops open slightly as I hear him ask the very question I had been mulling over before he showed up at my door. I can't help but laugh like an idiot.

"What the hell, Izaya?! That's not the response I was looking for!" He looks flustered and a barely visible blush covers his cheeks.

I cover my mouth with my hand to stifle my laughter. "I'm sorry. It's just... funny!" I grin and shake my head when he glares at me. "I'm not laughing at you, Shizu-chan. It's the situation that I find hilarious." I look right into Shizuo's eyes when my laughter finally subsides, a wide grin stuck on my face. "Honestly I have been thinking the same thing. So no, Shizuo. It's not just you."

Shizuo visibly relaxes and his eyes soften as he looks at me. "So you want more of me, huh?" he teases gently as he reaches over and pulls me into his arms.

"Maybe," I respond coyly, leaning into his embrace and threading the fingers of one hand into his hair, tugging slightly. "Would it be a problem with you if I did?"

"Not in the slightest," Shizuo murmurs before catching my lips with his in a hungry kiss. I smirk slightly earning a growl as he tries to push me down onto the couch but I quickly turn things around and pin him down instead.

"Now now, Shizu-chan," I say quietly with a grin as he looks up at me with need clearly visible in his eyes. "You just got here. Let's not jump right into the activity that usually makes one or both of us fall right to sleep."

He sighs and holds his hands up in defeat. "Fine," he submits but growls when I squirm subtly on top of him. "Oi... flea. Stop that if you want me to listen to you."

"Fiiiine," I sigh as I settle on top of him, resting my chin on my interlaced fingers on top of his chest. "Shizu-chaaaan..."

"What?" he asks suspiciously, looking up into my eyes.

"How do you suggest we see more of each other?" I ask, genuinely curious.

Shizuo raises an eyebrow in response. "I don't know. Can't you be... closer or something?"

"But, I already moved my main office back here so I'm closer to you again," I mutter irritably. "I don't know how else to make myself more easily accessible."

"Well," he pauses as if unsure of his next words. "Why... Why don't you, you know... I don't know. Move closer than Shinjuku?"

"What?" I ask bewildered.

"Half an hour is still a little far," Shizuo admits almost shyly, running a hand roughly through his hair. "I'd like to have even easier access to you..."

I look down at him puzzled before something clicks and I can't stop myself from grinning. "Shizu-chan," I say with an obviously sarcastic gasp. "Are you... Are you actually requesting I enter Ikebukuro?"

"Damn it, don't be cute," he blushes furiously. "I guess I am. I mean, only if you want to."

I sit up, straddling his lap. I look up in thought with pursed lips. "Well if I'm going to get a place in Ikebukuro, I have a condition." I cross my arms resolutely.

"You do, do you?" Shizuo says deadpan, as if completely expecting my response.

"Uh huh... If I move to Ikebukuro, I'd want full time Shizu-chan," I admit carefully.

He raises a curious eyebrow. "Izaya. Is that your weird way of saying you want to live with me?"

I scrunch my face in mock disgust. "Eww, see? It sounds so gross when you say it that way."

Shizuo sighs heavily before scoffing with a shake of his head. "You're ridiculous. You know that? But fine. I wouldn't mind 'full time' Izaya, as well. Do you want to just... move in? With me?"

I blink at him repeatedly. That idea hadn't even crossed my mind. "Don't be offended when I say this, but your place is not really my taste," I say carefully, earning an almost angry and frustrated noise from the man below me. "Hey! I said don't get offended. While I do I love the minimalist look you have going on, but I prefer things a little... richer.

"I'm going to punch you," he growls through his teeth.

I hold my hands up defensively. "Hey! I'm just saying, let's find a bigger place. A place that's not mine or yours. Something that's ours," I pause and can't help but sneer slightly. "Eww, I just grossed myself out."

Shizuo snickers. "Stop pretending you're not happy and excited, Izaya," he says exasperatedly before his face turns serious as he looks up at me. "Are you really asking me to find a place for us to live? Together?" He pauses, looking around subtly. "I don't really know if I can afford your level of comfort."

"That doesn't matter because I can," I say with a dismissive wave of my hand. My eyes suddenly light up as I lean over and look right into his face with a smirk on my face. "Oh ho... Shizu-chan, does that mean you're going to call me your sugar daddy?"

"Please. If either one of us is going to be calling the other one daddy, it's you." Shizuo's words are a low, dark rumble that cut right through me, making me shiver against my will. "See what I mean, Izayaaa...?"

"Stupid, Shizu-chan," I pout cutely, attempting to control my trembling. "You are really too self-assured now. It's annoying."

"Well, you only have yourself to blame," he growls before catching me in his arms and pulling me in close. "So... tomorrow?"

I blink slowly before realizing what he's talking about. "You want to find a place tomorrow?" I ask in disbelief.

"Yeah. Is that okay?" He pauses to kiss me slowly and tenderly before pulling away to look into my questioning garnet eyes. "I want more time with you as soon as possible. Deal with it."

I grin broadly before wrapping my arms around his neck and burying my face in his hair. "Okay, Shizu-chan. Tomorrow," I murmur, causing him to shiver this time. I smirk against the sensitive skin just below his ear and squirm with purpose against him before continuing. "Tomorrow... but right now, how about you make good on the threat to make me call you daddy?"

"I thought you said that I 'just got here'," Shizuo says with a growl, his hands gripping my hips tightly as to hold me still against him.

"Just don't fall asleep on me," I tease as I pull away from his neck to look into his eyes. What I see forces me to stop, a breath caught in my throat. "Wha... what's that look for, Shizu-chan?"

He is smiling so softly that it's almost painfully sweet. "I'm sorry. I'm just excited about tomorrow," Shizuo admits quietly, love mixing with the lust that had started to creep into his soft brown eyes.

"More excited about that than what's about to happen right now?" I ask suspiciously.

He chuckles quietly. "A different kind of excited." He pauses for a moment before he holds the side of my face tenderly with a warm, yet rough hand. "Izaya. I love you."

I can't stop another breath from catching in my throat and I feel a blush spread across my cheeks much to my embarrassment. "You're weird. It's almost like you think moving in together equates to getting engaged..."

"Hey, don't push it, Izaya," Shizuo says with a chuckle. "Besides... I'm not asking for forever. I just want right now."

I don't know how to respond to that so I say the first thing that comes to mind. "I love you, Shizuo." I sigh happily as I hug myself close to his chest.

He wraps his arms tight around me and kisses my forehead softly. "I know you do, flea."