Izaya's escaped, and Shizuo finds himself momentarily at a loss. He's holding a vending machine, and has no idea where he should throw it, since that bastard didn't even run away. He just vanished.

The vending machine is thrown to his west, maybe it'll hit that annoying schoolkid that he overheard while he was chasing Izaya (who the hell brags about how many girls they've screwed when they're eleven?) or maybe it will - oh, who the fuck cares, Izaya's gone and now he just wants to hit something but has no idea what! There's a large clanging noise to his west, followed by people screaming. Tom used to joke that he was the targeting system to Shizuo's armed missile, and that's all well and good, but it doesn't fix a thing when Shizuo is alone and there are no clear targets!

He takes a few deep breaths, thinks of a world where he'll be so strong that he can contain his rage, kicks a dustbin until it's reduced to a flattened, crumpled mass, scowls at a cat that meows hopefully at him, then walks through his Ikebukuro, untainted by that fucking Izaya. Hopefully.

His eyebrow begins to twitch after fifteen minutes, so he heads to a quieter part where he won't have to hear the cackling of drunken salarymen and won't accidentally punch one of them into a wall. He sits on the curb, head down, eyes closed, pretending that he's the only person there, which helps for a while, allowing him to push his rage beneath the surface. It works until he hears the squealing of tyres and a faint whinny.

He looks up.

[Greetings, Shizuo.]

"Heading home, Celty?"

She taps on her phone's keys again. Pretending that he's calm enough to engage in a conversation with Celty makes him feel slightly calmer. He has no idea how the hell that works, but it does.

[No, going to look for something.]

"Any new leads?"

She hesitates for a moment, seeming almost embarrassed, then resumes typing.

[Not that - aliens. The special says that their mothership will land after they send out a scout.]

[...did you watch it, Shizuo?]

She leans intently towards him, as if his watching of the special is of the utmost importance. He avoids commenting on the fact that most people don't treat specials on aliens as serious news - who knows how the world seems to a supernatural creature? Celty is one of the people that he actively tries not to piss off, because she's also one of the people who maintains his tenuous grip on calmness.

"Nah, don't have a television." It's not his fucking fault that the early-morning show had a really irritating idol on, god, don't people even realise that when people have rough nights they don't want some high-pitched J-pop robot giggling at them about her views on love? Anyway, that was the third television he went through that month, so he'll just get a new one next month when they have sales. Maybe he'll order it online so he doesn't end up throwing a shopping cart at a housewife and her three kids. Wait, no, he broke his laptop after that banner ad - okay, maybe Celty or Tom or someone else can order it for him.

More tapping on the phone keys. He has no idea where this conversation will lead, but it's fine. She gingerly holds the phone screen out for him to read.

[Want to come along?] Her body language indicates that she is expecting a firm "no".

Not like he had anything to do after chasing Izaya.

"Yeah, sure, why not?" and he gets on, wrapping his arms around her waist.

They speed off - he has no idea where they're headed, but Celty isn't the kind of person who would abandon him on a deserted road and threaten not to take him back unless he did something for her. (No, that would be Shinra. On the day he got a driver's license. Shizuo didn't agree to the blood test, and eventually Shinra didn't have a car anymore, so they had to wait for five hours before they saw another car they could hitch a ride from. They couldn't contact Celty because there was no handphone reception - but enough thinking about that incident, it just makes him irritated.) He's pressed against Celty, and she's oddly warm for someone with no pulse at all, and the wind is rushing past them. He looks at the bushes on either side of the road as they blend together in a black blur. He can close his eyes and let go, just for a while, but he doesn't. Not yet.

They screech to a halt - he still has no idea where this is, there aren't any visible landmarks for him to pinpoint his location. For all he knows, it could be the same road that he was trapped on, for five hours, with Shinra. But it's open, and there's a clear view of the sky, and it's empty.

Celty pats the flank of her motorcycle after dismounting. It whickers appreciatively.

She takes her helmet off and unzips her catsuit slightly. The first time she took her helmet off in front of Shizuo, he knew what to expect, but was still surprised when he didn't see a beautiful woman's face, hair tumbling out from the confines of the helmet. Now the black mist streams from her neck, and it's beautiful too, in its own way. There's a patch of grass on the side of the road, and she sits there, patting the grass beside her, inviting Shizuo to join her. He does.

Celty opens the file on her handphone and shows it to him - it's a list of signs that an unusual occurence in the sky is actually the mothership. Shizuo studies it intently - he doesn't really believe in aliens, but Celty is proof that things out of the ordinary can exist, and he honestly wants to help her out. If it makes her happy, or less worried about aliens, who is he to object?

"So...which direction should we be looking at?"

She takes a photo of the sky, stylus at the ready, only to realise that her handphone camera doesn't really work on objects without much illumination. She tries again and again before giving up. She points at him, then gestures to one section of the sky. She points to herself, and waves vaguely at the other section.

"Did the special say anything specific?"

Her delicate fingers curl into her palm before she starts typing extremely fast, as if she's experiencing a fit of rage.


"Calm down," and it is very surreal that he has to tell anyone that. It is also very strange to see Celty use more than one exclamation mark.

[I MET THEIR SCOUT YESTERDAY! SHE TRIED TO CUT ME.] She angrily returns her phone to its normal place in her catsuit, realises she needs it to communicate, and takes it out again, then flops down to stare at the sky, fuming. Putting her arms behind her head is pointless, as she doesn't have a head to support, but she does it anyway.

Shizuo flops down beside her, and they both look at the stars - unhindered by light pollution, there are so many of them. In Ikebukuro the sky looks purple, navy blue at the best of nights, but here it's velvet black. It's utterly silent besides the sound of Shizuo's breathing. Sometimes Shizuo goes off at someone because they're breathing wrong. Why would someone breathe through their mouth and make terrible snorting sounds from their nose? That's just intolerable. So it's good that they're here now, even if he has to scan the sky for suspiciously bright stars.

Celty is good at calming him down, but it can't simply be attributed to the fact that she doesn't breathe so he can't get irritated at her exhalations, or the fact that she doesn't talk so he can't be annoyed by her voice. With Celty, Shizuo has always felt that he doesn't need to do anything but be himself, and talking to her always helps him feel better. Hell if he can pinpoint why, but it helps. There's nothing to distract him or cause unstoppable rage, the stars are unmoving (obviously a lack of UFOs tonight) and the air is cool, and even the scrubby patch of grass feels somewhat comfortable. There's someone beside him, someone he can trust, and he drifts off into a light doze.

He wakes up nearer to Celty - he's moved closer to her during his nap, and she doesn't seem to mind that. She's still watchfully scanning the sky, but her body's more relaxed now.

"Any aliens yet?"

She gropes around for her phone, refusing to get up to look for it, and eventually finds it, typing on it without looking because she doesn't want to hold her arms up.

[Mpy ury. mp/]

"...is that a no?" Celty appears puzzled at his statement, and snatches the phone back to look at its screen. She appears flustered, then frantically backspaces.

[Not yet, no. Sorry.]

He's feeling oddly maudlin tonight, and that's the only reason why the next sentence slips out. "Sometimes I feel kind of like an alien, you know? Like I wasn't meant to be here - I was supposed to be somewhere else, on a planet where everyone's like me, and I accidentally found my way here instead and ended up destroying everything."

[You belong here.]

"Fuck, my parents didn't even want to see me anymore after I graduated - the look in their eyes, it was like they didn't even think I was their son. Just some random stranger who'd lived with them for a few years. Can't hold a steady job, can't do anything without worrying I'll go out of control, and that fuckin' flea always trying to get me - if there's a mothership I wish it'd beam me up already." He stares at the sky just so he won't have to look at her - her body language might give her disdain for him away.

She pauses, then carefully types the next line, holding the phone up so she can see what she's typing.

[I would miss you, if it did.]

"Heh. Thanks, Celty."

[I'm glad I know you, Shizuo.]

She stands up and moves closer to him, gently taking his hand to pull him up, and he accepts the offer, hauling himself up. He figures they have to leave soon, so it's very surprising when Celty hugs him unabashedly. Sure, he's had hugs before, but he could always sense the fear in his parents - like he'd start crushing their bones at the drop of a hat, so it comes as a surprise that Celty is being so emotional, and that Celty isn't afraid he'll accidentally punch her into the distance.

He hugs back, because it's gratifying to feel connected to someone - he's touch-starved, so this is an opportunity he relishes, because no one ever offers. Their embrace lasts for quite a while, but Celty pulls away to type on her phone. He reads what she's writing upside down because she's hesitant to show the screen, it takes a while to figure it out, but she's typing really slowly.

[Could you...] and she backspaces.

[Would you mind...] and she backspaces again.

[Do you want...] and again the text vanishes from the screen. She gives up in exasperation, sets the phone down, then moves closer to Shizuo and puts his hand on the zip of her catsuit.

"Wait...aren't you doing it with Shinra? Every night?"

She gives him a vigorous thumbs-down and stamps her foot in increased irritation - it's almost as if they've switched roles, then picks up her phone again, pressing it with more force than necessary.

[NO. Don't believe his lies!]

There's a pause while she flips the phone so the screen is facing her, and starts to type again.

[If you say no, we can forget I asked. Still friends.]

Shizuo pauses.

[It's not a pity offer. I want to.]

"Look, if I...get too rough, you need to go. Don't worry about how I'll get back if that happens."

[I won't break. I heal fast. If I have to, I will go.]

She sets the phone down again and undoes his bowtie, and things happen organically from there, his clothes fall to the floor - she's actually undoing them faster than he can take off her catsuit, he's terrible with the tiny zip but eventually he manages without ruining the whole thing. She neatly folds his clothes after taking them off, and he's touched that she takes into account how much his bartender outfit means to him.

He can't remember the exact steps he took to get to this point, there was probably a lot of fumbling and Celty urging him on, with her delicate fingers guiding his clumsy hands (he hasn't had much experience), her pale skin glowing in the night, and he can't feel a heartbeat or a pulse against him but this is the most connected he's ever felt to anyone else. Celty is on top of him, weighing him down, grounding him, his back is pressed into the grass and the black mist streams from her neck to touch his face, like an intimate caress. Their hands touch each other, slow strokes and caresses, and she can't moan but she's trembling with desire, silently urging him on with her hips and her thighs, grasping his shoulders tightly when he speeds up the rhythm. When they both gain their release she arches her back, the black mist spreading around them, clouding out the sky.

They withdraw from each other's touch, slowly, he eases out of her and they both sit on the grass again. They're naked, and Shizuo is sweaty, so he decides to wait a while before he puts on his clothes so they don't stink of his sweat. There are red marks on Celty from where Shizuo's fingers grasped her body, which slowly recede.

Shizuo lies on Celty's lap, the tension gone from his body, and he falls asleep.

He wakes up to the sound of her stroking his hair, her fingers swishing through its bleach-blond strands. He squints at the sky, his eyes muzzy, and dawn is coming. He pretends to be asleep for a while more just so he can enjoy the sensation of her fingers on his scalp while he's awake, then cracks open his eyes again.

"Good morning, Celty," and she can't respond because one hand is on his hair and another is supporting him so he doesn't wake up with muscle cramps and her phone is on the ground, but she traces a smiley face on his cheek with her hand.

They both get up reluctantly and put on their clothes, and Celty helps him to tie his bowtie because he isn't quite awake enough to manage it. She picks up her phone, then zips her catsuit up to the neck. She reaches for her helmet, then places it on her neck again, becoming the Black Rider of Ikebukuro instead of Celty.

Shizuo decides to ask her a nagging question before they both get on her motorcycle, because she can't really talk while riding.

"Did you see the mothership?"

[No, but it's all right.]

"Look, if it's bothering you...you can tell me about it."

[Thank you. I will.]

There's obviously something else she wants to type, so Shizuo doesn't prompt her, just stands there.

[If you were an alien, you would be Superman.]

He has no idea what the hell Shinra has taught her about popular culture, but he laughs, and she takes her phone back and types a ridiculous smiley, showing it to him. It's so incongruous with her personality that he starts laughing harder.

She mounts her steed. He gets on behind her, wraps his arms around her waist, and readies himself for the trip back into the city.

This time, face pressed against Celty's body, Shizuo closes his eyes. The wind howls past both of them.

He's glad they're friends.