Chapter 1: Three Jasmines
Three silhouettes stood in front of the sun, the light shining upon them and leaving them as nothing but black figures against a yellow sheen. The one in the middle was much taller than the two on either side of it, whom were reaching up to hold the taller one’s hand. They were walking towards the sun, not looking back at whatever could be behind them. The silhouette on the right tugged on the middle one, before being allowed to climb on their shoulders.
Finally, the silhouette on the left looked up at the taller one, and smiled. They mouthed something to the taller silhouette, whom opened their mouth to say something back, before they walked forward again
Where were they going? Who were these people he was seeing? Why-
Ring~! Ring~! Ring~!
A groan escaped the person underneath the black covers, who moved around for a bit before one hand pawed at the cold, outside air, searching for the obnoxious noise that interrupted his sleep. When the ringing still continued, the black haired male yanked the covers off himself and looked around with drowsy red eyes.
Finally, the half-awake Izaya Orihara, mind still muddled from that strange dream, located the source of the noise. His phone was ringing. Looking over at the clock, Izaya noticed it was not even 5am. Who would be calling him at such an hour?
He took his phone in his hand, pressing the answer button and bringing the phone to his ear. “Orihara Izaya speaking,” He said, rubbing the sleep from his left eye.
“Ah, Izaya, I was hoping you wouldn’t pick up,” A bored, monotone voice answered on the other side of the phone. Izaya recognized that voice instantly, it was his mother. Whoopee. Just who he wanted to talk to right in the morning.
Putting on his facade, Izaya said,”Whoa! Mom, you actually spoke to me, I’m impressed you didn’t get the maids to do it!”
He heard his mom vainly snort in the background. “They have a week or two off, so I’m telling you the.. Um.. News myself,” She said, her tone growing from monotone and stiff to serious. So quick, in fact, that Izaya wasn’t sure what to say, so opted for walking towards his closet instead.
Finally, his mother broke the silence. “Raizen died,” She said, causing Izaya to freeze up, his hand still where it had been about to slide open the closet door.
“Oh..” Izaya said quietly, feeling several different emotions fill his chest, but the main one was sadness. His mother took a shaky breath, before saying,”The service begins tomorrow, Raizen would have wanted you to come, I guess.. Bye”
Izaya listened to the dial tone a moment before bringing a hand to rub his eyes, which felt watery. Ever since he was born, his parents and their family hated him, because he was an illegitimate child. Izaya himself never understood why they hated him for it, when it was his mother went out and got pregnant with another guy, it wasn’t his fault. The only reason his parents didn’t throw him in a river was because, by the time his mother told the truth, the public already knew about Izaya.
But no matter that fact, his ‘father’s’ grandfather, Raizen Orihara, was always nice to him, even though he wasn’t even truly Izaya’s grandfather. Izaya loved him dearly for it, it was the one thing that made his life better. Though, Raizen didn’t really like Izaya’s dangerous choice of a job, he still supported him. To hear that the one person who cared had died..
He had to go, he didn’t care what obligations he had anywhere else, he had to go. Raizen was someone extremely important, everything else could wait. He just needed to make a few calls, then he could leave. Nothing else mattered.
– – – – – –
Shinra wanted to groan loudly when his phone went off, having wanted to just spend the time with the love of his life. He brought his phone up to his face and frowned at the name. Why would Izaya be calling him? He pressed the answer button and asked,”Hey Izaya, what’s up?”
Celty looked up from her alien documentary, wondering what Izaya could possibly want. The woman was doing a job for him later today, he never made more contact than was necessary. So why was he calling them.
She grew even more worried when Shinra grew a worried look on his face. “What? Why are you canceling Celty’s job?” Shinra asked curiously, making Celty get up and moving closer, wanting to hear Izaya’s explanation for randomly deciding to cancel her well-paying job. Dammit, the raven really got on her nerves!!
“Shinra, I’ll still pay her, don’t worry. But I can’t be here today.. I have to go back to the family home,” Izaya’s voice came through the phone, sounding.. Very serious for once. The moment he mentioned the family home, Celty noticed, Shinra’s face scrunched up even more. Was there something she didn’t get?
Shinra then asked,”Why? Did something happen?” No reply came from the strangely serious Izaya this time, it was silent for several moments.
“Raizen.. He’s gone.. He died just last night”
“Oh..” Shinra instantly said,”Izaya-kun, I’m so sorry.. Send my regards, okay?” There was an affirmative noise on the other line, before the informant broker hung up, and her fiance stared at the screen of his phone with a sad sigh.
Celty quickly pulled out her PDA and typed [What was that about? Who is Raizen?] She was curious about what could make the ever-annoying Izaya act so serious, and worry Shinra so much. When Shinra didn’t jump to answer like he normally would, Celty nudged him, curiosity getting the better of her.
“I.. I don’t think Izaya would want me to talk about it..” Shinra replied firmly,”And.. I don’t really wanna talk about it anyways..” The underground doctor then quickly stood up and walked away, heading towards his bedroom.
Celty watched where he had gone, witnessing the door close quickly, as she slowly lowered her PDA. What was that about? She thought worriedly. The Dullahan wanted to go and comfort him, but how could she when she didn’t know what was wrong? With a sigh, she sat back down on the couch and fiddled with her hands, deciding she would worry about it later. Maybe she should give Shinra a little time on his own, that seemed like the best choice she could make at this point.
– – – – – –
The train ride to his family’s home was dreadful, mainly because the thought of going there again after managing to avoid them for so long. He kept fiddling with his tie, annoyed by it and the damn suit. The only reason he was putting up with it because it was for his grandfather. If it was any other occasion that his family had invited him to, he would wear his usual outfit just to piss them off.
Of course, they would never invite him to anything unless they really had to, hell, the only time his parents communicated with him as he was going through middle and high school was by sending him his allowance for the month.. He bet the only reason that they had invited him is because Grandfather explicitly asked them to before he died.
Then again, maybe he didn’t.. I heard he’d been distancing himself from the family as of late.. Izaya thought. Though I wonder why..
The train screeched to a stop, the too happy women on the loudspeaker announcing their arrival. Izaya took a shaky breath before getting off and walking to his family’s home with dread. The streets of his hometown were quiet, only the chirping of birds and the rustling wind joined his plagued thoughts.
Finally, he found himself in front of the gate, staring at the traditionally styled mansion in slight sadness. The red gate was closed, and Izaya couldn’t help but place down his suitcase and rub a hand over the polished wood fondly. The one time I come home, and it’s for a funeral.. He thought in sad amusement. Though it’s not like anyone would care if I never came home or not.. He picked his bag back up, using his hips to push open the gate and walk towards the front gate.
When he heard sudden movement behind him however, Izaya’s instincts caused him to turn quickly to the right, wanting to see what was making all the noise when he hadn’t seen anyone outside when he was by the waist-high gate.
He was surprised to see two small bodies come to a stop. One was slightly taller than the other, and holding the smaller’s hand. In both their free hands they held a bundle of flowers. They were dressed in all black and both turned around to face him, giving him a good look.
The taller one had spiky, wood brown hair that was held in a ponytail on one side, her bangs strewn everywhere and chocolate brown eyes staring at Izaya suspiciously. The smaller girl has long, messy ebony hair with big green, innocent eyes that also stared at Izaya, but with curiosity and fear instead of suspicion.
When Izaya’s red eyes continued to stare curiously at them, the older girl decided enough was enough. She tugged on the smaller’s arm, causing the messy haired girl to turn around before running away with the other girl. The raven could only watch them run around the corner in confusion.
“Huh..” He whispered,”Who were they..?”
Even if he didn’t care much about his family, but he still knew everything he could just in case. And he didn’t recognize either of those girls. After staring for a few more moments, Izaya shook himself out of his stupor and went inside the house, not wanting to be in the way of any of his hateful family members.
He saw many family members around, but none he really wanted to be near. Thankfully, he did not see his mother or ‘father’ in the house yet. Maybe his sisters knew who they two little girls were.
Walking to the kitchen, he heard the sink running, which was one of the only noises in the house. Inside the kitchen was his twin sisters, both of whom had red rimmed eyes and were furiously scrubbing dishes. They were probably just as upset about the whole thing as Izaya was.
“Hey..” He said awkwardly, causing both girls to jump slightly, and quickly turn to face him. “Iza-nii..” Kururi whispered, before suddenly moving forward and wrapping her arms around Izaya’s waist, Mairu was not far behind, flinging herself onto her brother.
Izaya froze slightly at first, before hugging the girls back tightly. Though the three of the definitely didn’t see eye to eye on several things, Raizen was someone all three of them loved dearly, and to lose him hurt them all very much.
Once the girls calmed down a little they pulled away, sniffing and wiping their eyes. Mairu quickly went back to the sink, and said,”I’m surprised mom invited you, Iza-nii”
“Glad..” Kururi whispered quietly, causing Mairu to nod and say,”Yeah, we’re glad though.. Grandpa would have been upset if you didn’t come.. Us too” She added the last part quickly.
Izaya rolled up his sleeves, moving to help his sisters with the dishes. The siblings worked in silence for a while, before Izaya said,”I saw two little girls out in the garden.. Are they Aunt Haruko’s kids?”
Mairu sighed and muttered,”No.. They’re not.. They’re.. um..” She was rubbing the same spot on the dish over and over. She seemed to be trying to word it right. “They’re not Aunt Haruko’s..”
“Then who do they belong to?”
“Oji-san’s..” Kururi whispered, causing Izaya to freeze in surprise and drop the bowl he was holding.
Mairu nodded at her sister, and said,”Mom told us that they’re Grandpa’s illegitimate children..” Izaya’s eyes widened, and he asked,”Grandfather’s children?! Really?”
“Word.. (He never spoke a word about it)” Kururi whispered,”Family.. (Not to anyone in the family)”
Izaya turned to look at the door, swearing for a moment he saw the two little girls peeking into the doorway. When he saw nothing, he turned back to his sisters.
“Mom said they can’t find his lover either, so they have no clue who their mother is..” Mairu said tensely. Lover?! Izaya thought. But he was 85!
Then, his mother walked into the room, with a few more dishes. “Hmph, not like we need to find out anyways, such a shameful, embarrassing thing to come upon this family.. Again,” She sneered, her brown eyes staring at Izaya with malice.
Izaya wanted to snap at her, but then just smirked evilly. “So, that would make them your sisters-in-law, huh Mom?” He teased, his smile growing wider at his mom’s suddenly flustered face. He then swung around and pointed to his sisters. “Which would make them your aunties!!” The raven declared. Since they were on his ‘father’s’ side, he wasn’t related to them in the slightest. He let out a few chuckles of amusement.
His mother slammed the tray down angrily. “There’s nothing funny about this! Don’t make those types of jokes, maybe if you act mature I’d find a way to care about you!” She snapped causing his sisters to look at each other awkwardly. They never liked when the subject about Izaya’s heritage came up.
“We both know that wouldn’t happen,” Izaya replied back hotly,”The only thing you care about is how much money is in your wallet and if your earrings match your disgusting outfit!”
The older woman scoffed at the 23 year old, saying,”You aren’t worth the trouble of caring for, if the news of your birth wasn’t already public I would have thrown you in the river once we left the hospital, you bastard child” She turned, swinging her brown hair before walking out of the room quickly.
Izaya watched her go, his red eyes filled to the brim with hatred. He clenched his fists tightly, knuckles whitening, before taking a deep breath and stalking out of the room as fast as he could. Why did I come to this? He asked himself, Why didn’t I just stay home? I knew how it was going to be.. Why did I come?!
The raven sighed. He wasn’t a fool, he knew why. For Oji-san.. Izaya thought firmly. He didn’t care that I really wasn’t his grandson, he loved me all the same. I came here to remember him. Izaya sighed slightly and wiped his eyes, trying to stop the tears from escaping. I won’t let them get to me, I’m here for him.
I would do anything.. For Oji-san.
– – – – – –
In another room of the mansion, the family had set up a large shrine for Raizen. His picture was on the top, with two large vases of flowers on either side. There was a table for incense, and three pillows in a line for people who wished to pray.
The door slid open, and a blonde head of hair looked into the room suspiciously, tugging on her black skirt with discomfort. Once she saw no one else was in the room, she tugged on the smaller girl’s hand, and pulled them both in the room.
They stopped in front of the shrine, both girl’s standing and looking at Raizen’s picture silently. They probably would have stood there for quite a while, but when the shadow of a figure through the shoji screen came closer, they both turned and ran behind the Shoji door on the other side of the room, hiding from whom they thought may be another hateful person, like most of the people had been in this place so far.
The door opened, revealing the young man they had seen before. The taller child moved her head to look around the shoji door, examining him. He had taken off his coat and tie, leaving him in just a white dress shirt and black pants.
He knelt down and lit the incense and candles, setting everything up before putting his hands together, and bowing his head. His eyes were closed, he looked relaxed.
“You really did die peacefully, didn’t you Oji-san?” He asked the shrine. “You know, I’m gonna miss you.. Everything about you. The Daifuku you used to make for me whenever I was with you, and those strawberry hard candies you always had in your pocket, no matter where you went..”
He sighed, lowering his hands slightly. “Mother and f-father will be taking over the company now that you’re gone.. And now that you’re gone.. I’m all alone..” He whispered the last part.
His head dropped more, and he continued,”You were the only person who truly cared about me in this world.. I know I never showed it but.. I’m lonely.. So very lonely.. My family hates me for a reason that isn’t my fault, and nobody cares about me.. I don’t know how I’ll make it without you Oji-san.. I don’t have a purpose in life.. What am I supposed to do?”
The smaller girl’s green eyes filled with sadness for the man, the only person whom hadn’t looked at them with disgust. She didn’t want him to be sad. Shyly, the child moved her feet forward, going to hug the man, when he turned around, his red eyes staring at her curiously.
The small girl froze, and then turned and ran back to her sister, hiding behind her and staring at the raven shyly, before they both turned and ran down the hall again.
Izaya watched them leave, feeling like something was squeezing his heart. He felt like he wanted to talk to those girls, but he couldn’t find a reason as to why he wanted to. Other than.. Maybe it was because they were like him?
Looking up at his grandfather’s shrine once more, he bowed politely, before getting up and walking out of the room. As he left, he swore he heard his grandfather’s voice calling out to him.
– – – – – –
As the sun started to grow higher, more family began to arrive.
They had put up the funeral curtains around Raizen’s shrine, and all of the family began to give their money to help pay for the funeral. He could hear them debating with themselves about how much they could allow their shrewd selves to part with.
The rest of the family was sitting on a table outside the room with the shrine, the shoji doors that were blocking the two rooms had been pulled aside to make it one large room, and the doors leading to the outside had been slid open to show the garden below them, since the floor was built above the ground.
Izaya was leaning against the doorway that led outside of the garden, arms crossed and staring out at the bellflowers. He heard people coming in, but didn’t dare face them, unless he wanted to be pulled into another argument about how he was such a failure, he’d heard it enough.
“They recommended 40,000 to 50,000 yen..” The tired voice of his great aunt spoke, before she abruptly stopped. “Oh.. He’s here..” She sneered. Izaya’s red eyes flitted towards her for a moment, before scoffing and looking up at the ceiling. “Who invited him?”
“Raizen did, he said that he had to be here,” Another gruff voice said,”I still don’t know how Raizen found the care to deal with a freak like him”
Izaya sighed, placing his hands behind his head and looking back outside. The two little girls were there again, crouched down by the bellflowers and staring at something, probably a ladybug.
As if sensing that someone was watching them, the smaller girl turned around, her green eyes landing on Izaya. She smiled shyly at him, before bringing her little hand up in a wave. Izaya felt that warm feeling around his heart again, as he brought a hand down and waved back at her.
“.. He can’t even listen to us, or try and visit his family or make up for the trouble he’s caused, not even on the holidays, such a disgraceful brat,” He heard his great aunt say. Izaya suddenly wished that the protozoan would let him borrow his strength for a few hours, so he could fling his horrible family as far away as possible.
They kept talking,”And now there’s more of you, those two little brats. Should have just dropped them off on the roadside on our way here, like we should have with you” Izaya clenched his fists again. Why did they have to drag those two poor girls into it? It wasn’t their fault they were born in such a way, just like it wasn’t his fault.
Luckily, the talking stopped, as there were the sound of children yelling, causing all the adults to turn to look at what the commotion was.
Throwing themselves through the black curtain rudely were his aunt’s children, a loud and obnoxious little boy named Hiroshi, and a bratty little girl named Reina.
“Give me back my teddy! You took him!” Reina yelled, her shoes still on as she ran through the shrine area after her brother.
“YOU DID TOO!”
They ran out through the other curtain, their flustered mother after them, trying to tell them to be quiet and respectful. Of course, his relatives did not comment about this fact, or the fact the two little girls outside were perfect examples of respectful children. He knew why, but he wasn’t about to voice it.
Looking back up at the shrine, he stared up at his grandfather’s picture. Oji-san.. How did you manage to put up with all this so long? He thought sadly.
– – – – – –
The sun began to set, and the adults began to drink.
The two little girls had come inside, and were sitting at the shrine, currently struggling to light incense with no adults to help them. Meanwhile Izaya, whom hadn’t moved, continued to listen to the adults as the topic switched.
“Raizen left behind a child care book, We don’t know anybody by the name of the second person on the front, underneath my brother’s..” His great uncle was saying,“The older girl is six, her name is Naru, the younger girl is four, her name is Rin..”
His ‘father’, Shirou, slammed his cup down, saying,”I don’t care about their names, I just want a way to get rid of them before the press finds out, I don’t want two more burdens in this family”
The conversation moved on afterward, talking about Raizen, and how he was in his last days. Izaya heard a panicked noise, and turned to see the older girl, Naru, trying to light an incense again. But when the fire wouldn’t go out, she panicked and began blowing. Rin then turned and looked around, trying to find help, but everyone was purposefully ignoring them.
Rin then looked at Izaya, causing his heart to leap in surprise. Her green eyes begged for help, while Naru’s still stared at him with suspicion. The still smoking incense stick was now laying on the ground, having been thrown in frustration.
Feeling a pull towards them, Izaya removed himself from the doorway, and then crouched down by Naru. “Here, I’ll show you,” He said softly, as to not cause anyone to look their way. Naru looked at him curiously, but didn’t move.
Rin quickly stood up, grabbing the incense stick from the pile and moving back quickly, holding it out to Izaya happily. The raven smiled at the brunette, and then took the lighter nearby. He lit the tip, before using his hand to fan it out, and moving the stick in the air, before finally placing it in the holder.
“Oooh..” Rin whispered softly, before looking at Izaya with an awed smile. Her voice like the sound of a small bell, adorable and relaxing, and her smile send that warm feeling to his heart again.
Naru nodded, still looking at Izaya suspiciously. “Well, you might want to start talking to Oji-san soon, I’m sure he wants to hear from you two,” Izaya said after a few moments.
The two gasped, before climbing on the pillows in praying position and squishing their eyes shut. Izaya smiled and stood up once more, walking back towards the doorway when his two sisters ran in the room.
“Iza-nii, could you get the last of the cushions, we can’t reach!” Mairu asked him, her and Kururi holding some cushions before moving quickly down the hall. Izaya made a detour from his doorway to go and grab the cushions like his sisters asked.
Hearing the nice man’s name again, Naru finished her prayers quickly and opened her eyes. He was leaving the room, and Naru was curious.. Why was this man so much nicer to them than everyone else? She crawled towards the black and white curtain, pulling it open slightly to try and see where he was.
He was walking out of the room the second she looked out, causing her to gasp in surprise and yank the curtain back shut. She waited for a few moments before standing up and walking outside of the curtain. Rin noticed her sister’s absence, and quickly moved to follow her. They quietly frolicked past the maids in the kitchen, and towards the door they saw the nice man go through.
He was staring right at them when they came around the corner, causing Naru to slid to a stop, gasping in surprise. Rin slid on the polished floors, hitting her sister’s back, her ebony hair flowing forward.
Izaya stared at them curiously, his arms full with five cushions. “What’s up?” He asked curiously, but Naru quickly took off down the hall afterward he finished his sentence. Rin looked back at her, then back at Izaya, before following after her sister quickly.
Oh.. Izaya thought curiously, before going to finish the task he had been doing before.
– – – – – –
It was now dinnertime, and all the family was seated and eating the delicious buffet. Well, except those who weren’t wanted. Izaya remained in his place in the doorway, his attention shifting from the girls to the moon.
Rin and Naru had found some blue string, and were now playing with it calmly. Though, Naru was having an easier time than Rin, whom had to spread her hands out much further since she was so small. Reina had stopped eating and was standing near the girls curiously, her orange string held in her hand halfheartedly.
Seeing all the amazing patterns Naru was making, Reina moved to stand in front of her, practically pushing Rin out of the way, and obnoxiously ordered,”Trade with me!!”
Naru looked up at the girl, before sticking her tongue out at her and going back to her string. Reina gasped in surprise, before pointing at her. “Mom! She’s being a meanie!” She yelled angrily, stomping her foot on the ground.
“Reina-chan! Come back over here, don’t talk to those girls!” His aunt declared, grabbing the girl’s hand and taking her back to the table.
Izaya sighed sadly, seeing the lonely look in the girls’ eyes. The raven was used to this alienation, but those two girls were raised by Raizen, a loving and doting man. They obviously didn’t like this very much.
He walked towards them once more, his hands holding his plate. He knelt down next to them, Rin gave him a wide smile, while Naru looked up at him with curiosity instead of suspicion.
“Oya, oya, wanna try some fatty tuna?” He asked them, holding out his plate. “It’s my favorite sushi,” He explained.
Rin eagerly nodded, holding her hands out for once. Naru’s curiosity grew, and she held out her hands as well. Izaya placed one piece of fatty tuna in both of their hands. Both girls eagerly ate the food, and Rin instantly rubbed her belly happily. Naru had half of the sushi left, and scrunched up her face at the taste, before grabbing the wasabi on Izaya’s plate and coating it with it, before shoving the rest in her mouth. She then gave an affirmative nod.
“Whoa..” Izaya whispered,”You’re pretty strong huh? Ate all that wasabi without even crying!” Naru puffed out her chest in pride, but it only lasted a few moments as her eyes began to water as the spiciness got to her. She then quickly grabbed her small cup of tea and began to chug it.
Rin then giggled at her sister’s behavior, gaining a chuckle from Izaya as well. He heard the noise behind them stop, and realized they were probably being watched and judged.
He quickly turned his head, glaring at his family at the table. He felt a fondness and protective pull towards the girls, he needed to keep them safe from his family. He knew how they felt, he was like them, he could keep them safe.
Wanting to get away from the tense atmosphere, he asked,”Want to go look at the stars? I live in the big city, and so I don’t get to see the stars that often, want to come with me?”
Rin and Naru both nodded simultaneously, following Izaya out to the porch. The moon was the only thing that was shining down on the three outcasts as they sat down. Rin and Naru sat together, while Izaya sat next to them. All three let their legs dangle, swinging them calmly.
“Why do you like us..?” Naru suddenly asked, causing Izaya to look over at her curiously. “No one likes us.. But you do. Why?”
Izaya saw the look in her eyes. This was her test, she wanted to know if she could really trust Izaya or not. Izaya didn’t even feel the want to manipulate or use these girls, not when they already managed to worm their ways into his heart.
“It’s because, I’m like you,” Izaya began,”And nobody here likes me either.. I understand you two.. I know what it’s like to be hated for something that wasn’t your choice, no matter how hard you try to get them to understand that, they still blame you.. No matter how hard you work..”
Rin stood up, moving to Izaya’s other side and hugging his arm. “s’okay,” She said softly,”I like you” Naru smiled at her sister, before turning around and flopping onto Izaya’s lap, placing her hands behind her head.
“Yeah,” She admitted,”You’re pretty cool” Izaya froze in surprise for a moment, before smiling widely, and staring back up at the sky with the two girls.
Izaya stayed up that night to watch the incense, and the two girls remained with him. Rin started slumping first, falling asleep on Izaya’s lap, and Naru slumped over against his side. It should have been uncomfortable, but Izaya actually found himself feeling.. Not that lonely.
Why is it, with them, I feel so whole?
– – – – – –
Next morning was the day.
It was the funeral.
“Everybody, please offer your final farewells”
Raizen’s body was in it’s coffin, and the family all lined up to get their lotus blossoms. Some people were crying and wiping their eyes, Izaya was staring at the ground sadly, his happiness from last night vanished. One by one, everyone grabbed their lotus flowers and placed them over Raizen. Izaya watched from nearby, not yet putting a flower in.
Rin and Naru were in the corner again, playing with some string as Reina and Hiroshi hovered nearby, until their mother said,”Reina, Hiroshi! Come here please!”
Once the children showed up, Haruko handed them a flower and sadly said,”Go say goodbye to Oji-san..” She quickly walked back to the coffin, while the two children moved to follow her, but saw the other flowers.
“Flower SHOWER!” Hiroshi yelled, hitting the flower tray out of the poor man’s hand and sending them flying. Haruko gasped in embarrassment, before snapping,”Stop that!”
“NO! I wanna make a garden!!” Reina yelled angrily as their mother pulled them aside, Hiroshi merely smirking in satisfaction. I swear, the kid is more evil than they say I am.. Izaya thought.
Izaya turned and saw Naru continued to look toward the coffin, then sadly back at her hands. He quickly moved toward them. Raizen was possibly their biological father, he was not going to let them get shunned from saying goodbye just because of their illegitimacy like he normally was.
“Want to get some flowers for Oji-san?” He asked, sliding his shoes on and hopping down into the garden. Rin quickly followed after him, while Naru looked back at the coffin. “But.. The flowers are there..” She pointed out.
Izaya smiled sadly. “Yeah, but Raizen never liked lotus blossoms, he said they were too normal. These were his favorite,” Izaya said, kneeling down and picking a two large large jasmine flowers from the garden.
Naru moved next, picking one of the orchids and Izaya handed Rin the second Jasmine flower. The, they headed back into the house.
The girls looked down sheepishly, still afraid of the rest of the family, while Izaya kept his face stone cold, and walked to the grave, placing the jasmine flower in it. The two girls followed after him, placing the flowers in and staring at the coffin.
“Oji-san will love those flowers the most,” Izaya told them softly, kneeling down to their height and staring at the three flowers that contrasted so much from the rest of the others.
Rin stared down at the flowers, before suddenly asking,”He.. Won’t wake up?” Izaya froze at her words, and turned to look at her sadly, then down at the floor.
“No.. He won’t..” Izaya whispered softly.
The 4 year old’s hand suddenly clutched to Izaya’s suit jacket, and she pushed her way into his chest. Loud, heart wrenching sobs began to escape the small girl. Naru clenched her fists, trying to remain calm. But as tears began to fall down her cheeks, she quickly wrapped her arms around the raven’s neck and buried her face in his shoulder, releasing sobs as well.
Though the family looked on them with disgust, Izaya quickly wrapped his arms around them protectively, letting his head carefully lie over theirs, protecting them from anything that could hurt them, and comforting them the best he could, even after everyone else had left.
You both.. Really are Oji-san’s children aren’t you?
– – – – – –
The next day they all returned.
But this time it wasn’t for any funeral business
It was to decide the fates of Rin and Naru
Izaya had arrived before everyone else, and found the two girls there already. It seemed last night, the grandfather wall clock had stopped, and now Naru was trying to fix it. However, she couldn’t reach it. So, she continued to grunt angrily and jump, trying to reach it.
Izaya smiled fondly, that damn clock was always stopping. Just as Naru was about to give up, Izaya walked next to her, and opened the door to reach the inside of the clock. Then, he slid his hands under Naru’s arms, picking her up and holding her to the clock. She smiled at him, before reaching out and beginning to wind up the clock again.
He placed her down once more, and she smiled at him, before taking Rin’s hand and running back outside, to go look at the Jasmine flowers. Once everyone else arrived, they sat at the table, the care book in the middle. Izaya retook his position in the doorway, sitting with a cup of green tea and listening in.
Izaya turned to look outside, checking on the girls. They were outside, and he was thankful for that. He didn’t want them to be in here when his family was deciding, in their biased views, on how to handle their existence, and if they should simply just-
“BOWM!” Reina yelled, hitting Izaya in the face with a stuffed lamp. “Ay! Ay!!” Hiroshi yelled, pushing his robot action figure into Izaya’s drink.
Izaya quickly snapped,”Hey, watch it!” Reina glared at Izaya, before pointing outside. “Those girls is stupid! They can’t talk!” She declared,”It’s such a pain!”
“They can talk!” Izaya protectively snapped,”You just have to be nicer to them! And they’re not a pain!”
“No they caaaaaaan’t!” Hiroshi whined, shaking his soaked action figure and sending green tea droplets everywhere, while Reina pushed her stuffy in his face again. “They’re so boooring to be aroooound!!” Reina screeched.
Izaya growled, pulling some candies from yesterday out of his pocket and snapping,”Go, fetch!” He tossed the candies, causing the children to scream and run after the small treats like two annoying dogs.
Things went silent for a moment, before Shirou sighed and said,”We should just leave them at an orphanage, they’re too much of a pain to keep around, just two more mouths to feed”
“Yes, I agree, but if people find out about them beforehand, or if they see us leaving them, it would be a scandal, an embarrassing one! We’ve already had enough embarrassment in this family!” His mother snapped, her eyes flashing towards Izaya.
His great uncle made a noise, and said,”Why don’t we just drop them off on the side of the road? It’s much simpler, and if we instruct them not to say anything, we can leave them there for someone to find. They won’t die.. Probably..”
“Even if they do, it’s not our problem, they’re not part of this family,” Shirou said firmly, Kururi and Mairu looking at him in slight surprise. Izaya decided enough was enough.
Standing up, his cup clenched in his hand, Izaya asked,”How can you say that?! Father, they’re at least 50% of this family, they’re your father’s children! They’re your siblings!”
He was now being glared at full force, except by Kururi and Mairu, whom actually seemed to be agreeing with him.
“They are not my family, don’t you dare refer to those things in such a manner, Izaya!” Shirou sneered,”We will do as we please, I don’t care what it means for them in the end, they will not be causing a company scandal!”
Izaya squeezed his cup harder. “Is this all that you care about?!” He demanded,”The company?! Your precious reputations?! What about their futures?!”
“Children who do not belong in this family, and will not be given the Orihara name in any way shape or form, we will get rid of them like we should have done to you, they don’t belong here,” Shirou snapped, then glared at Izaya with his black eyes. “What do you have to say about that?”
Izaya’s cup suddenly shattered, breaking by the sheer force of his anger. The adults and children shrieked in surprise, jumping back. Izaya glared at them once more, before turning and storming toward the edge of the house.
He stared at where the two little girls were, before taking a deep breath and yelling,”Rin! Naru!”
It was silent for a few moments, before the girls turned to look at him. Their eyes were misty, and they stared at Izaya with the looks of people whom had given up. Izaya moved, shoving his feet inside his shoes and walking onto the dirt, towards them. As he did, the two girls stood up, both holding two jasmine flowers in their hands.
Finally, Izaya stood in front of them, and held out his hand. “Come with me, I’ll take care of you from now on,” He declared.
Several gasps were heard from inside the house. “Iza-nii!” The twins whispered, while the adults thought of the horror that could occur if the girls were found out, with the other illegitimate child no less.
For a few moments, no one moved. Then, Naru moved forward, taking Izaya’s hand. Rin was not far behind. Izaya smiled softly, transferring Rin to his right and Naru to his left. He then walked towards the front gate.
“Hold on, Izaya!” His mother yelled, running towards the porch. “If you do this, you are no longer a part of this family!”
Izaya stopped, but he didn’t turn around. With determination in his voice, he said one, simple thing.
“I never was”
He left the Orihara family household, walking down the path with the two girls. Rin looked up at him, tugging on his sleeve and asking,”Up?”
Izaya stopped, kneeling down and pulling Rin onto his shoulders, one hand holding her sleepy form while the other held Naru’s hand.
After they had walked for a little longer, Naru looked up at him and asked,”Izaya? Does.. Does this mean you’re our daddy now?”
Izaya looked down at her for a moment, before smiling and saying,”Is that what you want me to be?” Naru looked thoughtful for a moment, before smiling and nodding.
“Yeah, I’d like that” She said softly.
As the three walked into the sunset, their figures were silhouetted, and Izaya remembered his dream from a few days ago. He understood now, what that dream meant. He understood everything. These little girls, they were his responsibility. He would care for them no matter what his family did, nothing would stop him from protecting them. They were his responsibility, his job, his to protect.. His purpose.
Chapter 2: Steps Forward
Izaya wakes up and has to make some major decisions
Izaya’s whole body extremely sore when he finally woke up, the sudden feeling even pulled a groan from his mouth. He rubbed a pale hand against his heavy lids, attempting to clear away the fog in his mind. The hotel bed wasn’t this hard yesterday…
His other hand felt the bed beneath him, and his sleep addled brain was instantly befuddled by the feeling of hardwood floors. Why would I be sleeping on the ground?
The raven pushed himself into a sitting position, the scratchy blanket that had been covering him slid into a pile on his lap. He turned his red eyes back to the bed and froze, his heart skipped several beats; The memories of the day before flooding back.
The two little girls, Rin and Naru, were sound asleep in the hotel bed; Both of them had small smiles on their faces and looked completely peaceful. But for Izaya, the sight of them was pure horror.
He groaned again, pulling his knees up to his chest and threading his hands in his hair. “What was I thinking!?” He frantically whispered,”Just taking them and leaving?! I can’t do this!”
The raven quickly got to his feet, his heart pounding as he tried to come up with a solution to what he believed was a mistake. I can’t do this, I’m only twenty-four! I can’t raise these kids! I don’t know a thing about raising them! I’ll just call someone and just send them away, to where they can actually be taken care of.
He rummaged around his things until he found his phone, but suddenly found himself freezing up. No matter how hard he tried to push himself, he couldn’t bring himself to even dial in a number.
Izaya sighed, lowering his head and dropping his arms at his side. “I can’t do that,” He admitted,”My family was going to do the same thing to them, they would have done the same to me if they had the chance. They’re all alone…” He turned and looked at the two children again. “Just… Just like me.”
But you don’t have to be anymore. A voice in his head pointed out as he looked back down at his phone. You know that you need them as much as they need you. Why are you trying to isolate yourself?
With those thoughts in mind, it didn’t take long for the raven to make a decision. He shut off his phone and tossed it back over to his suitcase. Such a simple action, and yet it made him feel really good.
The sound of rustling fabric brought the raven back to the present, and he turned to face the sound. He saw Rin pushing herself into a sitting position, rubbing her eyes, and then looking over at him with at him. The second their eyes met, a huge smile appeared on the child’s face.
“Good Morning!” She exclaimed, her voice like a clear bell ringing through the tense silence.
Izaya found himself unable to stop a small smile from showing on his face as well, and he replied,”Good morning, Rin.”
Rin grinned even wider (if that was possible) and then leapt to her feet, bouncing on the bed. “Wake up, Naru! Wake up!” She exclaimed.
There was a muffled groan underneath the covers, but nobody moved. Rin poured for a moment and then grabbed a pillow, slamming it down on the lump underneath the covers.
Naru screamed in surprise and jumped out of the covers, grabbing her own pillow and raising it into the air. “That’s it!” She declared,”You’re going down!”
Rin squealed in terror and jumped off the bed, stumbling over her feet and then scurrying behind Izaya. “Save me!” She exclaimed between short bursts of giggles.
Izaya found himself at a loss for what to do, looking between the two girls several times and then bursting out into rare, genuine laughter. He’d never been able to rough house like that with his sisters, his mother got mad if he even so much as teased them. For some reason, seeing that Rin and Naru had that relationship made him relieved and happy.
“Okay, okay,” He said once he got himself under control. “Let’s not fight. Let’s do something else. How about some breakfast?”
The tired look in Naru’s eyes instantly faded away, refilled with excitement. “Yes! Yes!” She exclaimed,”I’m starving!”
“Me too!” Rin agreed, coming around to stand next to her sister. “I could eat a whole big girl plate!”!
“Well, if you’re that hungry then we’d better get dressed and head downstairs to the buffet, right?” The raven asked.
“Yeah!” The girl’s chorused, quickly hurrying to their own suitcases in order to get presentable so they could have a delicious breakfast.
Izaya decided to follow their lead, grabbing his trademark fur coat and slipping it on as he looked at the scene on the floor. Next to his large black suitcase were two small ones, the one on the left was a violet color and the one on the right was a cerulean blue. The raven regarded the sight with a small smile.
I could get used to this.
— — — — — —
Happy thoughts were hard for Izaya to come by during breakfast, however. He pushed his chopsticks around his rice half-heartedly, his mind on things other than food. There will many things he needed to figure out if he was going to be able to keep the girls.
I can’t go back to Shinjuku, not with them. He realized. It’s too dangerous. If word got out that I have them… He quickly shook his head to disperse the dark thoughts threatening to invade his peace.
The raven turned his eyes up to look at the girls again. Naru was already almost done with her breakfast, and was quickly finishing her miso soup. Rin had gotten a ‘big girl’ plate just like she said she would, and was slowly making her way through it with a determined look on her face.
Izaya looked back down at his own food, stirring the rice around again. We can’t stay here, either. It’s just a hotel after all… We can’t stay near Tokyo, everyone knows me there. He let out a frustrated sigh, stabbing at the innocent rice with as much vexation as he could muster. What am I gonna do?
“How is everything?” A kind voice asked, turning Izaya’s attention towards it. He found himself looking at their gentleman server.
Naru, with her cheeks stuffed with rice, exclaimed,”Ish delishush!” Then quickly returned to her bowl without a second thought. Rin made a noise of agreement, but was too busy trying to figure out how to use her chopsticks.
Izaya chuckled and shook his head at their antics, and then replied,”The food is good, thank you.”
The waiter smiled. “I’m glad you enjoyed! I’m just here to bring your bill for the meal,” He said, placing it down on the table and refilling the girls’ water before he left.
The raven put down his food and began to rummage in his coats to find his wallet, but that thought went out the window when he felt the crinkle of thick paper.
He frowned and pulled the paper out, discovering that it was an envelope folded in half. When did that get there? He unfolded it and discovered very familiar handwriting on the front, making him gasp in surprise.
From: Grandpa Raizen
— — — — — — —
“Are you sure this is where he was staying?” Mairu asked her twin sister, looking at the traditional style hotel and then back at her sister.
“Bills… Pocket,” Kururi quietly replied, taking initiative for once and heading forward into the building. Mairu frowned worriedly, but hurried after her and up to the receptionist.
The person behind the desk was an older woman in a fancy yet simple kimono who was writing down things on a clipboard.
The older woman behind the desk eyed them with a mix of suspicion and curiosity, putting her pen down, and asking,”What can I help you girls with?”
“Is there a person named Orihara Izaya here? He’s like almost six feet, black hair, really obnoxious fur coat?” Mairu asked, grabbing at the edge of the desk and leaning forward.
The woman leaned back and seemed to grow even more suspicious. “Why are you asking such a question?” She demanded,”And why should I answer?”
Kururi moved forward and leaned against her sister as she softly answered,”Brother… Worried.”
“Yeah, Izaya is a brother, and we had a funeral… He was really upset and left so fast we weren’t able to talk to him,” Mairu agreed, fake sniffling and rubbing her eyes. “We wanted to make sure our Iza-Nii is okay.”
Their ruse seemed to work, as the woman’s icy brown eyes softened. She smiled sadly, and said,”Oh, I’m so sorry sweetie, that must be tough on your family.”
“It is, But Iza-nii was closer to him than we were, which is why he took it so hard,” Mairu explained.
The woman gave them a sympathetic look and quickly flipped through the papers on her desk. “Sorry, sweethearts,” She said,”He checked out this morning with his daughters.”
Mairu’s eyes widened, turning to look at the slightly shocked look her sister gave. Iza-nii wasn’t kidding, he really did take the girls with him!
“Well, thank you anyway...” She whispered, moving away from the desk and sadly stalking out of the hotel with Kururi at her side.
They walked for a few minutes before Kururi looked over at her sister, softly saying,”Bad luck…”
“Yeah, we just missed him,” Mairu muttered,”I guess we’ll just have to catch him next time he’s in Ikebukuro. We’re gonna talk to him whether he wants us to or not!”
“Letter,” Kururi reminded.
“Oh, you’re right,” Mairu agreed,”And we’ll make sure he got the letter Raizen told us to give him too!”
— — — — — —
Honestly, Izaya felt like an idiot. When they had read the will and Izaya’s name hadn’t been mentioned, he should have guessed it from the start. Raizen wasn’t stupid, he knew that Izaya’s family would keep what he gave Izaya away from the raven… Unless he gave it to him another way.
That was what led Izaya to travel all the way out to the Nakaniikawa District in the Tomaya prefecture; Where Raizen’s letter told him to go.
Deep in the countryside, past some rice fields and surrounded by trees was a Japanese farmhouse. It was huge house that was raised off the ground by a few feet, and looked almost completely broken down and in disrepair.
Naru and Rin were in awe of the sight. “Whoa!!” They whispered together, quickly dashing over to the house and climbing onto the wooden engawa veranda.
Izaya’s eyes widened, and he frantically followed after them while he exclaimed,”Be careful!”
“It’s a haunted house!!” Naru squealed in awe, running through the huge living room on the worn out tatami mats and around the poles, through the shoji doors in between those poles.
Rin chased after her older sister, her long brown hair flowing behind her and peals of giggles ringing through the air.
Izaya followed their lead and began to explore. The front of the house had a wooden engawa veranda which had glass shoji doors in front of it, and last the veranda were shoji doors that had torn bamboo paper in them but were otherwise okay.
Behind the bamboo paper shoji doors was the large living room which was the main part of the house, but was able to be split into medium sized rooms thanks to the wooden beams and the fusuma panels on them which, Izaya noticed, were painted with mountain scenery and looked like they were still in good condition. There were also some sliding doors that could make the space between the kitchen and the living room a hallway.
On the left side of the beams in the middle, past the large living room was a kitchen. The sink was a rustic style one with no faucet, there were wooden lined windows above them, and there were no appliances at all. There were some small stairs that led to the sink and where appliances should be, and some more shoji doors which revealed the large backyard and the forest beyond. Izaya also noticed a broken down shed nearby.
Shoji doors to the side of the kitchen and the main living room led to the left corner of the house gave way to hardwood floors and solid wooden sliding doors. Inside that area was a room to put firewood, the toilet with the wooden bathtub in a separate area and a wood burning stove outside two rooms.
On the right side of the wooden beams were shoji doors that led to a small area with a broken down desk and a room next to that one. Past the broken down desks were some more fusuma doors with cherry blossoms on them that led to a sleeping room.
All in all, the farmhouse was a nice home despite the state it was in… But that didn’t answer Izaya’s questions.
I don’t understand… He thought, turning and looking back down at the letter. Why would grandpa lead me here? He looked around again, searching for any kind of answer. That’s when he noticed several pieces of paper pinned to one of the beams.
Hurrying over to it, and dodging the speeding Rin as he did, he pulled it from the wall and recognized the handwriting immediately.
-- -- -- -- -- -- --
If you’re reading this, it means you’ve found what I’ve left you. This house used to belong to my family before I married into the Orihara family. I’ve had the deed for so many years but I never knew what to do with it. But I have a feeling that it should belong to you now… I’m not sure why, I just have a feeling.
The deed to the house is now in your name, it’s underneath this letter for you to hang on to. I’m sure you understand why I didn’t include it in the will, I knew they wouldn’t let you have it.
I’m sorry for the state of the place, but since my mother and father passed there hasn’t been any use for it. It will take some repairs before the place it liveable, but I’m sure that doesn’t bother you. You were never one to sway away from challenges.
-- -- -- -- -- -- --
Izaya’s hands shook as he looked at the deed to the house, then back at Raizen’s letter, and finally held the letter tightly against his chest. Thank you, Grandpa. He thought, You always seemed to know what someone needed.
The raven stuffed the papers in his pocket, hopped out of the house and went over to the shed that was outside. It took a few yanks, but he managed to force the door open.
The shed was filled with cobwebs and tons of junk that Izaya couldn’t really make out, except for the bike with a basket that was wedged in the back of the room and a few boxes on the shelves.
He took a few hesitant steps in, looking around the shelves until he saw just what he was looking for: A toolbox. He pulled it off the shelf, blowing the dust away, and then went back to the veranda.
The raven began pulling the tools out to see what he had, and looking around the farmhouse as he wondered where to start. His actions caught the girls’ attention, and they both moved to sit next to him and watch.
Naru looked around the dusty house, and then back at him. “Is this our new home?” She asked innocently, tilting her head and staring at him with her curious honey brown eyes.
Izaya returned his gaze to the house, his hand still holding Raizen’s letter tightly in his hand. Then, he smiled and smiled down at the girls. “Eventually,” He declared,”It will be.”
Chapter 3: Community
As the sun rose over the countryside, the small community began to start moving. As children headed off to school, many of the adults headed towards the rice fields or to the bus to get to work as well.
An older woman, in her late forties was one of the first to arrive. She soon saw her companions which consisted of many people around her age or older than her, the oldest of all of them was a man of ninety-one while the youngest was a thirty-two year old woman.
“Good morning everyone!” She called happily, waving to them as they arrived one by one as the sun began to rise higher into the sky.
“Good morning, miss Idori!” Others called back, joining her in the fields to begin planting for the season.
They waded through the water and spoke casually about their weekends and how their families were doing, and that simple casual conversation slowly gave way to gossip.
One of the younger ones, a woman named Kaede, brought it up first. “You guys remember the old farmhouse that belonged to the Nakamura family?” She mentioned.
“I remember it, quite a kind and welcoming bunch of people. Never turned away a guest, no matter what.” An older woman named Hana said, turning to look at Kaede. ”But what are you bringing it up?”
One of the older men turned to her, stopping his planting momentarily. “You haven’t heard? Someone moved in there,” He whispered in response.
“ Really? ” Another whispered,”But the place has been abandoned for years, it’s practically falling apart!”
“I think he might be fixing it,” Kaede mentioned,”When I was walking by the other day I saw all the doors had been taken out.”
Idori made a curious noise and turned her head toward the location of the house. “So it’s a man? How old?” She asked, expecting to hear about another old man who came for an easy retirement in the countryside.
“Not old at all!” Hana replied in a tone that made it sound like she herself was amazed by the fact,”He couldn’t be older than twenty-five… But he still had two children with him!”
“What is a father that young moving all the way out here?” Idori questioned, crossing her arms and standing up straight as she thought hard.
“Who knows…” The older man nearby muttered,”If he’s anything like the other city folk, he’ll hate how different the country is than the city and be gone within a month.”
Another man snickered. “I give him two weeks, that’s how long the last one lasted,” He chortled. “That punk was complaining on his first day here! I’m surprised he managed even that long!”
The gossip slowly died down as people buried themselves further in their work, as they focused much more on that. Idori found herself still thinking about it, even as the day dragged on and with all the work they had to do.
She wasn’t that old, she was still in her late forties, but she remembered the Nakamura family very well. More specifically, she remembered Raizen Nakamura. She used to explore the woods around their house, and Raizen would always offer her an afternoon snack and tell stories.
Then one day, he and his family were gone. She had heard rumors that Raizen had moved to the city to get an education and have a family, but she never knew for sure. Nobody really knew, it was like they were just vanished.
I know one thing for sure, that farmhouse has never been put up for sale, even though they have been gone for years. She thought, looking towards the trees where she knew the house was behind. So if anyone is living there, it has to be someone who knew the Nakamura family.
Before the day had ended, Idori already made up her mind. Tomorrow she was going to go check out the house again, she wanted to see exactly who had taken up residence there and if they had any relation to the kind family from her past.
— — — — — —
Idori made sure to make a nice big of goodies just so that she wouldn’t seem to be intruding. She even put a few things in for the kids this new neighbor supposedly had, and then headed up to the house.
She walked through the tunnel like grove of trees that surrounded the broken down house and then stopped near the edge, looking at the house from afar.
Just like Kaede said, all the doors were off the house and leaning against the raised engawa. She saw three figures at the familiar farmhouse. Two were significantly smaller than the other. Kaede was right, he does have children!
The taller of the two children was running around and sometimes springing into the air and then back onto the grass, her peals of laughter reaching even the middle aged woman. The smaller one was running after her with her long brown hair flowing behind her and her own giggles blending with the older girls’.
Meanwhile, Standing inside the house with what looked like a broom was a young man. Idori moved a little closer and noticed he had some kind of cloth wrapped around his mouth as he swept the dust out of the house
Just as she tried to get a better look at him, she heard a loud thud and saw that the smaller girl was lying facedown on the ground, and didn’t seem to be moving. The taller girl quickly saw what happened and skidded to a stop and looked back at the younger.
When the brunette sat up, her face was covered in dirt and grass and she started to cry, her fists scrubbing at her eyes. Idori instantly thought of her own children when they were that age, causing a sympathetic and nostalgic emotion to fill her.
The young man also saw what happened, however, and he dropped the broom and hopped out of the house and onto the grass without even stopping to put his shoes on.
He picked the little girl up, using another soft cloth to wipe her face off as he gently talked to her. Idori saw her sadness start to fade away, making her smile in relief. What a good father! He calmed her down so easily!
The taller girl who had been quietly watching the scene suddenly moved in front of the two, got the younger’s attention, and then began spinning around before falling face first as well, making the younger girl laugh once more.
Idori smiled even wider, a feeling of affection rising up in his chest. They seem like a very close family. She thought, and decided it was finally time to reveal herself to the trio.
She backed up a bit, and the walked forward in full view to pretend she hadn’t been spying. Keeping the smile on her face, she casually called,”Hello there!”
The taller girl jolted up into a sitting position instantly, and then little girl gasped at the sight of her, and quickly burrowed herself against the young man to the point that her face was no longer visible.
“I’m sorry to intrude,” Idori quickly continued,”But I heard that someone new moved into this old house and I was excited to meet the new neighbors. I’m Kamijou Idori, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
The young man stood up, still holding the little girl against him as she hid her face in his shoulder. “Uh- I- I’m Orihara Izaya,” He replied,”And this is Rin.” He motioned to the little girl who was looking at her now with the one eye not nuzzled against her father.
“And I’m Naru!” The taller young girl said, waving happily from next to the young Izaya. “It’s nice to meet you too!”
Idori chuckled at the girl’s enthusiasm, and kindly replied,”Well aren’t you a polite one! I guess it’s a good thing I brought a welcome gift. Do you, by any chance, like Anpan?”
Naru gasped, her honey-like eyes sparkling with desire. She quickly exclaimed,”YES!” And tried to jump forward to grab the bag.
Izaya, however, grabbed Naru’s shoulder and held her back. “Wait a second, little lady,” He ordered, giving her a firm yet playful glance. ”What do we say?”
Naru looked at Izaya, then back at Idori with pink flushed cheeks. Still squirming with excitement, she said,”Yes please.”
Even though Idori only met the young man a minute ago, she found herself feeling proud at the sight of him teaching the young children good manners.
“Come on in,” Izaya then offered, going back over to the farmhouse with the two girls, and Idori quickly followed after him in fear that he may suddenly change his mind.
— — — — — —
The house, while still not in good shape, was looking better than before. The vines and weeds around the house had been pulled, the trash inside the house was gone, and the dust was pretty much vanished. There was new furniture sprinkled around, and the kitchen was already spotless with a brand new stove, microwave, and fridge.
I’m not surprised that was the first thing he cleaned up. Idori thought casually. I’m sure feeding two growing girls is hard enough without a half-working kitchen.
Izaya led her to a short legged table, and went to go make some tea for them. The little girls quickly took seats across from each other, and Idori sat on the left side of them. The girls didn’t say much, they seemed to be examining her curiously. She knew it was most likely because she was their first guest.
The young man returned with their tea quickly, and some juice for the girls. After Idori drank some of her tea and served the sweet rolls to them, she decided to ask a few questions.
“So, how did you come upon this house, Izaya?” She asked.
Izaya didn’t seem phased by her question (which was a good sign). He easily answered,”It was given to me by my adoptive grandfather, Raizen Orihara. He left it in my name after he passed.”
Idori’s eyes widened with the end of his sentence, and she found herself growing sad. So the rumors were true, Raizen had left and gotten married. And now… Now he was gone. “Oh… I see,” She quietly said,”I’m sorry that he passed away, I’m sure it must have been hard on you.”
“It was hard for all of us,” He admitted, looking at the girls. “But he left us this place, and I know he would want us to take good care of it. I’m fixing it the best I can.”
Naru nodded in agreement and said,”Yeah! And he’s being very brave too! He was trying to fix the ceiling a few days ago and- and a whole buncha’ dirt and dust fell onto his head!”
“Oh dear!” Idori exclaimed, forcing herself to hold in a chuckle at the sight of Izaya’s quickly reddening face. “I’m not surprised such a mess happened, though. It’s been over forty years since anyone has lived here.”
Naru leapt to her feet with a triumphant yell, and pointed at her sister. “See?” She said,”I told you this was a haunted house!”
“No it’s not!” Rin argued back,”It’s a enchanted forest home! I know so! I saw a spirit yesterday in the shed! And there was a Fairy at the trees!”
“Or maybe it was a ghost!” Naru teased, wiggling her fingers in the air and making scary groaning noises.
Izaya, sensing the incoming argument, quickly said,”Why can’t it be both? Maybe the ghosts like to be roommates with the fairies? It is a big house after all, there’s lots of room for both.”
The two girls looked at him curiously, as if trying to decide if what Izaya said was logical. After a few seconds Rin gave a nod while she replied,”And they’d be best friends and they always keep their room clean!”
“Yeah!” Naru agreed,”And if anyone tries to come inside and they weren’t invited, the ghosts scared them away! BOO!”
The girls giggled at their own creativity, and then went back to eating their sweet rolls. Izaya gave them a fond look, one that Idori noticed went deep into his eyes.
The woman smiled and said,”It’s quite a big job for one person, though. Is your family going to come help?”
Obviously, that had been the wrong thing to say. The girls looked shocked and sad at the same time, and Izaya frowned with a fury burning deep within those ruby orbs.
“We don’t have anyone but ourselves,” Izaya explained,”The girls and I are…” He looked at them, then back at Idori. “We were mistakes in the eyes of our ‘family’. They never liked me, and they didn’t give Rin or Naru a chance. Raizen was their father, but since he passed they needed a new guardian. My family wanted to dump them so I decided to take them in, they disowned me as well.”
Idori gasped, her heart squeezing tightly. “Oh my goodness, that’s horrible!” She exclaimed, and then grew curious as well. “Well, they don’t deserve you! They’re too set up on their ideals and not you as a person. You’re better off away from such toxic people, you’ll find a better family. Blood doesn’t always mean family after all.”
Rin quirked her eyebrow, and turned to Izaya. “Dad, what does that mean?” She asked, scooting closer to him.
Izaya’s angry look was gone, and replaced by a thankful one as he looked at Idori; then back down at Rin. “It means that you don’t have to be related to someone for them to be your family,” He explained.
Rin’s eyes widened in understanding and she nodded. “Well that makes sense!” She said.
Naru nodded as well, quickly swallowing down to last of her roll in order to join the conversation. “Cuz- Cuz we’re not really your kids, but we are! And you’re still our dad!” She declared.
The raven smiled and brought the girls into a hug, happily responding,”Yes, exactly! You two are so smart!” The girls giggled in response and hugged him back, the little family seemed to glow with glee at the simplest things.
At that sight, Idori’s plans were solidified. Izaya and his brood weren’t greedy city people looking to get property, or people who were thinking they could get an easy life in the country. No, not at all, they were much more than that.
They were a little family that was more than a little down on their luck. They only had each other, but they didn’t mind. And from the way Izaya spoke, Idori knew he didn’t care hard he had to work in order to make sure they could live a good life.
After Idori left, she quickly explained what she learned to her family and the other people in their small town. When they heard that Izaya and his girls didn’t match the prejudices they had come up with, and who he got the house from, their opinions changed.
Izaya, Rin, and Naru had, unknowingly, become accepted into their little community.
-- -- -- -- -- -- --
About a day later, Izaya was sitting with the girls at the end of the raised engawa with an exhausted sigh. He pressed his towel against his face to get rid of the sweat running down his face.
The deeper he got into trying to fix the house, the more problems he found and the tougher they were getting. Some of the issues also seemed to come out of nowhere; like just the other day he had been walking across the floor and it broke underneath him.
He wasn’t going to let it stop him, but Izaya was starting to realize just how big of a project he took on and how long it was probably going to take.
Maybe I should find another hotel? He thought, looking over at his girls. They were at their table, playing with some Pokémon action figures they had brought. Izaya frowned, looking down at his rag. Then again… Rin and Naru are already settled here, I don’t want to uproot us again… What do I do?
Movement near the line of trees caught his attention, breaking the raven out of his thoughts. He raised his head a little more and saw Idori, along with a couple younger men and women and a man that looked to be around her age.
“Izaya-Kun!” Idori called when she got close, placing a basket of goodies next to him. “I’m sorry to intrude, but I thought you might like some help with fixing up the house.”
The Raven’s eyes widened as he looked at the group of people, then back at Idori. “You… You guys want to help me? ” He asked.
The group of people nodded eagerly, and Izaya found himself overwhelmed with feelings. Usually, he would mess with humans and love them from afar, and not a single one of the loved him. He was hated and feared, and Izaya knew it. But… He opened himself up to Idori, he showed his human side, and he go love in return.
Izaya barely felt loved in his life, even if most of that was because of his own doing. But when he looked at his girls, Idori, and the rest of the little group, he found himself feeling like he belonged. In that moment, Izaya’s evil and sadistic desires completely faded to the back of his mind and was replaced with pure, innocent glee.
With a happy smile on his face, Izaya looked back at the group and nodded. “I’m honored to have your help, thank you so much!” He cheerfully exclaimed.
The older man quickly shoved his way to the front. “You heard him,” He grunted,”Come on, let’s start working!”
-- -- -- -- -- --
Shinra stared at his best friend’s phone number, his hands shaking slightly as he pressed the call button again. The number instantly went to voicemail, just like every other time he tried to ring it.
He angrily shut off the phone and tossed it onto a nearby chair, threading his fingers through his hair and leaning forward with worry burned into his face. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get ahold of Izaya no matter what form of contact he tried.
He called Shiki and Namie too, but neither of them had heard from Izaya in weeks. It had been complete radio silence; and Shiki (although Shinra hesitated to even think of it) even seemed to be a little worried as well.
“I’m not worried about Izaya,” Shiki firmly claimed, in response to Shinra’s query. “I’m worried that’s he’s causing problems that won’t be easy to repair, like always…”
But Shinra knew he was watching the situation carefully, a lot of people were. Even though not many people knew the full extent of Izaya’s sudden disappearance, they could see it was odd. Even if he vanished, he usually went out with a bang, he never stayed away for crazy long.
Shinra sighed again, burying his face in his hands. Sure, Izaya had vanished before, but this time was different. Raizen had been one of the few people that could bring out a human side in Izaya that was rarely seen. The underground doctor was worried… What was the impact of Raizen’s death going to do to the informant?
“Izaya…” He whispered, looking at the phone with concern in his eyes. “Where are you? Please… Let me know that you’re okay…”