Actions

Work Header

Aletheia

Chapter Text

PROLOGUE


It was a normal day in Ikebukuro. The streets were crowded, the day was hot, and a vending machine just smashed into the side of a building.

“Are you even aiming for me, Shizu-Chan?” laughed Izaya, jumping deftly from ten feet above the vending machine to a block of flats nearby. The ex-bartender practically growled as the other man winked and took off, effortlessly leaping from window to window; building to building. But there was no way Shizuo was letting him get away this time. He was going to catch that damn flea and make it very clear to him just how long he’d outstayed his welcome on this planet.

The wind felt good against his face as Shizuo chased Izaya, the latter was far enough ahead that his distinctive smell and maniacal laughter were more bearable and the blond was even beginning to enjoy the adrenaline pumping through his body as he exerted it to its full potential – but then he was catching up. There were less people now, something Shizuo was vaguely grateful for, bashing into people as he ran past had been slowing him down a little and the more sane part of his brain felt bad for the slightly dazed pedestrians who now littered the pavement back into town.

Shizuo watched as Izaya dropped from a few stories up and landed perfectly on the pavement in front of him. Fucking show-off. He thought, taking advantage of the pause in the other man’s movements to recover and pushing his body even further. He was so close he could feel his hands curling into fists instinctively in anticipation of the fight to come. Izaya composed himself, allowed himself one glance at the blond monster hurtling towards him, another at his watch, before once again setting off. He didn’t stay on the ground much longer, soon he was pulling himself up a tall brick wall that separated the town from the train lines and vaulting smoothly over the barbed wire that lined the top of it. Shizuo gritted his teeth as Izaya dropped out of sight, feeling his hatred for the flea miraculously increase. He was careless coming over the wall and vaguely felt his clothes snag on the wire, but even that wasn’t enough to faze him right now, because something so much worse had happened. Shizuo had lost Izaya.

His amber eyes scanned the space for any sign of the flea, taking in every inch until-

“You looking for someone, huh, Shizu-chan?” The ex-bartender lost it. He ran blindly towards that all too familiar voice, his rage barely contained enough to move.

Izaya knew exactly how much to wind Shizuo up to make him lose awareness of everything around him: he would also admit to being a little flattered by the blond’s incredible focus on him, a focus so unwavering that it didn’t even register the train that was approaching: until it smacked straight into him, that is.

 

CHAPTER ONE


Shizuo awoke to the sound of people really trying (and failing) to be quiet. His head felt heavy as he tried to lift it, his eyelashes fluttering as he forced open his eyes: the outlines of people were growing steadily clearer until he was faced with a small room full of complete strangers. He looked from person to person, utterly bewildered. The room around him was light in colour, with a few chairs and tables all angled around the bed that the blond was in. He sat up, his head pounding uncomfortably, and pulled out the tubes connected to various parts of his body: so, he was in hospital. The room fell quiet at this and Shizuo could feel the unknown eyes staring straight at him.

“What?” he asked, knowing his tone was more aggressive than necessary, but not having the energy to care all that much.

“We just wanted to see how you were…” said a man in a white coat, stepping forward a little before seemingly deciding he’d rather keep his distance and going back. Shizuo surveyed him for a while as the man pushed up his glasses, somewhere between nervous and excited. He frowned.

“Are you a doctor?” He couldn’t see why else this guy would be wearing a lab coat, but then something about his demeanour was all wrong for a doctor. This time the silence was absolute. He felt the room ripple with unease. This attitude was starting to piss him off. “Well?” The man looked helplessly at the person to his right, a woman wearing a tight, black biking suit with the helmet still on – she shrugged a little before whipping out a PDA, typing for a while and showing it to him. Shizuo huffed a little, what could they be saying to each other that they so didn’t want him to know that they’d actually type it out instead?

The man in white coat nodded and turned back to him. “I am a doctor, although not at this hospital,” he started, pausing a little, as if unsure how to continue. The helmeted woman gave his arm a reassuring squeeze and he went on. “Shi- Heiwajima-san, do you remember what happened before you woke up here?” Shizuo tried to think back, his head hurt and the memories weren't coming easily – he shook his head. “Okay and now could you tell me, is there anyone in the room that you recognise?”

Shizuo knew there wasn’t, but he took a closer look at them all anyway and was struck by the seemingly random group of people. Aside from the doctor and his female friend, there was a tall, sturdily built, black man wearing what he could only assume was a chef’s uniform; a smaller man with brown dreadlocks; and a dark haired boy who seemed devoid of all emotion – his head lifted a little, letting the light fall across his features and Shizuo started slightly.

“Him,” he said, pointing at the boy. The doctor’s face relaxed into a slight smile, although the blond could tell that there was some reservation.

“And who’s he?” he asked.

“Hanejima Yuuhei-san,” Shizuo replied, he’d seen his adverts on the big screens in the centre of Ikebukuro. “He’s an actor,” he added for good measure. For the second time the unease in the room become tangible. Shizuo could feel his anger levels rising, what precisely was going on? He’d woken up in a hospital, no idea how he’d got there, no idea what was wrong with him, surrounded by a group of weirdoes including a doctor with a terrible bedside manner and a film star, all of whom were exchanging ‘significant’ glances, and it was really pissing him off. There was a loud screech of metal and Shizuo turned to see the IV stand bent out of shape in his hand – he sighed and dropped it, feeling unapologetic as everyone winced at the sound.

The biker stepped forward, typing away on her PDA before showing it to him.

[Hello Heiwajima-san, I’m Celty.]

[We need to talk to you about something, but it’s not going to be easy.]

[We don’t fully understand ourselves, so please be patient with us.]

Whilst Celty was typing the next message, there was a slight commotion at the door and in came a group of people Shizuo did recognise, but half of whom he’d rather not. “Kadota? Togusa?” he said, choosing to ignore Karisawa and Yumasaki who were hovering in the background – but appreciating that they were a lot quieter than they usually were. The two men smiled at him, nodding slightly in acknowledgement.

“How’re you feeling?” asked Kadota, pulling up one of the spare chairs to sit on. Shizuo shrugged.

“I’ve been better.” It was at this point that the blond noticed the frantic typed and whispered conversation that the Doctor was having with Celty, he scowled at them. “What?”

The biker turned to him and held out the PDA.

[You know who they are?]

“Of course I do, we’re not close but we see each other around.”

[But you definitely don’t know any of us.] He frowned, he thought he’d made this clear.

“Aside from the actor, no,” he sighed, vaguely gesturing towards Hanejima.

“The actor?” asked Kadota, obviously mildly confused by only getting half of the conversation. “You mean your brother?”

Shizuo froze. What did he mean ‘brother’? The blond raked his fingers through his hair – he had the uncomfortable feeling of having forgotten something really important, more important even than how he got here. When he tried to think in detail about his life it felt…fuzzy. As if his memory was old film with a stop-start, granulated picture. He groaned, putting his hands over his eyes and pressing down until lights burst in front of his eyelids. He felt a light tap on the shoulder and dropped his hands down to see Celty’s PDA.

[This is what we wanted to talk to you about.]

[Before you came here you were in an accident.]

[You were hit by a train.]

“I was…what?” Shizuo asked, pure disbelief flooding through him. Although, he supposed, if anyone was going to get hit by a train and survive it – it was bound to be him.

“Ah, so you’re there,” said the doctor, stepping forward so he was next to Celty. “Yes, you got hit by a train. The doctors here said they’d never seen someone with so many broken bones before, who was still alive!” He laughed a little, before the biker jabbed him in the ribs and he turned to look at her reproachfully – seemingly unapologetic for his insensitivity. “Anyway,” he continued, rubbing his side slightly. “Although your body is recovering fine, there seems to be some memory issues – as Kadota-san pointed out, the actor you said you recognised is actually your brother ‘Hewajima Kasuka’. I’m Kishitani Shinra and this is my lovely fiancée Celty – so don’t look at her too much, she’s mine!” He received another jab in the ribs from the biker, who turned to him apologetically.

[Sorry about him.]

[We’re friends of yours! So are they…] She said, pointing to those yet to be introduced in turn.

[That’s Simon, he works at Russia Sushi. Do you remember Russia Sushi?] Shizuo nodded, his memories weren’t completely clear concerning the place – but he remembered going there a few times at least.

[That’s good! The other man is Tanaka Tom-san, he’s your boss. You’re a debt collector.] He nodded and thanked her, then let silence fall again. Kadota and Togusa took their leave, seeming to feel that this was a situation that could do without their crew – the other half of whom were now crying whilst whispering about how this was just like a fanfiction they were reading.

“So, we’re friends?” His voice lifted at the end, turning the statement into a question. “Kishitani-sensei-”

[Call him Shinra.] Shizuo nodded.

“Shinra, why is it just you lot? Why can I remember Kadota's crew?” the doctor paused for a second, considering the question.

“I can’t be certain, but it seems to be something to do with the intensity of your relationship. Those who you consider friends – those who you’re close to – you can’t remember, but others aren't affected.” Shinra went on to talk about the storage of emotional memory and the location of different types of memory in the various lobes of the brain but Shizuo had switched off by that point. All he cared about was that the memory he had of everyone he trusted had gone. There was no one left on the earth who he considered a friend; all they were to him was strangers.

[Are you okay?] The blond shrugged, he was more in shock than anything.

[Do you want some time alone?] He nodded and Celty got the others to clear out – well at least she really did know him, even if he knew nothing about her.

Shizuo lay his head back against the soft hospital pillows and tried to soak in everything he’d just been told.

At some point, lost in thought, the blond had fallen asleep and later awoke to find the room still empty – well, if you didn't count the man climbing through his window.

Chapter Text

Izaya had been fully intending to take advantage of Shizuo’s hospitalised state to piss him off a bit more. He’d even brought flowers. But confronted by a slightly confused and very non-murderous look from the blond, that plan went out the window he’d just climbed through: he tried to ignore the strange feeling that this wasn’t going to go well and ploughed on.

“Looking the best I’ve seen you in years, Shizu-chan,” the informant teased, dropping down off the window sill and placing the flowers at the base of the other man’s bed. “See, I even brought you flowers.” There was something off. Normally the blond would be throwing things at him by now, but instead he just looked kind of…sad. It was making Izaya uncomfortable, Shizuo was a monster who could survive being hit by a train – he wasn’t supposed to have human emotions like sadness. Besides, what exactly was making him so upset?

“I know you?” he asked tentatively and Izaya’s thoughts stopped completely.

“Since high school,” he replied, registering slightly that the response sounded so normal considering the nature of their relationship. But he supposed ‘We’re arch enemies who take every possible opportunity to end each other’s lives’ was a bit heavy for a man who didn’t even know who he was. He briefly wondered whether it was an act, but decided that the protozoan had neither the brains nor anger management skills to pretend he didn’t know him. Shizuo’s despair visually deepened and he gestured to one of the chairs near his bed – the informant tried not to flinch at how civilised the whole situation was, but he still complied, more out of shock than anything: what exactly was he supposed to do now? Every little quip or joke that he’d thought of to piss off the other man had been rendered useless.

“So this is quite difficult to explain,” started Shizuo, jolting the informant out of his reverie and fixing his attention on the normal way in which the other man was speaking to him – a first for him. “Partially because I don’t really get it myself,” he continued with a small laugh and Izaya could barely hold in his bewilderment – he’d just heard Heiwajima Shizuo laugh, and not the manic “I’m going beat you to a pulp” laughter, just normal, soft laughter. “But, I was hit by a train and although physically I’m not too bad – my memory is kind of…patchy. Some people I remember just fine, it’s those I was close to before who I don’t remember now – there was some science-y explanation, that I didn’t really get-” Shizuo was still rambling on, but Izaya was stuck on that phrase he’d used before “those I was close to” – what did this mean? He was the opposite of someone the blond was close to, he should be the clearest memory in his head, with a big label: Man I Hate More Than Anything. And yet…nothing. Shizuo didn’t know who he was. So what did that make him?

“I suppose,” Shizuo continued, his tentative tone bringing Izaya’s focus back to him. “We must have been friends.”

Izaya would later blame his actions on the shock of having no tactics prepared, or even that he was thinking it could be fun to mess with the blond now he didn’t have his defences up; but the truth of the matter was that friends were something Izaya didn’t exactly have in abundance. They were something he’d spent years pretending he didn’t need. And would have happily continued to do so until his body had rotted away. He felt his throat close up.

“Yeah, something like that,” he said quietly, before composing himself and laughing a little. Silence fell between them. Izaya finally stopped avoiding looking at Shizuo, only to find the other man staring at him intently. “It’s rude to stare, you know, Shizu-chan,” he reprimanded, unable to get used to the lack of violence behind his gaze.

“Sorry,” said the blond sheepishly, his hair falling over his eyes as he looked down in…embarrassment? Izaya needed to do something: he needed to somehow stop this scene of disgustingly cute human interaction. They had to return to enemies who spent their lives trying to get the upper hand in their longwinded battle to the death. But he just sat there. Paralysed by a situation with too many unknowns: Heiwajima Shizuo laughing and smiling; Heiwajima Shizuo apologising to him; Heiwajima Shizuo calling him his friend. Izaya needed someone to punch him in the face, because apparently the man in front of him wasn’t even going to try. “I just keep hoping to see something familiar – to remember something. But I guess it really is gone. So, I’m sorry that I can’t remember, I saw the pain in all of their eyes as they left and honestly I’ve never felt worse-” he gave a dark chuckle. “Not that I’d remember.” He looked down again, as if nervous to meet the informants gaze – he began to open his mouth but Izaya spoke first, trying desperately to gain some control over the situation.

“You shouldn’t be apologising,” he said – laughing internally at how the situation could possibly have turned out like this; him comforting his arch enemy. But if it was going to give him back the reins, then he’d say anything. Besides – it wasn’t like it wasn’t true. “It’s not like it’s your fault. It’s not like you wanted this to happen. If all this means that your friends desert you, then they can’t have been real friends to start with.” Izaya cringed internally, he needed to stop giving such decent, although admittedly harsh, advice – he should at least use this situation to screw with the blond whilst he could. The brute was even smiling.

“Yeah.”

They ended up talking. Almost an hour had past – just talking. And Izaya would swear to any deity you cared to name that this was just part of some scheme or, if it wasn’t yet, it would be, but the laughter that passed his lips was real and the quips he reeled off lacked their usual venom. There was a lull in the conversation and they sat in companionable silence; the informant simply taking in this version of Shizuo in silence – his lax jaw; his warm eyes; his soft, low laugh: it made him feel sick. This wasn’t the monster he was used to, this was someone else dressed up in his skin. Lost in his thoughts, Izaya started a little when the other man spoke, his voice quiet and rumbling.

 “You know, I’ll do everything it takes to get us back to where we were.” Izaya simultaneously wanted to laugh and break something. If only you knew, he thought, knowing that he should answer somehow but with absolutely nothing to say.

He got up; his legs carrying him to the window. He should leave. He should get out of there and not come back. If there was no stupid brute to throw a fit every time he came into this damn part of town then that was no loss to him, the only regret was that he couldn’t have ended it for himself – although he supposed it was his fault Shizuo had lost his memories – but still, it was far less interesting with both of them still alive and breathing. But there would be no pleasure killing this Shizuo with his stupid self-conscious smile and his trusting eyes.

“See you around Shizu-chan,” he said, not looking back or waiting for a response as he put his foot out of the window – but his attention was drawn back by a thud and a gasp of pain.

“Wait!” called the other man, his covers had fallen down on top of him as he sat sprawled on the floor – rubbing his leg slightly, as if it was a slight bruise and not numerous broken bones he was in hospital for. Izaya sighed, pulling his foot back into the room and going over to help Shizuo back into bed.

“You know,” said the blond, his breath hot on Izaya’s neck as he lent against him for support. “I don’t even know your name.” Izaya hesitated, not wanting to leave evidence of his having been here, but also not entirely sure how to get out of answering without prompting Shizuo to ask the others even more questions when they returned – a simple description would be enough for them to know who it was and there was no way the informant was going to get away with it after that.

“Izaya.” Shizuo smiled, a little of the old daring expression lingering under the surface.

“Well Izaya-kun, next time: no flowers.”

And with that the blond watched the other man chuckle before climbing out the window and dropping out of sight. Shizuo couldn't quite explain what had made him say it, he was just relatively sure that if he didn’t say something then that would be the last he saw of the dark-haired man.

Chapter Text

Izaya pressed his t-shirt to his side, feeling the wetness soak through onto his hand and cursing under his breath. It’d been two days since he’d climbed down from Shizuo’s seventh floor hospital room and ever since he had been off his game – it wasn’t because of the brute, he reasoned, the situation had merely served as a reminder of the fragility of human memory. Not that Shizuo was human. He clenched his hand tighter around the source of the blood and winced: he’d just been stabbed, now was not the time to be thinking about that bastard. And yet, here he was. Bloody and bruised in front of Ikebukuro Hospital.

Somehow he needed to put an end to this: the boredom with his work, the restlessness with just sitting still – and the carelessness when he didn’t. If it meant he had to kill the guy just to get some peace of mind, he was willing to give it a try. Izaya sized up the building, wondering whether it was too ambitious to think he could get up to Shizuo’s room with his wound and still have enough energy to kill the brute – then again he couldn’t exactly walk into a hospital bleeding and expect to be allowed to go about his business. He pulled off his coat, ripped off the arms of his t-shirt and tied them tight around his midriff; Izaya knew the human anatomy and was relatively sure that, aside from loss of blood, the stab wound wasn’t deep enough nor well-placed enough to cause him any serious damage.

No one else could have endured the pain of feeling their clotting blood pulling open and their skin slowly stretching and tearing – well no one except Shizuo, but Izaya was trying not to think of things about the other man that could be vaguely misconstrued as complimentary.

Izaya’s breathing was ragged as he pulled himself up to Shizuo’s window, he winced at the pain in his side that was growing ever harder to ignore and looked testily up at the very much closed window. “Fucking bastard,” he breathed, focussing all his anger on the other man for shutting the damn window and steadfastly ignoring the fact that it was probably something he should have checked before he started climbing. He pulled his switchblade out of his coat sleeve and ran it across the rubber lining on the right hand side of the frame, then pushed it further in – moving it carefully upward and letting out a relieved sigh when it didn’t come into contact with a lock. The informant left the first blade towards of the top of the window before pressing another in lower down, grabbing onto the ledge above and using his feet to press the handles down like levers. The window opened slightly; enough that Izaya could pry it open with his fingers and then shove himself unceremoniously through the small gap and into the dark room.

“…Izaya-kun?” The informant sighed – the whole point of not smashing the window was so he didn’t wake up the brute: he was a lighter sleeper than Izaya had imagined. At least this way hadn’t added any more injuries to the list.

“Yeah?” he replied, figuring there was no point pretending he wasn’t there.

“Why don’t you just use the fucking stairs?” Izaya laughed at this, but quickly stopped – hissing at the pain it caused. He needed to finish this quickly; preferably before he bled out. He vaguely saw the form of the blond sit up in bed and got the impression that he was being stared at intently. “Fuck – Izaya? What happened?” The informant tried to ignore the concern in the other man’s voice and how long it’d been since he’d heard it from anyone, but he couldn’t help but feel his body instinctively relaxing – as if being in a room with a monster wasn’t a dangerous situation.

“Nothing to worry your pretty little head about Shizu-chan,” he said, his normal arrogant insouciance sounding hideously forced. Shizuo didn’t rise to it like Izaya hoped he would, he didn’t say anything at all, but the informant saw him get up out the corner of his eye and before he had time to process the situation he had picked up Izaya and was carrying him back to his bed. “Put me down, you invalid!” he yelled indignantly and Shizuo complied, dumping him at the end of his bed before sitting back down on the other side.

“You’re bleeding.” The statement was calm but expectant, and Izaya was sure he could sense an urgency beneath the surface.

“I might have pissed off some guys,” he shrugged, desperately clinging onto his façade of nonchalance. “This usual,” he added, knowing it was a lie. He would never usually let some idiots trying to fuck with the informant of the Awakusu-kai get anywhere closer than what it took to take them out. Bringing him back to why he was here. He grasped the cool metal of the knife up his sleeve.

Shizuo turned his back to him, leaning over to a draw by his bed and rummaging around. This was it. Izaya was never going to get a better opportunity than this. And yet…he couldn’t move. His body was paralysed as he listened to his arch enemy humming innocently whilst sorting through his things and by the time he’d got a hold of himself, the blond was staring right at him again.

“I’m not great at this,” Shizuo admitted, laying down what he’d taken from his drawers onto the bed. “But I figure it’s gotta be better than letting you keep bleeding.” Izaya took in the small collection of supplies – somewhat too hard core to really be considered a first aid kit – that now littered the bed spread between them and started to shake his head.

“No fucking way,” he said vehemently, glancing almost comically between the man in front of him and the offending items. “Don’t you fucking dare, Shizu-chan.”

Shizuo rolled his eyes, cleaning his hands with an alcohol wipe. “Don’t be a brat, Izaya,” he said his voice slightly exasperated. “Is it a cut or a bullet wound?” he asked casually.

“Why do you even have that stuff? You’re in a hospital for Christ’s sake!” Shizuo just looked at him expectantly and he huffed before answering, “They stabbed me.” He had a couple of other cuts, but he figured that was the only major issue. Shizuo got off the bed headed towards Izaya who scrambled away from him to where the other man had been sitting before, he pressed his back against the wall, realising his mistake too late to do anything about it. The blond had him cornered.

“Shinra gave it to me,” he said, answering Izaya’s question as if he hadn’t just secured his victory. “He told me to stay in bed and rest and then gave me this shit for when I ‘inevitably ignore his good advice’,” he laughed a little. “Now, coat and top off.”

Izaya ignored the order in favour of staring petulantly at Shizuo – who was utterly unfazed, as he continued to clean the required instruments.

“Are you going to take them off, or am I?” His amber eyes flashed with the challenge and Izaya reluctantly removed his coat and his tattered t-shirt; realising all too late that he was now half-naked in front of the man he’d spent the best part of the last decade trying to kill. Shizuo seemed to have no such issues as he gave a self-congratulatory smile and started work. It was all Izaya could do not to laugh as the blond’s warm fingers pressed upon his stomach – he was a lot gentler than the informant had anticipated of the ‘strongest man in Ikebukuro’. He cleaned out the wound with care, one hand wrapped around Izaya’s thin waist to steady him and the other dabbing at the mark. The smaller man tried to keep his reactions to a minimum, the odd hiss of pain and his tightly clenched jaw – normal Shizuo or not, there was only so much weakness he could show the guy.

“I don’t have any painkillers,” the blond said, apologetically. “Well, I did-” he amended. “But I used them all the first time my stitches ripped, so I just gave up after that – it didn’t hurt too much anyway.” Izaya stared at him incredulously, he wasn’t sure if he was more amazed that the other man had thought it was a good plan to just keep taking the painkillers or that he’d face seemingly no repercussions to his health afterwards. The shorter man was more than a little wary that he was letting the infamously destructive Heiwajima Shizuo stitch him up, but wasn’t quite sure what other option he had – he was managing to keep up the pretence of being okay, but that’s all it was: a pretence. The hands that lay by his side were shaking and his head felt light from the blood loss; even his vision was beginning to fail him.

The first connect between the needle and his skin elicited a whimper that he only just managed to stifle. Shizuo whispered an apology but didn’t look up, and Izaya was grateful for it; unsure whether he could hold his composure. His mind wandered, trying to find something to focus on that wasn’t the cool press of the needle through his skin and ultimately failing, until he noticed something.

“Is your tongue sticking out?” he asked, his tone more playful than vicious. “How old are you? Five?” Shizuo stuck his tongue out further – yep, definitely five – before withdrawing it altogether, seemingly self-conscious about his concentrated expression. Izaya huffed out a laugh, feeling the other man’s hand tighten around him; fixing him to the bed.

“Stop fucking moving,” he complained, his amber eyes gazing up through his hair. Izaya’s breath caught a little and he coughed, confused at having choked on thin air. “Seriously Izaya, do you want me to add to the blood loss?”

The informant gave an exaggerated sigh – as if he were the one who was being put out by the whole situation – but the other man simply ignored him, taking advantage of his momentary stillness to return to his work. Izaya was trying not to think too hard about the whole situation, grateful that his blood deprived brain was off it enough not to be beating him up for it.

Shizuo’s stitches weren’t exactly the neatest thing he had ever seen, but judging by the proud expression the blond was wearing, it could have been a lot worse. He sighed, well at least they did the job, Izaya reasoned – he was no longer losing blood. Shizuo pressed a cotton wad over the stitches and started to put tape on it indiscriminately, his tongue poking out the side of his mouth a little now he was no longer thinking about it.

“Done!” Shizuo stood up from his place on the bed and Izaya couldn’t help but be a little pissed off – who the fuck could be up and about mere days after being hit by a train? He looked up at the blond, who was still staring at the now patched up wound – he was becoming very conscious of his half-naked state in the overly air-conditioned room and looked around for his top. It lay on the ground, ragged and bloody – Izaya sighed and, noticing his line of sight, Shizuo went to his cupboard, pulled something out and threw it at the smaller man who, upon realising what it was, began shaking his head violently.

“No fucking way, Shizu-chan,” he said, holding the shirt up against his chest and frowning at how it utterly dwarfed him.

“It’s that or topless,” the blond pointed out, failing to hide his smirk. He was enjoying this, the bastard.

“Wearing your clothes? What is this, a kink?” Izaya scoffed, knowing he was digging his own grave – after all, he really didn’t have anything else to wear. Shizuo laughed, letting his smile show through fully.

“Put it on, asshole,” he said, the insult had a weird, almost affectionate twinge to it that Izaya couldn’t find as annoying as he wanted to.

“Pervert,” he huffed. Pulling the shirt over his head and sighing as he felt the bottom hem brushing against the middle of his thigh. He buttoned it up a little awkwardly and rolled up the sleeves, so that more than just the tips of his fingers could be seen. “Well, I look better in it than you ever did,” he shrugged, making a show of checking himself out in the distorted reflection of a vase on the blond’s bedside and realising that the flowers inside were the ones he’d brought a few days back. Oh.

“Nice flowers,” he remarked, with a smirk. Shizuo composed himself quickly, but not quickly enough. Izaya’s smirk grew at the flustered expression that was now hidden beneath a façade of cool.

“Yeah, shame about the idiot who got them,” he said, the faked nonchalance sinking into a challenge. Izaya’s smirk turned into a smile, he wasn’t going to be bested when it came to words.

“Rich gifts wax poor,” he began, taking the opportunity to show off his literary knowledge, but was interrupted before he could finish.

“When givers prove unkind.” Izaya just stared at Shizuo, utter disbelief colouring his features. The other man looked vaguely insulted at this. “I’m not illiterate, you know.”

“But still,” Izaya protested, still not quite recovered. “Shakespeare.” Shizuo shrugged and grinned.

“Budge,” he said and the informant simply looked at him in confusion – still too lost in the unexpected reality of Shizuo even knowing who Shakespeare was (never mind finishing the quote) to process the command. “Don’t look at me like that, this is my bed – if you wanted one you should have just walked in the entrance, rather than climbing your way up here, Spiderman.”

“Well if I’m Spiderman, who are you? Mary Jane?”

“Oh hell no,” Shizuo complained loudly, his face suddenly childish. “I’m more of a…”

“Hulk,” Izaya supplied and the blond’s face fell.

“Yeah,” he said quietly, avoiding the informant’s eyes. “I guess I am.”

Izaya was fighting the overwhelming urge to apologise. He didn’t apologise. Not to friends, not to family and certainly not to Heiwajima Shizuo. He bit down on the corners of his mouth hard; trying to bring himself back to reality: after all, the comment was no less cutting than it was true. The apology was still threatening to erupt from his mouth, so he settled for shuffling up on the bed and patting the newly made space next to him. Shizuo took it, and the two maintained their silence, until the room was filled with the blond’s heavy breathing – his weight pressing into Izaya’s side.

Izaya shifted him carefully so the other man was lying on the pillow rather than slowly deadening his arm. He collected his things and headed to the window, determinately not looking at the sleeping man as he climbed out and began his descent – head throbbing with questions.

Who was this Heiwajima Shizuo who would leave himself so vulnerable to Izaya? And who was this version of himself who wasn’t taking the opportunity?

Chapter Text

Izaya was still restless – and not in a “I haven’t ruined anyone’s life in the last half hour” way either – he figured that working for Awakusu-kai amongst other, smaller gangs, ensured that there wasn't a minute of the day that he wasn’t indirectly bringing another person to the precipice of destruction. But there was a very specific person whose life he was yet to wreck, despite – he reminded himself – ample opportunity, and it was this alone that was causing his unrest.

He was sitting at his desk, spinning around on his chair, stopping only occasionally to type a few words – trying to fool himself, and more importantly Namie, into believing that he was being productive. Unfortunately he was failing on both accounts.

“Stop it,” said his secretary, standing in front of him, dumping a stack of papers on his desk and then setting a cup of coffee next to it – an unusual act of kindness. “Whatever is going on in that strange little head of yours: stop it.” And that was all the wisdom Izaya was getting from her, as she turned to walk away he laughed a little causing her to turn back, glare at him and retrieve the coffee from his desk, before very pointedly going to tip it down the drain. Well, there was some progress.

He turned back, his eyes lingering on Shizuo's shirt, scrunched up on his sofa - trying not to think about the smell of the other man that had engulfed him whilst wearing it. Tobacco and a warm musky smell that made his brain shut down. Izaya groaned, he thought about Shizuo a lot - he always had - he wouldn't even deny the claims that he was obsessed, but not like this. When he thought about the blond before he would have his choice of plans to piss him off, but the only one pissed off now was him: he was like a fly bashing into a window, getting nowhere but still unable to stop. And it was making his head really fucking hurt. 

What if Shizuo never got his memory back? What if he was stuck with this man who smiled and laughed and called him a 'friend'; who stitched him up rather than beat him up? 

But then, what if he did? Well, Izaya figured, at least then there'd be no end to the blond's hatred for him. He'd never have time enough to sit and wonder what he thought about the man, he'd be dead if he stayed still that long. Shizuo would take this all as a part of some grand plan to royally fuck him over and Izaya really wished it were so. He wished that he had some plan concerning the blond that wasn’t just “avoid him like the plague” because that was tantamount to throwing up a white flag and saying that he’d lost. The bastard, if he only knew how much he was screwing with Izaya by doing fuck all he’d be laughing.

And so the informant’s thoughts had come to a conclusion.

If he couldn’t cope with being around this new Shizuo, then – admittedly unwittingly – the other man had won. And that’s what it’d always been about, the schemes; the chasing; the fights: he’d found someone who didn’t play along to his little games, someone for whom his win wasn’t guaranteed – and it clawed beneath his controlled exterior. Made his skin burn, his heart race. He stood up so suddenly that his secretary jumped slightly and sent him a look somewhere between curious and pissed off. Izaya picked up the shirt off his sofa and threw it to her.

“Get this washed, I need it. Besides,” he said, as he walked to the door. “It’s stinking up the place.”

The next time Izaya climbed up the side of Ikebukuro Hospital – scratching away all thoughts about the window having been left a little open this time – he found the room empty, but the (now wilting) flowers assured him that it had not been vacated. He lounged casually on the empty bed flicking his switchblade open and closed, waiting for the blond’s return. Izaya had decided against killing Shizuo for the moment – he figured that, as the man wasn’t his normal self, killing him was as good as admitting he couldn’t handle him. No, Izaya wasn’t going to kill him until the feelings were mutual. He was going to restore order to this world again: he was going to make Heiwajima Shizuo hate his guts.

He heard Shizuo approaching, saying something to do with ‘not needing a nurse next time either’ and that ‘he really could do it by himself’ whilst backing into the room and closing the door again with a sigh of relief. Izaya watched him carefully, curious about his actions whilst he thought was alone. His expression was soft but not happy, his lips were turned down into a slight frown, as if something was bothering him and Izaya caught himself beginning to wonder what – but he was thinking too much about it. He coughed slightly, trying to dispel both of their thought patterns.

Shizou started and turned to him, the hurt puppy look transforming into a genuine smile.

“Izaya,” he breathed and the informant could hear the relief that coloured the word. He was trying to ignore the happiness that his presence seemed to be instilling the blond with, no one was ever happy to see Izaya: the man spelled out trouble for anyone in his vicinity – people only saw him voluntarily with the view of it being an unfortunate necessity.

“Hey, Shizu-chan,” he said, his eyes slightly narrowed and his lips curved into his signature smirk – which widened when he saw the creases that formed between the other man’s eyebrows. “How’s it going?”

“Er, alright?” he said, with a shrug. “I’m tryn’a get the nurse to back off a bit – she keeps telling me I need help showering.” He looked a little confused, seeming not to having picked up on the very obvious attempt at picking him up – but then Izaya supposed that as the closest thing to a monster, romance and relationships probably weren’t his forte.

“Nurses aren’t your thing, then?” Izaya said, raising his eyebrows suggestively.

“Oh, erm-” Shizuo had gone a little pink and the informant judged that this might be a good area to prod at if he wanted to piss him off. “It’s not that…” he trailed off, looking down. The smaller man was growing even more curious, wondering what on earth could elicit this almost bashful version of the blond.

“What?” he probed, genuinely interested.

“Well,” the blond said, steeling himself to be blunt. “She’s a girl.” There was a split second where Izaya’s mind had thought the issue was the age of the person in question and wondered how someone underage was managing to work as a nurse – but then it hit him. Oh.

Leave it to Shizuo to be unexpected. Izaya had nothing to say to that, he wasn’t even sure why he was so surprised – he knew there was no real stereotype for these things, but this was Shizuo, the man whose existence he was constantly aware of in some part of his brain, and this was Izaya, whose job was literally dealing in the secrets of other people’s lives and yet…he didn’t know. These thoughts were cut short by the blond attempting to broach another topic with the elegance of a new-born deer.

“Actually about that,” he said, stalling with the hope that some divine inspiration that would guide him to the words – giving up on that he slightly awkwardly continued. “I wondered if maybe we…well, we were…like that…”

There was utter silence from Izaya. Shizuo shifted from his place by the door to come and sit down on the other end of the bed from the shorter man and after realising that he probably wasn’t going to get a response any time soon, he became uncharacteristically talkative.

“It feels different talking to you than other people. I feel more relaxed, more natural, more…like me, I guess. I get this other feeling too, a part of me seems like it’s waiting for you to come back and it can’t fucking rest until you do. So I thought that maybe it was because the memories I lost, the reason I can’t remember you was because we were-” Shizuo cut himself off, seemingly having thought of something. “But I suppose if you didn’t know that I’m…” he trailed off, rubbing his head a little and stopping his blatant avoidance of Izaya’s face to look at him right in the eye, with a fierce honesty that astounded the informant.

This whole trip had gone very wrong. He was supposed to be here prompting Shizuo to hate him again, so that he didn’t have to admit defeat. But he was losing. Every plan he thought up to deal with the other man was swept away. He had no clever words or plotting smiles; they were lost around him. He wondered if this was because a part of him really wanted what Shizuo had offered – someone who treated him like a friend; who was excited to see him; who laughed and smiled with him; who wasn’t afraid of his ulterior motives. Who was honest with him. Working as an informant sounds like a job where you see the truth of people, but the only person to be truly honest with Izaya was now sitting in front of him, waiting for some kind of response.

“Why does it matter?” He was angry. It was their normal situation in reverse, it was Shizuo whose calm words were eliciting a reaction, it was Izaya who felt like he’d never been more pissed off – and he didn’t even know why. He was full of a rage which came from some part of himself that was too dark for him to see. He couldn’t stop. “Why the fuck does it matter what we were before? Does that change what you feel now? It’s like you’re trying to rebuild someone’s house without a fucking clue what it looked like beforehand-” Izaya knew he was out of control, but the knowledge did nothing to help him; he was relatively sure it just made it worse, being able to hear the words cascading from his mouth with no control whatsoever. And now he was using fucking similes. “It’s never going to look like what it was, so just fuck it. Build the house you want to build.” Izaya gained back his ability to control his mouth at this point and stopped, supposing that at least the outburst might piss Shizuo off enough that – although through entirely unexpected means – he would be back on track for his plan.

Shizuo had never been good with his own emotions, never mind anyone else’s. He stood there, looking at the smaller man, once again wishing for some divine force to impart the right words upon him for the situation. The blond couldn’t even fight fire with fire, he felt like Izaya had absorbed his energy – sucked it from him and left him empty. No words came.  Izaya stood up, beginning to move away, but Shizuo caught his wrist, stood up with him and pulled the other man against his chest. The weight of the informant practically fell into him, a gasp of surprise muffled by his skin, and Shizuo’s arms curled around him protectively.

“It’s okay.” Izaya couldn’t even process how wrong this was all going. He didn’t reciprocate the hug – he flinched mentally, God, they were hugging – just stood still, trying to comprehend how he’d ended up in a situation where he was actually being comforted by his ex-worst enemy. He froze. Not ex. They were still enemies. Whether Shizuo remembered it or not, Izaya still hated him. He hated his stupid flicky hair; his slightly dopey smile; his bright, amber eyes. And most of all he hated the warmth of the blond’s body pressed against his own; the way his head was fitting perfectly into the gap by Shizuo’s neck, the hot breath that tickled his ear, the heart beat that pulsed against his own chest.

The urge to apologise had returned. He clamped his mouth shut, more careful after his earlier outburst – he almost jumped when he heard those words that were trying to escape from his lips.

“I’m sorry.” What for? He closed his eyes, blocking out the room and his thoughts together. He felt his arms moving tentatively to bend around the other man’s body; his fingers brushing against the warm of his bare skin between the ties of the hospital gown.

“Yeah,” he whispered.

Me too.

Chapter Text

They had gotten into a routine. Izaya would make sure to finish his work by eight – ignoring Namie’s equally curious and suspicious eyes at his promptness – then he’d take the train to Ikebukuro, arrive at the hospital around half-past and climb up to Shizuo’s room. The other man would be waiting for him. Shizuo never asked him why he came through the window, but since their second meeting it had always remained open – only a little, Izaya noted, it wasn’t enough to let any air in: it was open for him. The informant tried not to think about this too much. In fact, he tried not to think about anything relating to Shizuo and their interactions too much. They might have spent the last week in this new routine, but Izaya still hadn’t sorted out how he actually felt about everything and was procrastinating the time when he’d have to properly consider it. For now he was content to stay like this: opposite Shizuo on the other man’s bed, their legs lying parallel to one another.

Izaya zoned back into the conversation. The blond was wondering why on earth the only clothes he seemed to own were bartender uniforms and that even if they did let him out of these damn hospital gowns, he’d still look ridiculous.

“I kinda like them,” Izaya said, thinking back to Shizuo in the slim suits – trying to ignore that every time he’d seen that had ended in the destruction of whatever area of Ikebukuro they happened to be in.

“The suits or the hospital gowns?” Shizuo laughed, but Izaya just rolled his eyes, bringing them down to rest on the other man’s attire.

“Do you know when you’re getting out of here?”

“I already would be if it weren’t for the memory loss, they said they want to make sure that it doesn’t lead to anything worse,” he shrugged, evidently relatively uninterested by his own health. “It’s pissing me off having to stay cooped up in here.”

“Why don’t we sneak out?”

He couldn’t help himself. The words had tumbled out of his mouth before he’d had a chance to really think about the proposition – what if someone saw them? But he saw Shizuo’s eyes light up, his whole face practically glowing as he considered the idea. Izaya had fucked up; and there was nothing he could do about it now. He tried not to let on the amount of regret that was flowing through his system.

“Where?” asked Shizuo. Izaya was holding back a sigh – the monster among men should not be able to resemble a puppy this much; the big eyes, the floppy hair, the pure exuberance flowing from him: he wouldn’t be surprised if the blond started panting soon.

“I don’t know.” Somewhere dark. Somewhere they won’t be seen by anyone that could possibly recognise them. Why couldn’t he just take it back? He should enjoy the expression of hurt disappointment that he’d cause; fucking savour it, but no – he was busy thinking of some place to take the goddamn oversized puppy. “The cinema?” he cringed internally at the suggestion, it seemed far too normal for them, why couldn’t he just control his mouth? He never usually had a problem. Izaya wasn’t sure if he was glad or insulted when Shizuo laughed at him.

“That looked like it physically pained you to say,” he said, grinning. “It’s alright, I don’t want to leave here just to sit in some other room. I’d be happy just to walk around for a bit, stretch my legs, maybe get some food or something.” Izaya nodded, glad for the sensible suggestion; he was fairly sure no one would see them if he was careful. “Not tonight though,” he added, rubbing his head a little. “I’m pretty tired. Tomorrow’s no good either actually – my brother said he was bringing my parents around. But Friday maybe?” Izaya took out his phone, scrolling through his planner and determinately not thinking about how ridiculous it was to be making plans with his worst enemy. The worst enemy who he spent every night talking and laughing with; who smiled at him like he couldn’t be more glad to see anyone; who wouldn’t leave his head. He coughed slightly.

“Er, Friday’s fine,” he paused; it was no longer spur of the moment, it was planned, they were making time for each other – his chest felt tight; as if all his organs were contracting and he was no longer getting enough air. He scoffed internally, even his body was rejecting the situation: he pushed the feeling to the back of his mind. “Normal time?”

“Maybe a little earlier, if we’re getting food?”

They had decided to meet an hour earlier than usual on the Friday, Izaya would come up to Shizuo’s room to help the blond sneak out the window. Izaya only had an hour until he had to leave to make it on time and rather than doing any of the work he was supposed to be doing he was sat staring at three different outfits laid out on his bed. This had nothing to do with Shizuo, he told himself – feeling all too much like a cliché high-school girl – he just needed to look enough unlike his usual self that people wouldn’t catch a glimpse and do a double take. He was lamenting having to ditch his trademark coat, instead opting for a black leather jacket. He spun around on the spot, eyes closed, and pointed at an outfit at random – white shirt, with black buttons, and dark red jeans. He hung the other clothes up, before stripping off completely and heading into his ensuite.

The warm water against Izaya’s skin felt good, unwinding his uncomfortably tight muscles as he thought over his plan for the walk. He’d worked out the streets that they could take which were less busy and would lead away from anyone who knew him too well; he’d even looked up places to eat along there – deciding that, if Shizuo wasn’t opposed, they’d get something to go to minimise risks further. He spent a while looking in the mirror afterwards wondering if there was anything he could do with his hair to make him even less recognisable – he pushed it around and shaped it for a while before deciding that none of the styles were particularly flattering. Not that he was putting his appearance above his reputation, it was just that – he pushed away these thoughts in order to concentrate more than was strictly necessary on buttoning up his shirt after being unable to find a good justification for why he wanted to look his best in front of Shizuo.

Izaya was a little early arriving at the hospital, he climbed up the side – sighing at the slight brick dust that was rubbing off on his clothes. The window was open when he reached Shizuo’s room and Izaya was about to call out a greeting through it when he fully took in the scene in front of him: the blond was looking at himself in the mirror, making small noises of dissatisfaction. The sight was both familiar and entirely new. Shizuo was dressed in his old bartender suit, with the exception of the glasses, and he was leaning down whilst adjusting and readjusting his bow-tie; staring at his own reflection intently. Finally he let out a low growl and ripped the fabric from around his neck, there was a snap of plastic as the clasp at the back broke and Shizuo threw it at the wall – chanting various profanities under his breath.

Izaya’s eyes strayed to the bed where a pile of clothes concealed the duvet – he noted that the arms and legs were all partially inside out and smiling a little at the implications; the angriest he’d seen Shizuo recently was when he was trying to decide what to wear for their…whatever it was. Aside from the difficulty with the bow tie, the blond looked convinced of his choice of outfit – smoothing out his shirt and tucking it more securely into his trousers. Izaya realised that he’d essentially spent the last few minutes spying on the other man and decided to make his presence known.

“Having trouble with that, Shizu-chan?” he asked, smirking slightly when the blond practically fell over turning to look at him and dropped the bowtie he’d been attempting to press back together, as if that would somehow fix the broken clasp. Izaya wasn’t sure if it was the light or whether Shizuo’s cheeks were a little red as he turned to look at him, breathing out his name.

“Brings back memories,” he continued, gesturing to Shizuo’s clothes. He didn’t mention that all of those memories were of them trying to kill each other: the details seemed unnecessary. “Why the suit?”

Izaya decided that it definitely wasn’t the light and that Heiwajima Shizuo was most definitely blushing whilst attempting to make some kind of response – mostly consistent of “Uh, well” and “I, er, yeah”. The shorter man suddenly remembered his own words.

I kinda like them.

‘Well, fuck,’ was all he managed to think – he got up, trying not to be too interested in what all of this meant. He took the bow tie from Shizuo’s hands and threw it on to the bed with all of the other clothes, wondering where they’d even come from – hadn’t he been complaining that he only had bartender suits? Their fingers brushed lightly, as Izaya reached up and undid the first two buttons of Shizuo’s shirt. “There,” he said, his voice came out a lot quieter than he meant it to – Shizuo’s warmth was radiating out to him, his breathing a little slower, and Izaya was failing not to be interested in this new atmosphere.  

Scaling down the building was relatively simple; Izaya went first, showing Shizuo the best route down and simply hoping that no one was paying too much attention – the latter was worse at going unnoticed than he was. Once they reached the bottom Izaya stuck to the route he’d planned out in his head – he kept quiet for a while, knowing that this was the most dangerous stage of their journey. Shizuo seemed to sense that his silence was purposeful, not breaking it until something about his general aura had become lighter.

“You look different,” he said, knowing that it hadn’t quite come out how he’d wanted it to, but not quite sure of how to change that. Izaya wore pretty much exactly the same clothes every time he came, but today with the leather boots and jacket, and the tight white shirt–

“Different?” Izaya questioned, falling into step with the blond and interrupting his thought process.

“Yeah.” His voice was a little gruff and he rubbed the back of his neck, looking for the words. “You look good,” he said bluntly. Izaya laughed a little, turning to him with arched eyebrows.

“And that’s different?

 He really didn’t know how to answer that. He settled with a simple “No” and was highly grateful to Izaya for dropping the subject completely. They walked on in a companionable silence – Shizuo was struck by how comfortable he felt around the shorter man, more so than he did with anyone that he’d known before the memory loss. He wondered whether it had something to do with the fact that with the others he felt the pressure to be who he had been for them, but with Izaya he could let down his guard; stop pretending; just be. There was another feeling alongside the comfort, a warmer feeling that threaten to engulf him at times: a feeling that made him wish that the other man would never leave.

“Oi, Shizu-chan, what’s with the creepy-ass grin?” asked Izaya, his tone playful and a small smile curving his own mouth. The blonde rolled his eyes, turning away from the look that made his cheeks flame.

“I was just thinking.”

“About what?”

You. He shook his head slightly, dispelling himself of any other cheesy lines. Just say something normal.

“I’m hungry.” What the fuck? There had to be some middle ground between terrible rom-com lines and that. Izaya chuckled, his smile widening and Shizuo found there was only so much he could regret saying something so stupid when he got that look in return.

“There’s a few places further up, they do take away too,” he looked away and up to the stars, which were only slightly covered by clouds. “It’s a nice night and there’s a park nearby, so I thought…” He trailed off slightly, it was a new feeling – not having the words for a situation; feeling his chest tighten before speaking; being uncertain about how what he’d said was being received. Trust the blond to pull him out of his comfort zone. He almost jumped at the softness of Shizuo’s voice when he spoke.

“That sounds nice.” Izaya looked back down from the sky and felt that uncomfortable tightening in his chest heighten, his crimson eyes meeting with amber; there was an intensity in those eyes that made him forget what he’d just been thinking about. When his brain started up again, he realised how close they’d gotten – there was less than half a foot between them – he broke the eye contact, teeth clenching as he forced himself into his classic smirk. Shizuo backed away, the intensity in his eyes morphing into confusion. They continued walking together and Izaya’s mind had already strayed so much from their conversation that he simply looked at Shizuo blankly when he said:

“Ramen.”

“What?” The blond pointed in front of them to where a yatai stood. “Are you serious? I’m buying you dinner and you want ramen?”

“You’re buying?”

“Do you even have any money on you?” The other man patted down his pockets before shaking his head.

“Ramen,” he said again, his voice more firm this time. Izaya shrugged – at least it’d be cheap – and the two headed over to the soft light coming from the small stand.

“Can I have three Tokyo-style ramen, please?” he asked and the middle-aged man behind the counter nodded.

“Three?”

“You eat a lot.”

Shizuo insisted on carrying the food until they reached the park – which was technically closed, but Izaya figured that meant it was less likely that someone would recognise them. The blond showed some reservation about sneaking into the park, but the shorter man scaled the fence and jumped over – landing cat-like on the other side and taking the food through the gap in the railing and skipping off with it. Shizuo had noticeably less reservations when his hot meal was at stake.

They walked for a while through the trees, Izaya was rambling on about something to do with human mortality and their comparative insignificance in the universe – Shizuo was only vaguely listening, amused at how the man talked as if the two of them were somehow exempt, but he was mostly focussed on their surroundings: the worn down path that weaved along the grassy bank; the tall, dark trees made into silhouettes by the absent sun. They came to an opening where the trees stopped, lining instead of covering the space – there was a river that cut through the park with sets of benches laid a few metres back from the bank. Shizuo was somewhat aware that Izaya had walked straight over to one and sat down, but the majority of his attention was drawn by the view of the stars and moon that had been regained by the lack of trees: it was beautiful, they stretched out to the edge of his vision, brighter than he could have sworn they’d ever been.

“You just gonna stand there, Shizu-chan?” Izaya drawled, turning back to see the blond seemingly transfixed with the sky. Shizuo broke out of his uncharacteristically poetic mood and looked back at the smaller man, but didn’t move. “Y’know, the stars are gonna stay there, this food however will get cold and gross so get your ass over here and start eating.”

He didn’t need any more persuasion, he joined Izaya on the bench and began to eat. They were sat in close proximity, their knees pressed together despite the size of the bench. Shizuo was hyper aware of the heat seeping through both of the clothes – it felt nice, comfortable – sometimes he’d catch the shorter man’s eye, his chest warming when he reciprocated the smile that curved the blond’s own lips. Izaya teased him, griping about how he ate too quickly as Shizuo shoved more food into his mouth defiantly, rolling his eyes when the other man told him, “If you choke and die don’t expect me to save you”. He was about to respond by pointing out that if he was dead he couldn’t very well expect anyone to do anything, but he sensed something about the comfortable night change. The air became colder, Shizuo set down his food – eyes scanning the darkness and his hand reaching back to grasp Izaya’s wrist.

“What the-” started the informant, trying to pull his wrist from the blond’s hold – but Shizuo shushed him, hand tightening a little. Izaya’s own instincts seemed to kick in now; his internal monologue kicking himself whilst wondering how the hell he’d missed the change in atmosphere. They stood up as one, turning back to back with Shizuo’s hand still clasped around the informant’s wrist – a part of Izaya’s brain managing to laugh at how a situation had come where he and the blond had turned their backs to each other for protection.

Seemingly realising that the game was up, a group of men slunk out from the shadows – three that Izaya could see and another four that he could hear; he shook his hair in front of his face, hoping not to be noticed. This was gang business.

“Heiwajima-san,” one of the men called, stepping forward whilst holding up a hand to signal the others to stay put. His voice was calm and drawling; Izaya could sense more than see the predator’s smile that curved his mouth – he wanted to cut it off, who the fuck had the audacity to think they could come at Shizuo with less than an army and expect to succeed. Except him, of course. “Long time no see.” The blond practically growled at the pleasantries, followed by the click of a lighter and the heavy smell of tobacco in the air. “Sorry to catch you with your boyfriend, but you see, this is the first chance we’ve had – there’d be no point beating you up in a hospital.”

Izaya was surprised they weren’t already being hurled across the park, but the hand around his wrist was steady, as was the exhale of smoke.

“I really don’t want to kill you,” Shizuo said, somehow managing to sound both genuinely apologetic and threatening. The other man bristled, but the smile never left his face.

“We’re not exactly an even match,” he admitted, but the informant was liking this even less. “But then…” There was a loud click and Izaya turned to see a handgun cocked and pointed straight at his head; he laughed internally, they really had no idea what they were dealing with if they thought that he was the weak link.

“Put the gun down, before I fucking rip you apart.” Shizuo’s anger was over spilling and Izaya could sense how close he was the crushing the cigarette between his fingers: no one moved. “Well, I guess it can’t be helped.” And with that it began.

The blond had barely finished grinding the cigarette into the ground when the first shot was fired, it missed them both by far – but that didn’t change the effect it had on the taller man’s anger. He let go of Izaya’s wrist in favour of ripping the bench they’d just been sitting on off the ground and swinging it between his hands – the latter noticing that despite his building anger, the hold had never gotten hard enough to hurt him. A short, stout man took a run at him – knife in hand – but Shizuo swung the bench at him like a cricket bat, smashing him into the river, bloodied and broken. There was a moment of silence as everyone processed what had just happened. Unfortunately no one except Izaya seemed to be thinking even relatively rationally – whilst he kept his distance the other men charged at Shizuo, their own battle cries overwhelmed by the inhuman roar that emanated from the blond.

The informant watched as the other man put down the bench temporarily in favour of throwing the attackers in various directions across the park – before picking it back up again and playing a somewhat more violent version of whack-a-mole with the instigator of the fight. But even once he was a puddle of blood and broken bones, Shizuo did not calm down. He stood there, brandishing the bench and howling, his eyes practically glowing with all the adrenaline.

Izaya stepped forward tentatively, knowing he need to calm the man somehow, but with no idea what he should do – he could see the blond’s back shaking with rage. He needed to be careful.

“Shizuo?” he called and the other man turned, his gaze seemingly not recognising him at all.

And that was all the warning Izaya got to move when the park bench hurled towards him.

Chapter Text

Most people thought of the phrase ‘seeing red’ as figurative, for Heiwajima Shizuo, however, it was less so. The whole world was distorted by his fury: sounds enhanced; visuals slowed; instincts sharper than the blades bared at him. He barely registered his own movements, working purely on what his body deemed the best thing to do at the time – his thoughts had almost entirely shut down. Someone called him and he turned, releasing the bench clasped in his arms and watching it sail towards a slim, dark haired man with crimson eyes-

Shizuo felt the moment grind to a halt: his anger draining from him in record time. There was nothing he could do but look on in horror, seeing his own widening eyes mirrored by those of the man standing across from him – pure shock written across his face. Shizuo closed his eyes against the scene, his legs giving way to his body a soft, desperate “No,” slipping from between his lips. He felt the edges of his eyelids burning – his head reeling.

What the fuck had he done? He had injured the one person he most wanted to protect…and not even indirectly. It was him. It was Shizuo and his monstrous strength; his animalistic violence; his childish lack of control. Why did he think he could bring other people anything but pain?

It was a while after the resounding crash of the park bench when the blond finally managed to look up from where he was knelt on the ground. He parted his fingers that lay across his eyes, peering out, before they dropped to his side limply. Shizuo rose slowly.

“Izaya?” His voice was as tentative as his steps. The brunet was sprawled out on the floor, but he was breathing – if a little heavily – and a few feet from the splintered bench. His eyes cracked open, a sliver of crimson visible through the gap and a small smile creeping onto his lips as he sat up and Shizuo let out the breath he’d been holding.

“Some warning would have been nice, Shizu-chan,” he said lightly, steadily adjusting himself until he could sit up. “Stop looking at me like that, I’m fine.” Shizuo felt relief flood through him, he knelt down in front of the other man, his hands clutching Izaya’s shoulders and his forehead resting against his chest.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, trying to stop his body from shaking. “Fuck, Izaya I’m so sorry.”

Izaya looked down at the blond hair beneath him and rested his chin against it, lifting his arms to curl around the other man’s back – feeling the sharp twinge in his left arm and sighing. Normally he wouldn’t let on to Shizuo the pain he was in after his attacks, he’d hide it under his perfect façade and watch the other man’s fury grow at his apparent indestructibility. He tried to pretend that this was no different, that it was about not showing weakness: nothing else. But why was he comforting the blond? Why was his hand stroking through his hair? Why was he humming soft reassurances against his ear?

Izaya pushed Shizuo back a little, standing up and trying to get some space from the man – he needed the distance to put his head right again. He purposefully kept his eyes off the blond, not ready for the inevitable kicked-puppy look.

“We should go,” he said, trying to focus on how this whole situation was Shizuo’s fault – he should be feeling shit about it. “We don’t know when those guys will come around again.” Okay so that wasn’t really a problem, the likelihood was that the men who’d attacked them would be out for a good number of hours to come, but it got Shizuo up from the ground and following him as he walked briskly back towards the park gates.

They walked in silence, the blonde didn’t even question Izaya when he climbed up a nearby building and began to go back via rooftop, rather than staying on the ground. Shizuo lagged slightly behind the informant, following his lead back towards the hospital. The silence continued until they reached its roof.

“Izaya, please,” he started, his heart was beating uncomfortably in his chest, adding to his building nausea. “Just look at me.” He grabbed the other man’s wrist, pulling away quickly when he heard a hiss of pain. He looked down at it, heart grinding to a halt when he saw the ugly bruise protruding from underneath the other man’s cuff.

“You said you were fine,” he said faintly, no hint of accusation – just disbelief.

“It’s nothing,” Izaya dismissed it, pulling his shirt sleeve down to cover the mark.

“I hurt you.” The blond was finding it difficult to breathe. “Fuck, Izaya, I fucking did that to you.”

“I’m fine.”

“Stop it, stop dismissing this, it’s not nothing, you’re not fine. I don’t just put you in danger from other idiots like those,” he gestured a little wildly back towards where they’d come from. “You’re in danger just by being around me. I am the danger.”

“I said I’m fine you brute, just fucking listen,” Izaya burst out, turning to face Shizuo properly, his face mere inches from the blond’s. “This-” he lifted up his arm “is nothing. I have had far worse. I am not some prissy princess you need to protect and if you think that you pose some actual threat to me then stop fucking flattering yourself. You caught me off guard, I’ll admit. You were angry, you lost control, whatever, I don’t care – but you do not get to use this as another reason to beat yourself up. I am fine, this will heal, I’m not pissed at you for what happened, so just-”

Izaya’s words were cut off by something pressing against his mouth. Namely Shizuo. He didn’t even have time to think, reacting instinctively to the kiss by closing his eyes, pressing back against the other man’s lips and gripping the back of his waistcoat. His senses were engulfed by warmth. Shizuo’s hands were in his hair, grasping it with a measured roughness, before sliding down his back to his waist – sending a shiver up his spine and making his hands tighten on the man’s back. The blond moaned into the kiss, it was low and guttural – with just a hint of a growl – Izaya brought his arms round so he could wind them around the other man’s neck, tangling his fingers into the light hair.

Finally they broke apart, breathing heavily and trying to recover from the light-headed feeling that came with the lack of air. Izaya leant his forehead against Shizuo’s chest, feeling the other man’s head resting on top of his own – his breath warming the skin beneath it. And then his brain turned back on.

What the fuck was that? Izaya wasn’t exactly inexperienced when it came to anything remotely sexual. But he’d always been in control of himself, he wasn’t someone who let go no matter what the situation was; he wouldn’t allow himself to be that vulnerable. He couldn’t move, his muscles wouldn’t obey his desperate command for them to get away from the blond, to run, to take the first plane to God-knows-where and never come back. There was fucking up and then there was this.

“Thanks,” Shizuo said, interrupting Izaya’s internal rants at himself. “For tonight I mean. I kind of screwed it up, I guess,” he laughed a little. “But it was nice. Spending time with you is nice. And I’d like to do this again, if you wanted to…”

They pulled back from each other, those amber eyes intent on Izaya’s own – Shizuo was leaning down, more hesitant than the first time. The informant’s brain was yelling at him to run, to take the knife from his sleeve, to jump off the fucking building, anything: just move. But he was leaning up, closing his eyes once more and pressing himself to the other man. The kiss was tentative, slower than the first and over in a few seconds.

Izaya buried his head back into the blond’s chest scrunching his face up. What the hell was he doing? He felt Shizuo’s hand caressing his hair and sighed. He was disconnected from his own body, as if his consciousness was floating a few feet up from him and looking down on his himself, unable to stop the limbs from doing whatever they wanted. But even his thoughts were beginning to calm down, supposing that it wasn’t that bad: Shizuo was warm against him, his heartbeat reverberating through his chest; it felt good.

“Next time,” he said, not looking up. “No thugs.”

He felt the other man’s lips press against the top of his head.

“No thugs,” he promised.

 

 

OMAKE:

Shizuo and Izaya sat on the roof of the hospital, their legs dangling down from the building, their hands set out either side of them – their little fingers casually touching between them.

“What did you even do to that guy at the park?” the informant wondered, turning to see Shizuo shrug a little before answering.

“I accidently opened a door into his face,” he said, his voice dismissive. “When I tried to apologise he punched me so I threw him into oncoming traffic.” Izaya stared at the blond with something between disbelief and amusement – a small laugh escaping him.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

Chapter Text

The curtains fluttered slightly from the cold wind that was blowing through the open window – Shizuo thought about getting up to close it but realised he’d have to displace the sleeping Izaya from his chest. He looked tired, Shizuo thought, as if he hadn’t been sleeping properly; there was no way he was going to risk waking him up. Instead he drew the covers up over them, smiling a little as the other man practically nuzzled against him. There was a warmth building in the blond which even the chill of the room couldn’t take away, it was more than just the physical feeling of the man sleeping against him, it was the feeling of acceptance; Izaya had seen him at his worst, his most monstrous, and yet he was still there. Shizuo stroked his fingers through the smaller man’s hair, placing a kiss against the top of his head and thinking back to the rooftop.

They hadn’t kissed again after the second time, they had simply sat together – legs hanging over the side of the building – and talked; their fingers resting against one another’s. Izaya was unusually quiet, but Shizuo got the impression that he didn’t want to discuss it, so he didn’t ask – instead he talked about what he could remember of his childhood. Mostly he talked about his strength; the time that he’d destroyed a shop after trying to save the woman inside from the men threatening her; the times he’d spent in hospital.

“Hey, Izaya?”

“Yeah?”

“I just wanted to protect you.”

“Yeah.” Shizuo felt Izaya’s hand press over his own. “I know.”

He adjusted his arm slightly, wrapping it around the back of the dark haired man’s neck and placing the other arm around his waist. Izaya had fallen asleep against him on the roof and Shizuo had carried him down and through the window into his room – shoved the clothes off his bed onto the floor and sat them both down. He’d originally wanted to carry the smaller man home, but realised rather quickly that he didn’t actually know where he lived. There were a lot of things the blond didn’t know about the man next to him: what he did for a living; his family name; why the hell he insisted on calling him Shizu-chan. But then he thought of all the things he did know about him: his favourite foods, books, films; his endless knowledge of knock-knock jokes bad enough to make any self-respecting person groan out loud; the 24 hours straight he'd once spent watching soap operas, trying to understand what seemed to be “a fundamental part of human existence”. What did it matter if he didn’t know his full name? There were so many more important things in life.

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” he said out loud, smiling a little – wishing Izaya was awake for this further proof of his literacy, before realising that he was being a soppy piece of shit and he was very, very glad that the other man was fast asleep.

It was a few hours before Izaya came around, by which point Shizuo was breathing heavily and leaning a substantial amount of his unconscious weight on the smaller man’s head. The informant stayed put for a while, taking his time to come to terms with the situation – he’d never fallen asleep next to another person before, never woken up to the feeling of someone else’s warmth wrapped around his body. It was the vulnerability of the situation that got to him – being unconscious around someone else meant you were vulnerable to them, you had to trust them, and Izaya didn’t trust people. Yet here he was: curled up against his worst enemy, wiping the sleep from his eyes. His worst enemy who had kissed him. Whose hand he’d taken in his own. Whose arms felt like they were holding him together.

Izaya sat up a little, properly registering the room around him: light was beginning to seep through the semi-open curtains and Izaya was grateful for Shizuo’s warmth in the otherwise chilled room, he moved instinctively back towards it, before realising what he was doing. There was no way this could work out. Not that he wanted it to, he tried to tell himself but the lie was obvious in the way his hand was absent-mindedly playing with the cuff of Shizuo shirt, the edges of his lips threatening to pull up into a smile. He’d never needed human interaction; he thought it was endearing yet ridiculous that humans felt like their days could be brightened by interacting with specific other members of their species, that feelings for another person could override their brain and body: make them in physical pain; make them ignore logic; make them happy regardless of their material standing in life. And yet as he disentangled himself carefully from the blond he could feel his chest tightening uncomfortably, making him nauseous – he’d originally thought these reactions were his body’s way of saying how unnatural the situation was, but he was starting to think that maybe it meant something else.

Izaya stayed on the bed for a while after having dislodged Shizuo’s body from its protective curl around him. He examined the soft, peaceful look on his face and the almost child-like innocence that was so far from the expression that the informant was used to seeing him with that it was hard to reconcile them in his mind as the same person. Shizuo had always been an exception. He was the one person he felt anything different for, both now and then: admittedly then the feeling had been far more murderous and now he was admiring how Shizuo’s nose twitched in his sleep occasionally, making him look like an oversized bunny. Cute.

No. Not cute.

Izaya groaned quietly. It was getting harder and harder to ignore the kind of words his brain came up with when thinking of the blond. He supposed if he were to have done a Shizuo-themed word association game a couple of weeks back and another one now it’d go from sounding like it was cut from a Chuck Palahniuk book to a pre-teen magazine.

After a moment of considering the way that Shizuo’s hair had turned into a fluffy, tousled mess that Izaya supposed would only get wilder the longer he slept; he closed his eyes tight, hoping it might rid him of the words he was trying really hard not to associate with the blond. When that failed he thought it was probably time to leave.

Except…

If Shizuo stayed like that it would probably give him back-problems.

He glanced at the window, knowing he should just go, before muttering “fuck it” and starting his attempt to rearrange the blond into a less potentially crippling position.

It was not the easiest task. Izaya stood one side of the bed, arms carefully placed under the other man’s knees and upper back before trying to shift him further down the mattress – but every time he tried, the blond rolled towards the other side of his body, making it impossible to move him. What Izaya needed was to get Shizuo from straight on, so he could shift his weight away from him. He looked at the sleeping man, sincerely hoping that he’d stay that way, as he stood either side of his body – feet creating wrinkles in the mattress. He lent down, trying again from his new position, but found he was just too far away from the blond to properly get a hold on him. Izaya shrugged slightly and wondered whether to adopt “fuck it” as his new personal mantra; before realising that probably wasn’t the best thing to say when he was kneeling over the stomach of another person. He placed own hand at the small of Shizuo’s back, the other between his should blades, wincing slightly at the weight on his hurt wrist, and was determinately not thinking about what the situation would be like if Shizuo was awake, those intense eyes looking up at him, those rough hands back in his hair and around his waist, pulling him down…

Izaya pulled a little too hard at that point and the blond’s head slipped from where it was resting against the head board, to bounce slightly on the mattress. The informant froze, bringing his eyes up to the cracks of amber which were now showing through dark lashes.

“Izaya…what are you doing?”

“I, well, I had to go to work, so I got out, but then you, well you looked uncomfortable – so I was trying to move you, but you kept shifting around so I…yeah.” He was flustered, falling apart under those warm eyes. He never got flustered. Goddammit, Shizu-chan.

“Oh,” Shizuo replied softly. “Thanks.” Izaya remembered that he was practically crouched over the other man, mere inches from his face, and sat back – realising all too late that he’d practically sat himself on the other man’s crotch; he tried to stay casual, fighting the colour rising in his cheeks. There wasn’t a non-awkward way to get out of this situation, but his current reality of sitting on Shizuo’s lap was surely the worst option – and yet he was still sat there, his mind going in circles. He lent his head back, scrunched up his eyes and rid his body of its tension, letting the full weight of his body rest on the other man – a small groan of exasperation escaping his lips. Izaya glanced down at the blond and decided that doing so was possibly the worst decision of his life. Shizuo’s eyes were bright, there was a spark that the smaller man couldn’t quite look away from; his hair was unkempt, falling across his face in a way that stylists spent hours recreating for models; his lips were slightly parted, the breath that passed between them slow and heavy.

Before he knew what he was doing, Izaya’s hand was in Shizuo’s hair, trailing down his jaw to trace his open lips. The blond began to sit up, his arm curled around the informant’s waist, holding their bodies together. Their foreheads pressed together and the informant could picture every time they had been this close before, their veins overflowing with anger, rather than lust. Their open mouths connected and Izaya held back a moan when he felt the taller man’s tongue swipe against his lower lip, followed by a soft but deliberate scrape of teeth. The warmth of Shizuo’s hand slipping beneath his shirt and tracing calloused fingers against his spine made him shiver. All too soon both the hand and the lips were gone and a mildly turned on Izaya was left to peek out through his lashes in confusion at the absence. Shizuo was lying back down, his hands either side of his head – cheeks flushed but otherwise looking up, unembarrassed, at the increasingly indignant man above him.

“You said you had work,” he explained, shrugging. “I wouldn’t want to be the reason for you being late.”

“I’m freelance! I work for myself,” Izaya practically whined, his body aching for more contact.

“I have had far too many stories about your psycho secretary to even think of getting on the wrong side of her,” Shizuo scoffed, rolling his eyes at the reproachful look on the smaller man’s face. Izaya slumped down against Shizuo’s chest, chin resting on his linked fingers lying over the other man’s rib cage – a look of childish petulance on his face. “Go on, get out,” Shizuo added, with an amused expression, making small shooing movements with his hands before using those same hands to cup the pouting man’s face and lean up to kiss him lightly on the nose. Izaya tilted his head up, catching the other man’s mouth and pressing their lips together.

Arms wrapped around the informant’s thighs and he momentarily rejoiced before feeling himself being lifted off the bed – he wound his legs around the blond, refusing to get off and continuing the kiss. Shizuo carried him to the window, pressing him against the wall next to it; he deepened the kiss briefly, before cutting it off completely.

“If you don’t go, I’m going to have to throw you out the window myself,” he warned and Izaya was once again astounded by the lack of venom in his words, it was just that gravelly, teasing tone that made him want to…

The brunet growled out his frustration.

“Put me down then, you protozoan.” God, he wondered. When had that become affectionate?

Shizuo complied, smiling his dazzlingly non-murderous smile and Izaya began to climb out of the window. When both of his legs were out and resting against a ledge beneath him, he felt a hand in his hair and turned to say goodbye, but was interrupted by Shizuo’s mouth over his own. The kiss was chaste, but Izaya deemed that for the best considering he was several floors from the ground.

The blond’s hand stroked down his jaw, a soft smile curving his lips, and it struck Izaya that he’d never seen the taller man look like that. Happy. Even when Shizuo hadn’t known he was there, there was a part of him that was never truly committed to the moment; that was holding back.

“Bye,” Shizuo said, his hand leaving Izaya’s face –something coiled in the informant’s stomach and he had the uncontrollable urge to reach out and take the hand back, hold on to that warmth until it belonged to him. He gritted his teeth, trying to regain control.

“Laters, Shizu-chan.” And with that he was scaling back down the building, trying to prevent the flood of questions from breaking the mental wall he’d blocked them off with.  He needed to not think about how his already dubious relationship with Shizuo (i.e. talking to him with zero to no attempts at ending his life or trying to anger him) had dissolved into cuddling and kissing and various other typical demonstrations of affection. Was that what he felt for the blond now? Affection? Fuck, he thought, hands ruffling up his hair. I’m too young for this mid-life crisis shit.

Izaya reached the bottom of the hospital and started his walk back to the train station, so caught up in his own thoughts that he failed to notice the bespectacled doctor and the black biker who stood staring at him from across the road.

 

 

Omake:

“Okay I’ve got a good one!” Shizuo groaned in response, rolling his eyes at the overly excited Izaya who was sat at the end of his bed.

“No, give up Izaya. None of them are good.” The shorter man gave him a playful kick and stuck his tongue out.

“Pleaaase, Shizu-chan, this one’s great, I promise.” He fluttered his eyelashes. The two had spent the last half an hour sat opposite each other whilst Izaya had reeled off terrible knock-knock jokes one after another, only pausing to laugh hysterically at his own jokes. Well, someone had to.

“Ugh fine, if it means you’ll stop making that dumb-ass face. Spit it out, c’mon.” Izaya grinned, a glint in his eye that made Shizuo feel like he really shouldn’t have given in.

“Yes! Okay, okay – you start.”

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”

Shizuo froze – his mouth slightly open – and realised that he had nothing to say. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. His confusion was interrupted by Izaya howling with laughter, hands clutching his sides. And then he realised.

You little shit.”

Chapter Text

Shizuo had less than ten minutes to contemplate the development in his love life. He wasn’t exactly sure whether he’d ever been in a relationship before, although he had the sneaking suspicion that he and Izaya hadn’t merely been friends before he’d lost his memories – but he’d decided that, like the other man had said, whatever they had been like didn’t matter; he couldn’t try to replicate that, he could only decide what they were. Last night’s outing had been mostly a success (if you cut the middle part out) and although he hadn’t quite gotten past the guilt of his potentially fatal, if unintentional, attack to the shorter man, he was at least not scared of breaking him: he’d seen Izaya scale walls and jump buildings, he didn’t need someone protecting him. Not that Shizuo wouldn’t still try should the situation arise; he liked the idea that his monstrous strength could be used to protect something he loved rather than break it.

His thoughts caught. Something he loved. He’d thought the words without hesitation, without consideration, but – was that how he really felt? He supposed it was difficult to put labels on feelings like those when he had nothing to compare them to: he cared about Izaya, the man’s presence made him happy, something about the warmth of his body pressed against Shizuo’s own just felt so damn right. But it was probably too early to throw around words like “love”. He just liked him. A lot.

The rambling of Shizuo’s thoughts was interrupted by the door of his room flying open and a rather frantic seeming Celty rushing in – at least he thought she was frantic, it was hard to tell when she didn’t have a head. She had come to visit her a few times, her fiancé Shinra (or as the blond mentally referred to him psycho-glasses) came a long most of the time, muttering about how he really couldn’t leave his fiancé alone with a man with such rock-hard abs and asking him strange things like which bones he thought he could and couldn’t break using just his little finger. But the biker seemed nice; there’d been the initial shock from the explanation of why exactly she didn’t talk (as the man who’d literally survived being hit by a train he didn’t see that he had the right to make a big deal out of it – though he’d decided that not having a head was definitely next level shit) but after that he’d found that he got on quite well with the Dullahan. She was mostly calmer and strangely more human seeming than her genuinely human partner.

Celty seemed to just stare at him for a while, the tension in her body releasing as she started typing something out – but before she could finish Shinra arrived, panting and leaning his hands on his knees in an exaggerated fashion.

“Celty? Psy-Shinra? Are you alright?” He watched as the biker typed out a response.

[US??? What about you?]

“Oh, I’m fine. My body’s all healed, it’s just in case it turns out there’s more complications with my head or whatever.”

[I don’t mean that! I just saw him leaving, I thought he must have come to see you.]

“What? Izaya?” he asked – he hadn’t seen anyone else aside from him, but then why wouldn’t he be alright?

[Yes! Really I was expecting more blood. And destruction.]

Now he was really uncomfortable, he felt like there was something that everyone else knew, but that he was missing out on.

“Why would there be blood?” he asked, relatively quietly – almost more to himself than Celty. “It was just Izaya.”

The Dullahan froze, her arm already extended towards him a new message across it.

[The way he was walking away unscathed. I wasn’t even sure if you were alive.]

Shizuo simply stared at the message. What the fuck? He simply couldn’t understand what the message was supposed to mean – were they even talking about the same person? Izaya wouldn’t put him in danger; Izaya laughed with him, cuddled him, kissed him – there was no violence to their relationship. A cold weight was settling in his stomach.

“And what the hell is that supposed to mean?” he asked, his anger beginning to get the better of him. Celty and Shinra exchanged significant looks and Shizuo was finding it harder to stay in control; he hated the feeling that everyone in the room knew something he didn’t.

“What?” he asked again, he knew was pissed off – but damn it he had the right to be.

[Shizuo, do you remember Izaya from before?]

“No, we were friends – I don’t remember any of my friends, we’ve been through this.” Shinra looked like he might laugh and the blond was very tempted to make sure he could never make another sound if he did – but he also looked paler and his eyebrows were furrowed in confusion. Celty kept typing something, deleting it and then typing something else, before she finally showed Shizuo the screen. The blond almost wished she never had.

[You weren’t friends, Shizuo. The two of you met in high school and have spent most of the last eight years trying to kill each other.]

[When you see each other you shout insults before attacking. Every time. I don’t know what kind of game Izaya’s playing with you, but you should know that he hates you more than anything.]

[He’s an underground informant, he works for the Awakusu-kai.]

[He sends gangs after you, frames you for murders and…how do I put this?]

[It was Izaya who got you hit by that train.]

Shizuo sat there for a long time, simply unable to say anything. He couldn’t equate this Izaya Celty was telling him about and the one he knew – a part of him was shouting that it couldn’t be true, that the moments that they had together had been real, but another part of him was whispering that maybe he was just that good at lying. ‘He hates you more than anything.’ Shizuo could feel his breath quicken and then catch in throat – he couldn’t breathe properly, he just kept thinking about the dark-haired man smiling softly, eyes looking up at his own; the feeling of his hands wrapped around the smaller man’s waist; the way his breathing stuttered slightly each time they kissed.

“Are you...sure?” he choked out, knowing he sounded desperate but just not caring. Celty seemed relatively alarmed by his reaction, not having expected it to emotionally cripple him so badly. Shinra, however, was oblivious.

“You could ask anyone!” he said, a little too cheerfully – if he hadn’t been going through a personal crisis Shizuo probably would have punched him. The blond wanted to doubt their words, really wanted for them to have made some kind of mistake, but what other Izaya would they have seen walking away from the hospital at the exact time they arrived here?

Damn it,” he whispered, pressing his palms into his forehead, his breathing still shallow. “Damn it, damn it, damn it.”

Shizuo knew he’d been lied to, he’d been manipulated by the person he cared for most: there wasn’t any other explanation that fit. Izaya had known he was at his most vulnerable and he’d used it to his advantage: it was all one big plan to humiliate him. What was Izaya going to do? Fuck him just to drop him? Get him to tell his secrets and then blackmail him? Lure him into a false sense of security before turning on him? He sold the information that got people killed, Shizuo didn’t think he could put anything beyond the man.

His breath was coming in short sharp bursts, he tried to slow it down but it felt like his chest was contracting around his lungs – his eyes were wide open, frantically looking at the other two in the room. He could hear Shinra telling him to slow down his breathing. As if it’s that goddamn easy, you idiot. The lights seemed to be getting brighter and he closed his eyes, wishing he could shut out the noise just as easily – his head felt light. His fingers were tingling. His whole body felt disconnected from his mind. He kept trying to calm his breathing but to no avail – his lungs were screaming at him for oxygen. He was going to die. He knew it. He could faintly tell that tears had formed and he tried to focus on them, the cool feeling of the drops rolling down his warm skin. His breath was starting to come easier, his chest unclenching slightly and he felt the absolute relief that the worst of it seemed to be over.

It took a few minutes before Shizuo could open his eyes, his breathing had mostly regulated, but he felt exhausted – all of his energy had been completely drained. He squinted at the screen that Celty was holding a little way off, evidently being careful not to get into his space.

[Are you okay? I didn’t realise that the information would affect you so badly.]

[I’m sorry.]

Shizuo merely shrugged her off, it wasn’t her fault – but he really didn’t feel like talking about it, so he hoped the non-verbal reply would get her to drop the subject. He turned Shinra who was looking at him interestedly, not a trace of sympathy or apology in sight. Fucking psycho-glasses.

“Have you ever experienced anything like that before?” he asked and Shizuo shook his head – hoping he never would again. “Interesting. You just had a panic attack.”

“And why’s that ‘interesting’?” Shizuo asked, but the venom that was seeping through his voice went entirely unnoticed by the doctor.

“Your default reaction when you can’t cope with a situation emotionally is to get angry and yet– ” he paused, seemingly for dramatic effect and Shizuo thought that the guy had his own lack of energy to thank for being allowed to be this damn showy about the situation. “Here you exhibited an entirely different behavioural response! Which means that—” But the blond never got to hear what it meant because Shinra was being silenced by multiple jabs from Celty, sensing that someone might come up in the explanation whom the blond really didn’t want to think about right now.

[You seem tired, you should try to get some sleep. We’ll leave you in peace and drop around soon, okay?]

Shizuo smiled, the Dullahan really did seem to care about him and he appreciated the effort that she was going to. “Thanks,” he said, watching them leave before sinking his head into the pillow and trying to get some sleep. The panic attack and been horrible and although he hoped never to have one again, at least the ensuing tiredness had dulled his thoughts to a manageable level. There were a lot of things that he didn’t know about the situation and there were a lot of things he’d have to decide how to cope with – but right now he just needed to sleep.

***

Izaya was sat at his desk pretending to read one of the various pieces of paper that scattered it. He'd not been able to stop thinking about Shizuo since leaving him that morning and it wasn't achieving anything but making him confused and more than little turned on – which was in turn adding to the confusion. When he was around Shizuo he felt different, hell when he just thought about Shizuo he felt different. The man infuriated him, but not like he used to – it wasn't his presence that was annoying, it was his absence. The only comparison to the feeling he got around the blond was how he felt uncovering a particularly juicy piece of information.

God, he needed help.

The informant considered who he could possibly talk to: Shinra? He didn't fancy a lecture on the doctor's relationship with Celty and the biker herself didn't actually seem to like him; he guessed he could talk to...

"How long are you planning to sit there pretending to read?" Namie stood in front of his desk looking pissed off – or she might just be bored, Izaya couldn't tell anymore.

"Until my love life is resolved," he said, knowing she'd take it for a joke. Sure enough she snorted and the informant was sure he saw a slight change of her normal expression to a little more disgusted.

"The idea of you being near anyone romantically is both laughable and sickening." Izaya congratulated himself internally for picking up on the subtle shift in her features. He wasn't offended - he couldn't be, he felt the same way - but he pulled out the hurt expression anyway.

"Words hurt y'know Namie." She rolled her eyes and Izaya realised that this was his chance - as long as she thought he was joking he could tell her what he needed to tell someone. Admittedly Namie wasn't anyone's first choice for relationship advice, but he didn't exactly have many options. "You should be more understanding," he started, choosing his words carefully. "You're an expert in forbidden loves." She narrowed her eyes at him, seemingly steeling herself.

"Do not compare my love for Seiji-kun to your...perversion."

"You know you're screwed when the woman who's literally in love with her own brother calls you perverted." This comment earned him a relatively hard smack over the head with a rolled up stack of papers, but she didn't stalk off so Izaya presumed he was okay to continue. "I'm not all that heartless Namie, there's someone who makes me feel the rush of ruining lives by doing nothing but being near me.”

“How romantic,” she said dryly, but she was clearly interested now – Izaya just hoped she wasn’t too interested, he never wanted to bring this up again once he’d sorted out how he felt. “It seems this really is the freaks mating season,” she continued and the informant could sense she was pleased with herself.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” He was rising to her bait, but hell – he’d done crazier things; he’d kissed his worst enemy for one.

“Heiwajima-san,” she said simply, stopping for dramatic effect. Izaya felt his insides practically bubble at the name and had to carefully compose his face to ensure that his secretary wouldn’t get any ideas.

“What about him?”

“An uninformed informant?” she questioned, but he simply ignored her, too interested in what she had to say: realising that he wasn’t rising to the bait, she continued. “It appears your protozoan has a boyfriend.”

“A boyfriend?” Izaya felt a flash of jealousy before realising that she was talking about him.

“It’s all over the dollars forum – someone posted about seeing Heiwajima-san yesterday with another man who he tried to protect when they were attacked by some gang. Apparently he almost killed him and then cried whilst the boyfriend hugged him.  Personally, I think it would have made a better story if he had killed the guy.” There was a flash in Namie’s eyes that Izaya was more than a little worried about – nothing good ever came out of that look. But she was walking back to her desk, maybe he was overreacting, except – she turned back to him, a small smile curving her lips.

“Where was it you were last night?”

Chapter Text

Izaya was making his way to the hospital at the normal time, still in a state of shock from how utterly he’d been played; Namie had had her suspicions and she’d done all she needed to ascertain whether they were true or not. He knew he wasn’t in danger from her, Namie wasn’t stupid (she knew that he had the upper hand in terms of information) but the very fact that he hadn’t realised what she was doing made him feel uncomfortable. He had developed a weak spot. A six-foot-one, amber-eyed weak spot. But as soon as Shizuo popped into his head he promptly forgot about his discomfort and went on to wonder whether it was okay for him to visit again; he’d been there that morning, was it too much to come a second time anyway? He supposed he’d already made his decision on that one, seeing as he was climbing up the side of the building to Shizuo’s room.

The first thing he noticed when he reached the seventh floor was that the window was closed – it was the first time it’d been shut since the time he’d come through needing half his body stitched back up, it made Izaya’s stomach feel oddly cold – like it’d been pumped full of icy water. Even the curtains were drawn behind it, so the informant couldn’t see in to check whether the blond was still in the room. He ran his knife through the gap feeling an inexplicable clenching around his heart when it collided with a lock. In the moment he was tempted to break the window and then climb through, but he calmed himself enough with the knowledge that cutting up his hand and getting himself arrested certainly wouldn’t help anything. He glanced around, trying to slow his breathing a little whilst searching for an alternative route. A few rooms along was an open window, Izaya noted with relief, heading towards it and just hoping that there was no one in there. His heart fell when he peaked over the edge and saw a young girl – no older than twelve – laid out on the bed. But then, he supposed, she wasn’t moving – either asleep, comatose or dead, but frankly he didn’t care; if she wasn’t conscious then he might get away with it.

Izaya moved quickly, not giving reason a chance to take over and before anyone walked in. The door was open slightly too and he peered through it, checking no one was around, before moving swiftly in the direction of Shizuo’s room. When he reached the right door he was relieved to see that the blond’s name was still printed on the slip of paper on the door and he opened it without giving himself time to think why, if Shizuo was in his room, the window had been shut and locked. But when he’d opened it, he didn’t have to.

The look on Shizuo’s face was the closest Izaya had seen it to how he used to look, a furious violence which practically radiated off him but mixed with what the informant thought might be pain – he was the very image of betrayed. The informant was tempted to just leave again, but he couldn’t get his body to move. He knew what was coming. It had been inevitable. Izaya could barely think, he only knew that he needed to say something; to break the hideous silence that simply kept stretching on between them.

“Shizu-”

“Did you not get the hint?” the blond cut him off – his voice was quiet and seemingly calm, but Izaya could hear the restraint behind each of the words; he’d rather Shizuo had just yelled at him.
“Get out, Izaya.”

“Wait, just-” Izaya wasn’t sure what he was going to say – but he needed to say something, anything. A voice in the back of his head was laughing at him: well I guess you got what you wanted, he definitely hates you now. Shizuo interrupted him again.

“Unless you’d prefer to explain yourself?” He was standing now, advancing on the informant in an all too familiar manner – pressing their foreheads together as a kind of warning. It made Izaya’s insides twist painfully – it was proving impossible for him to compose himself properly, he tried to move his mouth but no sound was coming out, he could feel the corners of his eyes burning.

“You can’t?” asked the blond, a note of hysteria in his voice that Izaya had never heard before. “You can’t explain why you lied to me?” Shizuo was losing control of himself, he couldn’t keep in the pain that was tearing him apart. There had been one constant in his life since losing his memories, one person who really made him happy, made him forget what he’d lost – and he’d turned out to be lying through his teeth the whole time. He let out a growl, fist smashing into the wall next to them, which consequently cracked and covered their feet in dust. Two parts of him were fighting, the part that wanted to throw Izaya very hard out of the window and the part that could not bear to physically hurt the man he couldn’t help but care for – it didn’t matter that Izaya’s feelings weren’t real, his still were. “The game’s fucking up Izaya, so just say what you want – go on, gloat…this is what you wanted isn’t it? You hate me, you want me to suffer, right? Well good for you, you did it, congratulations! Now get the hell out of here.” He pushed Izaya towards the window. “Fucking sneak out, you lying bastard.”

The informant complied, backing against the window – his hands shaking as he pushed the curtains back, he couldn’t see the lock through tears that were welling and spilling down his cheeks. He didn’t cry, fuck, why did he even care so much? He climbed up, ready to leave before turning back to Shizuo. The blond’s whole frame was shaking, his jaw clenched shut making the tendons in his neck stand out and Izaya saw that he was crying – hands wiping angrily at his red eyes.

“It’s stupid, isn’t it?” he croaked out, the bitterness in his voice overtaken by the hurt, as he walked towards the informant. “After all the shitty things you’ve done…” his amber eyes met Izaya’s own and the shorter man felt his breath catch in his throat, barely aware of his surroundings – back leaning out of the window, fingers just grasping onto the edge of the frame. “…I’m going to miss you.”

Izaya’s brain had shut off. No one had ever said that they’d miss him – not even his family – not unless he’d manipulated them to feel that way, and yet here was Shizuo; he knew what Izaya had done, even if he thought that it had all just been manipulation, he still felt something other than anger. He had enjoyed spending time with the informant, he hadn’t wanted him to leave, he’d cared for him. And Izaya had royally fucked it up. It had always been fucked up, from the moment it had started there was no chance that the relationship would go well and yet he’d still gone on, he’d still hoped…It was irrational. The way he felt for Shizuo was utterly irrational; it adhered no sense or rules, but that didn’t stop it.

The fingers grasping onto the frame slipped but Izaya barely noticed that he was falling from the window until he heard someone call his name and looked up to see those amber eyes.

Shizuo didn’t have time to truly register what had happened. He simply acted. He hadn’t been close enough to stop Izaya from falling, but goddammit he was not letting the man die, he pushed himself out of the window and propelled himself downwards – without giving himself time to think about his actions. Izaya had less than a second on him, but Shizuo made it up by pushing off the building with his feet increasing his speed towards the ground – once he was close enough he reached his arms around Izaya curling him protectively in against his chest. The wind whipped against them, Izaya’s arms tight around Shizuo’s lower chest. The blond pressed his lips against the top of the smaller man’s head, trying to arrange himself to ensure that they wouldn’t land on him. The few seconds before they hit the ground didn’t drag out like it did in films, in fact it came too soon – Shizuo felt the bone crushing collision with the pavement, his head smacking hard against the curb. His vision went black.

But he could hear someone. A familiar voice – someone was calling his name. It was light hearted at first, a sing-song tone calling out:

“Shizu-chan? Shi – zu – cha – an!”

But then the tone changed a little, it was still high and melodical, but with a touch of confusion – maybe even concern. He felt hands at his shoulders.

“Shizu-chan?” Someone shook him a little, before pushing the hair off of his face. The voice was panicked now

“Shizuo? Fuck. Shizuo? Answer me you dumb brute! Shizuo, please?” He felt himself being lifted from the floor and he leant against the body whilst what he presumed was a phone call went on.

“At the station…yes, he was hit by a train…that’s not fucking quick enough, get one here sooner – I’ll fucking carry him there myself!”

His consciousness was fading in and out, but he just let it, feeling arms entirely take his weight – he cracked his eye open and the scene was different, he was in a hospital already and someone was shouting above him – he recognised it as the same voice, raw concern dominated their voice. But then the arms were gone, he could feel some kind of smooth, soft surface beneath him – a sharp prick on his arm and then nothing at all.

Chapter Text

Light was streaming through the curtains when Shizuo finally regained consciousness, he looked over to the clock and saw that it was ten in the morning – he felt hideously groggy, an after effect of the shit tonne of drugs they’d had to use to knock him out. He pressed his hand to his head, feeling the bandage that was wrapped around it and trying to remember exactly what had happened. He had a feeling that whatever it was had involved that bastard flea – not surprising, seeing as he was in hospital. Shizuo didn’t often end up in hospital anymore and he wasn’t sure anyone other than Izaya couldn’t have managed it.

There was a man sat by his door, he had dark hair, a wide frame and looked like he might fall asleep at any moment. The blond groaned slightly as he sat up, drawing the man’s attention.

“Who are you?” The man looked at him a little sheepishly before answering.

“I’m your guard, you’re under 24 hour surveillance,” he started, pausing as if unsure of how to continue. “Suicide watch.”

“What?” he asked, forcing his brain to recall something from before he blacked out.

“You jumped out the window…there was another man, he said it was an accident – that you just fell–” That stirred some memories, Izaya had been there; he had fallen from the window and Shizuo had gone after him – wrapped him against his chest and taken the blow. But why? “–but unfortunately we can’t take the risk that he’s lying.” Lying. That was right. Izaya had lied to him, made him think that he cared about him. Why had he believed that bastard? He knew what Izaya was like. “He was here until about half an hour ago, stayed with you all night – didn’t even sleep. But when the doctor came in and said you’d wake up soon, I pretty much turned around and he’d gone.” He’d stayed? Shizuo wasn’t sure he could imagine the informant sat by his bed with any intent other than murder – but then…he could. He could see Izaya sat across from him, his face lighting up in a smile, laughing and teasing, playing with the corner of his duvet as he talked incessantly.

It wasn’t his imagination, he realised, it was his memory. Izaya really had sat across from him, talked with him, hugged him, kissed him. Shizuo’s insides clenched – he didn’t understand how that manipulative piece of shit could be the same man from these memories, could be the same man who had backed away from him, tears threatening to spill onto his cheeks; eyes wide with shock; pain etched into his features. The same man that he had grown to love.

Shizuo remembered feeling so certain that he’d been lied to, that this was all a part of some big scheme like his friends had said it would be – but now he could remember the old Izaya, the one who he’d spent almost a decade at war with, he wasn’t so sure. He remembered the informant’s face when he first said that he didn’t know who he was; how he’d tried to leave, how Shizuo himself was convinced that he wouldn’t return if he didn’t reach out to him, how he’d be looking into the other man’s eyes and he’d see the walls build up inside him: that soft smile morphing into his trademark smirk.

He couldn’t be sure that it hadn’t all been an act, he reasoned with himself.

And that’s why he had to find out.

Shizuo pulled himself out of bed, the faint throbbing of his head paling under his newfound sense of purpose, he pulled on some clothes a little clumsily before he headed towards the window. He registered vaguely that he must have given his poor guard a heart attack when he opened the window and climbed out, but he just didn’t care. He needed to see Izaya. He needed to ask the dark-haired informant which version of him was the real one.

The train was the logical option for Shizuo’s journey to Shinjuku, but then again the blond wasn’t known for his logic – instead he opted for simply running to Izaya’s flat, burning off some of his nerves along the way. He knew that it was a long shot. He’d known Izaya for years, and not once in that time had the flea shown any capacity for feelings that didn’t cause someone else’s immense pain, either physical or emotional. But he just couldn’t help but hope. Shizuo’s whole life had been filled with having difficulty connecting to people, those who weren’t scared off by his strength or reputation still met with a solid barrier: his inability to trust his own control over his body. But Izaya was right; he didn’t need someone to protect him, Shizuo could barely hurt the man when he was trying to. The incident in the park had been an exception – that had been harder to believe before he had his memories of the informant back, but it was true. Shizuo didn’t have to worry about controlling himself around Izaya, he could just relax and be – especially now they’d stopped trying to kill each other every time they met.

He reached Izaya’s block of flats about twenty minutes later – realising that his clothes were utterly dishevelled too late to make much of a difference, but nonetheless he patted himself down in the reflection of  nearby shop window. The nerves that he’d put off whilst running had returned, it wasn’t a feeling Shizuo was used to – there wasn’t much about his everyday life, pre-memory loss, that could possibly incite the classic butterflies in the stomach feeling. He decided that action was the key to not backing out of his half-formed plan of confronting Izaya about his true nature and in the process somehow getting out there that he wasn’t averse to spending time with the non-psychopathic, less of a pain-in-the-arse version of the informant – in fact that he kind of liked it more than he knew how to say without sounding like he belonged in a terrible rom-com.

Shizuo decided against using the buzzer – assuming that Izaya would probably try to run away if he alerted the man to his presence, instead he found the fire escape and climbed up to the informant’s floor. After slightly too enthusiastically opening the door at the top of the fire escape, resulting in its removal from the frame, he simply stood in front of Izaya’s door – still holding the other door loosely in front of him, and unsure of what exactly he was supposed to do or say now. The blond knocked a lot harder than he meant to and felt his hand break through the wood, splinters pressing against his skin. He pulled his hand out again and gave up on the subtle approach.

“I-za-ya-kun,” the blonde called, sounding all too much his old self – he cleared his throat, wondering what he could add to make himself sound less threatening. Before he could do anything however, there were a pair of crimson eyes peering out at him through the fist-shaped hole in the door. There was silence, Shizuo had the distinct impression that Izaya was steeling himself for something and was busy wondering what it could be, before remembering that he had just punched through the guy’s door and threateningly yelled his name, all not long after having shouted at him for being a lying bastard. It was probably warranted. “Hello,” he said, cringing at how lame he sounded. Izaya’s eyes narrowed.

“What do you want?” Shizuo noted that the informant didn’t seem to be trying to piss him off, he didn’t even call him Shizu-chan. Izaya pressed his palm against his forehead, before pushing his hair out of his face: he looked tired.

“To talk.”

“So talk.”

“Inside.”

The informant raised an eyebrow, the disbelief in his voice coloured by exhaustion. “Do I look suicidal to you?”

“I’m not going to hurt you.” Izaya laughed quietly, before shaking his head and opening the door, muttering “whatever” under his breath.

They stood for a while facing each other, neither making any effort to move further into the flat and Shizuo saw the informant’s eyes trace down to the door still clutched in his hands.

“Do you have some vendetta against doors?” he asked, and Shizuo saw a ghost of a smile before the informant turned and walked back into his flat. The blond followed, muttering an apology before placing the door on Izaya’s floor, taking off his shoes and moving further into the room.

“Tea?”

“Er, yeah.” The smaller man went off into the kitchen whilst Shizuo observed the room: it was huge and stylish – all dark woods and leather, the wall length window behind Izaya’s desk flooded the place with light. The blond took a seat on the right-angle of a sofa, marvelling at how normal the situation seemed. Minus the multiple broken doors.

After a few minutes Izaya returned, placed down their drinks on the coffee table and proceeded to sit as far away from Shizuo as physically possible whilst still on the same sofa. They sat in silence, only breaking it to sip from their tea. The blond was utterly distracted by his own thoughts of how to begin the conversation they needed to have and so did not notice that Izaya’s gaze was set upon him with a mix of suspicion and surprise.

“You’re drinking it.”

“Yeah?”

“What if I’d poisoned it?”

“Have you?”

“No, but…” The smaller man fell silent again. It seemed awfully like Shizuo was trusting him – another thing to add to the list of reasons why this was the weirdest encounter of his life, and that was saying something. He’d been closer to the blond over the last few weeks, but that had all been before he’d been told that Izaya was lying.

“Well then, shut up flea.” The informant started – flea? But that was pre-memory loss Shizuo’s nickname, so what the hell did that mean? Surely if the blond could remember what Izaya had really been like since high school then he’d be here in a far less civilised manner.

“I don’t understand,” he admitted, the words tumbling out of his mouth before he could stop them.

“Oh,” Shizuo said and Izaya could almost see the blond’s brain attempting to formulate an explanation – his tongue peeking out of the corner of his mouth. The smaller man smiled slightly, finding no point in trying to pretend that it wasn’t cute any more. “So I, er, woke up and I just…I remembered everything. From before the train, from after the train – I’m not a doctor, I didn’t even turn up to most of our biology classes in high school so I don’t have a clue how this works. But I don’t care either, y’know – I just…” he made a frustrated noise, unable to quite verbalise what he wanted to say. “Celty saw you leaving that time and she came up and started asking whether I was okay, what you’d tried to do – hell, she said she was surprised I was alive and I felt pissed y’know? Because, dammit, I liked you-” Izaya winced slightly at the use of the past tense. “-I felt, I don’t know? Connected...with you. More than anyone else and the thought that it was all fake, that it was all just some fucking game for you—”

Izaya couldn’t quite get over that this Shizuo could remember him: this was the man who’d thrown things at him; chased him; loudly proclaimed his hatred for him and yet the way he spoke – that quiet, intimate tone – his relaxed body language, despite their close proximity: it was also the Shizuo he’d come to know over the last few weeks.

“But when I woke up, when I remembered you, the you from before…I wasn’t so sure.”

“Of what?”

“That it was a game.”

The gravity of what Shizuo was saying came crashing down upon him. Izaya couldn’t answer. He had a choice, either he lied or he made himself vulnerable: admitted to what he thought was below him – feelings for one person that eclipsed reason. He tried to slip back into his persona.

“Well that depends,” he began, but was cut off.

“No bullshit, Izaya.”

The informant took a deep breath in. His feelings for Shizuo didn’t eclipse reason – after all, post-eclipse the sun returns – his feelings for Shizuo fucking obliterated reason. Annihilated it. There was no return. He pulled the switchblade from his sleeve and threw it hard across the room – the blond didn’t even flinch as it imbedded itself into the wall, he stayed absolutely focussed on the man sat in front of him. Izaya looked at him out of the corner of his eye – crimson meeting amber.

“No game,” he said quietly.

The sat together in silence for a while, both absorbing what this meant for them and trying to work out what was the best step forward to take. Eventually Izaya stood up and took his cup back to the kitchen – it was both half-full and still warm but he needed something to do to take his mind off what had essentially been a confession on his part. Shizuo followed him, leaning against the jamb of the door and simply looking at the smaller man.

“I’m glad,” he said, beckoning Izaya forward. The informant hesitated but tentatively moved closer to the blond. “Hell, this isn’t going to be easy – you know it won’t – and we both have a lot of shit to work out but I…” He looked at a loss of what to say – he wasn’t a man of words but of action, and with that thought he reached out, grasped Izaya’s wrist and pulled him gently into a hug. When he felt Izaya’s arms wrap around him he moved his hands up to the smaller man’s face, angling it towards him and leaning down for a kiss that said everything he couldn’t.

 

EPILOGUE

Celty looked between her best friend and his arch-enemy-turned-boyfriend with a mix of concern and confusion. The two were sat on her and Shinra’s sofa, with a deceitfully accidental seeming proximity – Shizuo’s arm was slung casually on the back of the sofa behind where Izaya sat and Izaya’s hand just happened to be resting against the side of the blond’s thigh. The two of them didn’t do public displays of affection in a big way, they were always just a bit closer than was normal – especially than was normal for them. It had been two weeks since they’d wordlessly agreed upon a relationship and although they hadn’t directly told the biker and the doctor, the lack of city wide destruction and the sudden interest the both of them had taken in high necked shirts and scarves had resulted in Celty demanding that they came over. Shinra’s eyes had practically bulged out of their sockets when they had arrived together.

It was funny, Celty thought, that their hatred had been something that everyone had known – they’d literally shouted it from the rooftops – and yet their love was quieter, but even more potent. It wasn’t that it was a secret, it was simply that they didn’t actively tell people: eventually they figured that the city would work it out. Celty couldn’t say she exactly liked Izaya, but when she reflected on it she wasn’t sure she could come up with a better match for the two of them – now they’d stopped fighting at least. They were both potentially dangerous and not only when they tried to be – Shizuo didn’t always have precise control over his strength and the both of them had a knack for making enemies who might try to use any partner as a bargaining chip: but no one could handle those dangers like they could. Sure, she was worried about the more manipulative side of Izaya and she dreaded any arguments they might have – but ultimately there was only one thing that she really wanted to know.

[Are you happy?] She held the screen out so both of them could see it and watched as they caught each other’s eyes and smiled – just a slight curve of the lips, but the most real expression she’d seen from either of them.

“No thanks to this idiot,” Izaya said, turning more towards Shizuo with a playful grin. “He tried to make dinner the other night – I’m lucky I still have a flat.” The blond gave him a light shove.

“Oh come off it, you just have an oversensitive fire alarm.”

“The smoke was black.”

“Hey, I only tried so we were having something other than takeaway every night – turns out you’re not good at everything, huh?”

They continued bickering until they left – Izaya’s little finger hooked in Shizuo’s trouser pocket – and Celty watched them, a feeling of warmth flooding through her.

Yes, she thought. They’re happy.