Orihara Izaya liked to watch people.

Specifically, he liked to watch people's reactions.

To be even more specific, he liked to watch people's reactions to the complex and oftentimes cumbersome situations that he enjoyed pitting against people to gauge aforementioned people and their reactions.

Usually, the information broker spent his time carefully planning intricate schemes to make his clients dance in circles around him, giving them the information that they wanted and desperately needed, but stated in a way that more often than not, that information would come back to haunt them. Other times, he would get his customer's trust, giving the appropriate facts at the appropriate time, and suddenly stop his input when his clients needed him most. The actions of particularly cornered individuals were especially amusing, or especially disappointing. A desperate man took desperate and oftentimes comical or gruesome measures, but a man with no backbone gave in when it all hit the fan. Disheartening, really.

The other activity that the raven frequented was taunting the strongest man in Ikebukuro, Heiwajima Shizuo. It was childish of him, as well as extremely dangerous to his health. While it was outright hilarious whenever his dear Shizu-chan threw a vending machine at him, missed, and was left fuming and yelling like a madman while the other just snickered and danced away, it wasn't quite as amusing when there was always a chance that a sharpened end of a stop sign could pierce his heart if he didn't tread lightly enough.

Fortunately for the doctors that worked at such fine institutions as the one that Orihara Izaya would be driven to in an ambulance if such an instance did occur, he was a fickle man that changed his pastimes on a whim and recently had taken up a safer, but possibly even more disturbing hobby.

Orihara Izaya now stalks underage boys.


It had all started when Orihara Izaya had decided that at the moment, he didn't really care if Heiwajima Shizuo would try to kill him if he stepped foot into Ikebukuro. Really, the exciting town was soooooo close, it really couldn't hurt to take a peek, could it? Maybe even intimidate people by breathing a little bit too close to them on a crowded bus (at this time, public transportation of all sorts were crammed full of students from all levels of schooling, it was a prime hangout spot for sexual harassers, and while Izaya was not one himself, it gave him a bit of amusement when people became nervous because they thought that there was one nearby) or go get some sushi, not at a traditional store, but that Russian one with the really unique flavors. Yum.

On the way to the fine establishment, Izaya walked the streets as if he were a normal citizen, not some disturbing and dangerous information broker that teetered on the fine line of legality, blending in with the crowds. He made sure to avoid the areas that Shizu-chan tended to be during the daytime, and his feet had betrayed him, rather than taking him directly to the sushiya, but on a scenic route through the town. It was on a road that went past his old alma mater, and students in blue uniforms peppered the crowd around him. The faint clicking of busied thumbs on cell phones was nearly audible because of the sheer number of people texting, and the rowdy laughter of teenagers could be heard.

" Mikado and I like everything about you, you know. Your quiet demeanor, your politeness, your erotic-"

"Masaomi!"

The sound of two familiar names piqued his interest, and Izaya peeked around the corner to look at the source of the voices. All sitting rather cozily on any perch available, three teenagers sat licking at soft-serve ice cream. The blonde he recognized immediately, Saki's boyfriend (former, the boy liked to think, but Izaya knew better) and already, a grin stretched across the older man's face at the prospect of entertainment. There was also well developed girl (in glasses AND school uniform, any man's wet dream) licking her ice cream, and ignoring any comments about her, erotic or not. A light smile was on her face as she watched her companions.

The last was an unassuming boy. At first glance, he didn't have any of the memorable traits that his companions had: dyed hair or a pair of outstanding knockers. But Izaya was gifted with a memory that was nearly flawless, and could recount that the boy, Ryuugamine Mikado, had the most stunning blue eyes he'd ever seen. Mainly because he hadn't seen any others before, eyes any color than brown was extremely rare in people of Asian descent.

Mikado looked embarrassed at his friend for his remark. Orihara Izaya watched as the boy's lips formed words of protest toward his friend. And faintly, he registered Kida saying something in the background. The information broker watched as the leader of Dollars turned red . He watched as the boy pouted as his male friend laughed. He watched those blue eyes as they went downcast, and watched as the tongue darted out tentatively to retrieve a load of vanilla ice cream.

Maybe that was the moment when his infatuation with Ryuugamine Mikado first manifested, a man watching a boy in a candid moment with his friends. Watching his reactions made Izaya crave more, he wanted to see that face contort into expressions that he had yet to see. The unflappable Mikado, the silent planner who remained unfazed as the Headless Rider removed her helmet, was reduced to a timid teenage boy among his friends. Izaya wanted to see that usually rational boy pushed to the extremes and show more than just stoicism or embarrassment.


Day One Tuesday 10:48 AM

Lounging about on the roof across the street from the school, Izaya had a clear view of a good portion of the school. Armed with a pair of binoculars (and of course, his knife, hidden away on his person) and an infinite amount of patience and curiosity, Izaya had spent the last hour or so doing his newest hobby: Mikado-Watching. And upon beginning his endeavor to learn everything and anything about the boy, Orihara Izaya had established one thing to be certain.

Ryuugamine Mikado was an average boy.

Everyday, Ryuugamine Mikado was neither late nor early to school. There was a saying that Izaya remembered hearing, "Five minutes early is right on time, and right on time is five minutes late." Mikado was the sort of student that got to school with two minutes to spare, and never rushed or had to be rushed to make it to his classroom before the bell rung. His entire existence was grey, Izaya noted on day one, he never did anything in the extremes.

Ryuugamine Mikado was an average boy.

Orihara adjusted the focus on his binoculars as Mikado stood from his seat at his desk to write something on the chalkboard.

His grades were neither stellar nor subpar. Mikado managed to pass all of his classes with grades just above average, and it was one of traits that amused Orihara. Mikado was a smart boy by nature (At least, that was Izaya's hypothesis. One did not become the creator of such a widespread and active group like Dollars by being a complete dumbass- such an organization requires strategic prodding to get it to move in the desired direction.), albeit a little weak in street smarts. Maybe it was the lack of time to study, or maybe the lack of desire to study… Izaya continued in his observations. He wasn't on bad terms with any of his classmates, but he wasn't particularly buddy-buddy with them either.

Ryuugamine Mikado was an average boy.

He didn't participate in any clubs in particular after school. He was class representative, but Izaya knew that it wasn't out of his love of Raira Academy's school politics, but because of Sonohara Anri, the other representative for that freshman class. Izaya wanted to laugh, cry, and pull his hair all at the same time. How wonderful it was for a young boy to be in love! How terrible that the boy didn't love him, the one who loved all humans unconditionally! How satisfying was it that the love, like many first loves, was a fruitless one!

Ryuugamine Mikado was an average boy.

Orihara Izaya would break that monotony.


Day Two, Wednesday 12:27 PM

Lunchtime for the trio of friends was spent lounging on the rooftop of Raira Academy. Across from the school building, Orihara Izaya watched his prey through binoculars from atop an apartment complex nearby. Sonohara Anri carried with her a homemade meal, and Kida Masaomi seemed to be a firm believer in store-bought bread. Ryuugamine Mikado had a meal bought at a convenience store nearby, the cheap solution for any student living alone who wanted some semblance to a homemade meal. Silently he observed the result of having two quiet people and a not so quiet person being friends. Kida terrorized the other two with laughing comments ("And all of her ero-" ) while one of the others continued to eat apathetically and the final, and shyest, member of their trio blushed all the way to his ears and cried out in protest each time ("MASAOMI!).

Watching Mikado at school made Izaya remember his own years in high school. In many ways, the younger boy was dissimilar to him. Ryuugamine Mikado was a shy creature and preferred (Izaya would not say 'like' in this case, as Mikado rarely showed interest in anything) to keep a low profile. But then again, the boy was so much like him, he mused, keeping secrets from his friend (Though if Shizu-chan heard Izaya calling him a friend, he would laugh like a maniac so hard that he would start wheezing from lack of oxygen afterwards. Then, he would throw a vending machine at him.). Memories of laughter and adrenaline filled, heart pounding chases flitted across his mind.

Excitement bubbled in him. If just watching Mikado just gave him pure joy, how would interacting with the boy affect him? He already talked with his dear chat room friend Tanaka Tarou on a regular and friendly basis, but they had yet to talk to each other with such intimacy in real life. There was an unofficial line drawn between the internet and reality, even the extremely candid Orihara Izaya knew and abided by that law, usually out of his own convenience. But the possibilities were endless…!

Izaya wanted to sit down and spend a lazy afternoon inside with Mikado, talking about anything and everything over a steaming mug of coffee. He wanted to ride a bicycle with Mikado, with him steering and Mikado clutching at him desperately to stay on while laughing as the wind brushed stray hairs out of his face. He wanted to see Mikado's face contort into an expression of anger as his friends were kidnapped and beaten, and wanted to see those baby blues well up with tears in despair. He wanted to hear a scream rip itself out of his throat in anguish.

Izaya is a sick, sick man, and he wasn't fooling anyone otherwise.

Back on the rooftop of the school, Kida had thrown an arm around Mikado, chopsticks frozen in the journey between food and mouth, and took a candid picture of the pair on his cellphone. Wide-eyed, the brunette blinked and then began to yell (which was little more than a slightly raised voice) at his chuckling friend, and began to chase him around the roof, arms flailing. Calmly, Anri brought her chopsticks to her mouth and chewed solemnly.

They were all blissfully unaware of the creeper watching them from across the street.


Day Three, Thursday 3:18 PM

The trio would always walk home together. It was a given fact. Even if one of the Three (Considering the importance of each one of them in his game, Izaya liked to reward them and their roles by capitalizing whatever noun or pronoun he used to refer to Them collectively. The Three, the Trio, the Triad, the Pawns, the Them…) had some business to attend to after school, that one member would stick with the Group partway until suddenly announcing that they had to leave.

It seemed that this time was sacred to them. To take part in such a normal, everyday act as walking home together was cherished by each of Them, and to prolong the time together even for another minute, each of Them were willing to refrain from telling the remaining members that they had to leave until the last possible moment.

On one hand, it seemed like something each member believed that that was what a good friend would do- try to keep his friends from worrying by not telling them anything at all. Izaya smiled cruelly. On the other hand…

It seemed like they were keeping secrets from one another.

And the irony of the situation had Izaya in stitches.


Day Four, Friday 11:18 AM

Slim fingers wrapped around the queen, and twirled it around lazily. Izaya stared at the ceiling, his entire body managing to look relaxed lounging in the couch while being tense at the same time, and continued his idle hand motions without sparing a glance.

Yesterday, he had seen Mikado send soft looks to the girl when he thought that nobody was looking, and the action was so forcibly covert, that it was obvious to anyone that the boy liked her. If the girl had noticed, she had given no indication. Izaya frowned. Love was something meant to be received and reciprocated. He loved all humans. They were all his toys, there only to be the pawns to his whims. And although he loved humans, he was wary of the girl- he could never hate her, he didn't hate anyone- that was an expenditure of unnecessary emotional energy, the way that his current object of affections held her dear while she gave no hint of acknowledgment made him feel disappointed. Disappointed in who, he didn't know.

His grip tightened around the chess piece, and it snapped between his fingers. The splintered wood dug into his flesh and blood began to trickle down his pale skin.

Namie, who had walked into the room, a tray in hand, set a cup of steaming tea before him and sat down, nursing her own cup of tea. "You act like a lovesick fool," she told him, not knowing how true her words were. Izaya's eyes widened in realization for a moment, and wide grin split his face. Still gripping the bloody queen, he laughed and laughed and laughed.

The woman eyed him partially and sighed in defeat, nothing could get to Orihara if he was in one of his moods. She sipped her tea, and wished she could be anywhere but there in a room with a cackling madman. The fact that he was quite proficient in knife wielding did not help either.

The man laughed, laughed, and took a few deep breaths as his laughing quieted. "Namie-san~," he cooed to her. Her eyebrow rose, the only sign of her disgust toward his childish behavior. "You're exactly right!"

Namie watched with a look of annoyance on her face as Izaya stood on the coffee table and onto the board game, crushing game pieces beneath his feet as he spun, arms spread wide, on it, a look of ecstasy on his face. He slowed to a stop. "I am a lovesick fool," he breathed, a look of revelation in his eyes. He kicked the pieces off the board nonchalantly and hopped off the table, but not before knocking over the cup of carefully prepared tea, spilling its steaming contents onto the glass surface of the table. That was intentional, Namie thought, frowning, watching the graceful man saunter across the room and to the doorway.

Izaya flashed a bright smile that sent her skin crawling. "I'm off, Namie-san!" he yelled at her cheerfully, and walked out of his office with a hop in his step.

Seeing such an exuberantly gleeful Orihara unnerved her. A shiver went up her spine. "I feel bad for whatever girl that he has his sights on," she muttered as she walked into the kitchen to get a towel. When she returned to the room, Namie let out another sigh as she surveyed the carnage that her employer had left behind. She put a towel over the spilt tea before it began to drip onto the carpet and gathered up the fallen pieces, and frowned when she noticed the sheer number of them that were missing from the board. All but one had been pushed off the board and onto the carpeted floor.

The only one spared and left in a pristine state was a shogi piece. The king.


Day Five, Saturday 11:59 PM

The night air was never completely frigid in Ikebukuro this time of year. Despite the mental connection made between a dark sky and cold temperatures, the weather in the town during the day had leaned toward the humid side, so the night carried some of that heat along with it. For that fact, Izaya was immensely grateful. It made it all the more bearable to roam the streets at night.

Orihara Izaya could count the number of times that he and Ryuugamine Mikado spoke face-to-face on one hand. It was only natural that due to the scarcity of such interactions, the clarity of what they entailed was still quite vivid to Izaya. It also helped that it was Izaya's job to retain information…..but, meh, that was beside the point.

Izaya recalled from one such conversation that Mikado was tired of every day life, and longed for excitement and the extraordinary. That Dollars had become his ticket to escape from the ordinary… Izaya gave a shark-like grin as he crept silently up the stairs leading to Mikado's apartment. For a boy that disliked the average, he was quite, well, average. His experiences with gangs, an unnaturally strong man, supernatural beings on motorcycles, and cursed blades (though this one was on unknowingly on an everyday basis) aside, his life outside of these chance meetings, Izaya felt, was quite bland. The man sauntered to the door at the top of the staircase and raised his fist. Letting his fingers unfurl, a white envelope fluttered from his hand and landed onto the doormat below. Snickering softly to himself, he left the premises with catlike grace.

Who better to spice up Ryuugamine Mikado's life than himself?


Day Six, Sunday 9:36 AM

Although he was not an early bird, Mikado was never able to sleep in as long as he would have liked either. The sounds from the outside world- birds chirping, cars rushing by, nearby construction- always tore him from his slumber. Rubbing his eyes sleepily as he rose from his futon, Mikado yawned. Sluggishly, he pulled himself up from his sleeping place, and started to fold it neatly and put it aside. Wincing as light that fluttered in from the gap between his curtain hit his eyes, he rose and continued his morning activities.

Nearly forty minutes later, a less zombie-like Mikado emerged from his apartment, looking less like something from a horror movie and more like a presentable young man. He had no particular plans for the day, but the weather was hot, and he wasn't willing to brave the heat of a sweltering apartment, fan or not. He locked his door, making sure to tuck away his key properly on his person, and was about to embark on an aimless walk around Ikebukuro when he noticed a white envelope on his doormat. Curious, he picked it up and turned it over in his hands.

The envelope bared no address, or even a return address. In a neat script, the otherwise plain white surface bared his apartment number. Although it was strange, teenage indifference halted any alarms from blaring in his head, and with a shrug to himself, he unceremoniously opened the envelope.

What did send the alarms in his head off, however, were the numerous crisp bills of Japanese yen neatly placed inside.


Day Six, Sunday 10:56 AM

Watching Mikado's eyes widen in an almost comical way and his lips part slightly made a wide grin spread across Orihara Izaya's face. From his position from behind a telephone pole, armed with his ever so trusty binoculars, he watched as the boy took small steps backward, until he hit the door to his apartment and sank down to the ground. It wasn't the reaction that he expected- Izaya had envisioned a jubilant Mikado rushing to a store and splurging on some coveted mechanicalsomethingorother or a technodoohikie, or something else impulsively like others his age would. He watched the slumped figure of the boy as he rubbed his temple as if he were in great thought. Ryuugamine Mikado began to rise to his feet and, with purpose, began to make his way down the stairs. Izaya smirked, and ducked out of sight.

Mikado paid no heed to distractions as he set out on a determined path, he certainly didn't remember to wave back at the little old lady that greeted him, nor did he answer his cellphone to receive a "Wakeup Call with Love" from his best friend. And of course, the boy certainly didn't notice another pair of footsteps shadowing his own as he made his way to his destination. Izaya would have snickered, but refrained reflexively out of experience. Though, even if he yelled and did cartwheels around him, Izaya doubted that Mikado would pay any notice to him.

When Mikado's footsteps abruptly ended, Izaya was surprised to see where Mikado had, unknowingly, lead him.


Day Six, Sunday 11:17 AM

If Mikado had been any other teenaged boy, he would let out a whoop and rushed to by that new video game that came out, or even treat himself to some new clothes. But Mikado was a practical boy, and maybe a paranoid boy- his logic in this sort of situation would make his mother proud, he hoped. Though in his head there was a voice that sounded suspiciously like his mother nagging him to go buy himself a decent meal (you look far to thin), dear.

In his cool logic, he raced to the first place that he could think of, with money filled envelope in tow. The local police office.

Ikebukuro Police Office was a twelve story building. Normally, it was the sort of building that he would pass by without a second glance. Sweeping his eyes up and down the massive structure, Mikado could not help but feel intimidated. Now that he had business there, it seemed a bit more daunting. Mikado swallowed his nervousness and entered the building. The inside of the building was all whites and grays, and there was a long counter that spread across a majority of the room manned by receptionists and the occasional uniformed personnel. Working up his courage, Mikado strode to the nearest police officer, almost mechanically, his habitual shyness rearing its head.

"E-excuse me?" His stuttering was made apparent to the officer addressed, and Mikado kicked himself for sounding so pathetic.

The bespectacled officer who was, although sitting down, rather tall, leaned down from behind the counter to bring himself to the boy's level, much to Mikado's embarrassment. Treated like a child…He took it as a stab to what little manly pride that he had.

The cop, he was rather young, put on a pleasant face and gave him a smile. "How can I help you today, kid?"

Mikado swallowed his pride, it stung to be called a kid on top of being treated like one, but really couldn't blame the officer who was playing his role as a caring protector earnestly. He held out the envelope in his shaking hand to let the man see it.

The smile never left as the officer prompted, "Yes?"

Mikado realized how stupid he must have looked, shyly holding out a clenched fist wrapped around the envelope and expecting some sort of answer. He took a deep a deep breath and forced himself to calm down. The officer nodded approvingly.

Mikado began to tell the officer of his morning. "This morning, I woke up and found this," he held up the envelope for the officer to see," on my front step."

The officer peered at it curiously. "And what about it had you raced over to the police station?"

Mikado gave him a blank stare.

"I saw you run to the building. Our doors are made of glass, you know." The police officer explained.

Mikado blushed, and then forced the redness down with another deep breath. He leaned closer to the man behind the counter and whispered conspiratorially. "It's filled with money."

The officer's expression turned serious and his conduct more professional. "Does it have a return address?"

Mikado shook his head. "It doesn't have any address at all."

"How about your name? Anything that specifies that it was addressed to you personally?"

Mikado shook his head again. "No, nothing." He bit his lip. "It did have my apartment number on it though."

The officer looked at him with hard eyes. "Do you suspect that you have a stalker?" Mikado paled a little and looked a little dumbstruck at the question. "Perhaps someone who may harbor any ill intentions toward you? Or have a twisted infatuation with you? Maybe someone who wishes to win you over with bribery?"

The barrage of questions had Mikado's head spinning. An image of Orihara Izaya came to mind when the officer had said the word 'stalker', but Mikado waved that though away. The though of a full grown man following him and staring from behind telephone poles, or even spy on him at school through binoculars, was a ridiculous one, almost laughible really. He could almost see Harima Mika, too, but she quickly ran when she caught sight of her beloved and equally imagined Seiji-kun, and the pair skipped happily into the (also imagined) sunset. The third image was not so easy to banish from Mikado's mind, however. Formed with such fine detail that it looked astonishingly real, a sharply dressed Kida Masaomi, equipped with a cane and adorned with a feathered hat, stood over him.

(Looking at him haughtily from behind his tinted glasses, pimp!Masaomi stared at Mikado with the calmest expression that he had ever seen grace his best friend's face.

"You're my bitch," he informed Mikado, before holding out a wad of bills. "Now go buy us some condoms.")

It was scary how even an imaginary projection of his best friend as a pimp had nothing less but the best intentions for him. (In this case, to practice safe sex. With him. Mikado blanched.)

He snapped out of his thoughts to answer, "Well, no. Actually, when I first saw it, I thought my landlady had left me a note."

The officer's eyebrow rose. "Your landlady?"

"I'm a student at Raira, and I live by myself because I came from out of town to attend," Mikado explained.

The officer's expression softened. "Actually, sometimes we get cases where people will leave gifts for students living alone. Food, school supplies, and some other necessities. Sometimes, it's the community's way of silently supporting its next generation."

Mikado stared. "But this is money! A lot of it. Don't you think that it's suspicious that a teenager wakes up to see a sizable amount of legal tender on their doorstep?"

The officer laughed at the boy's hesitation. "Relax, kid. It's probably just some guy's good will. If your mysterious donor is that willing to part with their money, so be it."

What if my best friend is secretly my sugar daddy and is giving me inordinate amounts of cash to convince me to do unspeakable things with him, albeit in a safe (CONDOMS!CONDOMS!CONDOMS!) manner?

He looked at the boy's wide-eyed look and gave a good natured chuckle. "Now go buy yourself something nice," he said, and waved Mikado off.

Mikado, sensing that there was no way to plead his case anymore, left the building, heart still heavy and his wallet thicker than ever.


Day Six, Sunday 11:48 AM

Orihara Izaya was enjoying a cup of coffee at a café established nearby the police station, both eyes trained on the glass entranceway of the building, when Mikado finally exited the premises. He quickly drained the rest of his caffeine and waved a waitress over. Shoving the exact amount of money, including tax, into her hand, he raced out of the coffee shop and continued to trail his target.

It was with a smile that Izaya noted that Mikado was still in possession of his gift, and he happily followed the boy through the busy crowds, not even bothering to hide in the shadows this time. Mikado looked so absorbed in his thoughts, and wasn't looking all too interested in his surroundings at all. Izaya smirked. Now what was his little toy going to do now? Mikado walked through one of the more uptown parts of Ikebukuro, lined with clothing stores, but completely bypassed them without a second glance. It was understandable, Izaya thought, Mikado didn't look like the type to invest in fashion anyways.

What deeply puzzled the information broker was that Mikado did not so much as bat an eyelash at any electronic stores, or hell, the video game stores. How unlike he was to the rest of those who were his age, not being tempted by the newest PSwhatevernumbertheywereonnow or the Nintensomethingorother. (Izaya himself was partial to Pokemon. There was something about that need to catch them all to complete his Pokedex that was all too compelling.)

Up ahead, Izaya spotted a CD store, and he brightened. He remembered seeing Mikado walk around with headphones, so that could most definitely be his destination. But his conjecture was disproven when Ryuugamine Mikado walked right past that establishment as well. Izaya pouted, but continued to follow him. It was interesting, trying to guess where his ... (he didn't really have a term to call Mikado, and probably didn't deserve to call Mikado 'his' anyways) Mikado was going. Maybe he wanted to get an ice cream, like he often did with his friends? Or buy an new eraser, Izaya knew that Mikado had a habit of misplacing them, and pencils? Or maybe that shiny guitar that Izaya saw in a local instrument store, the one that cost 250,000 yen- it was awfully shiny? Maybe Mikado had secret dream to form a band, and wanted to take up the instrument?

Any and all of the conjectures he may have had about Mikado's destination were disproven the second he noticed that they were no longer in the busiest section of Ikebukuro, but the more residential areas.

Ryuugamine Mikado entered a supermarket.

Ten minutes later, he came back out wielding a shopping bag and a frying pan.

Izaya really didn't know what to think about the boy anymore.


Day Six, Sunday 4:58 PM

It goes without saying that the Ryuugamine matriarch loved her son, but like many mothers whose immediate family members consisted only of their husband and their only child son, she felt the oppression that came with being in a house dominated by testosterone. In many cases like this, these lovely women found themselves wishing that they had a daughter.

Ryuugamine Mikado was most definitely of the male variety, but his mother made sure to properly train him to be a good wife…-ahem- spend plenty of time bonding with her son.

This meant that Ryuugamine Mikado knew how to clean, do laundry, and of course, cook. It was probably the only reason why she had consented to let him venture into the dangers of city life alone.

What she forgot however, was that her son was a teenage boy, and despite his…training, he was inherently lazy when it came to his domestic duties. It wasn't that cleaning wasn't fun and exciting (Who the hell was he kidding?) and that knowing to separate his whites and colors wasn't an important life lesson, but there were plenty of other things that occupied his attention. Doing his homework, studying for exams, and playing videogames were some of the things that had priority in his life. Especially the last one.

But, like many that leave the nest for the first time, Ryuugamine Mikado had learned a very important life lesson.

Instant ramen sucks.

He used to love it. It was delicious, cost efficient, and utterly convenient. You could eat it for breakfast when you found yourself running late, just add boiling water and in three minutes you had a meal! It was great afterschool, when you were hungry from a hard day of study! It was a dinner fit for the king who stayed up on the forums way too long and forgot to do his homework, but was kind of hungry now that he realized it because he hadn't fed himself in the last eight or so hours!

And, when you had it for twenty-seven straight meals, it was utterly disgusting.

Sure he had been resorting to eating instant foods and whatever looked edible at the convenience store, but that was less out of choice nowadays, and more out of the fact that he was a student living alone who was expected to pay the bills and other expenses with whatever his parents sent him every month.

But, thanks to whatever sick person that enjoyed terrorizing people with mysterious envelopes (At his office, Izaya idly wondered if he ever had allergies before, then sneezed again.), Mikado had a lot to spend, and though he briefly though that had always wanted a guitar, he knew what he wanted most.

A home cooked meal.

Like a warrior about to go to battle, Mikado tied his apron and wrapped a bandana around his head, and with a wicked looking knife in hand approached his cutting board.


Day Seven, Monday 12:07 PM

Kida Masaomi was having a great day. There had been no tests, but there was a pop quiz, and he was pleasantly surprised to find that he was not, in fact, screwed, but that he knew all of the content. Also, he had managed to grab the last croquette bread, the seventh wonder of Raira Academy, a crisp sauce covered potato and beef croquette on a bed of shredded cabbage and sandwiched lovingly in a sliced fresh baked roll. It was an item served only once a month, and with a limit of 99 servings, he had managed to buy the last one! Luck~y!

With a grin on his face, he climbed the stairs to the roof, and opened the door. His friends were already there, and Mikado smiled at him as he sauntered over. He plopped himself on the bench overlooking the city right next to his best friend. "Hey, guys!" He greeted cheerfully. "Mikado, you're looking as energetic as ever, and Anri! You're looking as ero-"

Mikado smacked him lightly in the shoulder. "Masaomi," the brunette reprimanded, his eyebrows knit and mouth pursed. His eyes widened as he noticed what his friend had his hand. "You actually got one?"

Kida smiled (Like a cat that caught the canary, Mikado thought.) and nodded. "It was the last one," he said, as he stuck out a peace sign. Mikado congratulated him.

"Did you get something at the konbini again?" The blonde asked his friend. "They've put in a few new items for the season, and I've been meaning to try the Oyakodon." He looked at his friend's hands, expecting to see a paper package of some sort, but instead saw a bundle neatly wrapped in a blue plaid handkerchief. Kida saw the package, and the embarrassed blush on Mikado's face, and in his mind, connected the dots.

"Mikado~," his friend said in singsong as he wrapped an arm around his friend's shoulders. He waggled his eyebrows. "You sly dog! You already have Anri, but you've accepted a bento from another girl, you player!"

Mikado blushed.

The smile on his face couldn't go any wider, but it was really fun teasing his friend. "Soooo~," he said. "Who's this mystery girl? I bet it was that one girl in 1-A, she looked really into you-"

"Masaomi…"

"It was that girl from 1-A, wasn't it-"

"Masaomi."

"Whats-her-face-"

"Masaomi!"

Kida blinked. "What, Mikado?"

"There is no girl," the brunette said.

"Oh," Kida said, before his eyes widened in realization. "So it's a guy?"

"What," Mikado looked affronted and he gaped in a way that made Anri think of a goldfish she once had as a child. "No!"

There was a pause.

"I made it," Mikado said finally.

There was a strange silence. Anri looked at Mikado with a small smile and a face that looked like she found a comrade in arms, and Kida looked at him strangely. He laughed.

"Bullshit."


Day Seven, Monday 12:18 PM

Atop his perch, Orihara Izaya watched his prey. It was another fun day at Raira, he thought as he saw Mikado unwrap his lunch. A smile tugged at his lips when he realized that it was his money that had went toward making the bento box. In a way, Izaya had bought lunch for his crush. It was almost like a lunch date, with him fondly looking over Mikado, (with those neat little gadgets that he had picked up at Akihabara and placed strategically on the roof of Raira) listening to what he was saying, and his wallet sacrificed for his object of affections. But it wasn't the same as sitting across a table and enjoying a meal together. He frowned.

Mikado removed the top to his box, and Izaya adjusted the focus on his binoculars to make out the contents. It was beautifully put together, Izaya realized. There was the all important rice, the main dish, some sides, and an adequate amount of vegetables. If he hadn't known better, he wouldn't have thought that a boy would have taken the time to make such a nutritionally balanced meal.

And then…

Mikado's chopsticks dipped into the box, and retrieved a little octopus sausage, hanging precariously from one of the segments cut to make it look like a tentacle. It was a nostalgic food, Izaya remembered having some in his bento on a field trip in elementary school, a food filled with childhood memories. He watched the utensils travel to Mikado's mouth, and Izaya was sure that he was going to pop it whole into his mouth.

White teeth nipped at the dark flesh of the sausage, and grabbed hold of one segment of it. Izaya watched as they tugged and the strip of meat came loose in a slow and deliberate motion, and was enveloped by two rosy lips. A red tongue darted out to lick the drop of glistening juice that had threatened to drip from the sausage, and it disappeared back into the wet cavern.

Izaya felt his mouth go dry and it was suddenly very hard to keep a good grip on the binoculars- his palms were sweaty. He watched as Mikado ripped apart his food-didn't his mother teach him not to play with his food-, one tentacle at a time –what was he doing with his mouth- and he saw that mouth enclose the remains and a tongue lap up the juicy mess.

It was then that Izaya realized that watching a boy eat had given him an erection.

"I-ZA-YA-KUUUUUUUUUUUN!"

It was also then when Heiwajima Shizuo noticed his presence in Ikebukuro and threw a vending machine at him.

And while it was painful moving around with a boner in his suddenly too tight pants, it was just as painful being squashed by a heavy object, Izaya didn't doubt that the former bartender would be able to hit him from atop a twelve story building.

He ran like hell.


Day Six, Monday 12:27 PM

"Ah, Heiwajima-san," Anri noted from atop the roof of Raira Academy. She stood up from her seat and walked to the fence.

Mikado walked up next to her, and peered down into the streets to find the blonde. "Really?" Kida sauntered up and stood in the middle of the pair, and slung his arms over both of their shoulders. Seeing Heiwajima Shizuo in action was like watching a sporting event, and it was always exciting to see it live. "Where?"

"Left of that building," she replied as she nodded in its direction.

Mikado was pleased to see the man running, this time hoisting a red mailbox over his head. "I see him," he said, and a moment later Kida said, "There he is!" The three friends smiled at one another, before turning their attention on the main in the bartender outfit. They watched as he turned the corner, ran down a street, and into an unseen alley and out of sight in pursuit of whoever he was chasing.

"I feel bad for whoever he's after," the cheerful blonde said after a moment of silence. "Shizuo-san looked as if he was out to kill."

Anri nodded. And so did Mikado, but for some reason privately thought that whoever incurred the wrath of Heiwajima Shizuo this time probably deserved it.


Day Eight, Tuesday 12:17 PM

Orihara Izaya was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Today, he was confined to his desk, and while it wasn't too painful to do his work (which consisted of screwing people's lives over and leaving them to suffer, which was quite enjoyable on a usual day), it meant that he didn't have the time to spare to visit that lovely building that stood across from Raira Academy.

He sighed forlornly, and placed his head into one hand, his other hand typing a document. He glanced at the screen and frowned. It was its fault that he couldn't go watch his darling Mikado right now! He pouted.

It was stupid of him to be so childishly angry at his computer, that he stopped typing altogether. He sighed.

"I wanna see him~!" he cried. From her place on the second story, Namie felt a shiver run down her spine. Izaya had better get over being in love; it made him absolutely sickening to be around.

Bored, and although he had work to do, Izaya could not concentrate on it. Instead, he pulled his knees to his chest, and spun in his chair. He spread his arms wide, and felt himself slow. He pulled his arms together, and he was speeding up again.

It was almost interesting, but then Izaya decided that he was bored again. He snuck a peek at the clock on his desktop. Mikado would be eating lunch about now, huh…..

"Namie-san!" Izaya called from his desk.

The raven haired woman came into view as she walked to the railing overlooking the first floor. She replied, sounding annoyed, "What?" She made no attempt to hide her irritation, and her frankness made Izaya smile. It was probably what likened her to him. That woman was strong, she knew that there was no need for her to mask herself, and honestly, it was probably detrimental to her health that she didn't lie about anything in front of a cold-hearted and dangerous man like Orihara Izaya.

"Make me a bento!"


Day Eight, Tuesday 3:48 PM

After school was a sacred time for Them. It was a time for them to talk and smile and laugh unconcerned by their own personal problems. Walking home with friends was brought normalcy into each of their hectic lives.

Mikado realized, that if Sonohara-san was willing to break that unsaid understanding between them, then it must have been important.

It had been a routine walk. All of them rendezvoused without any incident, and Kida had started to talk about girls as soon as they left school grounds. Mikado, at this point, would start blushing and protesting. Anri would usually walk two steps behind the pair, and bask in the happiness in the air silently. But, there was something that had been bothering her for the past few days, and the moment that Kida-kun had left the pair because of a call on his cellphone, a silence washed over the remaining two, before one of them broke it.

"…Do you get the feeling that we're being watched?" Anri asked her friend, her eyes darted around their surroundings even as she spoke.

It was shocking for Mikado to hear Anri to speak her mind for once that almost smiled, and then remembered to think about her question.. Actually, for the past few days, there were moments where he thought he felt another's eyes on him. While on the roof at lunch with Sonohara-san and Masaomi, he would feel a cold, even though it was humid, and he would shiver. There was that time in class when he bent over to pick up his eraser. He definitely felt a stare then… It was serious- almost as serious as the feeling he got when he had awoken to see the white envelope on his doorstep

It was almost as if the envelope was the calling card with which his stalker announced, "I'm here!"

And…

I know where you live.

"I think somebody's been watching me for the past week," Mikado confessed to his friend.

Anri nodded solemnly, "It was only every once in a while, but I thought I felt someone's eyes on us. I would shiver, but I thought I was catching a cold." Her lips drew a tight line. "Actually, I think they were mostly staring at you."

Mikado felt his blood run cold.

Anri folded her arms tightly against her body, and Mikado realized that she was hugging herself. "This is sick," she whispered, looking down at the ground.

It was, Mikado thought. It would take sick person to stalk him and his friends. A really, really sick, immoral individual with no regard for the feelings of others and had a twisted and macabre sense of humor. To unnerve even the unflappable Sonohara Anri, who didn't even flinch when that teacher (who suddenly disappeared) stood next to her a little to closely, it would take a man who was able to send people in a rampaging rage, like the one Mikado had seen Heiwajima Shizuo on the day before. Someone like that-

…Wait a second.

Didn't he know somebody like that?

"Sonohara-san," he said carefully, his eyes also darting around. "Do you want me to walk you home? It's dangerous."

Anri smiled a little at her friend. "You don't need to worry, I'll be fine." You should be more worried about yourself, Mikado, she thought. At least I have Saika…

Mikado smiled back, but it might have been more to reassure himself than to his friend. "See you tomorrow, then!" They said their greetings, and they parted paths. When his friend was out of sight, he felt his smile twist into a grimace.

Orihara Izaya.


Day Eight, Tuesday 6:59 PM

Orihara Izaya was dressed to kill.

That meant nothing but that he was dressed as he usually was: black shirt, black pants, and black jacket trimmed with fur. He was perfect the way he was. (He was also narcissistic. If anybody asked him who the humblest person he knew was, he would say with a smile that the humblest person that he knew was none other than himself.)

His feet carried him down the path he had committed to memory over the past week. Tonight, he had it on good authority, Heiwajima Shizuo was across town taking care of business (This time, his business seemed to include beating the crap out of a crowd of punks in yellow for looking at him the wrong way. Although the denizens of Ikebukuro tended to fear his rampages, tomorrow, there would be rumors that the fearsome bartender had cleansed the streets of the Yellow Scarves that had been out of line for the past few days. Tonight, Heiwajima Shizuo was a hero and unwittingly commiting a public service), and that was precisely why that Izaya decided that tonight was the night.

Being cooped up in his office all day had made him twitchy.

He crossed the street and smiled when he saw the apartment where Ryuugamine Mikado lived. He walked with a skip in his step down the road and turned onto the property. A sense of anticipation welled up in him. Izaya forced himself to take a deep breath. He was a professional. He then proceeded to childishly bound up the metal steps up to the second floor, making as much noise as he could and reveling in the almost melodic clangs that were produced. There was a wide and sinister looking smirk on his face.

When he had reached the door to Mikado's apartment, he forced his smile down a few notches, in a feeble attempt to look less like a sexual offender. He pressed the doorbell, but it didn't work. His smile didn't falter as rapped a few knocks on the door to a tune that he had heard on the television instead.

An apron wearing, bandanna adorned Mikado opened the door, a cellphone in his hand.

"Hello there, Ryuugamine-kun!" Izaya greeted with a grin that would have scared even the Cheshire Cat. "I've come to violate you!"

Any normal person would have immediately slammed the door shut and bolted all the locks (maybe even barricade the door and windows) had a man with a pedophilic smile announced that he was here to violate them knocked on their front door. Mikado, however, seemed to miss the day when they taught this important life lesson, and opened the door even wider.

"Ah, Orihara-san. I was actually about to email you," the boy said, gesturing to his cellphone. Izaya peered at the screen, and there was indeed a half typed message addressing his internet persona Kanra on it. He was a little put out that Mikado seemed to be oblivious to his advances, but kept the smile going.

"Really," Izaya purred as he leaned the length of his body against the doorway. "Whatever for?"

Mikado seemed to ignore that a full grown man was standing in a provocative manner in front of his home. "I was about to ask you if you would like to come over," he said.

Izaya felt an unnamed emotion well up in his chest. He raised an eyebrow.

Mikado rummaged in the pocket of his apron (He looks really cute in that. I bet he would cuter if he was wearing only that, Izaya thought.) and removed a white envelope. "I wanted to return this to you," he explained.

The smile slipped from his face, and Izaya felt as if he had been shot down. "What?" Wait a second, how did he know it was him!

Mikado scratched his bandanna covered head with a finger. "All the money's still in there. I was thinking about using it, but I had just enough money to pay for what I wanted."

Izaya felt his mouth go dry. You had just enough?What about the rest of your expenses? You need that money!

"But now that I think I about it, it just wouldn't feel right using it," the boy said and he held the envelope out toward Izaya. "Here."

It was strange how one's body could act before you could think. Izaya found himself plucking the money-filled object from Mikado's hand. With his spare hand, he toughed the younger's cloth covered chest. With it, he made a trail down the length of the younger's body, and he heard Mikado gasp when he went lower. He traced the outline of the large pocket of the apron with deliberate slowness and flashed the boy a wide smirk as he slid the envelope into its depths. "It's yours," he found himself saying. He knew Mikado needed it, and that sound he let out was payment enough.

Mikado's jaw hung uselessly for a few moments. When he finally regained the ability to speak without stuttering, he pulled the envelope out again and protested. "Orihara-san! I can't! It's-"

"Yours," Izaya finished for him. "Now put it away. Unless you want a repeat performance of me doing it for you..?" He gave a predatory smirk.

Mikado blushed and shook his head violently. He calmed down and asked, "No catch?"

It was almost as if he was having an OBE, because he couldn't do anything but watch himself agree amiably, "No catch." He wanted there to be a catch. There was a plethora of things he wanted to do the boy, most of them unspeakable. But he found himself unable trick or lie to the boy. Shit, he was in love.

A silence fell between the two.

...

"Will you please stop stalking me? "

Izaya scratched his head sheepishly. "You figured that out, too?"

Mikado felt awkward, asking his stalker to stop stalking him. He blushed. "My friend is really perceptive, and you're making her nervous," And also, it was really fucking creepy.

The Slasher, Izaya realized. He must have tipped off some mysterious supernatural sense of hers. He felt like scowling. "…Okay," he reluctantly agreed.

There was an awkward silence between the two.

"Would you like to come in, Orihara-san?" Mikado asked finally. "I made dinner."

Izaya blinked. He felt a smile spread across his features. "Would I!" Mikado smiled, and moved out of the way to let his guest in. Mikado had a low table in the middle of the room, a cushion on either side. It's set for two, Izaya realized with a widening smile, like Mikado had planned for it.

Mikado had a strange look on his face.

"What?"

"Does this mean that you're my sugar daddy?" An image of Masaomi with a hat and cane flashed through his mind.

Izaya gave a predatory smile, and Mikado felt himself shiver, "Only if you want me to be."

He proceeded to cop a feel.


...

READERS, WHAT'S FF SAY ABOUT THIS FIC'S WORD COUNT!

Every food included in this fic is something that I've recently cooked, ate, or craved. I made Oyakodon for Father's Day, teehee.