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Shizuo usually likes Russia Sushi. He likes the food, to begin with; it’s reasonably priced and tasty enough to be worth the cost of eating out rather than tracking down some kind of a meal in the comfort of his own home. It’s right in the middle of Ikebukuro, too, which is another major advantage: it’s never farther than a ten-minute walk away, no matter where his feet and the events of the day have carried him. And he likes the ambiance, somewhere between the professional attention the chef behind the counter carries and the genial friendliness that Simon calls from the front corner to all who pass by. Shizuo likes coming by to linger over a meal for an hour and doesn’t mind meeting up with acquaintances or friends for the duration of a whole evening, until the space is as familiar as one of the tree-lined park courtyards where he sometimes spends whole afternoons, until he’s almost calmer in the restaurant than he feels in the comfort of his own home.

Of course, that comfort all depends on the company he’s keeping.

“I still hate you,” Izaya says, speaking loud from his perch on the bar stool next to Shizuo’s own. He’s not looking at the other; his attention is turned in front of him, his lips pursed on consideration as he watches the sushi chef slide a knife down the center of a fish to unfold it into the filet he’ll slice into translucent-thin strips to lay over the top of the nigiri he’s in the process of assembling. “Just so we’re clear, Shizu-chan. I would hate for you to confuse this for friendship.”

Shizuo’s teeth set against each other. He can feel the strain of a muscle twitching at the side of his jaw; turning his focus forward is only a minimal help. He can still see the dark shine of Izaya’s hair in his periphery, however much he fixes his gaze on the motion of the razor-sharp sushi knife. “The feeling is absolutely mutual.”

“Ahh,” Izaya sighs, sounding deeply put-upon. “You see, you’re already agreeing with me.” Movement in Shizuo’s periphery pulls his attention to the side in spite of himself to see Izaya lean in and brace his elbow against the countertop in front of him so he can rest his chin against the support of his hand while going on watching the chef work. “Next thing you know we’ll be going out for karaoke and staying up all night sharing secrets with each other.”

Shizuo growls all the way in the back of his throat. “The only karaoke I want to do with you is breaking the machine over your head.”

“That’s not exactly its intended purpose,” Izaya drawls, cutting his gaze sideways to bare his teeth in a sharp-edged smile in Shizuo’s direction. “Then again I suppose you wouldn’t know that. You’ve never had a chance to go out to karaoke with friends, have you, Shizu-chan? Do they even allow monsters like you into enclosed spaces like that?”

Shizuo’s fingers curl in against his palm, his knuckles flex onto the tension of a fist. “Get in an enclosed space with me, Izaya-kun, and I’ll show you what I’m allowed to do.”

“No, no, no!” The voice isn’t Izaya’s; it’s louder, deeper, resonating to fill the interior of the restaurant while Shizuo glares and Izaya smirks answer at him. A hand closes at Shizuo’s shoulder, where muscle is flexing towards the outline of the punch telegraphed by his tight-clenched hand; another lands at the dark of Izaya’s coat to push him away from his forward lean, even though he’s offering no more immediate danger than the languid slouch that looks like nothing so much as an invitation to a blow. “No fighting, no fighting!”

“Come on, Simon,” Izaya drawls without lifting his gaze from his fixed attention on Shizuo scowling at him. “We’re just having a friendly conversation. Like friends do.” He tilts his head to the side and flickers a white-toothed grin at Shizuo. “Isn’t that right, Shizu-chan?”

Shizuo scowls at the other without loosening the pressure of the fist he’s making at his side. “Izaya-kun…”

There’s the thud of a knife sticking hard into a cutting board. It’s a soft sound, far less clear than Simon’s booming voice, but it pulls Izaya’s gaze away from Shizuo, and that in turn urges Shizuo’s attention up to the chef still standing on the other side of the counter.

“You won’t do any fighting in here,” he says without looking up from the motion of his hands working over the nigiri to press them into smooth curves. “I’ll carry you both out myself, no matter whether Simon brought you in here or not.”

Izaya snorts. “I’d like to see you try to carry Shizu-chan,” he says. “That would be entertainment worth watching.” But the line of his shoulders is easing, sagging from the tension they held even in his put-upon comfort and into overt surrender, and Shizuo’s own strain gives way in time to match the retreat of the implicit threat Izaya always presents, no matter what he is or isn’t doing.

“There,” Simon says, and squeezes gently against both their shoulders. “Shake hands, now. No fighting between friends, violence is very bad for relationships!”

Izaya snorts in the back of his throat. “What an excellent point,” he drawls, and turns in his chair to face Shizuo. “Did you hear that, Shizu-chan? Simon’s concerned for the sanctity of our friendship, let’s not let him down now.” Izaya stretches a hand out to offer into the space between himself and Shizuo, still with the shape of a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. “Let’s shake and make up.”

Shizuo bares his teeth on a growl. “I’m not going to shake your hand.”

“Aww,” Izaya purses his lips and dips his lashes. “Holding out for a kiss, are you?”

Shizuo’s hand flexes at his side again, his fingers working over the expectation of a blow, but Simon’s hold tightens against the muscle of his shoulder and he can feel his strength give way to the urging of the pressure. “Shi-zu-o,” he says, pulling out the shape of Shizuo’s name into something long and calm just for the hearing. “No fighting before food.”

Shizuo flexes his fingers, straining and relaxing them; and then, before Simon can decide it’s a good idea to claim his hand and bodily urge him into the connection he clearly intends, he lifts his arm to shove out into the space between himself and Izaya. It’s not really a handshake -- the motion is too rough for that, like he’s sketching the shape of a punch that only fails in its task by the stalled-out swing of the motion -- but Izaya crosses the rest of the distance as fluidly as if he could predict Shizuo’s motion before it had even begun. His fingers wrap around Shizuo’s hand, his hold tightens to restrain Shizuo’s grip in his, and Simon lets his hands fall away as he steps back to clap delight instead.

“See!” he exclaims, as if he’s solved every problem in the city by seeing the pair of them shaking hands. “Friends, now, friends for sushi!” He looks up past them to beam at the chef. “Two orders of sushi for them to share!”

“Hey,” Shizuo starts, turning in his seat to start to growl after Simon as the other turns away to start his retreat towards the door of the shop. “I never said I was going to eat with him!” But Simon doesn’t turn to answer, and Shizuo is brought up short by Izaya’s grip on his hand, still unflinching even as Shizuo tugs to free himself. Shizuo glances back, frowning down at the tension of Izaya’s hold before he looks up to glare into the other’s face. “What the fuck do you want now, Izaya?”

Izaya’s mouth flickers towards a smile. “I didn’t figure you to be so friendly,” he says. “We’ve been friends for all of two seconds and you’re already dropping honorifics?”

Shizuo huffs an exhale and turns in fully to face Izaya before him, giving up his attention to Simon’s retreat in exchange for scowling into Izaya’s smirking face so much closer to his own than it usually is. “You started in on that Shizu-chan shit the day we met, you know.”

“I wasn’t complaining,” Izaya tells him. “I’m just glad we finally see eye-to-eye on the subject.” Shizuo growls and leans in closer, near enough to bump his forehead hard against Izaya’s, but Izaya doesn’t retreat, doesn’t even rock back in his chair in acknowledgment of the impact against his head. His eyes are very dark from this close up; the shadow of Shizuo’s hair casts itself onto the delicate range of his features to swamp the suggestion of red in his eyes and soften it down to the melting charcoal shade of his coat and shirt and hair. His smile is as bright as ever, though, still flickering brilliant white against the curve of his lips as he grins at Shizuo leaning in against him.

“I don’t see eye-to-eye with you on anything,” Shizuo tells him, speaking softly enough that the words won’t be heard even by the chef on the other side of the counter but so Izaya can surely feel them dragging over the shape of that smile clinging to his lips. “Izaya-kun.”

Shizuo can feel the motion of Izaya’s smirk pulling wider better than he can see it. “Well then,” he says. “Maybe it’s not our eyes that are aligned after all.” And he lifts his chin, and tugs at Shizuo’s hand still gripped in his, and when Shizuo tips forward his mouth comes in to press close against Izaya’s before him.

It’s just contact, for the first moment. Izaya is still smiling, his lips curving up on the shape of amusement too private and personal for Shizuo to share in, and for his part Shizuo has all the strain of a frown against his own mouth to make the press of their mouths together no more of a surrender than the crushing grip of Shizuo’s hold against Izaya’s fingers. But then Izaya’s head shifts, his chin angling just to the side to better align himself against Shizuo, and Shizuo can feel his frown slipping free of his hold like it’s being worked to smoothness by the pull of Izaya’s lips over his own. His attention drops, falling from the dark of Izaya’s eyes to the friction of heat over his lips, and when Shizuo’s mouth shifts it’s to urge forward, to come into the shape of a proper kiss like he’s urging Izaya into it as well. Izaya’s smile softens, easing away from the corners of his mouth to dip to soft heat at the curve of his lower lip, and Shizuo leans in closer, pulling at Izaya’s hand in his to urge him nearer. He lifts his free hand from his side to reach for Izaya’s head, the same motion he used to offer the swing of a punch when they were in the street earlier, but his fingers settle into dark hair this time, reaching to wind into the locks with a care that Shizuo can only ever find when it’s drawn from some deep-down instinct in him instead of intent. Izaya tips his head in against Shizuo’s palm, angling to urge closer to Shizuo’s touch and Shizuo’s lips at once as Shizuo rocks closer, as Shizuo’s foot slides to brace at the floor so he can step in, so he can shut his eyes, so he can touch his tongue against--

There’s a clatter of wood, the sound gunshot-loud even amidst the distraction that has settled entirely over Shizuo’s thoughts. Shizuo jerks back from Izaya’s mouth, blinking hard for clarity of vision as he looks back to the countertop, where the chef has just set down two trays of sushi with as much force as if delivering the finishing blow of a duel.

“Your sushi is ready,” he says. “You should eat.” He retreats back behind the counter, tipping his head down to fix his gaze back on the work of the knife in his grip as he presses at another slice of fish and begins cutting it, but his voice is still as steel-flat when he speaks, not offering any surrender even with his attention fixed elsewhere. “Kissing is better than fighting but if you’re in a restaurant you should be paying attention to what you’re eating more than anything else.”

Izaya’s laugh is as vivid as a cut tearing through the air, bright and clear even before Shizuo turns his head to look at the other. “A compelling argument,” he says, and he straightens to pull away from Shizuo’s palm against the weight of his hair before slipping his fingers free of Shizuo’s hold lingering on his hand like he doesn’t even feel the force. He turns in his seat to lean against the edge of the counter, bracing an elbow at the surface as he reaches to pick up one of the pieces of sushi from his tray before he looks sideways to flicker the angle of a smile in Shizuo’s direction once again. “Let’s call a truce for some sustenance. We can decide which option we want to pursue after we finish lunch.” He holds out his piece of nigiri into the space between them, gesturing as if offering a toast with the edge of a glass. “What do you say, Shizu-chan?”

Shizuo looks at Izaya’s face: the weight of his lashes, the shine of his hair, the faint color at his cheeks. He looks as he always does, as brittle and bright as the edge of a knife; but all his composure can’t pull back the flush against the curve of his lips, where the friction of Shizuo’s mouth against his is still clinging to tint them red and soft with heat. Shizuo’s attention lingers there, sticking to the shape of Izaya’s smile as if it’s his own name he’s seeing printed into that color, and then he turns to reach for his own tray of sushi to match the suggestion of Izaya’s offer.

Izaya’s smile pulls wider as Shizuo reaches over the distance between them, the corner of his mouth pulling up onto a smirk wide enough to match the one he wore when they came in, but the answering heat in Shizuo’s blood is more warmth than anger, and he knows what he, at least, wants to do with his afternoon.