Notes: Here we have the epilogue of 'Under the Surface'. This is the last chapter I will be posting for this story, so after this the story will be complete. Thanks to everyone who reviewed the chapter before!
Shizuo and Namie exited the police station in silence, neither of them really feeling up to a conversation. Namie had walked in briskly and said a few words to the police officer sitting at his desk. He'd argued for a little bit but it had been futile – the woman had not even wavered. Finally he'd released Shizuo from his jail cell and the blond had trudged out silently, shooting the officer a deathly glare before following Izaya's former assistant.
The sky was dark, indicating that he'd been in that cell for several hours, though he didn't really care. He'd lost track of time thanks to the throbbing pain in his arm and ribs and…fuck, everything just hurt. He could feel his stress levels rising now that he wasn't confined. He could so easily go back there and beat those bastards to a pulp if he wanted to.
Namie produced a pack of cigarettes from her purse, handing them over to him silently as if she was reading his mind. He took them gratefully, thinking that Celty must have told her to grab a pack whilst heading over to the police station.
Namie noticed his limping and raised her eyebrows:
"They didn't at least patch you up?"
He grunted – "Wouldn't let anyone near me after what happened. Too pissed off." He lit up one of the cigarettes and took a deep drag from it, feeling the headache in the back of his head diminishing enough for him to think clearly.
The headache had been plaguing him ever since he'd gone to the police – ignoring the stares of people obviously taken aback by his bloodied and stinking state – and demanded that they find Izaya. He knew the informant had told him not to bother, but he wasn't just going to give up, not when he could still do something. So he'd gone, and true to Izaya's word, the trip had been completely worthless.
He'd told them the situation as quickly as possible and immediately they had promised to send out a search party. Then Shizuo had watched as the police officer he'd talked to walked off, then bent down to mutter something in the ear of his superior officer, who had given Shizuo a look. And Shizuo had lost it, because he knew from that look that the man wasn't going to send a damn search party, because that look told him everything he needed to know – that the police were fucking corrupt and Nakamura had made sure that they wouldn't do anything to help him, not until it was too fucking late and that wasn't goddamn good enough.
His blood boiled at the thought of it, but what pissed him off even more was the fact that he couldn't even get a punch in before four policemen jumped on him and held him down. He could have taken them no problem, but even in his rage-clouded mind he could sense that attacking several policemen was not a good idea.
He growled at the very memory and noticed Namie's blank expression falter slightly.
A couple of minutes later he finally broke the silence:
"Where's Celty? I thought she brought you here. I told her to go get you, so you could bail me out."
"Celty went back home to give Shinra the news. She seemed upset about everything that's happened, but she didn't explain to me in detail. I'm expecting you to do that," she said flatly. From the look in her eyes, Shizuo could tell that she already knew her former employer was dead. She didn't seem outwardly melancholy, but her emotionless expression was so clearly forced that he could tell she wasn't completely unaffected.
Shizuo gave her a quick rundown of what happened, his voice cracking every once in a while. He told her the bare minimum – she didn't need to know about his and Izaya's private conversations – and she said nothing until the very end. Once he had finished she let the silence drag on for a few more minutes.
They had walked to the park by now and she was subtly leading him towards the bench, where she now sat with her purse on her lap and her legs locked together.
"I will take care of Nakamura and his body. The man had many enemies, and it will be easy to pin the blame on any one of them. That problem will be easily resolved." She hesitated before continuing. "I will also…take care of Izaya's funeral. I'm assuming you will be attending?"
Shizuo nodded, feeling a lump in his throat. There was no hope now, nothing for him to grasp onto anymore. At some point in that jail cell, denial had slipped away without him noticing and he'd begun to realize how many second, minutes, hours had passed. Now it felt like he was in a vague dream, all the colors around him soft and slightly blurry, with only the moonlight to illuminate his surroundings.
Namie was still talking and he forced himself to concentrate:
"…Izaya's family. Of course they will want to know, though I'm not exactly sure what I will tell them caused Izaya's death. It's going to be complicated, since they'll want to see his body and we won't have one to show them." She sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. "If we tell them he was murdered they might want to launch an investigation, which could lead to them connecting the dots and inevitably bring them to you. Considering what you told me, this is the last thing we want to do. I'm going to have to make up some elaborate lie as to why Izaya's dead and why they can't see the body or why there isn'teven a body."
Her words were so cold and clinical that most people listening would have thought her heartless and uncaring. Shizuo, however, was grateful that she was keeping herself so put-together and formal. He couldn't have handled a woman sobbing like she'd lost her lover, begging him to tell her Izaya's last words and whether he'd mentioned her at any point during their conversations.
There isn't even a body…
He dropped his cigarette to the ground and lit up another one, knowing that he'd have finished the entire pack before going to sleep tonight.
Namie stood up to leave so abruptly he stepped back.
"I will be in touch with you. If you need me, here's my number. Just call me and I'll help you." She handed him the card. She didn't say it, but Shizuo could clearly hear the meaning behind her words. Her respect for Izaya – even if there wasn't any particular love reserved for the man – was enough that she would help Shizuo, because Izaya wanted him to be helped.
Shizuo took it, knowing that this would probably end up in a drawer somewhere, ink fading and edges turning blunt. He didn't care though; the offered help was comforting. Most of all, it was the fact that she was tied to Izaya in some way that made him take the card, as if by grabbing every link to Izaya that he could find, he could somehow change what had happened, or at least try to accept it.
He remained where he was long after she had gone, the only indication of his mood the pile of cigarettes on the ground by his feet. His mind was blank, descending down into some deep underground just like Izaya who had died alone, and by the time he finished the pack, something inside of him had snapped and been buried inside of him, safely tucked away like a defense mechanism.
He didn't resurface for a long time.
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He checked his phone. Thirty-eight new messages. Sixty-three missed calls.
People must be worried about him. He hadn't been home for a couple of weeks, so he guessed it was understandable. No one really knew where he was and he hadn't contacted any of his friends since that night at the police station.
Where have you been? Shinra and I are worried. Please call us.
The problem with Nakamura has been resolved. Don't draw attention to yourself and you'll be okay.
He placed a plate of spaghetti onto the table, nodding reflexively at the customer's soft 'thank you' and then walked away, holding the tray at his side limply. His left arm was still damaged, but he'd taken off the sling the day before, annoyed by how much it restrained his movement.
Nobody spared him a second glance, even though some of them probably knew about his reputation. Even so, he wasn't recognizable with his brown hair – he'd dyed it back before leaving his apartment – and nobody would identify his features. They probably knew him as the faceless blond monster that threw vending machines and people around without breaking a sweat. No one knew him personally, and he liked that.
He picked up two more plates, setting them on his tray and robotically moving around, keeping his head down.
Brother, your friends have been calling me to ask where you are. They're worried about you, and so am I. At least let us know that you're safe and okay.
He knew that everyone was worried about him, but he needed some time alone. He needed some time to think, not just about what had happened, but also about his entire life. Now that Izaya was dead his purpose in life had changed. Was 'changed' even the right word?
No, no it wasn't the right word.
His purpose had been completely destroyed. For Shizuo, his only reason to live had been to chase Izaya around the city and eventually kill him. It had been some sort of twisted game between the two of them and now that the other player had been vanquished, Shizuo was at a loss as to what he could do with his life.
He could go back to helping Tom, but was that really a life? He couldn't even use his full strength, couldn't even be himself unless he was trying to kill the flea. Now his clothes, the ones that Kasuka had given him, were like a prison. They were suffocating, restraining him until he couldn't breathe.
Shizuo, where have you been for the past week? You haven't shown up for work and you're not answering your phone.
I heard about Izaya's death. Is that why you're not showing up to work?
Shizuo, it's been two weeks. Celty has taken to searching the city for you. She's worried something might have happened. Call me.
Izaya's funeral was going to be in a couple of days. He still hadn't decided what to do when the time came. Would he attend it and face all of his friends and their questions? The easier option would just be to skip it entirely and stay here, waiting on tables and returning to that crappy hotel room.
It's not like they had even found Izaya's body yet. The search was a complicated one – they could go digging up every single place that the informant could possibly have been buried. He might be in a park or a cemetery or somebody's backyard. Nobody had reported any strange sightings of men digging a hole in some obscure area.
Namie was keeping him updated at his request. It was pretty much the extent of their conversations – completely business-like. Not once did she ever ask about his wellbeing, even though she was probably aware of his disappearance.
We still haven't found his body. The funeral is taking place nevertheless in five days.
The police believe that a rival drug dealer is behind Nakamura's death. They're investigating the man right now. There's still nothing connecting you to his death.
Brother, I saw you today while I was going to meet my agent. I noticed you dyed your hair back to brown, which I was surprised about. I haven't told any of your friends where you are, but I'm glad to see that you are at least unhurt and safe. When you are ready to talk, I'll be there for you.
He glanced up from the table he was currently serving and saw someone familiar at the door of the restaurant. Celty was showing one of the waiters her PDA when she caught sight of him and let it drop to her side. She didn't move towards him but he sighed, putting his tray down and walking towards her.
Maybe it was time to go back now.
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"It's not even like you're buried here."
The words were hoarse and unfamiliar in his voice, which had been abused and unused for so many months now. If any of his friends were here, they would probably have had a minor heart attack at hearing him speak.
Not that he could blame them – no one had heard him say a word after Celty had found him in that restaurant. It wasn't like he'd become a complete recluse and just refused to speak. He just…didn't have anything to say to anyone really. Shizuo had never been very good with words, and verbalizing his thoughts at the time had seemed a near impossible task. So he'd decided not to do it and instead had taken comfort in his silence. And his bottle.
Instinctively he clutched the bottle of alcohol tightly, feeling slight guilt burn through him. He'd been drinking more than necessary since Izaya's death. His friends were concerned. His brother said nothing, but when he visited Shizuo his eyes would linger on that ever-present bottle for a few seconds while his face remained blank.
"You know, I never imagined you'd be the one to drive me to alcoholism," he muttered, placing the bottle at the foot of the grave. "But even in death, you've managed to screw up my life. I bet you're pretty pleased with yourself, aren't you?"
He felt like an idiot, talking to an empty grave.
The headstone read 'Orihara Izaya', but there was nobody inside the coffin. The empty coffin hadn't been questioned – Namie must have come up with an adequate explanation – and when it had been lowered into the ground Izaya's family had been in tears and people around had been so somber and morose. It hadn't affected Shizuo.
Why would it? Izaya had already been in the ground. All they were doing was lowering an empty coffin into the dirt and everyone had to pretend it was the dead informant when really it was just a wooden box.
"You'd also be pleased to see how many people showed up at the funeral too. Shinra and Celty were there, of course. Simon too. Namie was there, and she brought her brother and his creepy girlfriend with the scarred neck. Your family, of course, was there. Your parents seem pretty nice and normal, so I don't know why the hell you turned out to be such a flea, but I guess they were just unlucky in that way." He laughed humorlessly, only half-joking. "Your sisters are weird, but that's probably from your influence."
He didn't feel bad about teasing Izaya. Hell, if anything, it made him feel better. Izaya wouldn't have wanted him to start being all nice and fake, even if he was dead. No, their relationship would not be different in that sense.
"Those three kids from Raira Academy came along. The girl with the glasses, the shy kid and their loud blond friend. And that kid's girlfriend, Saki or something like that. My brother attended too, when I told him what happened. I had to tell him the truth. You know, since he's my brother. I also saw some pretty shady characters…like that Shiki guy who introduced himself to me. Overall…it was a lot more than I expected. I never realized that many people cared about you, flea."
He was sitting on the ground now, twirling the bottle around and staring blankly at that meaningless headstone. He didn't know why, after so many months of staying silent, the words were pouring out like water. It was as if he'd opened a gate, and suddenly everything he'd been meaning to say had just surfaced and poured out and he couldn't stop it anymore.
There was no reply to any of his ramblings, just that soft quiet and every once in a while the whispering of the wind.
He didn't even know whom he was talking to – Izaya wasn't in that grave. There was no one in the grave. He was just talking to whoever would listen…the sky, the ground, his bottle…whatever.
"Everyone thinks I'm suicidal…I guess they're right…"
The trees rustled in the background.
"Can a person die from boredom? Because that's all I ever feel now…bored. Like…my life has no purpose or reason. Like the only thing I was ever meant to do was chase you around the city and try to kill you…and I didn't even get to kill you in the end – Nakamura took care of that. Now I have nothing to do…"
He smirked, taking a swig from his bottle. The drink burned his throat but he reveled in the feeling.
"Except drink. I drink a lot nowadays, flea, thanks to you. Not as much as I first did, but still enough. When I started I nearly died from alcohol poisoning. Celty was furious…" There was a long, uninterrupted silence and his expression turned thoughtful. "Do you want me to kill myself, Izaya? Do you want me to chase you again, just so you can cut me with your blade? I need a fucking challenge now that you're dead, and no one matches up. The only person who could ever take me was you…and Simon, but he's not into violence and he doesn't piss me off like you do."
The bottle was empty now and he stared at it with glassy eyes, feeling somber. Things were changing for the better now.
Everyday he drank just a little bit less, and he felt a little bit better. Everyone around him was so worried that he had spiraled into alcoholism but he knew better. Everyday he improved ever so slightly, drinking later in the day and finishing earlier in the night. His craving for the drink lessened steadily and soon his apartment would be void of all alcohol once again.
So he wasn't worried about that.
"It shouldn't have ended this way, flea. I should have been the one to kill you. I wish I'd killed you when I got the chance. Then I wouldn't feel like this. I…I should have hated you until the very end…"
He dropped the bottle, looking up at the sky. He grinned slightly, thinking that there was no way Izaya was in Heaven right now. If anything, his soul had just gone deeper underground than his body. But he looked up at the clouds nonetheless when he spoke, feeling the sun on his face.
"I think I'm going to try to move on now, if that's okay with you, flea…I have a life you know…"
He turned to leave, feeling as though some weight had lifted off his shoulders, as if he'd been released from some cage. He fancied he could almost hear laughing in the distance – Izaya was always mocking him – and he ran his hands through his brown hair. He'd have to dye that again sometime; blond suited him better.
Even though he felt like his mind was growing clearer and he felt like he was moving forward, there was still an itch right under the surface of his skin. It was an urge, a need to grab something and just throw it, to just let himself go and use all the strength he had. It would never go away now that Izaya was gone, but for now, he could just ignore it.
For now, he could just bury the feeling.
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Well, that's the end of 'Under the Surface', my very first Durarara story. It was so much fun to write and I think I got some of the best reviews I've ever received. I was also really, really surprised by the number of reviews I got because I seriously wasn't expecting that much, not that I'm not really happy about it.
I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed – I really appreciated it so much and it definitely sped up my writing. I hope you all enjoyed the story because I definitely enjoyed writing it. I'm sad that it's ending now, but also happy because this lets me begin a new story.
I hope you'll all check out my next fic – 'Random In The Agency', of which I've put up the first chapter. It has a lot of similar elements – such as people wanting Izaya dead – with the exception that Shizuo and Izaya actually interact in person, and not just over the phone. It will be longer than UtS with a lot more characters involved and maybe…even more angst! (Though I'm not sure how that's possible).
I love you all!
…and please review.