Kitty: Welcome to the Horror House of the Fox: LONG FANFICTIONS (Yes, the length of this is her fault).
Foxy: I was ordered to stop at 25 pages (but she didn't tell me what font or what size font it had to be). Kitty was HILARIOUS while we were writing this. XD When she writes stuff, she likes to add little comments of her own in parenthesis at the end of a chunk. So at the ends of Saki chunks, she puts (weird girl). She's so funny! It's even more hilarious to hear her say it.
Kitty: I don't think it's that funny. She is a weird girl.
Foxy: But you say that ALL the time, no matter what parts we write about her in any of our stories!
Kitty: … But she IS a weird girl. Anyways, for this story, we went with the type of "wedding" we know most about: Christian (as in white dress, church, you know, that stuff). If we screwed up the order of what happens in the wedding (which is possible, since neitherof us has attended a wedding in … well, Foxy has once when she was five. Me never), we're sorry. Please don't fret about how it's not exactly the type of wedding that happens in Japan, we know that. This one-shot isn't supposed to be too serious.
Foxy: I don't think anyone's gonna care.
Kitty: I care.
Foxy: What was also fun about this one-shot is that it was originally supposed to be really, really M-rated … but somehow everything turned out fluffy. It just suited the mood better. Don't yell at us for changing it. There's a little cursing in here. So all in all we believe this adds up to a "T" rating.
Kitty: Try to imagine all the characters ten years older too. And please don't turn into any character-haters because of this story. We understand we kind of make one of the characters sound pretty … bad. But he/she isn't. Not really … Oh yes! Pay attention to the ties and the overall situation! (There's a reason why we call the story that … surprisingly there's a lot of symbolism in here.)
Foxy: On a side note, we're considering a prequel and/or sequel to this story. Which would explain a lot of more stuff in this (including the aforementioned character). Let us know what you think. We're also warning you, if you find serious errors, please let us know – we've been staring at this fanfiction for so long that it's possible we missed something or another. We think we nailed everything but anything is possible. Especially when we're posting this at 3:30 A.M. PLEASE REVIEW! TELL US WHAT YOUR FAVORITE PART(S) WERE! (Our goal is to make you cry.)
DISCLAIMER: We do not in any way own the characters/scenes/… oh you know the drill I'm sure.

All Kinds of Ties

A Durarara! Fanfiction by Kitty & Foxy

Mikado grew frustrated as he fiddled with his tie, trying to tie it and have it come out looking right, only failing each and every time. It wasn't because he couldn't tie the tie (he had worn one to every day of high school and college); it was because one of his hands was bandaged up tightly in a cast.

"Masaomi, would you come help me with this?" He turned his head away from the mirror, turning towards his friend who was sitting in the chair in some sort of dreamy state with a goofy grin plastered on his face.

"Hmm?" Masaomi turned towards him, and after the silence from Mikado, he snapped out of it. "Oh, sorry, I was thinking about how sexy Saki-chan's going to look in her wedding dress."

Mikado forced an awkward smile. "Twenty-six years old and you still sound like the same girl-crazed, dyed-blond high schooler you were." Then he sighed, turning back to the mirror and the frustration of his tie. "But at least you have the right to say that, seeing as how you two are getting married."

Masaomi quickly got up, walking over to Mikado and looping his arm around his friend's shoulders. "Yeah, but I'm starting to rethink having you as my best man now. How can I count on you being my best man if you can't even get your tie on right?"

"…You know perfectly well that it's because of my cast, and that you're the one who did this to my hand in the first place." Mikado retorted.

"You could just leave your tie the way it is."

"Why would I do that? It's completely wrong!"

"Maybe so, but one of the bridesmaids might think you've got a total wild side and maybe I won't be the only one getting lucky~" Masaomi teased, laughing as he watched his friend flush.

"…Can you please just help me get this tie right?" He mumbled under his breath; for whatever reason, he didn't feel in the mood for Masaomi's jokes.

Masaomi nodded, spat on his hands and rubbed them together, reaching up to the other's necktie (Mikado grew nearly six inches taller than his friend while in college), failing to notice Mikado's expression of disgust at his actions. "I can try!"

Five minutes passed, and the tie only looked worse than it had before.

With an annoyed look, Mikado glared at his friend. "Well, now it just looks like three knots tied next to each other, Masaomi. And I know that's nowhere near how a tie is supposed to look."

"Don't blame me, I never wore these stupid things in school." Masaomi, too, was becoming irritated with the tie.

"…Then how did you get your own tie done?" He indicated said friend's tie by tugging gently on it with his good hand.

"Oh, that … Saki did it for me this morning. Isn't she great?" Masaomi's dreamy smile came back, ceasing his work on Mikado's tie.

Mikado's eye twitched a little, but then a thought came to him. "Do you think she could … you know … help me with mine?"

"Gee, I'd ask buddy, but I think she already left early with her friends for rehearsal." Masaomi shrugged. "You know, bride and groom have to be there earlier than everyone else to greet everyone …" The original plan had been that Masaomi and Saki would go to the rehearsal together, but it turned out that Saki's friends wanted to claim her for that time (to which Masaomi made some cracks, but Mikado didn't feel like recalling said remarks at that moment).

"Oh well that's just –" Mikado quickly ended his sarcastic statement. "Wait, Masaomi? You have to be at the rehearsal in twenty minutes!"

Confused, Masaomi tilted his head. "And your point?"

Mikado mentally slapped himself at his friend's obliviousness. "It takes half an hour to get there by car."

A few seconds passed, and that's when Masaomi became the great whirlwind. With a mighty cry of "SHIT!", Masaomi bolted out the door, leaving Mikado alone with his undone tie.

On his way out, though, the blond passed by Saki's "father," Orihara Izaya. Oh, he wasn't her real father. Her real father was deceased and had been for years. Yet, somehow, Masaomi felt he'd prefer to prop up the corpse of the father than declare this … this man to be his "father-in-law." But then again, who doesn't hate their in-laws to a certain degree? That was Saki's reasoning when she told Masaomi she wanted him to be placed as her "father."

"Yo, Masaomi-kun, looks like you're going to be late!"

Oh how he hated that man. "Oh just shut u—" Then it hit Masaomi. An older guy's probably better at ties than Mikado and I put together! At least, that was Masaomi's reasoning. And he did just suddenly ditch his friend in need … plus, as he looked around now, there wasn't anyone left in sight (they had all left for the rehearsal, probably assuming that Masaomi had already gone).

Masaomi seized the chance to grab the information broker by the arm. He quickly tossed back open the door and practically threw the man inside, leaving Izaya quite perplexed. "THERE YOU GO MIKADO! IZAYA CAN HELP YOU OUT! AREN'T I GREAT? WELL, SEE YOU IN AN HOUR!" Masaomi flashed one of his winks and shut the door once more before dashing out of his apartment and down the stairs to the garage. Both Mikado and Izaya both blinked at what was now the door, still taken aback by the events that just occurred.

Mikado scratched the back of his head, nervously chuckling. I should be used to his outbursts by now … he never really did grow up … "Well … umm, since you're here, do you think you could lend me a hand?" Mikado held up his bandaged left hand. "I can't get my tie on."

"How did that happen? I don't recall you having something broken yesterday."

"…Masaomi-kun got excited this morning and slammed the car trunk on my hand." Mikado muttered, remembering the turn of events. One minute, I'm helping him unload things, then he goes into a craze about how his bachelor life is almost over and the next thing I know I have to call a doctor.

Izaya felt free to laugh as he walked over. "Luckily you're not one of the soon-to-be-wedded; you'd have no ring finger available!"

"It's not just that finger, it's everything but my thumb." Mikado mumbled, wiggling his thumb in front of him awkwardly.

Izaya shrugged, stretching his hands out and cracking his fingers. Better than Masaomi spitting on his hands. "Alright then, shall we try?"

Three minutes passed. Mikado had thought Masaomi had done a poor job, but Izaya simply took the cake. I don't even know HOW he managed that knot. "…You don't know what you're doing either, do you?"

"Not at all!" Izaya replied cheerfully.

Mikado couldn't help but deadpan. "Didn't you ever wear one?" He's wearing one now … he knew that Masaomi forced Izaya to promise to "be normal" during the wedding ceremony – as in, dress normally, don't do anything weird, and don't say anything weird. He wasn't quite sure how Masaomi got Izaya to listen, though …

"Not at all."

"But you have one on now …"

"Mine's a clip-on." Izaya untied Mikado's tie and pulled it off of his neck, dangling it in front of them. "Well, this is a complete waste of time." Before Mikado could say anything, Izaya had gone over to the window and had let the tie fly away in the wind. "There we go, problem solved!"

Mikado stood there, slack-jawed. "W-why did you do that?" He ran over to the window, looking for his tie, hoping that it landed somewhere nearby on the ground – but, alas, he could see no sign of it.

"It was a nuisance; besides, it's just a rehearsal today. No one's going to care if you're missing your tie for it." Izaya grinned.

"But why throw it out the window? I need it for tomorrow!" Mikado yelled in frustration.

Izaya patted Mikado on the shoulder, still grinning. Damn it, he's enjoying this … Mikado inwardly growled. "Relax, I'll get you a new tie." Izaya replied, turning around. "You're awfully testy today; I thought it was supposed to be the groom acting like that."

Mikado kept his mouth shut; he always learned that if he didn't have something nice to say, then he probably shouldn't say it at all. It worked wonders, too. "…Let's just go already." Mikado headed for the door, opened it, and started out when Izaya interrupted.

"Don't you think you should bring Masaomi-kun's car keys with you?"

"What?" Mikado turned around in time to barely catch keys on a ring flying at him with his good hand. He looked at them, frowning once more. This time, it was at his best friend's scatter-brained mind once more. He's probably down in the garage right now tearing off his clothes looking for these … For some reason, Mikado didn't like the thought that his friend was in such a hurry. "…We should probably go find him before he does something drastic."

"Like what he's doing now?"

"What?" He saw Izaya still by the window, pointing out of it.

"Looks like he's going to try to get there by hitch-hiking." Izaya chuckled, clearly amused.

Mikado didn't want to walk over and look out the window at his friends' antics. Masaomi's acting like a fool right now. "I'm going to go down and start the car."

"You can drive with that hand?"

"…" Mikado froze. "Uhh …" It's true, I probably shouldn't try …

Izaya walked over and plucked the keys from Mikado's hand. "I'll drive. It's easier to carpool anyways."

Luckily, by the time they got the car started and out of the garage, Masaomi was still standing there – he was looking like he was about to pop from excitement and worry, yes, but he was still there.

A stupid fool in love.

The rehearsal passed by with ease. The three of them had arrived at the right time, thanks to Izaya getting fed up with Masaomi's panicking/anxiousness (which had involved many cracks at Izaya). Izaya's solution was to stomp harshly on the gas pedal (and he ran two stop signs and a red light, much to Mikado's horror). Saki wore a regular dress since she wasn't supposed to be seen in her wedding gown until the actual wedding. Amazingly enough, Masaomi hadn't screwed up anything at the rehearsal. He lived up to his self-proclaimed image of "the dazzling prince figure in a white suit, with love shining in his eyes and angels singing at his side." Yes, a white tuxedo: Masaomi had told Mikado that it had to be white, because "black is something you wear at funerals or when you're mourning something."

The two were perfect together. Everything around them was perfect. Their love was something real, and something concrete, and they were going to make it known to the world only a day later. Excitement was growing in everyone, it seemed, while the groom- and bride-to-bes only looked more anxious about what was going to happen.

The group there broke up into their own parts at the end of the rehearsal. Mikado walked out among the first, but headed over to Izaya, who was discussing something or another with Kyohei.

"Izaya-san," Mikado folded his arms the best he could with his hand cast on.

"Ah, Mikado-kun!" Izaya grinned his wicked smile, but it seemed that if anything was planned, it was being planned on the spot. It's not as intimidating anymore, now that I'm taller than him … "Enjoying yourself?"

"You have to come with me to get me a new tie, remember?" Mikado frowned, indicating the vacant part of his suit that lacked the tie.

"New tie?" Kyohei questioned, curious to know the story behind the missing tie. "And what happened to your hand? I noticed it during rehearsal."

"Masaomi-kun accidentally slammed the car trunk on my hand this morning, so I'm down a hand. Izaya –" Mikado pointedly glared at said person – "threw my tie out of the window instead of tying it properly for me."

Izaya shrugged 'innocently,' the wicked grin still on his face. "Well, maybe you look better without one."

"It's considered proper to have one with your suit, and you're going to get me a new one since you've lost my other one." Mikado could feel the impatience and bitterness building up inside of him. It wasn't just because of the tie, though … it had been building up for the past few weeks. The heavy heart was starting to feel too heavy, and he knew he had to try to be patient to keep from blowing up at others, but it was difficult with all of the situations that kept coming up and trying to crack the strings barely holding up the heavy burden.

"All right, all right." Izaya mockingly waved his hands in defeat. He's too old to be doing stupid gestures. "I'll see you later tonight, Kadota-san."

Kyohei nodded to the both of them, and Izaya and Mikado started heading towards the car together.

"Not going to see Masaomi-kun before leaving?" Izaya grinned.

"I've been seeing him all day and I'm going to see him later; I'm sure he needs his alone time." Mikado answered in simplicity. The two had reached the car before they heard a voice.

"Aaah, Mikado! Don't leave yet, hang on!"

Mikado turned when he heard Masaomi calling to him, seeing the groom-to-be running in his direction. Mikado felt his stomach roll over. "Masaomi-kun."

Masaomi caught up to his friend, quickly catching his breath before speaking. "Mikado, I know I said I wasn't going to bring it up but I have to make sure. You're okay about everything, right?" Masaomi inquired seriously, trying to pick up any hint – any hint at all – that he could from Mikado.

Mikado forced a smile, knowing exactly what Masaomi was referring to. "It's a little late to postpone or back out of anything, Masaomi-kun."

"I know but I've been picking up vibes from you and I need to make sure that you'll be alright. Not just during the wedding, but after too. You're always going to be my best friend, Mikado, and I'm not about to leave you alone at a bad time. So, just tell me one last time – are you good, or are you bad?"

"… I … I'm fine, Masaomi." Mikado answered, trying not to bite his tongue as he wanted to sound as sincere as he could. The truth was that he wasn't completely fine, but … I have to be. Masaomi has to be happy.

"Good. Then I'll stop asking." Masaomi decided to embrace his friend in a tight hug, even though he had to stand on tip-toes to get his chin over his tall friend's shoulder. "I'm glad you're my friend, Mikado. You're always there."

"I-I'm glad you're my friend, too." Mikado was trying not to let his own emotions spill out. I have to hold it in … I have to … Masaomi's always been there for me, too …

The embrace lasted a few more moments before Masaomi noticed – and grimaced – at the sight of Izaya, who noticed said grimace and waved cheerfully back at him. The embrace was broken, and the deep mood lightened. "Wait, you're leaving with him?"

Mikado tried to regain himself by changing the subject matter as well. "He threw my tie out the window earlier. He has to go somewhere to get me a new one and I have to make sure it isn't going to be anything ridiculous." Mikado replied dryly, reflecting on the incident earlier that morning.

"That explains why you were missing it … I thought you'd just given up on trying to get it on. Or that you finally gave into your wild side," Masaomi playfully elbowed his friend. "I'll see you at the dinner tonight, okay?"

Mikado nodded, giving a faint smile. "Just don't break my other hand there."

"You know, I really am sorry about that," Masaomi apologized, looking truly sincere as he said it too.

"I know, you just get excited, and then you try to hurry, and it ends up breaking my fingers." Mikado smiled, but it wasn't a truly happy smile; it looked forlorn and depressed. "I'll see you later then."

Masaomi was still worried about Mikado, but he knew that he had to trust his friend when he said he was alright. Mikado needed trust right now, and Masaomi knew he had to give it. He was about to say something else, when one of Saki's friends shouted at him.

"We're going to take Saki-chan with us now, so she'll see you tomorrow!"

Masaomi turned, mockingly wide-eyed as he watched Saki wave at him from her friends' car. "Well, you better return her! She can't be yours forever you know!" He started after them so he could say "bye" to Saki before she would be whisked away by her friends.

Mikado took the opportunity to climb into the car, closing the door and waiting for Izaya to start the engine. "So where exactly do you want to go?"

"Somewhere that sells ties. You may as well pick where since you're paying for it." Mikado shrugged, sighing as he relaxed back in the seat, trying to clear his mind. A clear, thoughtless mind was better than what his heart was crying out to do.

"You know, you don't seem all that happy for Masaomi-kun." Izaya spoke up when they were stuck in traffic at the ironically named 'rush hour.'

"What makes you say that?" Mikado asked, hurt echoing in his voice.

"A lot of things."

Mikado frowned, looking back out the window. He knew he should be happier for his best friend … he wanted to be happier for his best friend … but he couldn't bring himself to be happy without feeling like he was going to shatter. Too many thin strings kept him together as is; he didn't want to risk falling apart. And he didn't want to burden Masaomi more than he already had … he wasn't going to make what should be Masaomi's happiest day his worst.

Half an hour passed, and they were still stuck in traffic. Mikado felt his phone ring, and he reached across his waist to fish his phone out of his opposing pocket, unable to do so with his bandaged hand. He answered it, frowning when he saw who it was. "Masaomi-kun?"

"Ah, I got you! I just realized something."


"You two took my car! I can't get home 'cause I didn't bring my wallet with me and pretty much everyone has left and the buses don't really let anyone on without any money and I don't think I can walk home without ruining this suit and I'd get murdered if I ruined it, and even if I explain my situation to a bus driver –"

However, Mikado decided to start tuning out his friend. He's getting excited again … at least this time Masaomi wasn't anywhere near to somehow destroy his other hand. After listening to his friend panic for a few minutes, he sighed. "We'll pick you up once we make it to a store and back, okay?"

"Then what?"

"… Well, there wouldn't really be enough time to make it back to the apartment before we meet Kadota-san and the others …"

"Sooo I'd be stuck hanging out with the bastard Izaya?"

"I can hear you, you know!" Izaya spoke up from the driver's seat, but he wasn't angry; he still seemed amused. Since when isn't he amused by something? If it's not something huge, then it's something trivial. Mikado rolled his eyes.

"I don't care if that asshole can hear me. He's the one who needs to learn to start behaving himself. Anyways, please come get me when you're done?"

"I already said we would."

"Thank you, Mikado! I guess I'll just hang out here with the priest … he's a funny guy deep down." Masaomi chuckled. "Okay, I'll see you later! Bye!" And with that, Masaomi hung up. Mikado turned his phone off so he didn't have to have an interruption like that again.

About ten minutes passed by before they made it to a store that sold ties. As Mikado expected, the informant had decided to pester Mikado into buying something ridiculous (teddy bears and mermaids among them), while Mikado wanted to look for something that would match his suit: a dark, solid color, preferably black or something of that nature. He didn't want anything unique or entertaining, he just wanted something formal, something normal, and something that suited him.

He also kicked Izaya in the leg when the elder attempted to "convince" the cashier to switch Mikado's tie for something utterly ridiculous when he wasn't looking.

"…I didn't invite Izaya to the dinner, you know."

Mikado frowned. "Well, what was I supposed to do? Leave him in the car with doors locked and the window rolled down a crack?"


They had picked up Masaomi and went early to the place where they were having dinner later. It was a good thing that Mikado stuffed a spare set of clothes for him and Masaomi in the trunk a few days ago, since neither had had time to run back to the apartment and neither wanted to accidentally ruin their suits and have to look for new ones at such a crucial time. They changed in the car (Izaya remarking on Masaomi's figure and what his "daughter" Saki would think of it, of course), and Izaya had simply taken off his jacket since he didn't have a spare set of clothes. Then they waited in the car for about half an hour in the parking lot, Masaomi and Izaya teasing and belittling one another without end in sight. And now, finally, they had gotten out of the car (Mikado was growing tired of the two fighting, even if the various subject matters were amusing) and were keeping an eye out for anyone else they might know.

"Look, you're nervous. At least he's helping you get rid of that by keeping you on your toes." Mikado said, leaning against the side of the car next to Masaomi. Izaya stayed inside, having pulled out headphones and an iPod and listening somewhat-quietly to himself.

"Why did Saki-chan pick him again?" Masaomi mumbled to himself, beginning to mope again. "Out of everyone, why did she pick him to represent her father? Why not Kyohei-kun or someone a little more worthy of being a father?"

"Because she said in-laws aren't supposed to get along, remember?" Mikado had heard this excuse often enough. He himself didn't fully understand why Masaomi held such adversity to him … well, okay, maybe he did. Izaya could be an ass, and he'd apparently been a major one to Masaomi in the past. He was rather manipulative and untrustworthy, but in the end there was something about him that resembled a child who still looked at the world with curiosity, a curiosity that didn't want to hurt anything. Of course, Mikado guessed something about puberty must have screwed Izaya's version of innocence pretty badly, but he was still tolerable to a degree. In fact, he was much more tolerable now than he was ten years ago, as if he'd settled down some (but not a whole lot). He wasn't like some 'fathers' who were abusive or drunks or addicts or something of the sorts. However, he knew that if he tried to explain this to Masaomi, his friend wouldn't even try to understand it and would berate Mikado for tolerating – even being near Izaya.

Mikado tuned out the rest of Masaomi's ranting about Izaya, having heard enough of it already today. He stared on ahead, absentmindedly keeping an eye out for anyone else that was supposed to show up. He became alert when he partially recognized someone wandering around the parking lot.

"Aoba-kun!" Mikado was a little surprised by the other's arrival, especially to the dinner (he didn't even realize that Masaomi had invited him (which he hadn't – Izaya did)). Mikado hadn't seen Aoba for the better part of three years, so he'd surprised himself when he recognized him. Aoba was a lot like a brother to him, but much like Izaya, he was also Masaomi's "greatest enemy" … in more respects than one.

Aoba waved back, smiling at the sight of Mikado. "Hi Mikado, I'm here!"

"I bet I know why he's here …" Masaomi growled, glaring at the third arrival who was making his way to them.

Mikado sighed. "I doubt he's here to wreck your special day, Masaomi. He knows better than that."

"You're right at that he 'knows better than that,' and I still say I know why he's here."

"Then why is he here?"

"… I can't tell you that."

"Why not?"

"Because you're part of that reason."

"Then shouldn't I know?"

"If I was the one to break the news to you, you'd punch me for 'lying' or 'exaggerating' and I'd have to walk up to the altar with a broken jaw, and I'd rather not risk that right now." Masaomi huffed, gesturing each and every word. "Just trust me … don't let him work his magic."

Mikado on the other hand, ignored Masaomi's advice and greeted Aoba with a pat on the shoulder. Together, they ignored Masaomi's "glare of doom" (mostly directed at the younger) while talking about the past few years that they hadn't seen each other. It seemed that Aoba was doing much better now that he was out of the gangs and his real brother was back in jail and not trying to kill him. Even if their generations' gangs were pretty much over, it seemed the drama still continued to follow them.

They decided to head in to the restaurant now that a good number had shown up, and hung out in the private room while waiting for others to show up. Masaomi attempted to interrupt Mikado and Aoba (who were both reminiscing in past events), but each time he did, Izaya would soon pipe up and piss Masaomi off in one way or another. Other friends from their college soon came, as well as Kyohei and his van-gang friends, and they soon ordered dinner and teased Masaomi about his ending bachelor days. Masaomi found the chance to complain about what a lame "bachelor party" this was, but Saki had asked Mikado to make sure that they kept it "civil" (meaning no stripper(s), booze or sleaze). Mikado knew he didn't have to worry. Masaomi might complain, but he also knew that Masaomi didn't really want that kind of thing in the end. Mikado would actually worry that his friend wasn't serious about the commitment if he insisted too much on the strippers, booze and sleaze. Which, so far, seemed to be something he didn't have to worry about.

At some point, Izaya decided to perk up (once again).

"Here," Izaya tossed the small package at Masaomi, who caught it, glaring at it suspiciously. "… What is it?"

"Not from me. From someone who couldn't come." Izaya shrugged. "They still wanted to send a gift though, so they asked me to give it in their stead."

Masaomi, still suspicious, looked at the name written on the package. "Kishitani … Shinra? Do I know this guy?"

"Kishitani-san is a doctor who's patched you up a few times in our later high school days. He's also a friend of Izaya-san's." Mikado quietly answered his friend.

"Oh, so he's a friend of Izaya." Masaomi glowered. "Now I'm not sure if I can still trust it."

"Kishitani-san's okay. A little eccentric at times, but he won't do anything on the scale that Izaya would." Kyohei added, sighing.

"Glad to know I'm considered more conniving than him." Izaya grinned. He's actually proud of that … Mikado noticed.

"… I don't even remember inviting him. So wait, why couldn't he come?"

Izaya slacked his shoulders. "Something came up that he and his girlfriend had to attend to. They wouldn't give me details, either." Izaya seemed disappointed by that last bit, but that wasn't surprising. Izaya was an informant, he wanted to know everything he could about people and what they're doing at all times.

Time flew by once again, paying no heed that Mikado was counting every second of it. For the most part it was spent reminiscing about old times. Their college buddies remembered the college times (Mikado and Masaomi had gone to the same college and thus had the same pals), in particular, insane things that Masaomi had done.

"You're bachelor life is really coming to an end, man!"

"Seriously, you, the guy who goes up to every girl and hits on them, is declaring himself a one-girl man?" One of the buddies laughed. "That's just wrong in every sense of the word!"

Masaomi simply laughed it off. "Hey, anything's possible!"

"You used to accept dares a lot too, but I guess this means you're 'too old' for them now …"

Mikado frowned. They're goading him … don't accept it, Masaomi, don't accept it … you'll wind up drunk or lost or naked again …

"Is that a dare itself?"

Mikado inwardly hit himself. Damn it.

"Heey, Mikado, think up a dare for this guy!"

"Yes yes, Mikado should totally do this one!" Erika (the only girl at the "bachelor" party) chimed in, Walker quickly agreeing with her statement.

"W-what?" Mikado looked horrified. I don't want to be the one responsible for wrecking the wedding because of a stupid dare!

"Come ooon, Mikado! I'll do anything. Well, almost anything …" Masaomi took a moment to hesitate on that last part.

"Fine, just give me a moment to think." Mikado took a moment to think on what he could get Masaomi to do … obviously, he shouldn't ask anything too outrageous … but it should be something he could get Masaomi to argue about a little, or otherwise Masaomi wouldn't accept whatever it was. Masaomi has always had the heart of a cheerful child … give him something small, and he turns it into something bright. With that, plenty of old memories started to resurface, each one of them of a day in their friendship being something warm and wonderful. Well, almost every day. They had had their rough spots, and their friendship had nearly vanished twice. But it always came back alright in one rebellious way or another. Thinking back on their high school days, Mikado came up with an answer. "Dye your hair blond again."


Mikado nearly choked on his food, surprised by Masaomi's quick – and unchallenged – answer, staring at his friend as if he'd grown another head. "W-what?" It wasn't just him. Kyohei, Izaya and Aoba all looked surprised by the lack of defense, while their college mates and others cheered Masaomi on.

"… Maybe you should think that through a little before you agree like that, Kida." Kyohei broke the silence to try to keep it from happening. Izaya rolled his eyes, but he felt delighted by the events unfolding before him.

Masaomi shook his head, only growing more determined. "It's a great idea! I haven't dyed my hair in a long time. It'll look nice too, and it's not as extreme as some other things could be."

"S-shouldn't you consult Saki-san on this before you do it?" Mikado protested, wishing he could withdraw his suggestion. I didn't think he'd take it seriously. "It's her wedding too, s-she might not like you doing something like that …"

"Plus the fact that she's not going to see you until the wedding tomorrow means you shouldn't try to shock her in front of everyone." Kyohei added; he too was against the idea.

However, it seemed that Masaomi wasn't listening to them, as he stood up with a devilish smile splashed on his face and pulled out some money to help pay for the bill later. "I'll go do it now! I have to get some dye, though, so I'll see you tomorrow, Mikado!" Masaomi waved as he started to happily walk away.

Kyohei quickly shelled out some money and got up to go after Masaomi, quickly mumbling to Mikado "you shouldn't put stupid ideas in his head at times like this" while Mikado, flustered, hastily replied "I didn't think he'd actually try to do it!"

It was at this point in time that Izaya found it necessary to laugh as Masaomi was now gone.

"Mikajima-san is going to kill you …" Aoba leaned up against Mikado, a little worried for the latter.

"It just might be your funeral tomorrow too, Mikado-kun." Izaya said playfully. Mikado shot him a glare before turning back around, sighing, and finishing his meal so they could leave. Kadota-san can talk to Masaomi, he'll probably be able to convince him otherwise.

And yet, some little part of him, some little child in his mind, was screaming for that little hope that Masaomi would do it anyways.

It was completely dark outside when the two of them walked out into the parking lot. A small, nice breeze blew in from the north, cooling the earth down after the summer day. Masaomi (once again) didn't take his own car and had left his suit in the back, so Izaya and Mikado knew that they'd have to drive it home for him tomorrow. Aoba wanted to come with them, but he had to drive his own car and take some of the college buddies back to their respective staying places. So, with a rather unwilling bye, Aoba had told them he'd meet up with them tomorrow after the wedding and that he'd still be around for about a week afterwards.

Mikado watched the illuminated store windows and apartment lights as they drove by in a rather comfortable silence. Mikado felt that Izaya would probably start pestering him at some point, so he enjoyed the silence in thoughtless contemplation. It was so much easier to keep a blank mind than to think about his bottled emotions, fears, and current situation.

Izaya took an unexpected turn into a parking lot, and parked the car in a vacant space. Mikado turned his head towards Izaya, frowning as he became confused. "Wait, why are we here?"

Izaya smiled, pointing at the bar's lights a few rows ahead of them in the parking lot. "I think you need to drink."

"…I don't drink."

"Then it's about time you did." Izaya started to get out of the car after turning the engine off.

"W-wait a minute, I don't want to drink! And we can't both drink, someone has to drive!" Mikado protested, opening his car door to yell at Izaya.

"We're both plenty old enough, and we can call a cab or a friend when we're done. We're only a block away from where I'm staying too." Izaya said cheerily, unfazed by any problems that Mikado presented. "I'll make sure you don't drink too much. Just enough to get you to pull yourself together."

Mikado frowned, but still got up and out of the car when Izaya started ahead. It can't be that bad …

The two went inside and were able to get a table pretty fast. It was still pretty early in the night, so not too many people were there. They were able to order their drinks efficiently. Or rather, Izaya ordered the drinks since Mikado wasn't sure what was what.

"Masaomi-kun sure is excited to get married, isn't he?" Izaya stated after the waiter went away, with the false smile on his face.

"…Izaya-san, please stop trying to pry me open."

"Do what now?"

Mikado glared. "You know exactly what I mean. You've been trying to get me to spill my guts out all day today, but I don't want to and I want you to leave it at that."

Izaya shrugged, but still held a smile on his face. "Alright, alright. I'm just trying to have a pleasant conversation."

A few minutes of silence passed between them, leaving the air around them awkward. Izaya didn't really appreciate it. After all, he was an informant; he wanted to hear people talk, and having everyone talk around him and him not being a part in it really got at his nerves. So when their drinks came and Mikado held the glass hesitantly (as he didn't know what the different drinks were, and Izaya had ordered for the both of them), he leaned further in to Mikado, who was just staring at the glass in his hand. "You know, bars are supposed to be social places. You should talk about something."

"Then find something for us to talk about." Mikado answered, trying to ignore the nosy man in front of him.

"Well you're being touchy on so many subjects that I figure that it's better that you start." Izaya grinned, leaning back in his seat and taking up his drink.

"I wouldn't be so 'touchy' if some people weren't trying to break me down." Mikado started to consider just getting up and leaving the other here. He really wasn't in any mood to deal with an overgrown asshole (meaning Izaya).

"Then I shall start the conversation. I think you're bothered by the fact that Masaomi's getting married." Izaya started on his drink.

"I – I am not." Mikado defended, but he knew it was a poor defense, and that it came out as a lie. That was a dangerous thing to have happen, especially with Izaya around. Mikado decided he'd try the drink, if only a little, and brought it to his lips. He knew he could probably handle alcohol to an extent, seeing as how large he was since he'd grown to his full size in college (his sudden growth spurt had prompted Masaomi to believe he was on steroids until Mikado proved he wasn't). But he wasn't sure about it. I should try it … get Izaya off this topic –

"Some people think you're in love with Masaomi."

Unfortunately, Mikado had swallowed some of the alcohol as Izaya had said that comment, and he ended up choking as he quickly set the glass back down on the table. Despite Mikado making a coughing racket for a minute, Izaya simply sat there, smiling as he always did.

"W-what?" Mikado managed to strain out, his face turning red.

"What? You're quite tender around Masaomi, and yet you turn dark whenever something about him and Saki pops up. It wouldn't be surprising if that were true. Jealous of Saki, perhaps?"

"I-It's not like that!" Mikado defended, this time it being the truth. What the hell? Where did he even get that idea? Did Karisawa-san make up some strange fantasy again? Thinking on Karisawa, the woman who was nearly thirty and still an avid anime (and yaoi) fan, she did make some rather … strange remarks after the rehearsal. "Masaomi's just my friend! My best friend!" He didn't even like thinking that he and his friend could be … that intimate.

Izaya seemed to get – and believe – the point. However, he still wore the wicked smile that read: "I'm going to figure you out whether you want to be figured out or not."

"Alright, so you two are friends. Best friends. Maybe you really like Saki? She is a pretty girl-"

"It's nothing like that either!" Mikado started to feel frustrated with Izaya. Why does he see it necessary to tease me like this? If he can tell I'm not entirely happy, why can't he just leave it at that?

"Hmm … perhaps you're jealous of the wedding itself, not the people in it."

"Will you please just stop and change the topic?"

Izaya, however, kept on going. He kept pushing. "Upset that Masaomi isn't going to be around as much anymore because he's getting married? Or, perhaps, that you're not getting married? Weren't you and Anri-chan dating for a long time?"

Mikado had had enough. He could feel the strings keeping him together breaking, and his voice turned bitterly cold and his eyes angered. "Goodbye, Izaya." He got up, grabbed his coat, and headed out the bar, leaving Izaya sitting there, still with a heinous smile on his face. But looks were deceiving when it disappeared with Mikado, leaving a very concerned man in its place.

Despite the various nooks, crannies, roads and rooms, there aren't too many places where one could try to be truly alone in a city. Privacy was never something grand or available except in small doses, and even then it was overwhelmed by the bustling world outside. But, at least at night, your face was obscured by the darkness, and falsified by illuminated lights. People who could see you might never see you again or recognize you when you're walking about in the daytime. That's what Mikado liked about the night. He had walked out to the park, which was a good distance away from anything (despite being in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world), and went into a semi-private area, sitting down on a bench to stare emptily at the scenes before him. From there on, time didn't feel real to him. He felt too heavy, his heart too broken, to really care about what passed him by. It was easier to sit with an empty mind than to think about what was bothering him, because that way he didn't have to confront his problems, even if he knew he should. I don't want to think anymore …

He didn't know how much time passed before he realized the informant was sitting next to him on his right on the bench. He must've followed me here. He can't just let something be, can he? Mikado, however, decided that he'd simply ignore Izaya, as he didn't really care so long as he didn't have to talk. But, after some calm quiet had passed, Izaya decided to speak up. "They say the best thing to do when you're troubled is to talk to someone."

"You just use information for gain, Izaya. What makes you think I'd tell you anything?" Mikado growled, wanting the other to go away. However, either Izaya was annoyingly persistent or incredibly ignorant, because he stayed right there, staring ahead with Mikado.

"Do you really think I can use anything you tell me here for profit gain?" Izaya spoke, shrugging. "I doubt I can sell whatever you've got to say."

"Sometimes you tell people things without payment or retribution. You've done that for me several times." Mikado said slowly, still trying to keep up an offensive aura in hopes he could chase Izaya – and anyone else that may come along – off.

The other shrugged. "I believe I've already figured it out. And I haven't told anyone that yet."

A few more minutes of unanswered silence passed, Mikado still wanting Izaya to leave. He didn't want anyone around right now … he wanted the other to go away. He wanted to solve his own problems by himself, and that meant that he needed to sort everything out on his own. I can't go to anyone on this … even Masaomi. I don't want him to end up hurting because of my stupidity …

"I believe there are two things that you are bothered about." Izaya spoke, closing his eyes and folding his arms as he leaned back, bored by the scenery before him. "I'm going to guess that the first is that you feel like Masaomi isn't going to be your best friend anymore when this is over."

Mikado seemed a little caught off guard, but he remained silent. Please … just go away …

"I'm not leaving." Izaya stated firmly, shifting his legs to a more comfortable position to affirm his statement.

Mikado looked over at Izaya, sighed, and lowered his head in defeat. He could feel his heart starting to crack inside of him, and his mind felt like it was drowning in sorrow. "Fine … you win. You're right. That … that's one of the problems. I'm scared he isn't going to be around for me as much as he used to. I know that's what I should expect, since he should be with his wife more, but …" Mikado trailed off, not wanting to continue. He took a deep breath after a minute before continuing. "Masaomi hasn't changed in personality or anything, but I - I feel like a third wheel when I see him and Saki together. I think he thinks I'm in the way when they're together …" They're laughing, they're kissing … they're able to carry their own conversations freely … they're … they made it together …

"You're an idiot then."

Mikado turned his head a little to send a death glare at the other, who was sitting there, smugly.

"You heard me. You're an idiot." Izaya grumbled. "Masaomi's very open with how he feels about something, if you haven't noticed. If he were annoyed by your presence, then he'd've given you the same wrath he's been giving me about being here."

"But he's just joking about throwing you out. I don't think he hates you that deeply." Mikado protested in a mumble.

"He hates me plenty enough. I'm just not that easy to throw out. On the other hand, he's been trying to pull you into everything, yet you seem like you're just waiting for the right opportunity to be thrown out."


Izaya decided to solve the problem one step at a time. "He'll give his wife constant attention, especially if they manage to start a family. That time away will allow others to move closer to you and perhaps you'll find a new friend or partner to tie bonds with or to take the place for a while. But, you're not going to lose Masaomi as a friend either. He'll probably take some time away for a while to spend with his wife, but he's going to come back to you when there're problems that he can't solve on his own or with his wife. Or maybe his wife will get on his nerves, something that happens to probably 73.2 percent of all couples. He didn't name you as his best man for nothing. He'll probably push me as far back in his mind as possible, but he's still going to think of you from time to time. He's expecting you to still stand strong for him, even if you're technically not the number one person in his life."

Mikado started to feel guilty; he hated how the other was making so much sense. He wasn't sure what to make of the fact that Izaya was the one giving him the advice, either. Izaya might be older than he was ten years ago, but that didn't mean he matured that much. But there's still more that he hasn't figured out …

"But I think you feel that you're missing out on something more than that you're afraid of losing your friend. Of course, I don't know all the details on that part. You'll have to fill me in." Izaya finished, exhaling loudly before letting the silence take over again.

"I …" Mikado started, but faltered. "I don't want to talk about that."

"Sure you do. You just still don't know who you should talk about that to." Izaya speculated. "It can't be Masaomi-kun because you know the answer you'll get from him, and you're afraid of it ruining his big day. The same goes for Saki-chan. You can't ask her because she won't be able to give you an answer you like. Then pretty much everyone else still doesn't know what happened, including me, or is available, so we can't give you advice by your simply asking for it. You'd have to tell the whole story, but you don't know who to tell it to."

"What makes you think that you're the best candidate?" Mikado asked curiously.

"Me? The best?"

"You obviously think you are."

"Far from it; I'm probably the worst person to divulge things to." Izaya grinned. "But I'm the only one here, and the only one you can talk to without word getting to the groom and bride. At least, they won't hear about it before the wedding."

"… You're not convincing me that you're the best choice."

"I'm telling you the truth. And that's what you want to hear, isn't it?" Izaya smirked once again, closing his eyes. "I'm listening."

"Where are you expecting me to start?"

"Usually wherever you want to works best." Izaya shrugged, not really caring. "So long as it makes sense."

Mikado remained quiet for a few minutes, contemplating telling the older. I'm not that sure if I can trust him … but, Izaya was also right, even if he didn't want to admit it. I need to talk about it. It has been eating at me, and it'd probably only get worse … He sighed, leaning back in the bench, staring up at the tops of the trees, and the skyscraper lights beyond those. "You can guess part of this too, can't you?"

"That it has to do with Anri-chan?"

He nodded. "Yeah …" Izaya didn't say anything, so Mikado continued. "Yes, we'd been dating for a little while -"

Izaya snorted. "More like a decade."

"Huh?" Mikado was surprised a little by the interruption.

"Nah, go on." Izaya waved. "Ignore me."

"…" Mikado glared a little, but went back up to staring at the trees. "As I was saying … we'd been dating for a while. And it felt comfortable where we were, too. Once we finished college, I … I felt like she started to feel a little uncomfortable. I thought maybe s-she wanted to advance the relationship but didn't feel like she should ask. So I went to Masaomi to talk about it, ask him what I should do."

"So what did he suggest?" Izaya knew that Mikado had been dating Anri, but he – like many others – didn't know what broke them up. Maybe Masaomi accidentally did something? He wouldn't put that past him.

"He suggested that we should propose to our girlfriends. When I went to him, I wasn't thinking about going that far ahead …"

"Hmm. So he rushed you?"

"N-no. I stalled it by a few months before he grew fed up with waiting and had dragged me out of my apartment to go look for rings. That's why I know I can't blame Masaomi for rushing me even if I want to because I actually delayed him. After we found rings, we both agreed on a night we'd both propose, and we agreed we'd all meet up after to celebrate. Except …" He trailed off, his mood growing darker once more.

"Didn't go as planned, huh?"

Mikado shook his head, feeling his heart starting to break. "She … she didn't say anything. She didn't say yes, she didn't say no, she … Anri-chan just …" Mikado couldn't help it; he started to feel the warm tears forming at the ends of his eyes. "She just … ran."

Izaya remained silent for a few minutes, letting Mikado have the time to regain himself. "Never gave you an answer after, either?"

"No. I haven't been able to contact her at all. She's not at her apartment, she hasn't shown up for work, no one knows where she went, she … it's like she just vanished. Completely." Mikado was faltering now, even though he was trying his hardest to hide it. "I – I don't know what happened. I don't know if it was something I did, or if something was going on in her life that she thought she couldn't talk to me about, I don't know. A-and I never got a chance to talk to her about it, I never got an answer, I … I …" Mikado stopped talking so he could hunch over and let himself cry. A heavy burden he'd been trying to hide for a long time was finally breaking, even though he'd tried his best to keep it concealed away.

"So that's what happened," Izaya knew it was something that was eating away at Mikado, but he didn't expect this heavy a reaction from the other. If there was one thing that Izaya was horrible at, it was counteracting strong emotions such as these. Oh, he could be an asshole to all situations, but when he needed to be something other than that, it proved a difficult task.

"H-how come things always work out so well for Masaomi?" Mikado asked, trying to regain control even though it continued to pour out. "He's always b-been lucky with these things, a-and I always fail while h-he does fine … I don't get it … I really don't get it anymore …"

Re-crossing his legs, Izaya sighed, deciding on something that didn't quite sound too corny, but not too much of an ass answer either. "If there's something different about you and Masaomi, it's how you do things. Masaomi tends to find good situations, run into trouble, then remedy them. You, on the other hand, run into trouble, remedy the trouble, and end up with a good situation. The order in which you two function is different. Of course there's always exceptions, but these seem to be the patterns you both follow best." He hesitated, then went on. "Masaomi might've succeeded so far in getting married, but don't you think they're going to hit a bump later on in the road? Maybe on their kids, or jobs, or something like that. And he'll solve them when they come. You've got a problem right now, and that's a broken heart. You'll find some way to solve it, whether it means finding Anri-chan, or finding someone new, or deciding you're better off single, or something like that. And then you'll be happy. It's just the way you are, whether you like it or not." Izaya knew this for certain; in a profession where he had to manipulate people, he had to understand how people (or, as he referred to them, humans) functioned.

Mikado wouldn't admit it out loud, but Izaya was making sense. Again. He's right … Masaomi does run into problems, he just runs into them at different times than I do … However, he still continued to cry for a few minutes, but felt the strings breaking off as the burden felt like it was withering away. Once he felt he had enough control, he sniffed, rubbing away the tears with his good hand. "This is pretty lame. Grown men aren't supposed to cry."

Izaya shrugged. "That shit's only for when women and children are near. Do I look like either?"

Mikado chuckled a little, still sniffing. "You're a child at heart."

"Maybe so, but I'd like to think I'm forever twenty-one." Izaya nodded, smiling to himself.

After a few more minutes, Mikado felt better; he wasn't crying so much, and he felt like he was slowly regaining control. Who thought Izaya would understand people so well …?

"Come on." Izaya got up, stretching his arms out.

"…Where are we going?"

"Going back to the bar. I told you earlier that you need to get drunk." He stretched from one side to the other, the bones in his back cracking. The back of his suit was now wrinkled, but he didn't seem to care too much about that.

Mikado shook his head. "Mmm, I feel a lot better now … I don't think I need to drink."

"That's what you think, but I'm older, therefore I know better."

"…" Mikado wasn't sure he wanted to argue the twisted logic. He didn't really feel like arguing anyways. I should probably go with him to make sure he doesn't get lost on his way back from drinking. He wasn't sure what Izaya's alcohol limit was, but judging from his skinniness, it would probably be rather low compared to the average guy. But, he still got up, and followed the other back to the bar they had previously left, this time, the burden feeling lightened inside. I think … I think I'll be alright now.

"If you're that w-worried about finding a lover again, I'm available!" Izaya cheered a little too loudly for Mikado's tastes.

"You – you're too old for me," Mikado grumbled, kicking the informant in the leg for the second time that day. He's worse drunk. I don't think he's even realizing what he's saying anymore. And he got a lot drunker quicker than me. Mikado noted the glasses on their table. But, Mikado knew he was pretty drunk as well; he felt a rather pleasant buzz in his body that was keeping him from thinking too clearly, but clear enough to still think logically. …I should probably stop while I can remember where we live, he thought as he set down the glass and rested his bad hand in his lap.

"Stop kicking me, I know what I'm doing." Izaya frowned. "And I'm n-not old."

"You are old. Just a few weeks ago Shizuo-san managed to catch you when you were hopping about. You're just lucky he was too shocked by the fact he caught you so you had time to get away. You're probably going to start balding in a few years. And not the nice all-round balding, just that little bare spot save a few strands of hair. That kind of balding." Mikado retorted, pointing at his companion's head.

"Don't got the balding gene." Izaya ran his fingers through his hair, smiling. "You?"

Mikado frowned. Actually, he probably did have the balding gene. His father was pretty much bald, as were the other men in both sides of his family … Damn it. He inwardly cursed.

Izaya laughed at seeing Mikado's expression. "You'll go bald loooong before I do!"

"Maybe, but I'm sure you'll get some other deformity. Maybe you'll go deaf or blind, or maybe Shizuo will finally snap you in half and you'll need a wheelchair or a walker or something."

"You're starting to get mean, Mikado-chan …"

Mikado twitched at the honorific that the other slurred in front of him, but decided to let it pass. Izaya continued to talk. "Mutants are really fas – fascin – interesting, don't you think so?"

"… I guess." Where's he going with this? He vaguely wondered how much longer they were going to be here. It was getting late, and he had to be up early tomorrow …

"You got the headless biker, a slasher, that crazy Russian chick, umm …" Izaya was trying to count on his fingers. And failing. He is really, really drunk. It's amazing he's as coherent as he is. "Then there's Shizzzzy-chan, he's got to be a mutant … by some – something strange too."

"As in he fell in a vat of acid or was bitten by a radioactive spider?"

Izaya appeared confused for a moment. "How'd you know?"

He can't be serious. Mikado started to laugh a little, feeling a little lighter than he had been feeling all day.

"But the real – real mutants are dead fish. The way they stare at you … just creepy." Izaya grumbled, leaning back in his chair. "They got those big round eyes that just keep staring. I hate fish."

"…" What's this about fish?

"It's just as bad when – when a client come in an' he's got fish breath. Or dog breath. That's when I have them sit far across 'rom me so I don't have to smell 'em. I used to have Namie-chan deal with them for a while 'till she quit."

"You don't have the nicest breath yourself," Mikado backed off a little, now that he noticed the smell. The bar's table was small and intimate, so he couldn't do too much to avoid it.

"I – I like you. You're the only one that takes what I say seriously," Izaya slurred a little now, setting down his drink (was it his fifth or sixth? Mikado wasn't sure).

"Who said I take you seriously?"

"You're one of the few that doesn't try to stab me after I h-have fun with the humans," He answered. "You don't e-even try to lecture me, you take what I got 'to say ser – seriously."

"Well, I assume you've got your reasons for everything. You make life a little more interesting … even if I don't always agree with your methods." Mikado grumbled. "Could you please get out of my face?"

Izaya seemed to be losing his sense of balance and space some, as he was currently leaning waaaay into Mikado's "private bubble," as all people have.

"Why should I?"

"'Cause it's considered polite."

Izaya sneered. "I can get cl-closer," as if to prove a point, he moved in closer, and Mikado backed off a little further. "No, thanks."

"Your breath smells nice."

"…" Mikado knew by now that the informant probably had no idea what he was saying. Seriously, if anyone wanted to get information from him for free, all they'd have to do is get him a few drinks … maybe that's why I've never seen him drink. Or maybe that's why he dislikes Shizuo-san's bartender uniform … reminds him he can't drink or something …

Suddenly he felt Izaya playing "footsie" down under the table while giggling. Mikado frowned. "Hey, come on, stop i—"

Before he knew it (or, rather, before his mind registered it), he found himself lip-locked with Izaya.

What … what's happening? Mikado felt too stunned to really do anything. Is he … is he kissing me? The warm contact of their lips was proof enough of that. It was unexpected, especially coming from Izaya, of all people … but it also felt … good. The buzzing feeling in his body only escalated by the excitement. He felt something surge through him at that moment that caused him to kiss back, this time, surprising the informant on the other end.

It was soon broken, and the two stared blankly at each other, both trying to figure out what happened; then they both started laughing.

"W-what was that?" Izaya laughed, falling back on his side.

"I-I don't know, you st-started it!" Mikado didn't really care to think what it meant at this point in time; he felt happier than he had been in weeks, and he wanted to feel that happiness, even though it meant sacrificing logic for a while.

"Come on, we should go 'fore aliens come or something," Izaya hopped off his chair, almost falling over on his face due to his intoxication but somehow he managed not to. Mikado fished through his wallet to pay for the drinks, and after paying, the two went back outside into the night. It was still rather warm out.

Izaya had started to twirl the car keys in his hand, but Mikado grabbed them, leaving Izaya with a very amusing perplexed expression. "We shouldn't be driving," Mikado said, taking said keys and pocketing them.

"What're you talking about? I can drive fine." Izaya frowned.

"You can barely walk without swaying, you think you're fine?"

So the two somehow managed to find their way back to Izaya's apartment (with Izaya trying to take wrong turns each and every step of the way). Mikado was sure that they looked very entertaining to passer-bys, but Mikado, once again, felt too buzzed to really care about how he looked to others or anything, really. In fact, he was having trouble with memory, but once again, he didn't really care.

They eventually made their destination, but as soon as Izaya tried to go up the stairs to his apartment, he fell down. Mikado wasn't in the mood to put up with waiting for Izaya to finish ranting about the stairs and how they tricked him, so he carried the informant up to his apartment and waited for Izaya to find his keys in his pocket so they could open the door. Once inside, Mikado looked around, dropping the other on the ground.

"… You could've been a little more gentler," Izaya grumbled, climbing back up onto his feet again. "S-shouldn't you go back to y-your apartment?"

"Don't wanna. Masaomi's too loud," Mikado answered, relaxing as he plopped down in a nearby chair. "H-he'd probably lecture me on drinking or something. Plus I don't have the car so I'd probably get lost going back."

"A hooker would probably try to pick 'yeh up too," Izaya grinned, making his way over.

"Why a hooker?"

"They take advantage of drunks. They know you can't count straight."

"… Have you ever been picked up by a hooker?"

"Not yet. I-I'm just as much a clever masterm-mind drunk as I am sober. Know to avoid them. Plus, usually Shizzzy-chan finds me … I think he's got a radar or somethin' that tells him where I am. Beep beep." Izaya, once again, started to invade Mikado's personal space. "'Gonna go upstairs now. Have to get up early tomorrow," he said, and twirled (failed at it too as he stumbled) and headed to the stairs.

"Where'm I gonna sleep?" Mikado called before Izaya disappeared.

"Here, there, I don't care!" Izaya replied, and vanished.

Mikado frowned. The chair was comfortable, but not comfortable enough to sleep on. It kept spinning. Plus, it looked like the informant had been busy lately; the desk, the sofas, the tables and the bookshelves were a mess and covered in binders dated many years ago. What the hell was he up to? Mikado wondered, but didn't care to look. He didn't want to sleep on the floor, so he decided to head upstairs to ask if there was spare bedding or something of the sorts.

"Hey, Izaya-san, do you h-have something I can sleep on?" Mikado knocked on the bedroom door.

"I told you to sleep anywhere," Izaya slurred, opening the door to look up at the other.

"Well, 'everywhere' is covered in all of your work. Where do you keep spare bedding?"

Izaya looked confused for another moment, then shrugged. "Don't think I have any … haven't had anyone stay overnight like this 'fore. Can stay in here with me, I guess." He said, opening the door a little and walking back inside.

"…" Mikado looked back over the railing at the mess in the downstairs area (which looked far worse from above), then back inside the room. He felt too tired to even think of attempting to clean out a little niche to sleep in, especially with his left hand tightly wound up in bandages. Inside it is, he mentally declared, going inside and shutting the door.

The other had sprawled out on the bed already, giving truth to the definition of an out-of-commission drunk. Mikado walked over, and started nudging Izaya, who objected to being disturbed. "What?"


"… Why?"

"'Cause I'm tired too and I'm not sleeping on the floor." It's a mess in here, too … I thought this guy knew how to clean. He grimaced.

Izaya simply rolled over a little, allowing Mikado enough room to stay. He turned off the light, and pulled off his shirt (he felt warm) before crawling in and pointing the other way, trying to go to sleep. But he was finding it difficult to, despite how tired he felt; the pleasant buzz was still running through his veins, making it difficult to want to sleep.

He felt a poking at his back. Confused, he turned his head over to see Izaya poking him. "… What are you doing?"

"Nice back," Izaya commented, not even realizing how weird he was being.

"…" Mikado decided not to comment. He didn't need an argument right now. He just wanted to sleep. So he turned back over and tried to fall asleep again, only this time, he heard Izaya shift and he felt breathing on his neck.

"… Izaya, cut it out," Mikado grumbled, kicking his back leg a little and hitting the informant in the knee. However, he heard a muffled reply, and he felt arms wrap around his waist. "Come on, not funny." Mikado rolled back around, attempting to push the cling-on off of him. It wasn't like this was the first time something clung to him. In fact, he'd put up with a lot of 'clinging' and 'cuddling' when Masaomi was drunk and kept calling him a big plushy teddy bear, refusing to let him go. Mikado also often had to put up with it, or otherwise Masaomi would wander off and find someone – or something – completely random to cling to. But this time, Mikado was buzzed as well and didn't want to put up with any such clinging. From anyone.

However, rolling around was his mistake; he saw the informant grinning, and before he knew it, he was locking lips again, feeling the pleasant buzz start to kick up again. … Damn it. Before he knew it, really, he was making out with Izaya. And he was dominating. Which felt weird. But he wasn't thinking either, so he didn't realize what he was doing.

But after a few minutes, Mikado felt drowsy again, and he fell back down, grunting. He didn't feel like going any further than the "touchy-kissy," despite what the other wanted. Plus, Mikado didn't want to do anything more with a broken hand … talk about a handicap. So, he rolled back over, ignoring Izaya's quiet protests, and fell asleep with a slight snore, off into a dreamland where the pleasantness of the alcohol still dominated.

Waking up with a stinging sensation in one's cranium is never the most pleasant of experiences. When Mikado woke up, his head pounded and his stomach twisted so he felt like he would throw up even though he knew there wasn't anything in his stomach to upchuck. He still felt tired and nauseous, and his brain was refusing to work properly. Some way to start the day … what is today, anyways? After lying there for a full two minutes, trying to regain some will to get up without letting his stomach get the better of him, he was able to sit up, even though it took an unanticipated amount of effort, and his head still continued to throb. He had apparently moved too quickly, because now he felt lightheaded and surprisingly cold. Shit, what the hell did I come down with? He vaguely wondered, but still felt too out of it to think about what happened.

He then noticed that it felt cold ... he realized then that he had no shirt on, but he was still wearing the pants from last night. He blinked. Now, Mikado wasn't a little kid that slept in pajamas with "Cuddly Wuddly Wabbits" on them, but he did have what he called "night clothes" (a.k.a. T-shirt and boxers). Maybe I felt sick last night too …? He remembered drinking … then walking home … then what? But the stabbing pain in his brain kept him from wanting to dig through his memories for answers. He let himself fall back down onto the bed, groaning at the pain, and turned over on his side to try to make the pain shift if possible.

That's when he noticed Izaya was in the bed as well.

There, lying fully naked on the other part of the bed, was none other than the information broker Orihara Izaya … with a rather bad bed head.

Mikado blinked, and turned to gaze around the room, doing it at a snail's pace so that the pain couldn't come back to bite him any harder than it already was.

That's when he also noticed that this wasn't even his apartment.

And just because someone knows exactly how to do the math doesn't mean the answer won't shock them.

"Oh my go-YOOOOOOOOOW!" Having a fit from this discovery, he had proceeded to try to crawl away as fast as possible. However, this was an error in judgment because the bed wasn't endless and he fell backwards off of the bed, hitting his poor, already broken hand on the nightstand. Some morning.

The commotion was enough to wake Izaya up, who also sat up and looked around. His bad bed hair would be laughable if the situation weren't so … interesting in itself. "What?" Izaya grumbled, then took the situation into account. "… Oh."

"'Oh'?" Mikado couldn't believe this guy. "What the hell did we do?"

"… I don't remember." Izaya stated flatly. "But I can guess." He looked over at Mikado, who was currently nursing his hand on the floor, not getting up because of the pain in his head. "You okay?"

"Do I look okay to you?" Mikado snapped, but then quickly wished he hadn't when his own shouting made his a hammer go off in his skull. Owwww~! Is THIS what Masaomi goes through when he's done being drunk most of the time? How does he tolerate this?

"Okay, okay, there's an easy way to solve this situation. Do you feel a pain in your ass?" Izaya asked slowly enough so it could register in Mikado's head.

"… No." Mikado answered truthfully. Wait, that means …

"Good. 'Cause I don't either and that means we didn't get that far."

"… Then how far did we get?"

"Might've been blowjob."

"And that's better how?" Mikado started to feel sick. Well, he was sick to begin with, but now he felt like upchucking everything in his stomach. … If it was – was a blowjob, Izaya was the naked one … shit! The thought that he may have done such a thing overwhelmed him, and he dashed off to the adjoining bathroom to heave whatever might be in his stomach into the toilet.

Izaya, who didn't seem as affected by the situation (which Mikado would question if he weren't sick at the moment), was dressing himself and looking around for 'evidence' of what may have occurred. "Funny, I didn't take you for the homosexual type …"

"I'm not gay!" Mikado shouted from the bathroom.

"Well you're at least bisexual when you're drunk!" Izaya called back. A few minutes later, he came in, jokes aside. He patted Mikado on the shoulder. "Come on, we should've been there an hour ago, and we'll only have an hour to spare there if we leave in the next few minutes."

"I …" Mikado gagged, flushing the toilet to get rid of what he did throw up, "I don't know if I can do this …" I can't even think straight …

"You'll have to. You can't exactly ditch. Masaomi-kun won't care if I don't make it, they'd just substitute Kyohei-san and that would be that. However, I think we both know they'd try to postpone the wedding if they thought something happened to you." Izaya offered to help Mikado up, but he stayed down; he felt too lightheaded to try.

Okay, take this … take this one step at a time. I can think about what happened AFTER I get myself ready … Mikado took a few deep breaths. "My suit … it's probably still in the trunk."

"Got it," Izaya went off, presumably to the garage. Mikado stayed, trying to will his headache and nausea away. A few minutes later, Izaya popped his head back in the doorway. "It's not there."

"My suit's not in the car?" Mikado blinked, trying to remember if he'd done something with it.

"No, the car isn't there." Izaya frowned. "Do you remember where it is?"

"… The car?" … We walked home, I remember that, it must still be at the parking lot. "Err … I think it's still in the parking lot where we drank …"

Izaya raised his eyebrows. "That's about fifteen minutes away. I guess I'd better run once I find the keys. You get yourself standing and try to eat something, I'll be back with the car."

"The keys are probably in my jacket!" Mikado called as Izaya darted off again. He heard rustling (presumably in the jacket pockets) before he heard the other leave.

A few more minutes later, he heard his phone ring. Willing himself up and out of the bathroom, he found his phone on the nightstand next to the bed. He growled a little as he picked it up and answered it.

"MIIIKADO!" Mikado quickly shoved the phone away from his ear at the loud shrieking noise on the other end.

"What?" He snapped back, his head starting to feel dizzy.

"Dude! Where the hell are you? I've been trying to call you for who knows how long! You weren't at my apartment this morning and you aren't here at the church and I need you now 'cause my tuxedo's still in the freakin' car and I'm getting married in a few hours!"

"…" Mikado slumped, letting his knees hit the ground as he rested his head on the bed. This isn't my day … this isn't my day … He listened to his friend blathers on afterwards.

"Hey, come on, at least let me know you're alright! Miiiikado!"

"I'll be there as – as soon as I can, just …"

"Just what?"

"Shut the fuck up for once." Mikado didn't even regret those words as he turned off the phone and tossed it in some random direction, hearing it clatter on the floor somewhere. He didn't realize that having a hangover would make him curse a whole lot more than he usually did (which was pretty much never), but he felt too sick to care what he was saying. As a matter of fact, the bed felt nice to rest on. He could just take a little nap right here …

Of course, what only felt like a few seconds of rest later, he was being shaken by Izaya, who was holding his suit. "Wake up before I go find a bucket and some water."

Mikado groaned, looking up at the other. He's all ready to go … he noted the other, fully dressed in his suit and smiling, with a twitching eyebrow. "How do you not have a hangover? You drank more than me!"

"Probably because I drink more often than you and I'm used to avoiding them. Plus you had some rather hard alcohol." With help from Izaya (seeing as how Mikado was incapacitated not just because of the booze but of the broken hand), Mikado was able to get dressed well enough to be pushed outside, down the stairs, and into the garage where the car now was. If anything, Mikado did find it a little amusing that Izaya, the skinny, shorter runt, was pushing Mikado (who had gotten big and partially burly with age) around. He wasn't sure if he had everything, as he couldn't recall where his phone had been thrown or anything else for that matter. But does it really matter at this point?

Once the car started moving, that was when Mikado sort of turned into the ultimate grouch (especially since he was waking up more thanks to the movement). He started contradicting pretty much anything the other started to say, and was berating him with no end in sight. Izaya himself was growing annoyed with Mikado's ranting. He wasn't in the best of shape to put up with it either. Usually people with hangovers just shut up and hide from the sun.

"Izaya, what the fuck were you thinking?" Mikado snapped, still trying to (unsuccessfully) button up his tuxedo top while in the car, as he felt slightly more alert now. "W-why did you – you –"

"Look, I didn't think it'd end up like this." Izaya mumbled, scratching his head. He'd have to brush out his bed hair once he got there. "I don't even remember it. How drunk did you let me get?" How much did I blab? Was one of the other questions going through his mind that he didn't feel like voicing. He was surprised that he wasn't the one with the hangover, but then again, it wasn't his first time drinking …

"I knew it, I KNEW drinking was a bad idea," Mikado groaned, giving up on his buttons, resting his head against the front of the dashboard, trying to make the pounding sensation in his brain to go away. He was starting to feel nauseous again too … oh please don't let me throw up … PLEASE don't let me throw up …! Oh man, I've probably ruined Masaomi's wedding in more ways than one …! "Don't drive so fast!" He snapped as he tried to keep his stomach in by holding it.

"Hmph. Here I invited Aoba-kun to take care of you and I end up doing it myself …" Izaya griped to himself, but alas, Mikado heard.

"… WHAT?"

They made it into the parking lot of the church just fine – if you count fine as Mikado having to lurch once more. He had grabbed the bag in the backseats to throw up into so none could get on his suit though, so they'd made it relatively safely. They still had an hour to go, too (as Izaya had conveniently run red lights and stop signs again).

Izaya sighed as he found an empty spot and turned off the car engine. "You're quite the mess."

"And it's your fault." Mikado groused, glowering at the other.

"You're going to want to clean off your mouth before you go inside," Izaya pointed the approximate place on his own face, and opened the glove compartment on Mikado's side to search for something to wipe off the mess.

Mikado tried to swat Izaya's hand away, but it failed, seeing as how one hand was keeping the bag full of his stomach's contents from falling, and the other hand was bandaged up tightly. He didn't exactly enjoy the idea that he was being somewhat "babied" right now.

"Izaya-san –"

"We'll talk later when you don't have a hangover. Right now, Masaomi-kun needs his tuxedo, and he needs both of us in there, don't you think?" Izaya pointed in the direction of the church, making Mikado turn to look at it. "Now, do you have everything?"

"Uuuh …" Mikado started checking himself over, setting the bag on the floor of the vehicle. I have my tuxedo … and that's pretty much it … I think … but then he noticed that his tie was missing. Horror splayed across his face, which in turn amused Izaya. "What?" He asked.

"… I think I just puked on the new tie …" Mikado pointed sheepishly at the bag. Izaya stared dully at it for a moment, then said: "I'm not buying you another one."

Mikado growled again. "Hey, come on, this is your fault!"

"We don't exactly have time to run out and get a new one, do we?" Izaya threw back. "And stop blaming me, you had your chance to not get drunk."

Before Izaya could unlock the car door to escape, Mikado had lashed out (bad choice, it made him feel a little light-headed again) with his good hand and grabbed Izaya's fake clip-on tie, keeping the informant leashed. "Gimmie that."

"…" Izaya started to laugh. "What? You want a tie that badly?"

"I need to look presentable. No one cares whether you do or not."

"That's quite an insult. And you do realize that this tie's fake, right?" Izaya pointed at it, grinning.

"… I know." Mikado kept his grip firm. "But I only need it for a little while. Then I can get another real one that isn't covered in my puke."

Izaya gave yet another devilish smile. "Fine. If that's what gets you on your feet." Izaya unlatched the tie, handing it over to the other. "Let me pick out the new one, will you?"

Mikado glared. "You aren't going to try to slip the 'Mickey and Minnie Mouse' tie in my purchase again, are you?"

"I might. You need something a little more colorful to cheer you up." Izaya got out of the car, opening the trunk to fish out Masaomi's tuxedo while Mikado struggled to get the clip-on on with one hand (and somehow succeeded). Mikado had to take another minute after getting out of the car to get the lightheadedness to stop swaying before he took Mikado's tuxedo and started up towards the church.

Mikado was greeted by a very frantic, hyper man at the front of the church's steps, who looked ready to explode, cell phone open in hand (presumably he'd been calling Mikado several times) and very visibly stressed. Masaomi looked relieved when he saw Mikado coming up with his suit, but grimaced when he saw Izaya not too far behind, smiling.

"Miiikado, I was getting worried about you! I've only got half an hour left to get that on and get ready!" Masaomi bounced down to Mikado, who appeared frozen for a few moments. … He dyed his hair … he stared in shock at the blond man now, feeling his stomach start to sink lower. I'm going to get murdered later … I thought Kyohei-san was going to take care of this!

"Thank you thank you thank you!" Masaomi grabbed the tuxedo and pulled his friend up the stairs, hoping to get inside before Izaya could follow behind them. "Come on, help me get changed real quickly in the bathroom in the front!"

Mikado let his friend ramble (and let his friend do the changing) as he slumped down in the chair outside the restroom, tuning out the noise from Masaomi. I can't stand this … I really can't stand this … maybe I should ask Saki to kill me now, that way I can get rid of this damn headache and I don't have to listen to him

Masaomi stuck his head out of the bathroom, now fully dressed, groomed, and ready for his wedding which was going to start at any minute. "Mikado, are you okay there? You look really out of it. Didn't you get any sleep?" He got a grunt and a wave in response.

He's been quite rude this morning. On the phone and now. Ruder than I ever expected to come out of Mikado. I mean, really … he's told me to shut up before, but not with that tone of voice. And look at how cranky he is, and he even looks sick. Maybe he ate or drank something … Masaomi blinked as the thought crossed his mind. Ooooh no he didn't … "Mikado … you have a hangover at my wedding?"

"I'm not in the mood to argue, Masaomi." Mikado waved Masaomi off, still squinting his eyes and holding his head to the side on his good hand.

"No, I'm not arguing, just what happened? I mean, the one night you decide to try drinking-!" Oh god maybe he really is upset still and he's taking it out by getting smashed or something –

"I'll be fine. Just – just go do your thing, get hooked, breed like a rabbit or whatever it is that you do." Mikado waved his friend off, completely missing the astonished expression Masaomi had. Must be a REALLY bad hangover for him to talk like that … Masaomi didn't feel angry at what Mikado had said, though. He knew hangovers could really irritate someone (he'd had his share of hangovers, and he knew that Mikado had been there to put up with most of them). So he decided to let it slide, and hoped his friend wouldn't suddenly need to run out during the wedding to puke or anything.

Masaomi decided his friend needed a little quiet time, so he walked over to Kyohei, who was one of the groomsmen. "Mikado has a hangover …" Masaomi decided to note to the man, who was talking with with his group of friends.

"We know." Kyohei turned to Masaomi, frowning. "We saw him at the bar last night."

"Uuuh, just to make sure, he wasn't drinking while depressed or alone, was he?" Masaomi was concerned for his friend; he knew Mikado couldn't be over Anri that quickly … and he knew at some point Mikado was going to crash. He needed to make sure he could catch it in time before anything bad happened.

"Actually, he … he seemed quite … happy?" Saburo attempted to find the right words for what they had witnessed last night.

"Ah, did he have company?" Masaomi brightened. Finally, Mikado! Catch one of the bridesmaids, perhaps? Or a random chick? He probably didn't sleep with her, he's not the type, but maybe he got her number~!

Kyohei nodded, but still was frowning. "Yes. Izaya was with him."

Masaomi felt his eyebrow twitch at the mention of the person's name. Mikado went drinking with him? Well, he's certainly not going to pick up chicks with an asshole for a 'friend' …

"And that's not all we witnessed!" Erika grew excited, her eyes starting to sparkle.


Kyohei had lightly protested that the details should wait until after the wedding, but Masaomi demanded to know now. And with that, Erika and Walker poured out all the details of what they had witnessed at the bar, and with each new detail, Masaomi felt another two-ton bar drop on him, his jaw dropping. "…Fuck NO." Hearing enough, Masaomi wanted to tear after his friend and make sure he was alright, except that the wedding was starting and he didn't have time to wring his Izaya's neck. He decided in his mind that he'd kill Izaya right after the wedding – he wasn't sure Saki would approve, but it was better than doing it during. I am going to KILL him!

Everyone took their respective places. Masaomi had pushed Mikado up to the front of the church by means of side aisle while everyone in the pews settled down.

"Hey, Mikado," Masaomi whispered, becoming serious. "Did Izaya harm or drug you?"

"… What?" Mikado blinked. "What do you mean?"

Masaomi rolled his eyes. "Whatever, I'll kill him later."

"…" Well now, that's what you've got to say to me before you get married? Mikado grumbled in his mind. He didn't like being confused, especially right now. He didn't know what Masaomi was talking about; it couldn't be what happened last night, since Masaomi had no means of knowing about that …

The wedding then started, and it passed by like magic. The music heightened the beauty of the moment at which Saki, being escorted by Izaya, came down the center aisle as everyone stood to watch her pass. Mikado could see the love start to sparkle in his friend's eyes, and he too looked at the bride. She does look beautiful in her dress …

Mikado, however, couldn't see her reaction under her veil from where he was standing. She has to have noticed his hair by now … If she was surprised, for better or for worse, she could certainly hide it well both under the veil and by not reacting too much. … I guess I'll be murdered later. Once she finds out who dared him.

She came up the steps to stand next to Masaomi. The prayers and hymns were sung, the rings were blessed, and everything was going extremely well. And then came the most memorable part of all.

The priest, with his little book, spoke to Masaomi. "Do you, Masaomi, take Saki to be your lawful wedded wife, in sickness and in health till death do you part?"

"I do." Kida said it with such firmness and seriousness that it surprised Mikado. Obviously, he knew that Masaomi was serious about this, having asked Saki to marry him and all, but he couldn't grasp the fact that it was real. That it was happening to his best friend. The big flirt was settling down and actually looked the part (not counting the fact that Masaomi dyed his hair blond the night before due to a dare). It was a dream up until now, and Mikado now felt like he was finally waking up. And it wasn't the 'waking up' he feared, either. Rather, he felt excitement for his best friend than a sinking depression for himself.

"Will you love, respect, and honor her throughout your years together?"

"I will."

"Do you, Saki, take Masaomi to be your lawful wedded husband, in sickness and in health till death do you part?"

"I do."

When Mikado had first met Saki, he thought it strange when she said she had loved Masaomi from the beginning. After all, who would take Masaomi's proposals seriously, considering the vast history of attempted (and failed) proposals and pick-up lines he'd used in the past? To anyone else, Masaomi's proposals were too casual to be taken as genuine. It was even stranger considering that their matchmaker was none other than Orihara Izaya. Yet, the two were so willing to share in each other's lives that they were getting married. And that's how Mikado knew they were both serious. They were right for one another, as when they were together, they laughed, they joked, and they shined brighter than most others in the room.

"Will you love, respect, and honor him throughout your years together?"

"I will."

The ring was then slipped on her finger, and sheer happiness could be felt emitting from the pair. Their smiles couldn't help but cause Mikado to smile, who noticed the others – including Izaya down in the pew – smiling as well.

The priest then gave his final blessing. "I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss the bride."

Their kiss was so sweet and genuine, like the end of a heartwarming romance movie. Mikado felt a strange feeling in his stomach as he clapped along with the rest of the audience. He didn't have to think twice to know what it was: guilt. Last night, he had only been thinking about himself when he should have been feeling proud for his best friend (well, more so than he had been). It wasn't like he hadn't congratulated Masaomi already and said he was happy for him. It wasn't like he hadn't ever been happy for him. It was more like … he hadn't been grasping the whole situation until now. He hadn't allowed himself to see the true beauty before him. He'd been thinking too much about how it was going to affect him without thinking of the effect it would have on Masaomi. His best friend, the optimistic, hyperactive, flirtatious screwball, was finally settling down with the woman of his dreams.

Way to go, buddy.

Mikado headed out to the car, feeling a lot better inside, both emotionally and physically (his hangover was for, the most part, going away). Happiness for his best friend grew inside of him, and he started to feel like he could think his thoughts through clearly.

But now I have to talk to Izaya. Mikado frowned as he got inside, closing the door. He knew his hangover still wasn't completely gone, even if it was a lot better than it had been before. He still felt cantankerous inside, and his head still pounded to a degree. … He better not try to joke every other sentence or I just might really lose it. Mikado couldn't really remember ever feeling this … this irritable in his life. Well, they say drinking does all kinds of things to people. Masaomi's the "cuddly-clingy" kind, Kyohei's the "dull" kind, Izaya's the "blabbermouth" kind … I guess I'm the "irritable" kind. Not exactly the best trait to chose for drunkenness and hangovers, but he couldn't do much about it either.

He waited in the car, taking in the silence, as he knew he'd have a lot to do once Izaya got here, and they went to the reception. Now that I can think clearly, I'm going to have to talk to Izaya, apologize to Masaomi for being rude this morning, take the wrath from the bride for convincing Masaomi to dye his hair, and … I'm sure there's more, I just don't want to think about it right now.

Soon enough, Izaya came strolling down in the car's direction, twirling the keys in his hand, and opened the car door. He plopped himself into the driver's seat, and started up the engine, his face cringing a little. "It smells in here now … I don't think Masaomi-kun's going to appreciate that." Mikado knew Izaya meant the smell of his stomach's contents, which, sadly, the bag of said contents was still on the floor of the backseats.

"Izaya, we need to talk."

"What? Are you breaking up with me?"

"I – wait, what? We weren't toge-" Mikado froze, slowly mulling over in his head what exactly to say about the whole situation. He hadn't realized how hard this was going to be. It wasn't like they did anything together because they were together … in fact, neither one of them knew how far it went (although all evidence seemed to point to hardly anything happening). But he wasn't sure what Izaya thought about it at all. He never took Izaya to be one of those "you've defiled my innocence, now you must date / marry me" types (in fact, his guess on Izaya's stance was on the other far end of the ideological spectrum). What if I somehow go about this wrongly …?

His thoughts were interrupted when he heard a chuckle. "I'm only pulling your leg, Mikado. Don't take it all that seriously."

My initial guess was right then. Mikado just hoped he wouldn't try to yank him more, because he still felt a little ill-tempered. "O-okay … Well, the truth is, is that it kind of IS something to take seriously. I mean …" He began to trail off. He felt a little embarrassed having to talk to Izaya about what may have happened last night, but it was something they had to deal with, and the sooner, the better. The problem was that Izaya was taking this whole thing so casually that Mikado wasn't sure if a talk was even necessary. Yet, when he glanced over at Izaya, Mikado felt taken aback by the sight of the man sporting a serious face and waiting for him to continue. Izaya hadn't even started driving the car out of the lot. Since when did the information broker not act like a hyped up gossip girl? The strangeness of this situation was overwhelming. He probably wants to know what I think … but I didn't expect him to seem so caring about it. But despite the impossible happening, Mikado regained himself and went ahead with what he was saying.

"First of all … I – I wanted to say thanks. You were able to tell I was upset about Masaomi getting married, and tried to make me feel better … in your own weird way. And I realize we kind of … erm … bonded last night, in more ways than intended. And I don't know about you, but I've thought a lot about it –"

"You mean you've thought what you can with your hangover."

"… Yes, as much as I can with a headache, and I want to take it seriously even if we were drunk. Now, I know this is going to be IMMENSELY difficult for you, but please refrain from talking so I can just say everything I have to say without misunderstanding … even if you already know what I'm going to say," Mikado quickly added when he saw Izaya's mouth open, but then it closed. "Listen last night … normally, I'd just say that was a fluke. That it was just the alcohol. Even if I never drank before, I'd think it was a mishap, except this situation, it's … it's different. But it didn't feel like a mistake, even if I can't remember most of what happened." Mikado reddened a little, embarrassed by the fact that he didn't recall the events. "What I remember most is what it felt like – and no, I don't mean it in that sense," Mikado glared at the informant, who wanted to interrupt again but didn't. "I mean emotionally. Without Anri … I realized how much I missed what it was like to have someone with me to be comforted by. I felt like I was losing all of my confidents when she left a-and Masaomi and Saki wanted to get married. So, I guess, last night wasn't as bad as I thought it would be … however, I'm really n-not homosexual, that was the alcohol talking, so I just … we can't keep going that far when we hang out. It's nice to have you as a friend, but please don't expect last night to happen again."

Izaya took the opportunity to snort (which was a little odd coming from him). "Neither one of us knows what happened. We probably just made out a little and fell asleep from the booze or something."

He started to back the car out of the lot, now that most of the other cars were gone and they could get out of the parking lot without too much trouble. Once they made it on the road, Izaya said quietly: "But, it's nice to have you as a friend, too."

They made it to the reception with ease. Izaya quickly hopped out and said a goodbye before dashing in, as he knew that the moment he walked in that door, Masaomi would be hunting him down. Mikado took the time to let his headache fade, and he threw out the bag of puke in a trash can outside before entering. Everyone was happy and busy, congratulating the newlyweds and dancing. The festive atmosphere would've depressed Mikado yesterday, but today, he felt like celebrating for his best friend and his best friend's girl. He stayed clear away from too much movement, though. He still was out of it.

Saki smiled when she saw Mikado looking over at her, and she walked up to him while Masaomi was seeking out the informant in the crowd. "Thank you." She thanked sweetly.

Mikado blinked, still waiting for his head to clear. His hangover was still lingering, even though it hadn't been as bad as before. I haven't even said she looks pretty yet. "For what?"

"Convincing Masaomi to dye his hair blond." She giggled. "He's cuter that way."

I thought she was going to kill me for that. Mikado wasn't sure how to answer her, either. "W-well, I didn't think he was going to go through with it …"

"But it suits him better. Look at him," she nodded over in Masaomi's direction. Masaomi was currently seeking high and low, very determined to find his victim. "He's always been bright in his heart." She quickly bowed, and left to go off with other friends who were eagerly congratulating her (and talking about whatever girls usually talked about at weddings).

At least something definitely turned out alright … I guess … Mikado scratched his head, sighing.

A few minutes later, Aoba came up to Mikado.

"Uuuh … Mikado, uuh …" Aoba seemed troubled as he attempted to ask the other a question. "Did you and … and Izaya-san really get that far?"


"I uuh, I heard you and he … got together last night?" Aoba's voice started to squeak. It wasn't too odd to hear the squeak, since Aoba was still fairly short, but it was strange hearing it come from a non-teenager.

Mikado stared, almost dropping the glass (of punch – he had refused to get the alcohol being served) from his good hand. "… Who told you that?" How does he know? No one should know! Did someone see us?

"Karisawa-san and Yumasaki-san said they saw you both at the bar last night and that you and Izaya-san went home together …"

"…" Of COURSE those two would spread rumors that haven't been 'confirmed'! He didn't realize it, but he started to growl, scaring Aoba a little. "M-Mikado?"

And, for pretty much the rest of the reception (in between announcements and talking to relatives and friends), Masaomi was trying to murder a laughing, skillfully dodging Izaya. "I SWEAR I'M GOING TO KILL YOU EVEN IF YOU ARE NOW MY 'FATHER-IN-LAW!'"