Friday, March 28, 2014

Fanservice - A Pairing of Mutual Conveniendce

This is a Preview of YGG Magazine, a Yaoi Convention in Print (there are more photos in the articles) 

There is a lot to criticize about the way Yaoi fans go about shipping characters.
Shipping is defined on as: derived from the word relationship, is the belief that two people, fictional or non-fictional, would be interesting or believable (or are, or will be, or should be) in a romantic relationship. It is considered a general term for fans’ emotional involvement with the ongoing development of romance in a work of fiction.
I will use the term ship or shipping though other terms like pairings or couplings are acceptable. The criticism stems from the habit of many who write fan fiction to ship characters regardless of all sense and reason and evidence to the contrary. One meme going around the internet states that whether the characters like each other, hate each other are ambivalent to each other or never met each other, there are ways that they can be shipped. This can and does get ridiculous. Thus, it is understandable that fans of adventure shows or sports shows who just want to enjoy what is being presented, really don’t want to see the strange combination of characters doing the full blown nasty on show related sites or conventions.
That said, the extreme hostility shown to BL and Yaoi fans of shows like Kuroko no Basuke and Free! Iwatobi Swim Club is unfair. These fans are not weaving their view of those characters out of thin air. In fact, I posit that there is a deliberate effort by anime producers to infuse BL fanservice in these male oriented shows to attract a broader audience. The Bishonenifying™ of male characters and behavior that is more than a little unusual for straight young men has become way, way more common than it was in anime of the 70s and 80s. Back then, fanservice meant hot females in towels or without towels and panty shots. I know that it still means that, but it has ALSO come to mean the showing of bishonen flesh and clenches that do not happen between straight guys of this age. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard the arguments that that behavior is cultural in Japan. It’s not. I’ll get into that later.

Why Yaoi/BL Fanservice?
Yaoi/BL fans are a rapidly growing audience, particularly in the West. They are also very, very active on
the Net. They share images from their favorite anime everywhere and love talking about it beyond the pairings. This tends to draw fans of all stripes to the anime that might not have heard of it otherwise. Japan no longer does shows aimed solely at its own countrymen. Like any other entertainment industry, they covet the extra money that the foreign markets bring. Thus they are interested in showing what the most active fans are looking most for. As it is true everywhere, sex or sex appeal sells.
I had heard of and saw images from Durarara over a year before the show aired in the US, and from what I saw and heard, I could have sworn it was a Yaoi anime. There were not manipulated images. They were screen grabs and clips. Naturally, I saw mostly Shizuo x Izaya images. That intense buzz about the show was, in part, what prompted the interest in US distributors to dub and air it here. The same can be said about Black Butler (that airs on premium outlets). Both shows rely on heavy BL innuendo at times with characters in Durarara openly discussing the Shiziya pairing. Likewise, the buzz for Tiger & Bunny was really intense in the West. The image of that pair was everywhere on the social networks and talked about in every forum. Bunny was so Bishie that he really looked like a girl. I’m very familiar with the real 70s. Guys had long hair, but not Farrah Fawcett hair. And then there was all the princess carrying of Tiger in the advance images and the trailer. That anime managed to get a simulcast here on Hulu. Side note – Hulu thinks enough of the Yaoi audience that it is currently running the full on Yaoi, Junjou Romantica and beginner yaoi, Gravitation.

Locker Room Fun
There is fanservice that is hard to ignore. No. 6’s foundation is a BL relationship, something the US distributor does not deny. But no one will call it that. But nothing is more out there for blatant yaoi/BL fanservice while still in the closet than the sports based anime Free! Iwatobi Swim Club. True, Kuroko no Basuke has a lot of well built guys and lots of fanservice (this season, there seems to be no fewer than four love triangles – all between the male players). But nothing beats Free! Iwatobi Swim Club for a show of skin and frequency of fanservice. The day that the first trailer turned up, the interent was on fire with Fujoshi losing their minds. The buzz was so intense that it became the topic of our weekly webconference meeting with my manga publishing company. The publishers were fairly certain that it wasn’t a yaoi but didn’t know how it couldn’t be with all that skin and loving shots of muscles. The next ones grew more intriguing, because instead of hinting at the actual plot of the series, it hinted at the relationships between these very, very, beautiful characters. For plot, we were left to read the press releases. There was full blown shipping going on before one episode aired, because that’s what fans were lead to do. The result of this international net freak out? There were net campaigns to raise funds to make the show seen in the preview. There were petitions to known distributors to sign it up. In the end, fans in the US got simultaneous streaming with Japan. That super fanservice preview was all about building an audience for a show that was already in the works.

Anime guys have gotten prettier over the decades. I call it Bishonenifying™. Male characters in these allegedly male oriented adventure shows have markedly changed since the 1970s shows I grew up watching. They guys in the lead roles then were cute. I couldn’t call them pretty like I can now. I think the best direct comparison I can make from one era to the other is Leader Dessler from Space Battleship Yamato. Leader Dessler has definitely gone through a change. Not that the first one was ugly, but this one is very pretty. You can see in him the change in how male hair is drawn. It is also animated with the same loving care and lighting as a female character. And now, the guys get equal time with the show of skin and backs and butts.
And then there is the behavior. Back in the day, when a guy is going to threaten or fight another guy, it was clear that that was going to happen. Any rolling on the ground between men was accompanied by punching. There was no staring deep into the opponent’s eyes while on top of said opponent. There was not staring nose to nose for long moments as music played without someone ending up with a black eye.
So this behavior is somewhat new. It is also unusual behavior for straight men around other men. No, this
is not how Japanese men behave around each other. As I said, this sort of behavior is relatively new (10-15 years). Because this notion is so adamantly held by fans, I conducted some research. I asked my U.S. male friends about the clenches and locker room tickling and other things that happen on shows like Free! Iwatobi Swim Club. They thought I was kidding. The funniest response was from a friend who said guys try hard not to even look at each other too long in a locker room. They may see something or people may think they are looking at something. I asked a number of Japanese men whom I know through business as well as the expat fathers of mixed sons who live in Japan. The fathers said that their sons were too busy trying to overcome being mixed to act in any way that may be perceived as gay. The Japanese men also said that there was a lot of pressure all through school to not be too different. Being gay was way beyond being merely different. Even guys who were gay didn’t want to be thought of as gay. Extended staring or touching a guy would draw a lot of really unwanted attention. These men also had brothers whom they kindly asked the same questions. The most responses were, “No!” No one wanted to look gay. And that was just something they did in anime for fujoshi. I must point out that though Japanese pop culture spawned yaoi, the culture actually does not approve of homosexuality. It is so taboo that it is difficult to get interest in events like Gay Pride. There is a fear of backlash. It is a country that values appearances. No one wants to be too different. So guys who are at an age when they are most self-conscious are not going to be holding and clenching or kissing or exchanging rings with their buddies.

What summed it up in my head, ironically, was a snarky email sent to me by someone less than pleased at seeing a Yaoi a GoGo post on their newsfeed. Before I banned him, the man accused me and all these other horny women of gaying up anime for everyone. There were hardly any panty shots or big eyed chicks in tiny towels anymore. It’s all one big sausage fest. I think he may be right, but we aren’t happy in this perpetual state of tease. If we had our way, we’d gay it up big time so that there is no doubt that these shows are aimed at us.

Doing the Math Part One -- Durarara Shizuo x Izaya

Doing the Math Part One -- DRRR Shizuo x Izaya

Shizuo could see daylight, but it was a long way up. The void between him and the surface was too dark to tell if there were any footholds to help him climb out – if he could move. Izaya stirred then went completely still. Shizuo was glad at that moment that he couldn't move at all. For a while, he needed the ruse of unconsciousness to figure out how much blame he could attach to Izaya for their predicament.

“Ow,” Izaya groaned. “What was that? Not even Shizuo hits that hard. What the...”

Shizuo closed his eyes as he felt Izaya raise up a little.

“Shizuo-chan?” He whispered. “Did you really break my fall?”

“Don't be an ass,” Shizuo thought furiously. “I would have had you land face first in the concrete if I'd been awake!”

“What the hell is this hole?” Izaya wondered aloud. “It's not a ventilation shaft...”

“Who the fuck cares?” Shizuo thought. “All I know is it's too deep to get out of without Celty.”

“We'll need Celty to get out of this and to help us with whoever had us land in here,” Izaya said quietly. “That means that I can't hurt you the way I'd love to, Shizuo-chan. Celty has a big school girl crush on you. I have a feeling in my gut that it would be extremely stupid to get that Dulahan really angry.”

“You have a demonic lizard in your gut, freak,” Shizuo thought. “If you really want to protect me, you should get us out of sight. And why are you still all over me?!”

“As much as I am enjoying having you like this, we need to move away from that opening,” Izaya murmured.

Before Shizuo could wonder what the hell the flea was going on about, Izaya moved off his body to crouch beside him. His head was gently lifted a fraction to rest on the sleeve of Izaya's jacket as that arm moved under him at the shoulders while his pants were firmly grasped at the waist. In one smooth movement, Izaya slid him approximately one meter. Shizuo could no longer feel the heat of the late afternoon sun on his face.

No sooner had his head been placed gently on the ground, cars could be heard screeching to a halt near the opening of the cavern. A warm hand covered his mouth.

“They're coming, Shizuo-chan,” he said softly. “Don't cry out.”

“What. The. Fuck! Am I twelve?” Shizuo thought. “I am going to kill him.”

Running footsteps echoed through the cavern. Angry, urgent voices drifted down to where they hid. The words were not exactly clear, but they could make out that there was a lot of finger pointing over who allowed the pair to get so far out of sight that they could disappear. There was a lot of fear over facing the people that sent them to destroy Shizuo and Izaya. Hopeful reason prevailed that the pair can't be down in that hole. They decided to split up and try to find them some blocks away where another commotion was reported. Dire warnings were given about failure to take down the pair. None of the voices sounded familiar to Shizuo, but they were far away and echoing through the cavern. It was also clear that they might yet have to search that hole. Izaya didn't move until the vehicles peeled away.

“So, somebody new wants to play in our sandbox,” Izays murmured. “And they don't want to share.”

“This isn't 'our' anything, asshole,” Shizuo thought angrily though he was also deeply troubled by all of this. Had that errant vending machine not caused the sink hole, they may have been full of bullet holes. This was disturbing on its own. Shizuo realized that it also meant they had been carefully watched for quite some time without either realizing it. That took a lot of skill. Neither man was easy to tail because they were so often hunting each other.

“We'd spot anyone new in the area watching us,” Izaya murmured absently. “That means that their spies had been in Ikebukuro long enough that they were of little notice. What kind of operation requires that kind of careful planning?”

Shizuo was shaken over how much they were thinking along the same lines. He really didn't like the idea of having anything in common with Izaya. He wondered again about why the annoying man stayed so physically close when it wasn't necessary. Shizuo also wondered how long he would be immobile. Izaya finally moved away. Shizuo could hear him wandering around the cavern for a while. Then, he laughed softly at something. That made Shizuo nervous. Izaya laughing usually meant something bad for him. Next, he heard some light things being dragged back toward him.

“I know that you can't move, Shizuo-chan or you would have never let me touch you,” Izaya said as he came very near. He was near enough to feel the warm of his breath as he talked. “But something tells me that you can hear me. If that's true, I need to make a deal with you. I know you have a strong sense of personal honor. Usually, I find that to be a foolish thing. But we need each other down here and perhaps up there to deal with whoever those fuckers are.”

Shizuo knew that they had to at the very least not fight while they waited for help. It may even come down to them cooperating if the fight followed them down there. He relaxed the tension in his body. There wasn't much movement, but it was enough.

“Good,” Izaya said. Shizuo knew he was smiling. That pissed him off, but at least he didn't lurk about smirking. He seemed to be assembling something to the left of where Shizuo was resting. “You wouldn't believe what fell in that hole with us.”

“Back to not caring,” Shizuo thought.

“The vending machine is still plugged in,” he chuckled. “I had heard they had really long cords now, so owners could find them wherever you throw them. I thought I was being played. It must be some vending machine.”

“Still don't care, but that is funny,” Shizuo thought.

“It may take hours for Celty to figure out where to start looking for us – if she even misses either of us tonight,” Izaya said softly. “If I'm to take care of you until then, You can't be on the damp ground.”

Once again, Izaya moved Shizuo. This time it was onto something dry that was raised off the ground several centimeters. The way it creaked told him that they were wooden pallets probably covered in card board. He was placed across two of them. It was good to be off the cold ground, but he also felt warm. That meant that there were steam pipes nearby. Izaya moved away again. Shizuo could hear the vending machine jingling and thunking. The smell of ramen and rice filled the air near the pallets as Izaya returned. The makeshift tatami dipped near Shizuo's waist.

“I've got plenty of water for when you wake up,” Izaya said between slurps of ramen. “I'm sure the machine will still be working, so you can eat as well. Ramen is decent. I'm sure the onigiri will be as well. And I know you won't be immobile for longer than five or six hours.”

“And you know this how, psycho?”

“The last time you were this still was that time you got grazed by that bank robber,” Izaya said “That time, you lost blood, and were still up and ready to kill in just over 24 hours.”

“Grazed my ass,” Shizuo thought darkly. “Felt like a chunk of my head and arm were blown away. And I was minding my own business. I wasn't planning on taking them down until they shot at me.”

Shizuo felt his sunglasses gently removed then placed in his pocket.

“I didn't get to you in time, Shizuo-chan,” Izaya continued. “I'm always otherwise occupied when you go down. Celty got to you first, and put you in the care of the one person in this city that I'm not going to take on unless I really have to.”

“The busty school girl with glasses?” Shizuo wondered. “Why can't I ever remember her name? And why are you afraid of a schoolgirl?”

Izaya fell silent as he ate the rice. Shizuo relaxed a little more. That man could talk and talk. Shizuo long wondered if the man ever was just silent. Maybe he's afraid of boobs...or afraid of girls. That brought Shizuo up short. He hadn't ever known Izaya to show an intense interest in girls. But that was just part of him being a psychotic freak, right? Suddenly, it wasn't such a great thing for Izyaya to be silent. Then, he had to wonder what the flea was up to being so quiet and so close.

“Anri and Celty were right,” he murmured after a swig of something. “You do have really long eyelashes. They went on about that when they took care of you that time.”

“Yeah, that's her name, Anri,” Shizuo thought. “Wait...were you watching them, freak?”

“Relax, Shizuo-chan,” Izaya laughed. “I could only watch from afar...up a tree. Both of those strange females could sense someone for a good distance. Spooky. And yet they were practically giggling over you. Especially after they were told to bathe you by Shinra. I think Celty was somehow blushing in her helmet.”

That had been embarrassing for all involved. Shizuo had been so startled to realize that he was naked that he almost bolted from the bed. Celty had to hold him in a cocoon long enough to explain and calm him. He had fallen in a filthy puddle in the street before Celty grabbed him. His wounds and his clothes were covered in the everything that drained in from everywhere else. Being warm and dry had felt good. And his clean clothes were within reach in case they were needed. It was a good place to recover. Celty made sure there was lots of food. He was getting hungry.

“I wonder if I'll have to bathe you to hasten your recovery, Shizuo-chan?”

His appetite was gone. The fury was back.

“Don't strain yourself, I can do this for you,” Izaya said. “Idiot! There's no clean water down here!! You unbutton one thing and I'll rip your arms out of their sockets and throw them up onto the street.”

The impersonation was almost accurate. Shizuo wouldn't have laughed even if he could. But at least he knew that Izaya was full of shit. Why did he insist on fucking with him for the sake of fucking with him? It was childish...schoolyard stuff. Again, something was forming that Shizuo's mind shied from.

Izaya yawned.

“I don't know about you, but our little skirmishes usually leave me tired,” Izaya said. “Add bullets and nursing you to the mix, and I'm exhausted.”

What nursing?” Shizuo wondered. That schoolgirl did a lot more for him. “Whatever, if it will keep you quiet.”

Shizuo supposed there was another pallet set up for Izaya. But that didn't explain why he was sitting practically on his hip while he had his supper. Instead, Izaya took a deep breath and then arranged himself on top of Shizo, resting his head just below his chin.

“HAVE YOU LOST YOUR FUCKING MIND?!” Shizuo raged inwardly.

“Stop screaming in your brain,” Izaya murmured. His breath was warm against Shizuo's neck. “You're going to burst a blood vessel. There aren't anymore tatami mat materials. I admit that I am really entertained at the moment, but you have to try to sleep. Here.”

Izaya unzipped his jacket. He covered them both from the waist up. He put his hood partially over Shizo's face. It didn't really stink in the cavern, but it smelled much better under that jacket. Shizuo let the notion that he was a parakeet pass. Instead, he took deep, slow breaths.

“That's it. You can kill me later. Sleep now.”

“Okay, Izaya is definitely gay,” Shizuo thought. “No not-gay guy would do this. That explains his fear of...of...Anri. Not really though. I think a gay guy would avoid boobs, but he wouldn't need to be afraid of them.”

Shizuo drifted, thinking about Izaya's behavior. Or actually, he was thinking about how more than one person described his behavior toward Shizuo during the years.

“Like a school boy with a crush,” Shizuo recalled. “Who punches when he wants”

“But to try to kill me or put me in jail because he wants me?” Shizuo wondered incredulously. That made no sense. Shizuo wouldn't be ashamed about anything he was. He's proud to be a homicidal, psychopathic freak. It was a sure thing that he wouldn't give a flying fuck about how anyone felt about his being gay.

An answer began to form in Shizuo's mind, but he couldn't make it out. He was tired from the fight and the fall and screaming at Izaya in his brain. As he slipped into sleep, Shizuo realized that he could move his fingers. It was a sign that he would soon be able to protect himself. Izaya was truly and deeply asleep, the bastard. He could take his rest.

Shizuo's dreams were never particularly peaceful unless he was under powerful anesthesia. It was very normal for him to awaken startled and ready to fight. And this happened even when he knew where he was when he fell asleep. Thus, he was surprised to be fuzzily awake and mid-way through his morning stretch when the pains of yesterday's injuries slammed into him.

“OW!” Shizuo gasped. “Fuck!”

He sat up slowly, blinking to clear his vision and find the freak.

“Do you always wake up that way?” Izaya asked. His voice was some distance away.

Izaya was near the still dangling vending machine. Shizuo gently swung his legs in front of him. He thought about the question with a wry smile.

“If I'm lucky,” Shizuo replied ruefully.

Izaya chuckled at that. “You hungry? There's ramen and onigiri and tea.”

“All of it,” Shizuo said. “I'm starvin'. I've got some money...”

“I know. I have it,” Izaya smiled.

Shizuo didn't bother to check his pockets. There wasn't any point. Instead, he moved so that Izaya could sit without being on top of him. He definitely had had enough of being so close to that man. He was saved from having to talk to him for a while by the food. It was a good vending machine that heated the ramen and the rice just right. There were even chop sticks and seasonings. They slurped through two cups a piece and nommed through as many rice balls while Shizuo thought.

If Izaya wanted him the way some crazy people in Ikebukuro contended, he would make being gay the in thing to be and have people beaten up for liking girls. But the attacks began on Shizuo from the moment they laid eyes on each other in school. They'd never even spoken. A theory formed that finally made sense. It was shocking and infuriating. The only reason Shizuo didn't forget his promise and beat Izaya into a bloody pulp was that he also had a plan. That plan would make Izaya completely crazy. There wouldn't be anything he could do about what Shizuo proposed besides seethe. It took all the control he had not to act on that plan. He could not act just then. They still had to get out of that hole. And they had to find out who wanted them dead.

“You're right about the people watching us,” Shizuo said. “They have to be people who were already long term in Ikebukuro or new but not too new.”

“I think it's someone close to me,” Izaya said. “There are a lot of people in my life that would give intel on my movements for the right price...or for the hell of it.”

Shizuo looked over in surprise.

“I'm not blind to how I'm viewed, Shizuo-chan,” he said with a shrug. “It makes the most sense that it would be me. I'm much more unpredictable in my movements. That little incident between us was time to the second, and I had no plans to go anywhere near this part of town until shortly before I left the office.”

“Why did you come this way?”

Izaya smiled. “Russia Sushi had Asari Ramen again. It was so good that first time, I wanted to see if it was a fluke.”

“I had a coupon for it. Someone shoved it in my hand...wasn't Simon,” Shizuo said.


Russia Sushi only allowed one of them in the restaurant at a time to keep mayhem to a minimum. Since they are one of the few places that could back up a rule like that and Asari Ramen was something that easily ran out if it's good, Shizuo and Izaya naturally locked horns over who would get to eat first. But what would be a typical skirmish between them got crazy fast when the sedans full of gun wielding thugs started spraying them with bullets. Fortunately, the thugs were lousy shots and didn't know Ikebukuro well enough to not get turned around in its labrynths. In the few minutes the battling pair lost them the streets swallowed them up.

“It was the perfect set up,” Izaya concluded.

“They weren't kids,” Shizuo said. “Rural talent.”

“Exactly,” Izaya smiled. “Big fish from small ponds somewhere itching for a toe hold in the big city.”

“They'll be easy to spot, but what do we do to get rid of them?” Shizuo asked.

“I think we should snipe at them from the shadows until we can get them do something really stupid right in front of Kinnosuke and his band of rabid bike cops,” Izaya said. “We'll have to stay hidden in Ikebukuro and really frustrate them. You use your network. I'll use mine.”

Shizuo frowned. “I have a network? Tom isn't a network.”

“You have a huge network, Shizuo-chan,”

“Why do you call me that?” Shizuo asked quietly.

“To push your gloriously dangerous buttons,” Izaya replied easily. “Besides, I know you wouldn't allow me to call you Kohai.”

“You never asked,” Shizuo countered without anger. “You never asked anything. You just attacked.”

Shizuo rose to go to the vending machine. He was still hungry and he needed distance from Izaya to avoid getting angry all over again. The man wouldn't back off. He was right behind him.

“I have the money, remember?” He asked.

Shizuo stepped away from the machine. As Izaya pulled out the money, they heard another vehicle rumbling toward the hole.

“Ah, the Scoobies are here,” Izaya said with a smile.

Shizuo frowned at him. Then, he heard someone calling his name.

“Kyohei!” Shizuo shouted. “We're down here!”

“We?” Erica asked as they all peered down the hole.

“If you're finished staring, can you get Celty?” Shizuo said dryly. “We can't make it out without her.”

“Right,” Kyohei said. “I'll text her now.”

“Don't you boys fight,” Erika said as she settled in to watch them in the hole. Walker pulled her away while muttering something about the edge of the hole being unstable.

“Where will you go?” Shizuo asked. “Is it safe at your office with the leak so close?”

“I have some safe houses that no one knows about,” he said quietly. “I'll contact you on the social nets.”

Shizuo nodded at that. He looked at Izaya intently for a long moment. It was time to spring his plan.

“Of all the things I've thought about you over all these years, I never thought the truth would be that you are gutless,” he said quietly.

“Did you hit your head during that landing?”

“You never allowed me a chance to say anything to you,” Shizuo said. “You were my Sempai. I was new to the school. You had all the cards and still needed to cheat. What else can that be but fear? You still want to destroy me when I have nothing to do with anything in your life or you business. How else can that be explained?”

Izaya stared hard at Shizuo for a long moment. The tension between them rose to near normal levels for an instant. Then, Izaya smiled a wry smile. He put money in the vending machine then pushed some buttons.

“I thought onigiri would be best since we're leaving soon,” he said before tossing a riceball toward Shizuo.

“Now, don't you boys start fighting or anything,” Erika yelled from above.

Shizuo nearly missed the rice ball from being startled by the yelling. He rolled his eyes before opening the package.

“Thanks,” he said, tucking in.

“No worries.”

Celty's bike was roaring up then. In seconds, she was peering down the hole while Kyohei and his posse explained their situation, saving them both a lot of shouting. She nodded her helmet. In an instant, the cavern was filled with the black tendrils that were part of her frightening but fascinating power. Shizuo and Izaya were wrapped in the tendrils that then tightened to hold them firmly without harming them.

“Okay, Celty! Bring us up!” Shizuo said loudly.

Slowly, they were lifted from the ground and pulled toward the opening to the cavern. Mid-way up, Izaya suddenly swung his body toward Shizuo. Before he could react to the sudden move – before the 'what the fuck' could be formed, Izaya came close and kissed Shizuo's open mouth. Since his hands were free, he was able to hold the kiss by grasping Shizuo by the hair at the back of the head firmly but gently. The kiss was shocking to Shizuo, but it was also gentle. Izaya was thoroughly exploring his mouth with his warm tongue, but it was clear somehow that he was willing to end the kiss at any second. And that second came when Shizuo realized that they had cleared the entrance of the cabin and Erika was shrieking with glee. He turned his head sharply, ending the kiss. Immediately, Shizuo started shouting.

“Have you lost your fucking mind? What the fuck made you think I wanted you to KISS me?!”

“The way you were talking down there indicated that my alleged interest would be reciprocated,” Izaya replied with his usual, easy calm.

“I said that it would be okay if you were gay. I never said that I was gay!” Shizuo raged, unaware that he was safely on the ground.

“You implied it by not specifically saying that in that missed opportunity all those years ago, you weren't interested,” Izaya said.

“The not-gay guy doesn't have to come out and say he isn't gay!” Shizuo yelled. “I am going to KILL YOU!”

“And that's my cue to leave,” Izaya said. “I don't want our deal to fall apart minutes after rescue.”

He bounded back several yards, putting a safe distance between them. The reality of their ongoing situation slammed back into Shizuo's mind, squelching his anger.

“WAIT!” Shizuo said. “Izaya! It's not safe for you to move alone on foot.”

“He's right,” Kyohei said. “There are all sorts of eyes on the street looking for you both to surface.”

“Kyohei, can you guys take him to where he needs to go,” Shizuo said quietly. “Then, I need your help figuring out how to deal with these fuckers.”

“Sure thing,” Kyohei said. “Climb in the back, Izaya.”

Izaya was surprised at Shizuo. He was also very pleased though for once he didn't say anything about it.

“Thanks,” Izaya said. “And thank you, Shizuo. I'll be in touch.”

Shizuo nodded. He no longer trusted himself not to scream at the crazy man. As the van screeched off, Shizuo turned to Celty. He was pretty sure that the Dulahan had been screaming silently in her helmet since they came out of that hole kissing.

“You do know that I did not want that man to kiss me, right?” Shizuo said. “He's found a new way to make me insane since we have a truce.”

Celty nodded vigorously. He could tell that she was relieved.

“I mean, I've never actually talked to Izaya before,” Shizuo reasoned. “Something was bound to go wrong.”

Celty tapped into her phone furiously.

“Yes! That must be it. Makes perfect sense.”

“Are you okay to ride? I need to get out of sight. I'm still hurting from the fall, and I need to sleep,” he said. “Can we go to where you took me before?”

She tapped a note on her phone. “Absolutely. Do you need medical treatment?”

“No, just some food and a hot bath,” he replied.

“Right,” she wrote. “I'll drop you off and then come back with food.”

She conjured a helmet for him. She also made a whole leather jumpsuit appear on his body. She typed on her phone again.

“You'll need to cover up. Everyone knows that outfit,” she wrote. “You also look a little cold.”

“Thanks. I guess I am cold.”

Shizuo put on his sunglasses, feeling much more like himself. Then, he climbed on the back of the bike. Between Izaya's network and his own, they would soon be pounding in the faces of those responsible for making him spend time with that psychopath. The kiss was something Shizuo would have never figured on when he came up with his plan, but he wasn't discouraged. There had to be a happy medium between beating Izaya in the head with a traffic sign and allowing him to tonsil dive. Shizuo was certain that after a hot bath, some food and a good night's sleep, he could come up with something. He just hoped Izaya would give him the space he needed to sort things out. Something made Shizuo very wary of tangling with this new Izaya.

Read Doing the Math Part Two Here:

Read DL Warner's Original Fic:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fanficiton Doingthe Math Part 3 - DRRR Shizuo x Izaya

Doing the Math Part 3: Durarara Shizuo x Izaya

by DL Warner

Shizuo ran then bounded over the roofs to a deserted side street where Celty waited. She quickly conjured a helmet and cycling suit. They were gone only a few seconds after that. No one saw them. Shizuo felt his adrenaline rising. He was ready to fight.

“Did you find the tractor trailer, Celty?” Shizuo asked as they stopped at the entrance to the park.

She typed into her phone quickly. “Yes. I have the route planned out.”

“As soon as the coast is clear, go home,” Shizuo said. “Text me when you're there. I'll text you when I'm with Tom and the Boss Man. Don't worry. We'll be fine. I've got to kick some serious ass.”
She nodded with a thumbs up then roared off. Shizuo noticed that there were lots of eyes on him. Some were the faces that Izaya found were traitors. Others were merely curious. He also thought he saw Anri dart past, but she was in a hoodie and her eyes were red. He blinked and she was gone. Shizuo didn't like the thought of her being there despite that scary big sword. He felt his ire growing. He grabbed a nearby stop sign that he knew to be loose then ran to the fountain. Of course, Izaya was already there.

“Did you just leap from the van without saying goodbye to anyone?” Shizuo asked mildly as he sat beside him. He rested the traffic pole beside him.

“They wanted to stab tires with an ice pick,” Izaya replied drolly. “I didn't want to keep them.”

“Here you are, my best customers,” Simon exclaimed as he ambled up. “I have special ramen for you and some sushi, too!”

“You are a prince, Simon,” Izaya said happily.

“Oh, there's only one drink,” Simon muttered.

“We can split it, right?” Shizuo asked.


“Wonderful that you are sharing things!” He said with a huge smile.

Simon set them up with the take away soup containers while Izaya tried to pay him. He had to give up as the man just wasn't taking the money.

“You be very careful,” Simon said quietly as packed up. “And you can come in now at the same time.”

“Thanks, man,” Shizuo said. He watched him leave noting the odd stares they were getting. “What do we look like together?”

“We're eating together and not fighting. Takes some getting used to, I think,” Izaya said.

“Yeah... I think I saw Anri outside of the park.”

“Dark hoodie, red eyes, scary big sword?”

“Hmm,” he replied after slurping the delicious ramen.

“That was her. She's fine.”

“'Kay,” Shizuo said. There wasn't time for explanations. He really wanted to finish his food without just shoving it down his throat. Izaya seemed to feel the same way. They focused on eating while they were aware of movement at the edges of the park. Shizuo's phone rang as he passed the bottle of green tea to Izaya after a deep swig.

“Two cars with eight guys,” Erika said. “More are running there.”

“Thanks,” Shizuo said and hung up. He found Izaya on his phone.

“I thought you might do something like that. Thank you, very, very much,” he said then hung up. “Yes?”

“Company's coming. You done with that drink?”

“Sure,” Izaya replied. “Here you go.”

Shizuo took the bottle and screwed the cap on tight as cars screeched to a halt nearby. He waited until he saw them. Four of them came charging in a row. He threw the bottle end over end with inhuman speed and incredible body English. It connected on the lead man's forehead. The man was lifted of his feet and hurled backwards into the guys behind him with enough force to send them back out of the park.

“All of that with half a bottle of tea,” Izaya murmured.

“It had just enough spin,” Shizuo said with a smile. “Of course, they'll come out shooting.”

“I've got faith in you, Kohai,” Izaya murmured.

“Just stay at my back,” Shizuo said. “I'll keep them just within throwing distance of your knives for as long as possible before we get to hand to hand.”

“Giving me cover? That makes me hard,” Izaya smiled.

Shizuo glared at Izaya or tried to. He wasn't angry at the psycho. His mind flashed to all that they could be doing and the spark ignited. Izaya smiled.

“I could be having KAT-SUU-DON!!!” Shizuo roared as he swung the traffic pole in a powerful arc, mowing down a half dozen knuckle draggers in ill fitting suits.

Izaya took out the men behind the first group with his little daggers. The hit in the upper arms or thighs causing great spurts of blood. Curiously, none of the men were armed with guns yet they all wore holsters. As their numbers dwindled, Shizuo noticed that there were fights going on within the park with the some of the men who were labeled traitors. He saw one such man – whose eyes were glowing red – take a gun from one of the knuckle draggers then walk from the park. Shizuo didn't have time to think about what it all meant. The waves were getting thinner, but they were angrier. He abandoned the pole for the satisfaction of hearing bones break from his fists before they were sent flying a few streets away. Suddenly, just as reinforcements with lots of guns arrived, Celty came roaring through the park. Sirens blared loudly behind her.

“C'mon!” Izaya shouted. He bounded up a rock formation and onto some tree branches. Shizuo followed. They sat quietly in the tree, well hidden from anyone in the park. All those guns made Kinnosuke's cops crazy. They took them on and called for an insane amount of back-up as the chase barreled out of the park.

After a few moments of quiet, Izaya led the way to the pavement. Everyone was gone for the moment.

“Are you okay?” Shizuo asked.

“Not a scratch. You?”

“I'm fine,” Shizuo said. He looked toward the street to see Tom approaching him. “Back to the grind.”

“Same here,” Izaya said softly.

Shizuo looked around to see his assistant walking toward them. His cell phone buzzed then. After glancing at it, he looked at Izaya.

“Celty is home safe,” he said.

“Good...that's good.”

Izaya looked uncertain. That worried Shizuo.

“Hey, I'll call when I'm on my way,” Shizuo said. “I like my katsudon crispy.”

That brought a smirk.

“Right. Later. Not too long though.”


Shizuo fell in alongside of Tom who turned and headed out of the park.

“What's with you two?” he asked.

“We have a truce for now,” Shizuo replied. “How's business?”

“Predictable,” Tom laughed. “Everyone had reasons not to pay until about a half an hour ago. Now, they can't pay fast enough.”


“Yeah. The boss won't keep you, considering this development,” Tom said. “He just wants to see for himself that you're in one piece.”

“I know the drill.”

“Don't worry. This won't take long,” Tom assured him. “Besides, he's so happy with you, I think you'll get a bonus for getting rid of those ass wipes.”

“I won't turn it down.”

“You'll need it.”

Shizuo stopped walking. “Why?”

“Seems they thought they could find where you were holed up somehow,” Tom said an hour later as they stood in the shambles that was his apartment.

Everything was shredded – even his thin futon. It was too much, or it would have been before their time at Anri's. Shizuo could feel the digital key against his chest just resting and waiting.

“You can crash on the sofa at the office,” Tom offered as Shizuo looked into the closet ceiling. He pushed up a panel that led to a deep storage space. There he found a large duffel bag. That was a relief for him.

“No, I've got a spot to crash,” he said as he fished inside the duffel bag. He found a small bag that contained all of his cash. He peeled some bills off before adding his bonus. “Can you pay the landlord my rent? You'll see him before I will.”

“Sure thing,” he replied. “He'll be thrilled considering. You sure are in a good mood.”

“I can't explain what it's like for me to not have Izaya Orihara plotting to ruin me or kill me,” Shizuo said.

“I suppose not. How long will that last?”

“Dunno. I'm going to try a different kind of fighting to make it last,” Shizuo said quietly.

“It was quite a sight, the pair of you,” Tom said. “The most dangerous men in town mowing down dozens of armed men. It was amazing.”

“Yeah...right...catch you later.”

“I'm on my way,” Shizuo said once he reached the street.

“Okay...put on the rice and have a soak,” Izaya said softly. Shizuo could hear relief in his voice. “Anri got home fine.”

“Good. See you soon.”

Something tugged at Shizuo's gut, making him suspicious. He didn't run, but he did move quickly enough that no one could have known when he took to the roof tops. By the time he reached the alley behind the warehouse, there was no one around. He had wondered how the key worked, but all he had to do was approach the door and it gently swung open. The elevator came on its own as well. It was far fancier that he had expected.

The apartment was way beyond what he thought for a fuck pad. It was really classy with dark wood floors and elegant furniture. The colors of the drapes and furniture fabrics were understated. There was a fire place in the spacious living room and a fire pit on the roof deck beyond. There were big, fat pillar candles of varying heights were lit everywhere. Shizuo was stunned at how expensive the place was. Then, he realized that the sex toy merchant couldn't give his mistress the same kind of house the wife had, so he did the next best thing.

Shizuo made his way to the kitchen which was also big and modern and expensive. He easily found the rice bin and the strainers. He quickly washed and drained the agreed upon amount. Then, he placed the washed rice in the insanely elaborate rice cooker, pressed the on button then went to find the bedroom.

“Shizuo...” A faint voice called.


“Your bathroom is on the left off the bedroom,” Izaya said from behind a dark wooden door. “Go have a soak while I make some supper.”

“We have our own bathrooms?” Shizuo asked incredulously.

“Yeah...crazy, huh?”

“I'll say. I'm going to have a soak.”

There was a walk-in closet off the beautiful bathroom. Shizuo put his duffel bag on a high shelf. He wasn't sure about unpacking everything. He never did that at his apartment. He also knew that Izaya expected him to unpack something. He had a dozen sets of new bartender uniforms that didn't get destroyed. In the end, he hung up three of them. There were four sets at the cleaners. That would look respectable, and it gave him a nice number to fall back on if he had to leave suddenly. Maybe he would get some causal clothes as well. If he shared rent with Izaya, he'd have extra money for that kind of thing. It would be nice to wear something more relaxed when not working.

The bathroom was large and the same kind of nice as the rest of the place. There were dark tiles in the shower and tub area and dark wood everywhere else. There was a little room where the toilet was located. There were hooks on the door where a brand new robe and nightshirt hung. They were a charcoal gray and a very nice, soft fabric.

“Silk knit?” Shizuo mused, reading the tag. He shook his head at all the luxury. Even the slippers looked expensive.

The bathroom was stocked not just with towels but also with shampoo and body washes and lotions. The scents were all light and clean, so he didn't mind using them. The water pressure for the shower head was amazing and the water was nice and hot. The tub was big enough for two and it looked like it had whirlpool jets. That was no accident.

“A real love nest,” Shizuo quipped. “I wonder if he knew when he bought the place.”

Shizuo didn't think he did. An overt move like that ran the risk of freaking him out, and the maniac was trying to be as careful as Shizuo was with whatever was growing between them. The luxury was good as far as the privacy was concerned in Shizuo's opinion. He generally came home from work in a foul mood. A private soak was just the thing to put him in the right frame of mind to spend time with Izaya. It felt right to wash the worst of Ikebukuro off him in order to spend time with someone who had cooked for him and was offering his body.

He also doubted that Izaya was huge fun after a long day of scheming. That man was wound tight on a good day. A spot of luxury was fine, but Shizuo couldn't let Izaya 'keep' him. He had had many offers before mostly from older women. He never gave them even a second thought before refusing. For anything to work between them, Shizuo had to pay his own way. The soak felt great. He only took fifteen minutes in the steamy water before joining Izaya in the kitchen. He wore a dark blue night shirt and robe. It was a relief not to be in matching clothes. He was relaxed in front of the counter where he was chopping the vegetables.

“Beer or tea?” Izaya asked quietly.

“Beer,” Shizuo found himself saying. It had been a while since he's last had one.

“Check the fridge. There is a nice selection,” he said. “I'll have what you're having.”

Shizuo whistled at the very nice selection in the fridge. He selected a brand that he'd never buy himself then poured it in chilled glasses that were in the fridge as well. He set a glass near Izaya's work area. Before saying another word, he tilted the smaller man's chin up to gently but thoroughly kiss him.

“Welcome back,” Izaya sighed.

“Thanks,” Shizuo murmured, taking a seat on the other side of the counter in one of the tall chairs. “Now, I need to talk to you about rent.”

“Why? This place pays for itself,” Izaya said.

“I pay my way,” Shizuo said simply after a sip of beer.

“How about paying me half of what you pay now?” He asked.

“Fair enough,” Shizuo said. “This beer is great.”

“Nothing but the best for the love nest, I suppose,” he replied ruefully. “I just had the service that handled this place before clean and stock it with stuff for two guys. They sure were glad to have this account back.”

“I'll bet,” Shizuo said. “How do they work? Do the warehouse workers know about the housekeepers?”

“That alley is really busy with deliveries during the day. No one notices them,” Izaya replied. “No one would notice them with their bland van and jumpsuits.”

“So we don't clean at all?” Shizuo frowned.

“We do the dishes and keep things straight,” Izaya said. “They'll come twice a week to scrub and polish and vacuum and do the laundry. We're not being spoiled. Think of how bad your worst day is at work. Do you really want to come home and clean the bathtub or launder the sheets?”

“Fuck no,” Shizuo chuckled.

“Then, let them do it,” Izaya said. “This is where we come to rest and relax and sometimes heal.”

“I'm game,” Shizuo murmured.

“Good,” Izaya smiled. “Supper will be up in a little while.”
“That's fine,” Shizuo said. “How are things with Yagiri-san?”

“She was still walking on eggshells when I left, but I don't think she's terrified,” he replied then chuckled. “She sure got a lot of work done while I was gone. That office has never been so organized.”

“Do you think you'll have any problems with the locals that wanted in on your action?”

“I don't know yet. According to my now loyal assistant, my apartment was wrecked.”

“Mine too,” Shizuo said. “They broke or shredded everything.”

“ aren't upset?” He asked as he began to plate the yummy smelling food.

“They didn't get anything important,” Shizuo replied. He smiled as the amazing plate was set before him. “And I had somewhere nice to go.”

Izaya smiled as he sat. They ate in a comfortable silence until the food was demolished.

“That was really good, Senpai,” Shizuo murmured after the last swig of his beer. “Thank you.”

“I'm glad you liked it,” he replied. “Why don't you wash the rice while I get the dishes ready for the dishwasher?”

“Sure. How many servings?”

“Four. We may have time for lunch tomorrow.”

Shizuo raised a brow at that. He hadn't thought Izaya would want to meet other than when their days were done.

“Sure,” Shizuo said. “Maybe I could pick up some mochi. I know a place.”

“I like mine with strawberries.”

“I'll see what I can do,” Shizuo replied shaking his head.

It was kind of soothing washing and rinsing the rice while Izaya put the kitchen in order. He hadn't had a routine like that since he was a kid. When he set up the cooker, Izaya showed him how to set the timer, so it would start on its own. He then looked up at Shizuo in a way that was nearly shy.

“So...what happens now?” He asked so softly that Shizuo almost didn't hear.

At that moment, Shizuo realized that there was something to be said about having sex with a guy. It likely saved a lot of time on idle conversation. Instead of replying, he took Izaya on either side of his waist, lifted him to sit on the marble counter then immediately kissed him. During the deep and hungry kiss, Izaya moaned helplessly before wrapping his legs around Shizuo's waist while his arms wound around his neck.

With his roommate secured about him, Shizuo moved to the bedroom. He never jarred Izaya, and he never stopped enjoying the kiss. He did nudge those slim strong legs down so that he knelt on the bed. In one fluid movement, he yanked off his night shirt.

“Take yours off,” Izaya murmured.

Shizuo complied while Izaya positioned large pillows at the headboard.

“Sit with your back against the pillows,” Izaya said quietly and then, he chuckled. “I thought I'd have to work harder to get you interested. You can't know how glad I am that's not the case.”

“You may not be glad for long,” Shizuo replied in a worried tone. “I don't know what to do to get you ready. “

“I'll teach you everything eventually,” Izaya smiled as he straddled Shizuo. “But for tonight, I'm more than ready.”

Shizuo realized what Izaya planned immediately. He spread his legs then braced himself. Izaya reached over to a bedside table to grab a fat tube of lube. His smile was all sin as he warmed a dollop in his hands then stroked Shizuo's erection to it's full, rigid length.

“You are huge, Shizuo. And beautiful – even there.”

Shizuo said nothing. Instead, he held Izaya at his hips and let him take his time lowering himself on that erection. He gasped and then moaned loudly at the heat and the tightness surrounding him.


Shizuo held Izaya firmly at the hips and pumped into him. He must have been hitting something perfectly because Izaya cried out in pleasure each time he jerked his hips upwards. All the while, they watched each other's faces. Along with the intense pleasure, Shizuo saw wonder in Izaya's expression that he was certain was in his own. And then, he couldn't think anymore. The pleasure was too much. He had to come.

“Slick you cock,” he ordered Izaya.

The man glared at him between loud moans, but he did what he was told. He was going to jack himself off, but Shizuo batted his hand away. He took Izaya's rigid, weeping erection in hand and worked it until he cried out. He lost all his barriers in that instant. Izaya was naked need and intense yearning just before the pleasure hit him. He moaned loudly – almost painfully just as he spurted all over his chest.

Shizuo came with something like a roar. The power of the pleasure wrenched his body and robbed him of breath. Afterward, he rested his head against Izaya who was panting with exhaustion.

“ are hot and tight, Senpai,” Shizuo murmured. “Why are you so tight?”

“When...when I was interfering with your action, I couldn't be arranging any of my own,” he said breathlessly.

“Makes sense, I guess,” Shizuo chuckled softly.

“Ow, ugh,” Izaya gasped.

“What's wrong?”

“I want to...get cleaned up...can't move.”

“I didn't want to hurt you.”

“You didn't. You were in-fucking-credible,” he murmured. “Long day and out of practice.”

“Let me help you.”

“You were just in me. Why wouldn't I let you help me?”

“Not trying to read your mind, remember?” Shizuo quipped. “I'm going to move your left leg then lift you. Just relax.”

In a few moves, Shizuo turned Izaya and lifted him in his arms as he stood.

“A princess carry...for me?”

“Shut up, Senpai,” Shizuo replied affably.

They headed for Izaya's bathroom. There, Shizuo gently set Izaya on his feet in the little toilet room.

“I'll be outside the door,” Shizuo said quietly.

While he waited, Shizuo took the opportunity to cleanse and dry himself. The toilet flushed as he finished. Izaya was in the room shortly afterward. He walked carefully to the little bench next to the shower heads. Shizuo went to get some towels while Izaya got cleaned up. By the time he returned, Izaya was rinsing off.

“Can you make it back to bed?” Shizuo asked as he helped him dry off.

“You don't do round trips?”

“Come here.”

Izaya shivered a little when they made their way back to the bed.

“You're cold,” Shizuo said.

“A little,” he murmured. “There's a remote for the fireplace on the nightstand. Just turn it up a little. And you're really warm.”

“Okay,” Shizuo said as he lowered Izaya onto the bed.

“I'm up early,” Shizuo murmured as Izaya settled on him. He had rested his head on Shizuo's chest. “Tom wants to get the jump on some late risers.”

“That's fine,” Izaya said softy. “I can get caught up on foreign stock reports. Besides, it's really early for me to go to bed. We'll get plenty of sleep.”

“Oyasumi nasai, Senpai,” Shizuo murmured. He squeezed Izaya briefly before resting one hand on the back of his head.

“Oyasumi nasai, Shizuo.”

Weird did not begin to describe that day, but Shizuo found himself content. He had been well fed, he'd had a great bath and some mind blowing sex. Above all, he and all he cared about were safe. Sleep came far easier than any night in recent memory.

Shizuo was certain that the morning would determine what kind of life he would lead with Izaya. Many a budding romance at night was dead in the cold light of the morning. He'd seen many escapees in the early morning hours tip toeing out of buildings with shoes in hand. Shizuo was surprised to find that Izaya was where he left him. He was still holding him but hadn't imprisoned him.

“Are you awake?” Shizuo asked softly.


He sat up slowly then yawned. Shizuo smiled at him. His hair was mussed from having a hand in it all night. His expression was as open and vulnerable as the night before. Somehow, his eyes were bigger. He realized that all Izaya ever presented was a mask. This man before him would be eaten alive in Ikebukuro.

“You sure are gorgeous first thing in the morning, Shizuo,” he murmured.

“Yeah? Well...back at you,” he replied. “Ohayo gozaimasu, Senpai.”

Shizuo pulled Izaya close to kiss him gently. This idea still looked great that morning. The only thing to darken his mood was seeing the bruises on Izaya's hips before he pulled on his robe.

“I did hurt you,” Shizuo said bleakly.

“No, you haven't,” Izaya said emphatically. “I've been far more bruised from our fights. Don't ever take me without that kind of intensity. My only regret is that none of the marks show. I was really hoping for a love bite or two.”

Shizuo snorted. “Freak. Let's get some food.”

They could still be silent for long stretches. That was a relief for Shizuo. They really had built a comfort level that sex had not changed.

“Do you think whatever this is between us will dull our edge?” Izaya wondered over a second cup of coffee. Breakfast was awesome with rice and nicely pan fried fish.

“No, I'll always resent those assholes for keeping me away from where I really want to be,” Shizuo said. “That used to be anywhere but in front of them. Now, I actually have someplace I'd rather be, I may get meaner. You may get more vicious as well. You will always want to protect yourself and what you have. That is always what comes first in your mind. I think some of what people thought was random cruelty was about building a terrifying rep that would protect you.”

“They've made us more dangerous? That's is funny,” Izaya murmured. “Will you let me protect you?”

“Like I have a choice,” Shizuo chuckled.

“Will you protect me?”

“Like I have a choice,” Shizuo laughed.

“I try to behave myself,” Izaya murmured.

Shizuo gave him a sidelong look. “Do you?”

“Not really,” Izaya laughed.

Shizuo rolled his eyes then set about washing rice for supper.

“You like the Takoyaki they sell near the park?”

“Sure. Why?”

“I was going to see if Anri is around the park after four,” he replied with a shrug. “Maybe catch Celty then as well. We all split in a hurry.”

“You are such a softy,” Izaya purred with a big grin. “I'll meet you there.”

“You cannot be worried about a school girl being near me.”

“Anyone near you, Shizuo, when I am not,” he said softly.

“At least you're honest about being a psycho,” he murmured before backing Izaya against the nearest wall. Shizuo kissed his neck to the curve of his shoulder. He then bit and sucked that spot. All the while Izaya was moaning.

“There. You should remember what we are until I see you,” Shizuo said softly before gently but thoroughly kissing him. “I'll call or text before I head back. Later, Senpai.”

There was something satisfying about leaving Izaya cross-eyed against the kitchen wall. He was almost in too good a mood as he walked through the quiet streets. But then his mind drifted to what his morning could have been without the early start. He might have read the paper over coffee. He had seen many people do that very serenely in coffee shops in Ikebukuro. Then, there was Izaya. He had often called the man a cocksucker. At that moment, he had no doubt that the flea was very good at that very thing and more than willing to show him. That would have been far more pleasant than dealing with Tom's jackasses.

“You look as pissed off as ever,” Tom said as they fell in alongside one another. “You sleep okay?”

“I slept great,” Shizuo muttered. “I'd liked to still be sleeping. Or maybe having another cup of coffee...”

“You can sleep in tomorrow,” Tom said. “I want to mix up these 'house calls.' Keep them off guard.”

“That could work,” Shizuo admitted. He wondered if Izaya's schedule could be flexible. He seemed to always have time to get on his nerves or try to kill him before their truce. Then, he wondered why he was thinking about spending more time with that man.

Shizuo forgot about those thoughts when he and Tom shoved their way into the first deadbeat's apartment. He lived in a nice sized flat in a decent part of Ikebukuro. He had a great looking woman sleeping beside him. Tom woke her quietly, helped her into a robe and away from the bed. Shizuo was not so gentle waking the idiot.

The meeting didn't go very well. The deadbeat was annoyed at being bothered when he had left payments to his cash strapped girlfriend. He chastised her and even called her rude names for his debts. Shizuo found that hanging him out the window by one foot and applying a vigorous shake or two revealed a stash of funds under some floorboards in the bedroom. The woman was devastated that he had money all the while he had been bleeding her dry and having sex with her. That was it for Shizuo. Typically, he wouldn't have said anything, but given what he had just experienced, he found that he had to say something.

“You asshole! You have a nice place and someone attractive to share your bed and your burdens and you shit all over it?!” He demanded. “You find something like this and you do everything in your power to keep it! Never make that person regret sharing your life! I wish I had a reason for cracking your skull open for being a fuckwad!”

By the time he was finished his tirade, the woman had dressed and hurriedly packed a bag. She left with them and accepted an escort to the train. Both he and Tom gave her money to get across town to her old place where her sister lived.

“Sorry for going off like that,” Shizuo mumbled as they headed to the next address.

“Hey, you got money out of him that I haven't been able to in weeks and really fast,” Tom said. “I don't mind your giving a little lecture or taking a slight detour. I'm glad to see you giving a damn about something.”

By eleven in the morning, word had gotten around that Tom was hunting. They started coming up empty. Still, they had collected on some of the big boss' largest debtors. Tom was confident that they would be getting another bonus.

“Can you hang loose until around six?” Tom asked once he got off his phone. “We're going to catch some more at their favorite watering holes later.”

“Yeah, I can do that. Catch me in the park when you need me.”

“Cool. Thanks for the great work, Shizuo,” Tom said. “It's good to have you back.”

Shizuo smiled and nodded. He pulled out his phone as he walked away.

“Hey, I'm on my way back,” he said quietly. There were already eyes and ears paying attention to him.


“Word got out before we got too far into the list,” he replied. “I'm free until six.”


“I'll explain later,” Shizuo said. “I'm going into the bakery.”

“Don't forget the strawberry mochi.”

“I won't, wise-ass. Later, Senpai.”

He laughed softly. “Later, Kohai.”

Shizuo picked up the strawberry daifuku and some castella for two. He also shopped nearby for a couple black tank tops, some turtlenecks and draw string pants before picking up his cleaning. For reasons that he couldn't understand, he found himself buying a pretty orchid for the kitchen counter. Somewhere, he'd heard they were good luck for a new place. He also bought a paper.

Izaya had been right about that alley. It was nuts in the morning with trucks and deliveries. He was able to slip inside the back door to the warehouse as a truck went through. He was certain he was unnoticed. It felt good to hang his cleaning up. The cavernous closet looked a little more lived in. It was also nice to change out of his work clothes into something normal and comfortable. Izaya wasn't due for another hour, so Shizuo decided to stretch out on the sofa and read the paper with a cool glass of water. The view was very nice from the balcony that sunny morning. He stared at the skyline absently between stories. It felt good to be passing the time that way.

Before he knew it Izaya was in the apartment putting bags on the kitchen counter. He whistled at the orchid before making his way to the sofa. He sat alongside Shizuo with a smile. The expression on his face was open and happy as he fingered the tank top.

“Look at you in civvies,” he murmured. “You look hot, Kohai, reading the paper.”

He thumbed Shizuo's nipples through the tank top, making him gasp.

“Did you come back just to molest me?” Shizuo growled while stilling his hands.

“Well, that and lunch,” Izaya replied affably. “Maybe provoke you into fucking me.”

“We can't do that for a few days, Senpai,” Shizuo murmured. “You need to heal, and you know it.”

Shizuo reached for Izaya and pulled him close, kissing him gently but thoroughly until he sighed.

“Welcome back, Senpai,” he murmured while still holding the slighter man.

“You feel so good,” Izaya sighed. “We have time...fuck me, Shizuo.”

He responded with a lazy kiss that caused Izaya to stretch out and settle against his body. They were both hard, but Shizuo eased back on the urgency between them.

“I like watching you enjoy sex,” Shizuo said softly. “I want to learn how to get you ready for my cock and make you nearly come by just prepping you. Doesn't that sound good?”

“Yeah...oh are incredible,” Izaya said with a sigh. “But we have hours...what do we do?”

“We have lunch,” Shizuo replied simply. “I tell you about my morning, and you tell me about yours. And then, we hang out on the sofa. You could work while I read the paper. Or we could watch Korean soap operas. Whatever. We just spend time, okay?”

Izaya nodded. He seemed to be surprised by the suggestion. Gracefully, he eased off Shizuo then offered a hand to pull him off the sofa.

“Did you buy me an orchid?” Izaya asked.

“Well, yeah,” Shizuo replied simply. “I thought it would look nice there, and that you'd like looking at it when you cooked.”

“It does and I will. Thank you.”

Izaya sought Shizuo's kiss by leaning across the counter. He was happy to oblige. The kiss was sweet and clingy but brief.

“Hmmm,” Shizuo murmured, smiling.

“Is all this your way of taking care of someone that shares your burdens and your bed?” Izaya asked softly.

“Yeah, actually,” Shizuo' said even as his brows shot up. “You're watching me.”

“I always had eyes on you,” Izaya said. “That was pre-truce though.”

“So you've called them off?”

“No, I've doubled their number and their pay,” Izaya replied frankly. “I couldn't take hearing about you shot and bleeding in the street now.”


“Think of it as my way of taking care that someone who shares my bed and my burdens,” he said, holding Shizuo's gaze. “It's not about keeping people away from you, I swear. It's about keeping you safe.”

“I believe you, Senpai,” Shizuo said. “You wouldn't have told me if it was something else. I want to keep you safe, too. You piss far more people off on a daily basis.”

“Hourly,” Izaya chuckled. “I think we can sync our phones. You'll know everything about my schedule and anyone meeting me.”

“Good...and thank you,” Shizuo said as he accepted his onigiri assortment. “Itadakimasu.”

“My pleasure,” Izaya said. “Eat up.”

They ate in a comfortable silence for a while, but Shizuo was troubled.

“Are you going to be okay working here?” he asked. “Won't you miss your face to face meetings?”

“No. Clients seldom meet me at the office, because they don't want to be seen there,” Izaya explained. “Same thing with informants. I only keep an office for the status.”

“That explains why you never seemed to be in it,” Shizuo chuckled. “I always wondered about that.”

“You wonder about me?”

“Constantly,” Shizuo quipped. “Before, I wondered when you'd strike next or how you found the time to keep after me and run your business. Today, I wondered who might want to make sure you didn't get your business back and if you are safe. I wondered how you were getting along with Yagiri-san. I wondered if you could hang out here until I had to go back or if it would be selfish to ask.”

“Wow, that's a lot in that blonde head,” Izaya murmured with admiration. “I'm getting along great with Yagiri-san. I gave her a raise.”

“You did? She caused us to fall in that hole in a way.”

“That's why I gave her a big raise,” Izaya smiled. “But I made it clear that she would not get away with another betrayal.”


“And you may ask me anything anytime, sweet Kohai,” Izaya murmured. “Demand my return so you can use my body.”

“You have a one track mind, Senpai.”

“Well, it is a fun ride,” he leered.

Shizuo rolled his eyes then put his plate in the sink.

“Should I make rice? I really don't know when I'm getting home tonight,” he said fretfully.

Izaya stopped putting the dishes in the dishwasher and stared at him.


“You called this place home,” he replied softly.

He shrugged then pulled Izaya into his arms for a long kiss. “It is home.”

“Yeah,” Izaya smiled. “Make the usual rice, Shizuo. I don't keep normal hours either. It makes no sense to eat alone with you living here. Stop being so considerate.”

“Okay,” Shizuo chuckled. “Have it your way.”

Shizuo washed the rice then set up the cooker while Izaya squared away the rest of the kitchen. A feeling of contentment once again washed over Shizuo with that simple routine. He was beginning to have a sense of place that felt safe and warm. It was too soon to say that he was happy. But he was content.

Izaya set up on the sofa as they did at Anri's with his laptop and his phone. Shizuo stretched out next to him reading the paper. However, his head was next to Izaya's thigh, thus his hair and shoulders were available for caressing. Still, Izaya worked hard, often typing furiously while muttering softly. Sometimes, he made or took calls. It was fascinating to hear the difference in Izaya's tone with a new source or client as opposed to someone he knew. A wariness mixed with the typical edge to his voice as he spoke to a potential client that really wanted a meeting with him that day despite not passing through his usual security process. Shizuo didn't like the sound of that. He tilted his head back to catch Izaya's eye.

“Meet him in the park while I'm there,” he said quietly.

Izaya nodded with a smirk. He quickly scheduled the meeting for sometime between 4:30 and 6pm, giving him time to enjoy takoyaki. Shizuo texted Celti and Anri to move up their meeting to 3:30. That would give them a proper meeting and time to get the females out of the way of potential trouble. He then folded up the paper opting for nap.

“Scoot back, Shizuo,” Izaya murmured. “I want a nap with you.”


He moved to the rest his head on a pillow at the arm rest. Izaya climbed on top of him.

“You're tense,” Shizuo said softly as he arranged their bodies to be more comfortable.

“Everyone knows how I do business,” he replied quietly. “I don't meet anyone personally until they check out. I don't really have meet most of them to do get them what they need 90% of the time.”

“That makes sense,” Shizuo said as he rubbed Izaya's back absently. “Have you felt like you were being followed since the park fight?”

“Not this morning,” Izaya murmured. “But last night...I took the rooftops almost all the way home.”

“We were out too early this morning,” Shizuo said. “I felt something, too and came home the same way last night. Don't need this right now, but whatever. Sleep now, Senpai.”


Izaya sighed into the embrace. Shizuo hit the remote, closing the curtains and setting the alarm on the balcony doors. For the hell of it, Shizuo turned on the monitor for the security cameras. He expected a few crappy CCTV feeds, but these were amazing in sharpness and detail and covered all angles of the building and the ways to get in or out as well as the surrounding streets. Sex tape dude was really paranoid, but Shizuo was glad. He could easily see that there was no one strange loitering near their home. Satisfied, Shizuo pulled the light blanket on the back of the sofa over them both and gently held the enemy that had become his lover. He should have been exasperated or furious at this turn of events, but he found that he couldn't be. Being with Izaya, whatever their past, felt good. He let himself slip off into sleep.

They enjoyed almost two hours of deep sleep before Shizuo's phone started chirping. They stumbled about wordlessly for fifteen minutes getting changed. Shizuo was in the living room turning off the alarms when Izaya entered. He was carrying some kind of jacket.

“Here,” he said. “It works with the uniform.”

It was a black, lightweight wool jacket with a short waist that looked like it was made with the uniform.

“I don't want you to be cold,” he said simply. “And it will be harder for an opponent to spot you. They would have to get closer.”

Shizuo's brows went up before he smiled. “Thanks, Senpai.”

He pulled on the coat as Izaya pulled on his fur trimmed hoodie.

“Let's take the roof top route for as far as we can,” Shizuo said.

“There's a love hotel a few blocks from here,” Izaya said with a leer. “Let's come down there.”

Shizuo rolled his eyes as he opened the sliding glass door. “Whatever.”

“Where do you want to split up?”

“Why should we split up? I thought we'd stay together until Tom came for me,” Shizuo said.

“You're okay with us in public?”

“Sure,” Shizuo replied. “Let's go.”

They did come down from the roof tops four blocks from the warehouse in front of a love hotel where Izaya had to pause and fix Shizuo's bow tie. Despite the mighty scowl on Shizuo's face, Izaya was gleeful all the while. He felt eyes upon them, but that was natural. However, they were followed to the park by someone who kept just out of their line of vision. Izaya was aware, of course, but he was enjoying a public walk with Shizuo and the beauty of an autumn afternoon. Izaya's mask had returned, but his eyes were different. Only Shizuo would notice that they were warm and full of humor. He found that he wasn't frowning as they entered the park.

Anri and Celty were approaching the fountain from the opposite entrance. Shizuo herded them head out another way to the spot where the takoyaki truck was parked. Ordering quickly took on the comedic as they kept adding to what should be in the mix and toppings. Anri was laughing when Simon muttered through insisting that they take coupons for Russia Sushi's new ramen night. It was all a more than a little strange. Once everyone had an order and Celti had enough of watching how they were made, Shizuo herded them back to some benches near the fountain.

They acted as if the meeting was accidental and did not speak about anything specific about the battle the night before. They just talked about the food and the evening. Celti was curious about the coat. Shizuo explained it as a physical comfort issue as well as a strategic adjustment. Both females thought he looked good in it, especially with the collar turned up. Though it appeared that Shizuo actually smiled at the females in response to being called dashing, he was actually smiling at Izaya's futile attempts to look innocent. Their meeting went very well. Shizuo was pleased to see that Anri was safe and not saddened to be on her own once more. Meanwhile, Celty seem to be happy simply to have a group of friends. The park denizens were taking in the whole thing.

Their encounter was unhurried, but after an hour Anri announced that she had to get home to study. Celty offered her a lift much to Shizuo's relief. Before they left, Izaya revealed that he was working on a way to make her bike less noticeable to the local police. That made the Dulahan happily. They also promised her a meet up again sometime soon. Shizuo was very impressed with Izaya's efforts to make useful headway with the females. It was an incredibly odd experience, but nothing was as odd to Shizuo as Izaya being his lover. At that moment, he was Izaya's bodyguard. He slipped on his sunglasses and gave a hard look around the park.

“I don't like it,” Shizuo murmured after a while. “They are hanging just our of my range of vision. Let me get a little back up. You stay close to me.”

“Whatever you say,” Izaya said with a grin.

Shizuo rolled his eyes then pulled out his phone. It only took a couple of text to put it in place. By then, a lone figure was approaching them. He had on a trench coat with the collar turned up, and a hat with the brim pulled down. In the waning sunlight, they would have been hard pressed to know what the man's hair color was.

“Izaya Orihara?” he asked when he was closer.

“That's me,” Izaya replied. “What is so urgent?”

“I am Yuusei Mufune, and my problem is a simple one,” he began. “Some gentlemen who have reason to bear a considerable grudge against you have taken my wife.”

“Who are these gentlemen?” Izaya asked mildly as he took out his tablet. Shizuo remained close enough to get between them. He watched Yuusei impassively.

“They are Hiro Saito and Taro Abe,” Yuusei replied. “Most unpleasant gentlemen. I am quite distressed that my beloved wife is anywhere near them.”

“What do they want with me?” Izaya asked as he tapped information into the device.

“They wish to eliminate you, of course,” he said. “They were extremely distressed that you survived that concerted effort to get rid of you.”

Shizuo was not tense, so neither was Izaya. He continued tapping onto his pad.

“And how do you plan on taking me out or delivering me to them?” Izaya asked quietly.

“Since they took my dear wife, I took the beautiful one closest to you for trade I am ashamed to say,” he replied.

Izaya glanced over at Shizuo in confusion causing the blond to almost laugh. He would have to reward the imp for the compliment later.

“Who would that be?” Izaya asked in genuine confusion.

“Nice try, but I know that your office manager is quite close to you,” he said in irritation. “You spend a great deal of time with her and trust her with your secrets.”

“That was a great plan,” Izaya muttered turning his attention back to the pad. Shizuo tried not to snort.

“You don't fool me Orihara-san,” Yuusei snapped. “I can set her free this instant if you agree to come with me now!”

Yuusei signaled the men at the edge of the park. They came into view with Namie Yagiri between them.

Shizuo did laugh then. It was easier than holding it in. He tried to look apologetic, but that just made Izaya grin.

“My companion is amused at how far off your intel is,” Izaya explained. “Had you come to me after being approached by these men, I could have told you that they are under investigation for molesting young girls. Your lack of proper intel means you do not know a number of important facts. One, your wife is quite safe from them. Two, I am not involved with the office help. And three, you don't have enough muscle with you. Shizuo?”

“Right,” Shizuo said. He unbuttoned his coat then wanged the half full bottle of iced tea toward the men holding Namie Yagiri . This time it hit one of the guys in the head, bounced off and hit the other guy almost as hard. Both ended up on the ground. Just then, The Scoobies van screeched up and Walker pulled her inside.

“Shizuo,” Yuusei said with widening eyes. “Heiwajima?! You-you two are supposed to be enemies.”

“Again, you have faulty intel,” Izaya said. “Shizuo and I have found a far less destructive and far more agreeable arrangement. As for you, I would leave you to twist in the breeze, but there is another person to consider. Fortunately, I am very good at my profession. Take a look at this.”

Izaya showed the agitated Yuusei the tablet. On it, was confidential police reports about the pair who had his wife. They really were being investigated for abusing young girls. Izaya took out his phone.

“Hello, Detective Kagame? I know you're looking into Hiro Saito and Taro Abe for some terrible crimes,” he began. “Well, they are at it again....yes, right now. You can find them in Ikebukuro at this address...”

He rang off the call with an evil grin. “Now, let's see if we can get a ringside seat.”

Izaya tapped on the pad for a little while and came up with the CCTV feed for the address he gave the police. They watched raid go down. It didn't take long before everyone was lead out in cuffs save for a very relieved lady in business attire who looked very tired.

“I suggest you get to the police station and collect your wife,” Izaya said. “And don't think about thanking me. You'll be paying triple my rate for causing me to hire security and upsetting my assistant.”

“Of course...anything,” Yuusei said as his eyes filled with tears. “How...”

“I'll send you my account details,” Izaya said. “Go to your wife. But don't make Shizuo look for my payment.”

“You'll get it immediately,” he said as he jogged out of the park.

“I won't take pay for this,” Shizuo said quietly.

“I know,” Izaya said. “I'll leave it in the cookie jar for emergencies.”

“Sure. Why not?”

“Do you think we're safer if everyone is in the dark about us?” Izaya asked. “I don't want this...”

“No,” Shizuo murmured. “This doesn't endanger us. In fact, if it were known, they'd really leave us alone. I mean, who'd want a furious either of us on their ass over the other?”

Izaya chuckled. “You'd be furious over me?”

“I wouldn't like it if someone messed with you,” Shizuo replied. “I wouldn't like it a lot.”

“I thought you needed time,” Izaya said.

“Not like weeks,” Shizuo retorted. “I brought all my laundry home today.”

Izaya laughed out loud. “You sweet talker!”

“Shut up, Senpai. The van is back.”


“I want you to ride to your office tonight,” Shizuo said. “Just in case.”

“I was going to get some flowers for Yagiri-san,” Izaya said.

“That gang won't mind. Get her teacakes, too,” Shizuo said. “And make her some tea.”

“Yes, dear.”

Shizuo glanced over his sunglasses. “You are cruisin' for one, Senpai.”

“Bring it, Kohai,” Izaya growled.

Shizuo smiled as they reached the outside of the park. “I wish I could. I'm really hating those deadbeats I have to chase down tonight. There is so much I could be learning from my Senpai.”

Izaya inhaled sharply as his eyes flashed. “Bastard...teasing me...”

“No way, Izaya,” Shizuo said softly. “I'll never mess with you that way.”

The van pulled up then. Walker threw open the back door. Erika smiled out at them.

“We got Yagiri-san back to your office, Izaya,” Erika said. “She was a bit of a mess.”

“Yeah....I'll take care of that. Thanks,” Izaya said sheepishly. “There's a stop or two I need to make. I'll pay you for your time.”

“Don't worry about it,” Walker said. “We had fun dumping those two mooks.”

“Oookay,” Izaya said. “Shizuo...”

Izaya was halfway in the van when Shizuo realized that he had not kissed him before they left the penthouse. Without any hesitation, he reached out, took Izaya by the collar then pulled him in for a brief but sweet, clingy kiss.

“I'll call when I'm on my way,” Shizuo murmured. “Be careful.”

“I will,” Izaya sighed. His eyes were very warm.

“Later, Senpai,” Shizuo said. He looked up at the four stunned faces then winked. “Thanks for backing us up. Later.”

Erika shrieked just after Shizuo slammed the van door shut. That made Shizuo smirk.

Tom was waiting nearby. He shook his head with a smile.

“Lucky for you, I won that bet,” he said.

“What bet?” Shizuo asked as he fell in alongside him.

“That you and Orihara-san would stop fighting when you started fucking,” he replied. “Anyone with eyes could see that he wanted you. Otherwise, he wouldn't have kept coming back. The debate was whether it was a mutual thing or not.”

“How did you figure it out?”

“You never killed him,” Tom replied simply. “You never really hurt him when you've annihilated others that you barely knew. I knew that you would figure it out someday.”

“You sore?”

“Not after the bet I just won,” Tom replied with a chuckle. “It'll be good for you both to not be alone. It may be good for Ikebukuro in the long run. I don't even think you'll lose your edge,” he said thoughtfully.

Shizuo heard something in his voice. “You're worried about something.”

“Orihana-san is still a psycho. He will try to keep you chained by his side out of fear of losing you,” Tom replied.

“His fear is terrifying,” Shizuo admitted. “But I think I can keep ahead of it by knowing how he thinks and reacts. I have some of his fears. I know what I'd want from a partner.”

“So I saw,” Tom chuckled. “Almost every woman in town is in love with you.”

“Yeah right. Let's get to work,” Shizuo muttered even as he blushed. He didn't like exposing his life, and he didn't want any delay in getting home.

Both men were surprised to get through their list in a few hours. Word had gotten around that Shizuo was in no mood for anything other than collecting all the money they were after. The boss was very happy that they were collecting without the usual mayhem and collateral damage. By nine o'clock, Shizuo was on his way home with another bonus. Izaya was already home when he called and sounded relieved and happy to get the call.

Shizuo felt was nothing off as he headed back, but he also realized that the jacket may have confused any pursuer. Still, he took a different route from any he had taken before and still took to the roofs for part of the way. He came down right in front of the door to the penthouse in the deserted alley. In minutes he was walking into a warm, inviting space that smelled of great food. Izaya was in the kitchen stirring something in a pot.

“Welcome back,” Izaya managed to get out before Shizuo pulled him into his arms for a hot, open mouthed kiss. He liked feeling the slighter man melt into the embrace and moan into the kiss.

“It's good to be back,” Shizuo said. “Do I have time for a bath?”

“Hmmm....yeah,” Izaya replied dreamily.

“I won't be long,” Shizuo said as he kissed Izaya's temple.

The bath was shorter than the first in that amazing bathroom. Still, Shizuo managed to relax away the day and get clean well enough. He left his hair a little damp in order to get back to the kitchen. Izaya was still tending pots though there were plates out. Though aware of Shizuo, Izaya remained focused on the stove.

“Beer okay?” Shizuo asked as he approached the fridge.


“So, Tom knows about us,” Shizuo said as he set a freshly poured beer within reach. “He also won a bet on us getting together.”

Izaya paused mid sip to gape at Shizuo. Then, he chuckled.

“I guess he's cool with us,” Izaya said.

“Yeah. He thinks we're good for each other. And that I'm meaner at work,” Shizuo said after a deep pull on his beer.

“That's good. Erika is very happy, Kohai,” Izaya said pointedly.

“I swear, I didn't think about how she'd react,” Shizuo said almost sheepishly. “I forgot to kiss you when we left here.”

Izaya gaped at him for a moment. Then, he smiled a wry smile.

“You're going to make it impossible to ever be mad at you, huh?”

“I'm sure I'll screw up,” Shizuo said. “But you will be sure that I'm trying hard not to.”

“Me, too,” Izaya said quietly as he gazed at him levelly. “Will you try to change how I am?”

Shizuo smiled. “I know who I'm with, Senpai. I rank thinking you can change someone you're fucking with thinking you can read his mind. It stupid. Besides, I'm just as screwed up as you – maybe more so. I would need to fix myself before I looked to fixing anyone else.”

Izaya smiled at that. Shizuo realized just then that he had been tense. He had a good pull on his beer before pulling out some bowls.

“I made Oyakodon,” he said. “I didn't want to make something heavy.”

“That's great. Thank you,” Shizuo said.

He placed the plates on the counter then seated himself next to Shizuo.

“Itadakimasu,” Shizuo said before tucking in. It was delicious and made with such care that warmed him as much as the meal itself.

“You're welcome, Shizuo,” Izaya murmured happily. “What is your schedule like tomorrow?”

“I'm on call,” Shizuo replied. “Usually, that would mean that I'd hang around the boss' place in case he or Tom needed me. Tomorrow, it means I'll be hanging out here until someone calls me.”

Izaya smiled at that. “What a coincidence. For no good reason that I can think of, I need to work at home.”

“You don't have to keep me company,” Shizuo chuckled.

“I know,” Izaya said as he cleared the dishes. “I want to. We can sleep in and have a late breakfast, but we have to go out for lunch.”


“The cleaning service will be here by noon,” Izaya replied. “Tomorrow is Ramen day at Russia Sushi.”

“That's a no brainer then,” Shizuo said. “We've been together a week tomorrow. It makes sense to actually make it to Russia Sushi.”

“You are a romantic,” Izaya said. “Would you like some tea and Castella?”

“Shouldn't I make the rice?”

“You can do it when we get back from lunch,” Izaya replied. “I want to let the housekeeping service get at everything in the kitchen. Let's go and sit by the fire.”

They sat with their feet up and shoulder touching shoulder. The tea was strong and sweet. The Castella went well with it. Shizuo relaxed, allowing himself to lean against Izaya as they watched the flames dance in the fire.

“Is it difficult for you to be so good to me?” Izaya asked mildly. “It seems easy for you, the way you treat me.”

“It's not hard at all,” Shizuo replied. “I think of what I'd want. Sometimes, I think of what I've seen that worked. There is something I'd like to do more of, but I don't think I should.”

Izaya looked over with keen interest. “What? You've got me very curious now.”

“Kiss you in public,” Shizuo replied softly.

“Why can't you?”

“You don't look tough all dreamy eyed after a kiss, Izaya,” Shizuo said ruefully. I don't want you to be vulnerable because I can't control myself.”

“Next time it looks like a fight will break out,” Izaya said. “I'll be sure to stab someone after you kiss me.”

“Freak,” Shizuo muttered before leaning over to capture Izaya's lips in a kiss. His tongue was sweet from cake and tea. The kiss was brief as they both still held dessert plates and tea cups. Izaya was smiling at him when they parted.

“You don't kiss the way I expected,” he said.

“How so?”

“You're really gentle and sweet,” he said thoughtfully. “You make me feel special and...cherished, I guess.”

“Good,” Shizuo said softly. “I wasn't sure if I was getting it right.”

“Right enough to curl my toes,” Izaya murmured. “I know that you don't do rough, but why are you so...kind to me.”

“You trusted me,” Shizuo said without hesitation.

“Other people trust you like Tom.”

Shizuo shrugged. “Most anyone trusts me to fight. I don't think Tom would make a home with me. No one I run with in Ikebukuro lets me see who they really are.”

“How did you get so smart about this?” Izaya asked.

“The same way you did,” Shizuo replied. “Watching all kinds of couples in all kinds of stupid, ugly relationships and worse break-ups.”

“Yeah,” Izaya said ruefully. “I got to the point where I knew by how a pair sat together when they were going to break up.”

“I could see it a mile a way sometimes,” Shizuo murmured. “And all it took to avoid any of those ugly messes is to pay a little attention and be more careful...And it's so easy to do.”

Shizuo turned toward Izaya. He took his empty cup and plate then set it on the coffee table.

“I've been waiting all day for this,” Shizuo said softly as he pulled Izaya onto his lap.

The kiss robbed Izaya of breath and cut off his comment. Their tongues danced together for a while as Shizuo caressed Izaya's slender back lazily while Izaya ran his fingers through Shizuo's hair.

“You can do that anytime you want,” Izaya sighed when they breathlessly parted.

Izaya's cell phone chirped then. He leaned back and snatched it up impatiently. His brows went up when he saw the name.

“Yes, Erika, what can I do for you at this hour?” he asked huskily just as Shizuo bit him at the curve of his neck.

“Shizuo? Ahn...” He groaned. “He's....right here...”


“Phone for you...Erika...” Izaya murmured as he moved to lick Shizuo's neck.


The reply was an ear splitting shriek. Shizuo hung up the phone.

“No phones for a while,” Shizuo softly said as he tossed the phone aside.

They kissed a while longer. Izaya was intent on long kisses while his fingers gently ran through Shizuo's hair. Between kisses, Izaya gazed into his eyes intently. Shizuo returned the gaze, his eyes were unguarded. A small smile played at his lips.

“God, you're hot, Kohai,” Izaya whispered. “And you're really hard.”

“We'll get off, Senpai,” Shizuo murmured. “I really want you, but I won't fuck you tonight. Let me show you...”


Shizuo stood with Izaya in his arms. Once in bed, Shizuo pulled off Izaya's night shirt before removing his own. Izaya pulled out the tube of lube and handed it to Shizuo. The bartender squeezed a dollop into the palm of his hand before rubbing his hands together while Izaya watched him intently.

Shizuo had very little experience as a lover, but he knew the basics, and he already knew where Izaya was sensitive. Gently but firmly, he pushed Izaya onto his back by his shoulder and held him down. The brownish pink nipples were already hard when Shizuo gently tugged at them with his teeth.

“Shizuo,” Izaya moaned. The helplessness in his voice pleased the blond, but he didn't want to seem sadistic. Instead of licking down to his cute little belly button, Shizuo returned to the top of the bed to kiss Izaya's parted lips.

During that ravenous kiss, Shizuo played with Izaya's straining cock, petting and caressing it and the soft sacks beneath. When Izaya arched his back restlessly, Shizuo grasped that rigid shaft firmly and surely and stroked him toward orgasm. All the while, they kissed. Izaya cried out into Shizuo's mouth then he tore his mouth away breathlessly. His dark eyes were wild as he pushed Shizuo flat.

“My turn,” he murmured. Then, without another word, the imp took Shizuo's erection in his mouth to the root.

Shizuo moaned loudly and clutched at the blankets as Izaya worked him with skill and intensity. He couldn't last long against that wet heat and powerful suction. He would have been embarrassed if he wasn't coming so hard. He thought he cried out Izaya's name before shooting down the man's throat. Then, he just sprawled there trying to catch his breath. Izaya sat up licking his lips and looking really pleased with himself.

“You are amazing, Senpai,” Shizuo murmured with a smile.

“Back at you,” Izaya replied softly.

Shizuo pulled Izaya down for another clingy kiss before settling them under the covers.

“I'm okay with waiting...but not too long,” Izaya said quietly.

Shizuo chuckled softly as he squeezed his lover briefly.

“Okay, Senpai. I'll fuck you again real soon,” Shizuo murmured amicably.

Izaya snorted. Then, he sighed. “You'd better...Oyasumi nasai, Shizuo...”

“Oyasumi nasai, Senpai...” Shizuo responded softly as he snuggled against Izaya beneath the blankets. In the moments before he slipped into sleep, Shizuo savored how good it was to feel warm and full and sated. From the contented sigh out of Izaya seemed to say that he felt the same way. He's seen a lot in the dark eyes of his lover before he pulled him close. It was a certainty that Izaya saw a lot in his eyes as well. However, both men had seen enough doomed relationships in Ikebukuro to avoid making big declarations right after sex. The intimacy of holding each other to sleep spoke far more about the state of their relationship to Shizuo. He was never great with words, and Izaya never made any sense when he got on a verbal tear. The hand gently gripping Shizuo's bicep meant a lot more than anything the crazy man could say. His hold was as protective as it was possessive. Shizuo hoped that his embrace felt the same way.

The morning flew by for Shizuo. He didn't do very much but laze in bed and then laze on the sofa after a light breakfast. He stayed close to Izaya – literally. When the imp sat up to keep up on his early email and calls, Shizuo molded along his side with an arm and leg thrown over him. That seemed to please Izaya. On the sofa, Shizuo took up his usual spot next to Izaya who kept a hand mostly in his hair. Before long, they were locking the sliding door to the balcony and departing via the roof.

They left almost an hour before the cleaning service was due in case they came by early. Izaya showed Shizuo the code on his lock that would lock his closet door. He reasoned that though the company was out of Tokyo, the workers could be local. Those bartending uniforms were too distinctive not to be recognized. That earned the imp a kiss before they left. From there, the men chased each other about the rooftops across the length of Ikebukuro. When Shizuo caught Izaya against the occasional wall or chimney, he'd kiss him. Izaya would laugh then run away. Shizuo had never seen him playful in such a non-terrifying way. He liked it – a lot. By the time they reached Russia Sushi, Shizuo and Izaya had had quite a workout. They also approached the restaurant from the opposite direction from their home.

“Ah, our best Ramen customers!” Simon exclaimed. “You sit at the counter where you get soup piping hot.”

“Sure,” Izaya said. “Is that okay with you?”

“Works for me,” Shizuo replied. The counter was near the door, so he would know who came in. He had Izaya sit nearer to the wall, so he could protect him if necessary.

“Today is Shio Ramen,” Simon informed them. “Good fat for the cold. Very tasty toppings. We make noodles even.”

“Really?” Izaya asked incredulously.

“Yes, Chef's grandmother made great noodles for stroganoff,” Simon replied happily. “She teach him.”

“Wow,” Shizuo murmured. “Let's have a large bowl with everything.”

“Good, good,” Simon said with a broad smile.

They took off their jackets and accepted the large mugs of green tea. Everything smelled wonderful – the steam rising off the broth and the pots of noodles. That strange restaurant felt was warm and cozy as their living room at home. Shizuo found himself smiling at Izaya.

“So we're on a date,” Izaya said.

“Seems like,” Shizuo replied. “Celebrating our week anniversary.”

“Wild, huh?”

“I like the idea,” Shizuo said. His gaze was warm but only Izaya could see it. The imp grinned back.

Simon was his usual friendly self, but Shizuo noticed that he kept customers moving along away from their spot at the counter without seeming to do so. Their presence was likely good for business. A lot of people came in, it seemed, to figure out if they were really sitting together so quietly. They managed to ignore most of them. The only person to get a nod from them and a wink was Anri when she came in with her two friends. Neither boy noticed why she was blushing and grinning.

“Your bowls are ready!” Simon declared. “Noodles are perfect temperature. Eat now!”

There was no need to order them to eat. It smelled too good not eat straight away. It was just salty enough, just spicy enough and the broth was so clear but so complex somehow. Before they knew it, the bowls were empty. They were pleasantly full and warm.

“Wow, Chef...Simon, that was unbelievable,” Izaya said quietly. Awe colored his tone. Shizuo realized that the whole restaurant was silent save for the sounds of slurping.

“Yeah. I think this is the best bowl of ramen I've ever had in my life,” Shizuo agreed softly.

“Wonderful!” Simon smiled. “You tell everyone this, yes?”

“As long as you save us a seat here once a week,” Izaya said.

“You have a deal!”

Shizuo paid the tab to make room for some of the people waiting in line. He then guided Izaya outside keeping his body between his Senpai and the crowd. He then guided Izaya toward the park where they can sit for a while.

“We can go to your office,” Shizuo offered. “You must have calls to return.”

“I'm good for today,” Izaya said. “I can relay inquiries to my sources for info then send it back to the clients without talking to anyone for at least a day. We can take the long way home. The housekeeping crew should be gone soon.”

“Okay,” Shizuo said with a smile. Then, his phone rang. He closed his eyes as Tom ordered him to the office to see the Boss Man stat. He sighed.

“So, the office it is,” Izaya murmured. “Do you know when you'll be back?”

“No,” Shizuo replied softly. “He just said to get there asap.'

Shizuo turned and kissed Izaya gently while cupping his face. “I'll call you as soon as I have a timeline, okay?”

“Yeah. I'll know what to do for supper then,” he replied softly.

“Be careful.”

“I will.”

Shizuo put on his sunglasses with a heavy sign then stalked away. He didn't like leaving Izaya. It was crazy but true. But he had to earn his keep, and he remained grateful to Tom for keeping him employed. So, he went.

Tom was in the office with the Big Boss when Shizuo arrived. The Boss was on the phone but indicated that he should sit. Shizuo looked at Tom for an indication of what was happening, but his expression told him nothing. Shizuo relaxed and took out a cigarette.

“Thanks for waiting, Hewijema-san,” the Big Boss said.

“No sweat. What's on for today?”

“Something really different,” he replied. “I've been impressed with the way you've held you temper but still got my money. You've been so good that most of the accounts are paid up to date. So, I have a different kind of job for you and...”

The phone rang again. The Big Boss impatiently excused himself and answered the phone. He listened incredulously for a moment and then asked the caller to repeat what he's just said. Then, he put the call on speaker.

“I said that you don't pay Shizuo-san enough, and that means we can't afford a decent love hotel,” Izaya wailed over the speaker.

“Izaya,” Shizuo murmured. “What are you doing?”

“Ummm...” came the reply.

“Are you at your office?” Shizuo asked.


“Stay there. I'll be there in a little while,” Shizuo said.

“Okay,” Izaya said softly before ringing off.

“Sorry, boss. You were saying?”

“You aren't pissed?” Tom asked.

“No. Something is wrong that made him go insane,” Shizuo said. “I just have to find out what it was.”

“I think I may be able to help,” the Big Boss said. “And it has something to do with a new kind of gig I have for you.”

It was only a half an hour later that Shizuo was walking into Izaya's office. He made a stop along to the way to make sure they'd have some time alone.

“Hewijema-san,” Namie Yagiri said. “Welcome.”

“Thanks. Here's a gift certificate for some great Shio Ramen at Russia Sushi,” Shizuo replied. “Enjoy your lunch.”

“Sure. Thanks,” she replied, gathering her things. “Orihara-san is in his office.”

Shizuo opened the inner office door, rounded the desk and pulled Izaya into a firm, full body embrace. A split second later, Izaya hugged him back tightly, pressing his face against one shoulder.

“What's wrong?” Shizuo asked softly.

“I thought...somehow, you'd get a whole day off sometime,” he replied quietly.

Shizuo chuckled then kissed the top of Izaya's head. “You are insane, but you may get your way.”

“You got fired?” Izaya asked worriedly.

Shizuo sat in Izaya's executive chair with Izaya in his lap.

“No,” Shizuo chuckled. “Strangely, the Big Boss wanted to give me a new kind of gig – one that would involve working alongside you.”


“Yeah, since we were able to work together to get rid of that takeover, and our truce has held up, he thinks he can trust us both.”

“What does he want us to do together?”

“Investigate the attempted takeover among other things,” Shizuo said. “I have a flash drive with the info. The pay is great, and we work together.”

“Why? He never even tapped me for info before.”

“He didn't trust you before the truce. Said you liked to play too many games,” Shizuo replied. “And he didn't trust my temper with something delicate and long term. But together...”

“I like it, but how long do we have?”

It's open ended,” Shizuo replied. “He has a lot of delicate work that needs to be investigated. You have the connections he needs. I have the muscle to protect you. What do you say?”

Izaya smiled his most appealing though evil smile. “I say, of course, but we start tomorrow.”

Shizuo smiled then. “What do you want to do with the rest of today?”

“We shop for chicken cream stew and dessert,” Izaya replied. “And later, you fuck me?”

Shizuo's smile got bigger. “Of course.”

Izaya gazed up at him in wonder. “I don't understand this. I swore you'd come here to kill me or have me wait here while you moved out on me. People don't get close to me and stay close.”

“Once you let me see you, it was easy for me to want that. I'm not leaving. I won't hurt you,” Shizuo said. “Face it, you aren't getting off that easy.”

Izaya leaned up to kiss Shizuo. It was clingy and hungry. Once again, Izaya's fingers wrecked Shizuo's hair for the long moments they kissed.

“I'm glad you let me see the real you,” Izaya said when they came up for air. “I wouldn't have let you go so easy either.”

“I know. We're 'til death,” Shizuo muttered dryly. “Call the Boss and let him know that you're in. Then, we can get going.”

When they came up for air, Shizuo had Izaya call the Big Boss with the terms for the job. He watched the street thug take on one of the most feared businessmen in Ikebukuro and come away with most of what he wanted. Meanwhile, the Big Boss came away impressed. They would be working for their money, but they would get the odd day off – maybe more.

Izaya was happy was a clam by the time they reached the market. He was actually charming in the wake of all the curiosity about them though he managed to not answer any of the questions that came their way. He was especially nice to Celty and Shinra Kishitani who were desperate for advice on the Tonjiru she was determined to make that night. By the time that odd pair checked out, they were confident they could pull it off. Celty was the most relaxed about them that Shizuo had seen in her. Izaya was very happy as they took their long and breathtakingly complex way home.

The apartment was spotlessly clean and nice smelling. The discreet seals placed on the closets were not disturbed. Everything was in its place and all the clothes they left out were clean and folded.

“Sweet,” Izaya murmured. “You start the rice then grab a bath. Let's get comfortable for supper.”

“Sure,” Shizuo replied with a slight smile.

Izaya's expression was contagious. Though Shizuo had hardly done anything that required a soak to relax away, he didn't want to object to time in that amazing tub. They had a ritual that was building something solid between them.

Shizuo washed the rice then set up the cooker. Izaya was still chopping things when he left to have a bath. After a few minutes in the hot, fragrant water, Shizuo realized that Izaya had been right. He had needed to relax a bit. Though it hadn't felt like work, pulling his lover from the brink of insanity and saving his job was stressful. He had really been worried about them losing what they had. He had really been worried. It dawned on Shizuo that Izaya may have been as worried. He may need the soak to calm down, too. That man certainly wasn't dull.

Izaya was in the tub when Shizuo went back to the kitchen. Everything smelled really nice, and the table was already set. There were beer glasses set out, so Shizuo grabbed two beers to open and pour. He then settled down with the newspaper and enjoyed the beer. He was engrossed in the paper when he heard the click of a camera. Shizuo looked up to find Izaya taking a photo. He snapped one more before moving to get their supper.

“What were you doing?” Shizuo asked as he rose to fetch a second beer.

“You look nice in your nightshirt reading that paper,” he replied simply.


The stew was creamy and tasty. The men finished the whole pot even with the healthy servings of rice. All the while they talked about the upcoming job. Despite what was to happen between them in a very short while, Izaya was focused on the business deal in front of him.

“How will this work?” Shizuo asked.

“I need to find out who in Ikebukuro got money from these guys,” Izaya replied. “That will give me a trail to follow. We need to get the word out that the traitors can make it right with us by telling us everything they know.”

“I think I can help with that,” Shizuo smiled. “Because I really want to pound their faces in if they don't cooperate.”

“That should do it,” Izaya chuckled. “We should also comb over our apartments for whatever may have been left behind.”


“Yes, and it'll be a good time to end our leases,” he replied pointedly.

“I wasn't keeping my place,” Shizuo said. “I wanted to make sure I got it clean enough to get my deposit back. Fucker charged me three months because of my 'volatile temper.'”

“Oh,” Izaya said in surprise. Then, he smiled somewhat sheepishly. “I can help you with that. And maybe we can get him to explain why his place failed to be secure and quiet despite all of that upfront money.”

Shizuo smiled. “Just get me out of the lease. Don't kill anyone.”

“Okay, but I may have fun first if he doesn't cooperate.”

“Deal,” Shizuo laughed. “And then what for the investigation?”

“I suspect that these guys are old school gangsters, but they still have an electronic footprint I can follow,” Izaya said. “We just need to find out where to look. How far does the Big Boss want us to go? Are we going to confront them?”

“Nah, he just wants a name that we're positive is the right one,” Shizuo said. “He'll take care of it from there.”

“So we won't be working together long,” Izaya said glumly.

“This is our first assignment,” Shizuo said with a smile. “The Boss made it clear that there are a number of things he'd like us to look into. This is highest on the list.”

“Oh, nice.”

“Even better. His Tokyo associates are aware of your skills,” Shizuo continued. “We could have a lot of work together.”

“You're looking forward to this,” Izaya said, smiling at the realization.

Shizuo nodded. “It'll be nice doing something that involves more than me being a gorilla. I know I'm the muscle here, but you'll need me to keep my eyes open, and we'll need to figure things out together.”

“This is true,” Izaya said. “We'll be partners. That makes me hard.”

Shizuo laughed out loud. “What doesn't make you hard?”

“Where you're concerned, not much,” he admitted easily. “Let's clean up the kitchen and make some tea. We still have Castella.”

“Sure,” Shizuo said, mildly surprised. He thought he was going to be rushed to bed as soon as the kitchen was put in order.

They sat on the sofa facing each other with their legs covered by the blanket kept there. Izaya looked both wary and vulnerable somehow as he held his tea cup. They each balanced a plate of cake on their legs.

“I wanted to talk to you before you screwed my brains out,” he said quietly. “I wanted you to know exactly what makes me worry that this will all fade away on a breeze.”


“You have people in your life that are worried about this,” Izaya continued. “You listen to them. One day, I may do the worst thing at the worst time while they have your ear, and you'd leave. And you are beautiful, Shizuo. A lot of women and not a few men want you. Once it is out that you actually can be interested in sex, they will come after you. Many of them are far less work than I am.”

“I'll remember that,” Shizuo said. “Thank you for letting me that you aren't randomly crazy. Senpai, I have an advantage that my friends do not. I've seen you like this. And I know that things can happen in a few hours that put what you have at risk. I'd never judge you like that.”

Shizuo leaned over to kiss Izaya briefly.

“As for all these people that think I'm hot,” Shizuo said softly. “None of them ever came near me. And there were plenty of times when I was just standing in the park quietly. Besides, I don't cheat. Anyone that tries to pull me away will piss me off. It's insulting.”

Izaya smiled at that. “Yeah, you would think that.”

“When we work separately, I'll call you a few times a day,” Shizuo said. “And you can call me whenever you want.”

“I'll get you an ear piece. You may need to have your hands free,” Izaya said with a smile.

“Thank you, Senpai,” Shizuo said drily. “You're very considerate.”

The finished the tea and cake in a companionable silence. Shizuo liked how Izaya looked in the firelight.

“Senpai, if you need to see me at any time for any reason when I'm working, just call,” Shizuo said as the put their cup and plate in the sink. “I'll come to you.”

Izaya smiled. “For now, how about making me come?”

“Well, we had half a conversation,” Shizuo quipped before pulling Izaya against him.

“Why are you bitching? You're already rock hard...mmm...”

Kissing the imp really was the easiest way to shut that mouth. He then lifted Izaya up into his arms in a princess carry. There was no objection. Izaya was lost in the kiss. In fact, he was surprised to be set on his feet in the bedroom. Shizuo held Izaya's gaze as he pulled off his night shirt. Izaya held up his arms to help in the removal of his.

“Tell me what to do,” Shizuo said softly has he eased Izaya back onto the mattress.

“Ahn, put the lube on your fingers,” he replied softly. “Push two of them inside slowly...AH...”

“Did I hurt you?” Shizuo asked.

Izaya shook his hear. “No...feels good...s-scissor your fingers and push in a little more...”

Shizuo was reluctant. Izaya was speaking in a halting way. But he continued as he was told. Izaya was tight, but he was relaxing with each time Shizuo scissored his fingers. He went one more deep push and hit a bump. Izaya arched off the bed with a loud and really sexy moan.

“, please...”

All worry of whether he was hurting Izaya flew from Shizuo's brain. All he could think about was pushing his very hard cock into that tight heat. Izaya lubed him quickly than spread his legs wide. However, Shizuo didn't want to take him on his back like that. Though Izaya was clearly willing, he didn't want to make him feel that vulnerable. Instead, Shizuo used at incredible strength to lift Izaya from the bed, so he could sit up against the head board. That way, Izaya could ride him and they could sit be face to face close enough to kiss. Izaya smiled as Shizuo held him steady until he was fully sheathed and flush against his body.

“Don't be afraid of bruising me,” Izaya gasped. “You won't...hut me...ahn...move please...”

Shizuo moved his hips and inhaled sharply at how good that hot grip felt. They were soon moving in counter rhythm with each other. Their gazes remained locked as the pleasure grew. That had always been different between Shizuo and almost anyone else. Few would look him in the eyes and not break the gaze immediately out of fear or maybe, shyness. Izaya never took his eyes off Shizuo while they were awake. Once again, Shizuo wondered how much his former enemy could see.

“Shizuo,” he moaned. “No one better ever see you like this. Ahn...”

Shizuo laughed breathlessly. “Are you threatening me in the middle of sex? AHH...”


Shizuo pulled Izaya down to kiss him. They were both close. That hungry kiss brought them over. They moaned and gasped and stole each others breath as the near painful pleasure pulsed between them. It was even more intense than the times before.

“You...are such a...psycho, Senpai,” Shizuo panted as they held each other afterward. “But I can't complain about not knowing exactly what's on your mind.”

Izaya responded by giving him quite a love bite on the neck. Naturally, it was above where his collar would be. Shizuo returned the favor before picking the imp up to take him to his bathroom as he had before.

They were in bed after getting clean and dry huddled under the blankets. Shizuo was almost asleep when he decided to make something clear.

“I don't want anyone else seeing you like that either,” he murmured.

Izaya chuckled sleepily. “Are you threatening me while we're snuggling.”

“We are not now nor will we ever snuggle!” Shizuo retorted softly. “And never let Erika even think that.”

Izaya laughed again. “Oyasuminasai, Shizuo.
“Oyasuminasai, senpai,” Shizuo murmured.

Ten days after falling into a hole with his sworn enemy, Shizuo was more content than he'd been since ever. He was certain that Izaya was as well. I would never be anything close to normal – forget perfect. But heaven help the idiot that tried to screw with that in any way.