Hard Sought (Chapter 10)
Characters/Ships: Shizaya/Izuo; Shizuo, Izaya, Harukahito (The Boy), Harumi (The Girl), Misc. Others
Length: Chapter 10/?; 7771 words
SPOILERS through “The Sunset with Izaya Orihara”
way he was casually forcing his way back into Izaya’s life was both
infuriating and befuddling, but the information broker couldn’t bring
himself to put up more than a token resistance.
He was in no
condition, after all, to rekindle their fight to the death, and Shizuo
Heiwajima’s motivations remained, as they were, unclear.
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Read on Tumblr: (previous chapter–You Are Here–next chapter)
(A/N) Not entirely sure how I feel about the last chapter, in reterospect. But I think I’ve got my shit together in this chapter, tb100%h. I hope you guys enjoy tit!
“Ow-ow-owww…! Shizu-chan, it hurts, it hurts…!”
“Do you want me to stop?” the blonde asked; his eyes were clear and earnest, and Izaya was fairly certain he didn’t realize how hard he was pressing down.
captivity was not a thing that suited Shizuo Heiwajima. He didn’t have
much, save for Izaya’s physical therapy and household chores, to pour
his efforts into. For someone as virile as him, that meant a lot of
unspent and bottled up energy. Izaya had wondered if he should suggest
the blonde get a job of some sort after all, but since he’d insisted so
vehemently that money wasn’t an issue he didn’t really want to reopen
that discussion. Furthermore, the chances of Shizuo causing a scene in
any sort of workplace were simply too high–and in a city where he was
relatively unknown, Izaya would rather keep it that way.
it was, it was common to see Shizuo pacing for minutes or hours, often
in circles around the living room. He would redo chores, especially
those that the kids had already attended to–not to mention the fact
that he would put altogether too much strength into everyday tasks,
sometimes breaking things as a result. Izaya had even caught him, just
once, picking a fight with Harumi out of nothing more than sheer
The other unfortunate result was that he was a lot
rougher with Izaya himself. Though it had been nearly a month since he’d
snapped in earnest, he often showed flashes of temper or violence, a
thing that still frightened Izaya–understandably, although his fear had
lessened after he made the connection between the behavior and the lack
“Just a little less, please…!” Izaya
whimpered, and the pressure on his leg eased. His chest heaved with a
relieved sigh as the pain in his hip dulled. He could still feel the
stretch, and it still ached, but it no longer felt like his joint was
being separated. “Better… that’s good, Shizu-chan, right there…”
the given moment, Shizuo was crouched over Izaya Orihara, pressing one
of the informant’s legs up as far as it would go against his chest. It
was one of a dozen or so stretches the physical therapy office had
instructed him to help Izaya with on days he didn’t have an appointment,
and he was taking the duties as seriously as ever. After the designated
thirty seconds, he let the limb relax again and picked up it’s
counterpart, meaning to repeat the exercise.
There was a small tap at the open bedroom door.
“Izaya-san?” It was Harumi, unfazed by the scene before her. “Ekata-san is on the phone.”
it i-i-iiin…!” Izaya’s order ended in a gasp as Shizuo proceeded to
bend his limb up, informant business be damned. “Ow…! Too hard, Shizu,
“This is the same amount of pressure as I was–”
“Too hard, Shizu-chan!” Izaya yelped, kicking out with his free leg. The blow missed entirely, and Shizuo didn’t move.
“Just bear with it. It’s supposed to hurt a little, isn’t it?”
Izaya groaned and let his head fall back onto the pillow. “Right, right…” he sighed, realizing that it wasn’t
as painful as he had thought–it had simply caught him off guard. “This
is good, you’re right…” Then he motioned to Harumi, who was watching
impassively from the doorway. “Bring me the phone, Dear. I’ll talk to
The girl nodded, then vanished out into the living room. Izaya hissed as Shizuo eased his leg down again.
“You want to stop for a few minutes, then?” the blonde asked, but Izaya shook his head.
“We can keep going. It’s just a stupid business call.” It was an important
business call. He had to play his cards right or the whole situation
might blow up in his face. He had set up a few very unpleasant things
between the two rival gangs, but he no longer wanted to play party to an
urban war; he had bigger plans. But with Rhoyo now asking him to
ignite a skirmish… he had to be careful that he was backing the right
side in things. He was still at the service of his clients, after all,
as was the lot of an information broker, especially one who was
currently trying to keep his business as on the up-and-up as he could
But he also couldn’t bear to disappoint Shizuo by putting the exercises on hold, no matter how short a pause it was.
“Whatever you say…” Shizuo murmured, then ordered, “Flip over onto your stomach, then, for this next one.”
obeyed, even though it was a bit of a breathy struggle, and managed to
get situated just as Harumi returned with one of his cell phones. He had
a habit of leaving the kids, especially Harumi, to act as receptionists
while he was otherwise occupied.
“Flat,” Shizuo growled, as
Izaya tried to get up onto his elbows to accept the phone. A powerful
hand appeared in the small of his back, forcing him down onto the
mattress and leaving him struggling to find a position he could hold the
“Ekata-san?” His voice was a bit strained. “It’s me. Is there a problem?”
that I know of, Informant,” the woman replied. “But that’s why I’ve
employed you–to keep an eye on potential problems, like that Taka man
“Ah, him… yes, does seem like a bit of a live wire,
doesn’t he? You can never–ow, ow, owww!” Izaya trailed off with a
tremendous yelping as Shizuo lifted his leg a bit too high, and the way
he wrenched himself around only made it hurt more. “Warn me when you’re
going to do that!”
“You’re supposed to keep your knee locked,” was Shizuo’s grumbled retort, and Izaya spat furiously at him.
“And you aren’t supposed to tear my damn hips apart, you beast!”
this… a bad time?” Ekata asked, from the near-forgotten cell phone.
Izaya hissed again in frustration, trying to scrape together some
semblance of dignity.
“No, no, not at all… I was just engaged in something when you happened to call, that’s all.”
“I’m going to try this again,” Shizuo announced, and Izaya slammed the phone down onto the bed before snapping a response.
“You will not! Wait until I get off the phone, at least!”
“You said we could keep going,” Shizuo replied critically, and Izaya gave an exaggerated roll of his eyes.
“Clearly I didn’t anticipate how rough
you were going to be,” he grumbled, all thoughts of disappointing the
blonde long-gone as he returned the phone to his ear. “Just hold off for
five minutes, would you? Can you have just that much patience without
pouting like a child?”
“If this is a bad time, I can call back,” Ekata said, this time sounding a bit uncomfortable.
“It’s not a bad time,” Izaya insisted with forced cheer.
know what it’s like to have a lover’s tryst interrupted by a business
call,” Ekata offered. “It’s uncomfortable for all parties involved, you
know. I can call back.”
“It’s not–! No, no, that’s not it at
all,” Izaya tried to laugh, but he was too horrified to quite manage it.
“I can see how this might be misconstrued, but that’s not it at all.”
it was clear she didn’t quite believe him, Ekata seemed to shrug and
move on despite it. “Whatever you say. If you insist, then, this
business about Rhoyo…”
“Yes, yes, Rhoyo-san…” Izaya said,
relieved to be back onto the topic at hand. Shizuo, true to his
suspicions, was pouting at the bottom of the bed. “Unpredictable, that
“This deal on Saturday is essential for stabilizing
relations between our two groups,” Ekata continued. “I wouldn’t put it
past a dissenter like him to try to disrupt it.”
“So you want me to watch him,” Izaya guessed.
“Almost. Not quite.”
“I want you to make sure he doesn’t live to see Saturday.”
felt a shiver run up his spine; he hadn’t expected the head of Hibi to
go quite that far, but he’d known the woman had a ruthless streak.
Still, it put him in an even more uncomfortable position then he’d been
“I’m not really a gun for hire, Miss. With all due respect.”
can kill just as surely as any gun,” Ekata replied reasonably. “It
shouldn’t be hard to ensure someone with as many enemies as he has dies
in a timely fashion.”
“Still, it’s a bit beyond my job duties,” Izaya tried again, and to his surprise the client agreed.
“You’re right about that, and I’m glad you brought it up. We’re prepared to triple
your last payment, if you can come through in this matter.
Additionally, you’ll get paid the usual amount if you simply keep Rhoyo
away from the deal on Saturday or run him out of town. Once Saturday has
passed, we’ll be able to take him out using more conventional means,
“How can I say no to that?” Izaya asked, sitting up a
bit straighter. He was unaccustomed to being swayed by capitol alone,
but the amount he was being offered for a single job was nothing to
sneeze at. It would certainly make his life a lot easier for a good
while, and perhaps even last until the time came to leave for Ikebukuro.
“You can’t. Or shouldn’t, rather–you’re free to make whatever
choices you want. We’ll probably still employ you in the future,
regardless of how this whole thing turns out. Unless you end up backing
the other side, of course. But, as an impartial broker of information, I
wouldn’t… expect that of you.”
Additionally, Ekata was a smart
woman. Left to figure which group to back, Izaya couldn’t deny that she
and her Hibi were a much better bet if stability was, for once, his
goal. Rhoyo was unpredictable–Ekata was capable.
I’ll do what I can, then.” Izaya hung up with a soft sigh, then raised
his head to meet Shizuo’s gaze. The blonde had stopped his pouting, and
there was earnest concern in his eyes.
“Are you okay with this, Flea?”
“You don’t even know what ‘this’ is,” Izaya said flippantly. Shizuo’s eyes narrowed slightly.
“You said you’re not a 'gun for hire.’ I heard it. What are you getting yourself into?”
I haven’t before,” Izaya replied. “I can handle myself, Shizu-chan. I
wouldn’t have agreed to anything if I couldn’t. Besides, I haven’t
exactly committed myself to this job–did you hear me commit at any
“No,” Shizuo admitted reluctantly. “Just that you would 'do what you can.’”
“Exactly,” Izaya purred. “I’m a bit smarter than all that, Shizu. I won’t let myself be backed into a corner. Have faith.”
blonde was silent for a moment, then shrugged and stood. “You want
anything from the kitchen? I’m gonna go grab myself some water.”
water would be great,” Izaya replied, smiling warmly. The blonde didn’t
return the expression, looking troubled even as he stalked from the
room. He passed Harumi at the door, although he didn’t spare the girl
more than a glance.
“Is this really okay, Izaya-san?” the girl
asked, padding quickly over to the bed. “Rhoyo-san already suspects you.
If an attempt on his life were to go wrong, he would immediately hone
in on you.”
Izaya’s smile eased into something altogether more
knowing; something colder. He appreciated how quick Harumi was, and how
well she kept up with the current state of things. “I’m aware, Dear. And
don’t worry–if I do choose to move on this, nothing will go wrong.
“Don’t try to appease me like you do him,” Harumi
murmured darkly, jerking her head in the direction Shizuo had vanished.
Izaya felt a laugh bubble in his throat.
“Sorry, sorry,” he murmured. “I forget, you have no faith in your savior Izaya-san.”
The girl sniffed crossly, then turned. “If I tell Heiwajima-san what you’re planning, he won’t like it.”
“You claim to know what I’m planning, on top of it?” Izaya purred in mock surprise, and Harumi’s eyes narrowed.
“I do. You know it, too.”
probably has some idea of it, too,” the informant said easily, waving
her off with one hand. “Go ahead and try to shock him–it won’t work.”
“If I tip Rhoyo-san off, he’ll be even less pleased.”
cheer evaporated, but his smile remained–ice cold; calculating. “You
two are still too young to make it on your own. You’re tied to me for at
least another few years.”
“You’re getting stronger,” Harumi
replied. “I never thought you would go through with this
rehabilitation–that’s why I’ve been playing along for the past two
weeks. But now I’m sure you’re serious.”
“I’ve been serious from the beginning,” Izaya affirmed.
then you’re going to pack us up like belongings and move us to
Ikebukuro,” Harumi said, seeming to bristle as she said it. “You think
I’ll be content to just play house with you and Heiwajima-san forever?”
Izaya said, his expression softening despite a conscious effort to keep
it hard and cool. “You’ll grow up, like children do. You’ll strike out
on your own eventually, duplicity against me notwithstanding. You might
continue to hate me, or you might not. You’ll establish your own life,
perhaps with Harukahito or perhaps not. You’ll pursue a career,
above-board or under-ground. You’ll date, and maybe fall in love.
“Stop it!” the girl cut him off with sudden ferocity.
“Don’t lump me in with your 'beloved humanity!’ You can’t destroy me
like you did our parents, and I’m not just some specimen for you to
“I never said you were,” was Izaya’s reply.
reappeared before the girl could gather herself to reply, glancing
between her and Izaya. Harumi was the first to move, bowing stiffly to
him and then excusing herself. Izaya sighed softly as Shizuo came
farther into the room.
“Was she bothering you?”
“She’s a kid, Shizuo,” Izaya said in exasperation. “No, she wasn’t 'bothering me.’ If anything, I’m the one who…”
sitting beside him, offered a cup of water. “You know, she told me to
stay away from you–the first night they were back. She said you’d hurt
Izaya snorted, but accepted the glass. “I’m not surprised. She’s a good kid, trying to warn you like that.”
grunted noncommittally, taking a long drink of his own water. Izaya
took a sip of his, too, then looked over at his companion.
“You should try to get along with her.”
“I should try to get along with her?” the blonde growled. “She’s the one who–”
the adult, Shizuo.” Izaya’s voice was good-natured, but his expression
was serious. “Just like I’m an adult. They’re children.”
“You don’t act like a damn adult, either…” Shizuo muttered crossly, and Izaya had to laugh.
didn’t sound childish at all, did it? Grow up, Shizu-chan. If we’re
going to do this right, we have to make some attempt at maturity.”
“Where’d you get the idea that maturity is all it’s cracked up to be?”
“It’s one of the things our last fight taught me.”
That made Shizuo fall silent and, at long last, give a gruff chuckle. “Fine… I’ll give it a shot, Flea. But only because you’re the one asking, got it?”
it,” Izaya chirped, leaning over to press his shoulder against
Shizuo’s. The blonde gave a soft sigh and rested his head on the top of
“I want to make this work, Izaya…”
Izaya breathed, then pushed gently away and stood, offering his hand to
Shizuo. “Come on. Let’s go out to the balcony. You could use a smoke and
I could use a stretch that isn’t one of these stupid psychical therapy stretches.”
nodded sullenly, then took Izaya’s hand and rose; he didn’t use the
grip to pull himself up or put any of his weight on the informant’s arm,
but he still accepted the gesture. As soon as he was on his own feet,
Izaya opened his arms slightly: a signal that he didn’t want to get in
his wheelchair, but instead wanted Shizuo to carry him. The blonde
obliged, some of his agitation melting away.
Izaya Orihara could
now stand on his own, and even walk short distances without assistance.
It was painful and he still preferred not to, choosing instead to be
carried by Shizuo or depend on his wheelchair, but his progress was
obvious. His doctors were impressed, and Shizuo Heiwajima was far more
than that. Izaya himself was satisfied–not enough to stop pushing
himself, but enough.
Things were moving along.
wait to see it again…” Izaya sighed, leaning out over the balcony
railing when they reached it. He stretched one leg out behind him,
flexing his foot experimentally. “Ikebukuro…”
“Soon enough, we
will…” Shizuo murmured, looking pleased as he took a long drag of his
cigarette. “Then everything will be… good. Right.”
Izaya felt uncertainty squirm deep in his belly. Shizuo seemed to think that going back to Ikebukuro would solve all
their problems–the informant, although admittedly prone to donning
similar rosy-hued glasses at certain moments, knew differently.
“Work on it with the kids, Shizu-chan.”
The blonde didn’t argue with him, simply let out a long, smokey breath. “If it’s important to you, Flea…”
was a tap at the newly-replaced glass door, and both men turned to see
the boy bouncing slightly on the other side of the threshold. Shizuo
sighed and put out his cigarette before Izaya reached over to open it.
you guys doing?” Harukahito asked excitedly, hopping out onto the
balcony. Shizuo didn’t respond, but leaned farther out over the railing.
“Just whiling away the hours, my boy!” Izaya told him cheerily,
resting a hand on his shoulder. “When you get to be old men like us, you
like to just stand around and contemplate your place in the universe.”
“You’re not an old man, Izaya-san!” the boy chirped, in the catty way of a kid who knew their leg was being pulled.
smile softened. “I feel that way,” he told the child, then turned back
toward the city. Shizuo was watching him closely, but Harukahito didn’t
bat an eye.
“You promised we’d play after you could walk again!”
he said, tugging at the bottom of Izaya’s shirt. “C'mon, Izaya-san!
“I intend to keep my promise,” Izaya replied
levelly, then pressed one hand against the boy’s forehead, “but
Izaya-san isn’t strong enough for that yet. Patience.”
frowned, tugging a bit harder despite being pushed back. “You’re so
strong though, Izaya-san!” he appealed. “You’re the strongest of all!”
“Maybe Shizu-chan will play with you,” Izaya suggested, and the blonde drew himself up in surprise.
you play with me, Shizuo-san?” Harukahito begged, releasing Izaya’s
shirt and trotting up to Shizuo’s side. The blonde glanced nervously
between the child and Izaya, who was looking up at him with gently
Work on it with the kids, Shizu-chan. C'mon, I’m even letting you start with the easy one.
Shizuo gave a defeated sigh. “What do you want to play,
Harukahito-kun?” he asked, with gruffly-faked cheer. The child beamed up
at him, taking his hand.
“Let’s go inside, Shizuo-san! I’ll show you my toys!”
“Do me a favor and send Harumi-chan out, won’t you?” Izaya called after them. “Tell her to bring my wheelchair.”
acknowledged the command with a wave as the door shut, and Shizuo cast
one more uncertain glance back at him. Izaya smiled encouragingly before
turning back out toward the city.
Soon… soon we’ll move back to Ikebukuro, and then…
… it won’t be perfect, not right away, but we’ll work at it. We’ll get there.
turned to see the girl standing patiently in the glass doorway,
wheelchair held out before her. Izaya nodded gratefully, pushing away
from the railing and then sinking gratefully into the seat.
not there yet, am I…?” he murmured, rubbing absently at his aching
thigh. Harumi inclined her head slightly, then turned to leave. “Stay,”
Izaya murmured, before she could, and the girl stilled obediently. “Come
on. Close the door behind you.”
The girl hesitated a beat, then
obeyed. Izaya’s gaze was still turned outward toward the Mito street,
although his vantage point was now lower and his vision was somewhat
blocked by the railing.
“I’ve decided–how I want to play this with Rhoyo and Ekata.”
Harumi’s brow rose.
“I’m going to need your help, my dear. And you can’t tell Shizu, you hear?”
“Of course,” the girl said pleasantly. “What would you like me to do, Izaya-san?”
… … …
“That Harukahito isn’t a bad kid,” Shizuo commented later that
night, his body curled protectively around Izaya’s. He’d expressed such
things before, and the information broker chuckled.
“My request shouldn’t be so hard then, should it?”
Shizuo snorted. “I’m not saying I want to play beigoma with the kid every day.”
“That’s what we ended up playing today. The kid’s a lot better at it than me, too.”
Izaya convulsed with laughter, though the sound itself was light and faint. “How… simply… adorable…!”
up,” Shizuo growled, his arms tightening. But he also gave a soft sigh
into the back of Izaya’s neck, settling down deeper into the matress
they shared. “Go to sleep, now. You’ve got an appointment tomorrow,
“I remember, Shizu-chan,” Izaya soothed. “Good night.”
“'Night, Flea. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
soon as Shizuo’s breathing had deepened and eased into the steady
pattern of sleep, Izaya reached over eagerly to where his phone sat on
his nightstand. True to his threats, he’d called Namie Yagiri every
single night since their initial conversation. Whenever she didn’t pick
up, he’d leave multiple, increasingly irritating messages; surprisingly
enough, though, she answered more times than not.
“How was your day yesterday, Deary?”
was a long yawn–the calls were an alarm for her, in the morning.
“Exhausting. The review board paid a visit, and we had to scramble to
hide the data on the head. One of our interns almost gave the game
Izaya chuckled. “Must’ve been terrifying.”
we haven’t been through before.” The sounds of her getting up and
preparing for her day were audible in the background. “And you? How was
your day today?”
“I got Shizu-chan to play nicely with Harukahito-kun!”
“Wow. What an accomplishment.”
“Riiight? I think I’m making good progress.”
“He’s basically a grown-ass kid himself, so they should get along well.”
think… But alas, child though he may be, Shizu’s been more inclined
to play the bully than get along, lately. He’s terribly bored, though,
so I can’t really blame him.”
There was the thorough scouring of her toothbrush, and her next words were mumbled. “I don’t remember him having many hobbies.”
“He doesn’t,” Izaya agreed dismally. “He’s woefully unsuited to be a house-husband, I’m afraid.”
“Pity. My Seiji would make an excellent house-husband, you know.”
Namie spat out her toothpaste loudly. “He would.’
"I know he would, Dear. He’s perfect in every way. You should come back to Ikebukuro to be closer to him.”
“Bullshit. You want me to come back and work for you.”
hard to find help of your caliber,” Izaya entreated. “Really, haven’t I
proved my investment in you with these repeated calls?”
“I’m hanging up now.”
“I’ll simply call back tomorrow!”
“My toast is burning. Excuse me.”
“You should eat a more balanced breakfast, Namie-san!”
was a click, and Izaya sighed fondly. Their conversations, though
frequent, were short, and as soon as Ikebukuro came up they were over.
But that didn’t matter, because Izaya felt he was making discernible
headway on the topic anyway. Settling back into the mattress, he rolled
over in the confines of Shizuo’s embrace so that he was facing the
Shizuo and the kids… Namie… Shinra and Celty… it’s all falling into place. He lifted his phone high above his head, then tapped out a message and hit send. The response he received made him smile.
「Life isn’t as perfect as you think it is.」
《I don’t think it’s perfect. But if you put in the effort, you can make it yours. You can make it perfect for you.》
you think what you HAD in Ikebukuro was perfect? Didn’t having that
illusion shattered by the very man you’re sleeping next to cure you of
these mortal delusions?」
《I was lying to myself before. I was lying to Shizu-chan. I was lying to everyone.》
《I’m different, now. I have a better perspective on things.》
「Well, I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what sort of fires you start, when you get back.」
「You’ll probably set yourself on fire too, you know.」
「I’ll be on-deck to remind you of this “different Yumcha” and his pridefully optimistic “better perspective."」
《You’re just looking forward to seeing me again, let’s be honest.》
「Still the same, Orihara–I’ll bet you think EVERYONE would love to see you again, isn’t that right? The return of their god?」
「Can you hear me laughing across this digital space between us? Ha-ha-ha!」
Izaya chuckled aloud. It had been delightful to catch someone as
seemingly omniscient as Tsukumoya Shinichi with news of his planned
return to Ikebukuro.
《If I thought that, I really would be an idiot.》
《I know a
lot of my beloved humans will be less than thrilled. But I told
you–there are things you have to work at. I love them, same as when I
left–the difference is I’m finally prepared to do that work.》
「Good for you, Yumcha. I can’t wait to see how this turns out.」
Neither can I… Izaya admitted, to no one but himself. He
glanced over at Shizuo’s sleeping face, closed out of his phone with a
weary sigh, and leaned over to kiss the blonde lightly. It didn’t wake
the man sleeping next to him, but when he drew back Shizuo’s lips had
curved up in a smile.
… … …
Izaya had never been fond of water. He didn’t mind sunning
himself beside it, and baths were an obvious exception, but actually
going for a swim wasn’t something that appealed. For that reason, pool
therapy was one of his least favorite things about rehabilitation.
The weightless feeling, however, wasn’t entirely unpleasant, and it wasn’t as painful as many of the other exercise routines.
really doing remarkably well, Orihara-san,” his overseeing physician
said, pausing by the edge of the pool and crouching down. Izaya, from
where he was nearly submerged, grinned up at him.
“Why thank you, Dr. Akiko. I told you I was motivated, didn’t I?”
The doctor nodded. “Just be sure you aren’t overdoing it.”
not!” Izaya chirped agreeably, saluting. He ducked below the water for a
moment, swimming casually to the side of the pool and then surfacing a
few feet from the doctor. “Actually, though, I did have a question I’d
like to run by you.”
“I’ll answer it if I can, of course,” the doctor replied, and Izaya smiled.
“Do you suppose I’d do myself any harm with a bit of rough-and-tumble?”
Akiko gave him a questioning look. Then, after a moment, he cleared his
throat. “Well, it would depend, I suppose… on what sort of
'rough-and-tumble’ you were talking about.”
“There’s a child I’ve
promised to play with when I’m well, you see,” Izaya replied cheerily.
“He’s getting impatient, but I’m afraid I might end up doing a bit of
jumping around or something of the sort. He’s rather over-enthusiastic,
The doctor’s expression brightened, and then he was
laughing. “I see, I see,” he said graciously, then shook his head. “You
should be fine, just so long as you stop if you’re in any sort of pain.”
Izaya’s smile widened. “Thank you, Doctor! I’ll keep that duly in mind.”
… … …
“Shizu-chan? I have a meeting with a client tonight, and I’d like you to accompany me.”
The blonde looked over in surprise, his toothbrush hanging limply from his mouth. “Eh?”
sat calmly in the bathroom doorway, hands on the armrests of his
wheelchair. “Will you, Shizu? It’ll be a bit of excitement. I think it
would do you some good.”
“Why don’t you ask one of the brats?” Shizuo asked mistrustfully, spitting the brush out thoughtlessly into the sink.
“This isn’t the type of meeting one should bring children to,” was Izaya’s reply.
Shizuo regarded him levelly. “It’s dangerous, then?”
“In a way. If things go wrong.”
course I’ll come,” Shizuo answered, reaching over to grab the towel. He
pulled too hard, though, and wrenched the hanger off the wall with a
jarring crack of plaster. The metal bar hit the tile seconds later with a
clatter and Shizuo, although staring at it in something like surprise,
soon shrugged and dried his face as though nothing had happened. “You
should let me protect you more often, at least until you’re fully back
on your feet.”
Izaya’s lips twitched upwards. “I’m almost there, Shizu-chan. Then what excuse will you have for disliking my work?”
a manipulative bastard who plays with people’s lives and sells secrets
for a living,” Shizuo growled in response. “I don’t need an excuse to
hate that part about you.”
Though Izaya wilted slightly in his
wheelchair, he turned back toward the bedroom. “Well, I’m glad to have
you along anyway. The meeting is at seven o'clock, so please be ready to
leave around six-thirty.”
“Will do,” Shizuo mumbled.
something presentable!” Izaya added, over his shoulder. That didn’t get
a response, but Izaya couldn’t stop smiling as he laid out the familiar
bartender’s clothes on the bed they shared.
… … …
He’d had Harumi arrange the meeting, but Shizuo was the one he
brought along. Izaya Orihara, true to form, was betting everything on
the dependable nature of humanity–even in a scenario where two of the
key players were a monster and a notoriously unpredictable criminal.
“Orihara-san. It’s unusual for you to want to meet in person.”
update called for something special!” Izaya announced, spreading his
arms wide. The red-haired man standing across from him didn’t bite.
“Have you got Saturday all set up? The deal will fail, correct? Or did you call me here just to tell me that you’ve failed, despite your boasting?”
haven’t failed at all,” Izaya purred, feeling Shizuo prickle with
tension beside him. The client hadn’t taken serious notice of him yet.
Little wonder, considering how entirely unassuming a person he appeared
to be–thin, dressed in clothes indicative of the service industry, and
with hair that was beginning to lose it’s trademark golden color. The
park they had met in, besides, was deserted; it might seem wise to keep
watch for concealed dangers and sneak attacks, as opposed to pay
attention to what was in plain sight: the mellow-looking fellow who was
quite probably a live-in nurse or servant for the information broker.
“There’s just been a change in plans.”
Rhoyo stiffened visibly; he might be just a bit sharp, after all.
see,” Izaya began, “I’ve been in touch with Ekata-san of Hibi, to keep
better tabs on their activities. And, as I was making preparations to do
as you requested, I was approached by her with a commission that’s
outside my usual realm of expertise. She asked me, you see, to kill you,
and offered me quite an impressive bit of money to see it through.”
“You double-crossing bastard…” Rhoyo growled, but Izaya held up his hands.
“Obviously I’m here, telling you this, because I don’t
intend to double-cross you,” he said calmly. “Let’s try not to jump to
conclusions. Killing my precious humans, with my own hands or otherwise,
really isn’t my style. But I do have a proposal for you.”
The gangster made an impressively ugly face, and Izaya could practically
hear Shizuo’s teeth grinding. It was just the sort of thing that
irritated the blonde.
“We’ll fake your death!” Izaya announced.
“If not that, you know, Ekata-san gave me the option of simply running
you out of town. If I infiltrate Hibi further, under these sorts of
pretenses, and gain Ekata’s trust, I can provide you with even more
valuable intel. If what you think about this alliance with Hibi is true,
Taka will spiral downward in your absence. With that sort of setup, it
would be child’s play for you to stage a triumphant return to Mito,
crush Hibi more completely than you could have dreamed of, and claim
leadership of whatever remains of Taka–rebuild it in your own image and
rule this city.”
Izaya Orihara, true to form, had contingencies
for any answer the man Rhoyo could give him. He had a strong preference
for one, however, and was almost inconceivably delighted when…
“Out of the question.”
“Hmm?” Izaya played at innocence in the face of the man’s rage. “I think it’s a pretty good idea, myself.’
"Abandon Taka?” Rhoyo demanded, taking an aggressive step forward; Shizuo tensed. “You’ve never belonged to a gang, have you?”
“A color gang–or rather, a colorless gang, once,” Izaya replied. “But that was a long time ago.”
don’t have a scrap of loyalty in you, do you?” the man shouted,
ignoring Izaya’s strange statement. “I won’t play dead and then show
back up when things are at their worst–I’ll stop that worse from
every coming, by fighting back Hibi with everything I’ve got! And if
you’re telling me you won’t help me do that–”
“I’m telling you how best to do that,” Izaya said, with mock weariness. “You’re being a bit shortsighted, if you’ll forgive me for saying so.”
Now Rhoyo’s anger was building–his face reddening to match his hair.
Izaya could feel a similar thing happening with the blonde beside him,
but forced himself not to look over at Shizuo.
“Very,” he replied
easily. “You know, you’re just one man–you don’t represent your group
like Ekata-san represents hers. I’m going out on a bit of a thin limb,
offering to back you instead of her.”
That did it. Rhoyo broke,
just as Izaya had made many of his beloved humans break. The colorful
emotion that rushed out of the shattered facade was fury, and the
handgun whipped out from it’s place of concealment became the physical
manifestation of his humanity.
“I won’t stand here and let you
talk down to me, let alone back out of the deal we–!” Rhoyo began, but
the creak of rusted metal and tortured moan of bedrock interrupted him.
An entirely average park bench was being mysteriously uprooted, and at
the hands of–
Rhoyo barely had time to comprehend the terrifying
look on the blonde’s face; the incredible, inhuman strength rippling
along the lean muscle that covered his body from head to toe as he
wrenched the wrought-iron up from the ground and flung it. He didn’t
even have time to scream as he was crushed beneath the unlikely
projectile, vision flashing white just briefly before his senses went
“Well done, Shizu!” Izaya immediately exclaimed, with a single clap of his hands. “As expect–”
fist flung with all the force of instinctual rage behind it; the crash
of splintering metal upon impact; a lithe body sent flying through the
air. It was so evocative of one long ago high-school meeting that one
could almost here Shinra’s cheerful introductions carried on the wind.
The information broker’s feet were steady, but his legs shuddered with even the slight impact of his landing.
came the well-worn snarl; the familiar flash of anger in his steely
eyes. “I came here to protect you, and that’s it. I’m not one of your
god damn game-pieces, you got that?” His hand clenched into a fist, the
muscles in his arm and shoulder preparing to hurl it forward once again.
“Now I’m gonna…”
Exactly what he was about to say, while the
meaning was fairly obvious, would never be known; even as he growled the
beginning of the sentence, his expression began to clear. As he
blinked, Izaya gave a soft cry of relief and allowed his weary,
trembling legs to crumple beneath him; he hit the grassy turf with a
“That’s it…!” he exclaimed softly, then gave
a sobbing little laugh and spread his arms. “Come pick me up, Shizuo.
Aah, I don’t think I can walk at all after that one!”
only took a horrified step backwards, his wide eyes flashing from Izaya
to the mangled wheelchair to his own fist and then back to Izaya. “If
that… had connected…” he mumbled.
Izaya only shook his head, a delighted smile on his face. “But it didn’t, Shizuo! Don’t you see? It didn’t connect!”
the hell is that supposed to mean?!” Shizuo’s yelp was strangled, and
he stumbled backwards with enough haste to trip and thud roughly to the
ground as well.
They were both left sitting, all at once gazing at each other from the same level.
didn’t connect,” Izaya repeated joyfully. “You can stop trying to hold
back so much, Shizu, and I can stop feeling so afraid! We’re nearly
there! If I can dodge one of your punches…! Ha! We’re almost there,
“Did you… do this on purpose…?” Shizuo asked softly. “Is this why you brought me along?”
Rhoyo-san is certainly a fabulous little accomplishment,” Izaya said
easily, “and that might even have been my primary goal, but… I’ll
admit, this was certainly something I may or may not have anticipated.”
me to snap?” Shizuo asked, without anger or curiosity–only shock. Then
he sprang back up, shaking from head to toe as he pointed at the
destroyed wheelchair. “What would have happened if that would have
connected?! Do you have any idea, you stupid, selfish, shortsighted flea, what would have happened if that had connected?!”
it didn’t,” Izaya repeated smugly; Shizuo swung his fist sideways,
slamming into a tree and blowing an impressive hole in the trunk. It
wasn’t a display Izaya had expected, and his smile faltered.
if I hadn’t calmed down when I had?” the blonde demanded, his voice
dangerously soft. “What if I had lost it sooner than you expected? What
if I hadn’t gone for Rhoyo at all, but I’d gone for you instead?”
“You wouldn’t have done that…” Izaya said appealingly, but Shizuo seemed less certain.
“I don’t know what I’m capable of, damn it. And neither do you. I thought I’d never try to hurt you again, and here we are.”
Izaya swallowed. He’d expected confusion and perhaps a bit
of anger, but he’d assumed Shizuo would see things the same way he did,
after he explained. “But Shizu-chan, don’t you see?” he tried again.
“This is how it’s always been. You punch, I dodge. You throw things, and
“That’s not what it’s like anymore, though!” Shizuo cut him
off furiously, then turned away and knotted his fingers in his ratty,
duel-color locks. “Shit. Shit! God damn it, I need a smoke…” He
fumbled with shaking hands in his vest until he found a crushed
cigarette and his lighter, then paced farther away from where Izaya
still sat as he smoked it.
“… Shizu…?” The informant, feeling
distinctly abandoned, tried briefly to get up. But it was much harder
to get up from the ground than it was to get up from a chair or the bed,
and his legs felt shockingly weak on top of those difficulties. So,
finding himself quite unable to rise, he crawled a few awkward feet
across the turf. “Shizuo, talk to me. I thought you would–”
“What? You thought I would what?” Shizuo grumbled. “You thought I’d be glad
that I took a swing at you? You thought I would want to go back to
those days? That’s not why we’re going back to Ikebukuro, you stupid
flea. Our relationship isn’t what it used to be, and god damn it–it
never will, not if I have any say in the matter. But now, of course, I don’t even know
if I have any say in the matter. I just attacked you–how the hell am I
supposed to trust myself holding you close at night when I just tried
to kill you? … Just like back then…”
“I just thought
you’d be relieved that we’re getting back to equal footing,” Izaya said
appealingly–desperately. “We were always equals… before. You know. We
didn’t have to hold back or… or put up a front around each other.
Didn’t you enjoy that? I did…”
“I did, Izaya,” Shizuo admitted. “And being equals is one thing. Yeah, I’d be happy to get back to that. But I lost control just now. That’s not something to play around with.
”… This isn’t some kid’s game, Izaya. This is our lifetogether.“
hung his head, feeling unexpected sobs shake his shoulders. "I’m
sorry…” was all he could whisper, then. There was the crunch of shoes
over grass, and then Shizuo was kneeling beside him.
fucking proud that you dodged that punch,” he murmured, brushing back
Izaya’s hair to kiss his forehead. “I’m so glad, too.” Then he
straightened and put distance between them, pulling out his cellphone.
“I’m gonna call the kids to bring your spare wheelchair, okay?”
Shizu…” Izaya murmured, choking on his plea to simply be carried. But
when Shizuo had touched him a moment before, he had felt how hard the
blonde was shaking.
It would have been a cruel request, and he had been cruel enough for the day.
… … …
“Come to bed, Shizuo. Please.”
Izaya didn’t care if he was being cruel again. He just wanted to have his earlier mistake erased.
silent faces peered out from the darkness of the guest room, but Izaya
stood still in the doorway of his own bedroom. Shizuo lay curled,
swathed in a spare blanket and with his back turned, on his chair.
“Shizuo, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Shizuo. I just wanted to prove that neither of us had to be afraid anymore, that’s all.”
apologizing,” the blonde murmured. “I’m not mad at you. I’m not
punishing you. I just don’t trust myself, alright? It’s me, not you. Got
it? Go back to sleep.”
“I can’t,” Izaya replied, a bit afraid that he would fall if he tried to push away from the wall. “You clearly can’t either.”
doesn’t matter…” Shizuo mumbled. “It’s better this way. You’re safer
this way. Nothing’s changed, okay? I love you. I’m not leaving or
anything stupid like that. I just don’t trust myself being that close to
“How long have we been living together like this?” Izaya implored. “Nothing bad’s happened. Y-You haven’t hurt me, not once.”
got too confident. I thought I would never try to hurt you again, so I
let my guard down. And I ended up trying to hurt you.”
“I made you do it! It was my fault, Shizu-chan!”
“It wasn’t your fault, Izaya. You are who you are. My actions are my own responsibility–always have been and always will be.”
Izaya shook his head violently. “And I’ve always been the one you don’t have to be afraid of hurting!”
true!” Izaya insisted, taking a step forward. His legs felt weak and
unsteady, but he pressed on across the room until he was forced to stop
for a moment, sagging against his desk. “And you’re supposed to be the
one who doesn’t fall for my lies! You’re the one who’s supposed to see
through my defenses and stupid schemes!”
“Well I fell for them today,” Shizuo murmured. “And I almost hurt you today. Where does that leave your theory?”
felt frustration well up inside him, and before he knew it he had
strode across the rest of the empty space separating them. His legs only
lasted that far, though, and he leaned heavily against the arm of
Shizuo’s chair; the blonde stiffened beneath his blanket.
“You dumb oaf…” Izaya muttered, hot tears stinging the backs of his eyes. “Do you honestly think that this is the solution, then? You said you aren’t leaving, but isn’t this just another kind of running away?”
“That’s rich, coming from a coward like you.”
frustration boiled over into indignation, and he heaved himself up over
the arm of the chair to crawl bodily onto Shizuo. The blonde gave a
gruff exclamation of surprise, flailing a bit and momentarily trying to
shove his assailant off, but Izaya persisted. Shizuo could only groan
with frustration as the informant settled in against his chest.
“This defeats the damn purpose of me sleeping out here, Flea…! Get off me, damn it…!”
not snapping now,” Izaya asserted, kissing first Shizuo’s chin and then
his cheek. The blonde made an agitated, bestial noise at the assault.
“You’re not snapping now. What does that tell you?”
“Noth–” Shizuo began, but cut himself off with a growl as his nose too was kissed.
“We have to work at this, but we can’t try so
hard that we’re afraid to make mistakes…!” Izaya insisted. “I fucked
up today–badly. But so did you. Two days from now, I’ll fuck up again.
And a week from now, it’ll be your turn. That’s what people in
relationships do–I-I’ve seen it! Sometimes people are so scared
of losing each other that they stop being themselves, but we’ll never do
that. We don’t have to be afraid of anything.”
making sense, Flea…” Shizuo grumbled, but then fell silent. Then,
slowly, his arms closed around Izaya’s frame, so lightly that their
pressure could hardly be felt. “How’s this…?”
“Too cautious, Shizuo…” Izaya murmured, nipping at the blonde’s chin. “I’m not that fragile. Just hold me normally.”
“But I’m not normal,” Shizuo objected. “How the hell am I suppose to–”
not normal either, Shizuo,” Izaya asserted. “Neither of us ever were,
if you’ll remember. Hold me like Shizuo Heiwajima holds Izaya
Orihara–normally for us, you know. That’s all.”
There were a few
tremulous heartbeats where Shizuo didn’t move; didn’t utter a sound or
breathe. And then, just as Izaya was fishing desperately for another
appeal, his arms tightened powerfully and protectively–that tender
embrace that held just the slightest threat of broken bones. Izaya
gasped with surprise and delight at the sensation, then shuddered with
relief as he let his head rest on Shizuo’s chest.
“How’s this?” the blonde rumbled beneath him. “… Honestly?”
“It’s perfect, Shizu-chan. We’re perfect, if we just work at it a bit.”