He likes to see the world standing above a twenty-story building. The sight is lovely, especially at night, when lights twinkle iridescent in the sky. The usual, drifting breeze is replaced by a whirlwind of polluted air and heavy smoke. Even so, he breathes and takes it all in, arms stretched out to collect the invisible wind within him. He considers himself a man of many words, but for just that moment, he is a man without any words. His crimson eyes flit across the blackness around him and then to the bottomless pit below him. In his hand, he clutches tightly to a phone, its unearthly glow illuminating his pale face. For a second, it betrays his mask of calm and self-confidence. For a second, the world can see all the fear, the uncertainty, in his eyes. But the second is gone in a flash and the man smiles as widely as he usually does. He exhales.
"Where are you right now…?"
"Are you alright? Why did you call me, just to hang up?"
"…Who the fuck is this?"
"You're not going to do something stupid, are you?"
"Hey Izaya, I haven't seen you around in awhile…"
"…Flea, is it you? Why the hell did you call me?"
"I mean, it's not like I care…but you are the one who's paying me…"
"I was just wondering if you were doing okay…I think Shizuo's a bit worried too, and that's saying a lot."
"ARGH. It's not like I care what you do, but why the fuck did you call me?"
"Pick up, you idiot."
"Izaya…please pick up."
"…Flea…Pick up the damn phone!"
He likes to watch the world standing on the rooftop of a twenty-story building. He feels power as he surveys the nameless faces of people underneath him, complete and total control. Being so high above those humans, he can – for just a second – close his eyes and imagine that he isn't the same as them. Of course he isn't. He's not foolish like those humans. He isn't like Namie, who gave up her very life and sanity just to pursue a love that slapped her back in the face. He isn't like Shinra, who spent his childhood and career searching impossible answers, wasting precious time, just so the one he loved would be happy herself.
And he is definitely, definitely, not like him –
"I hate violence."
– that monster. That protozoan idiot who can barely think enough to realize the contradictory way his actions and words clash.
No. Izaya leans against the railing separating his body from current safety and instant death. He isn't.
Because, if he was ever like that, the black-haired man muses, he would first have to be human. Human, and yet, a monster. Although he refuses to acknowledge this in times when the two are fighting each other in Ikebukuro, Izaya knows that Shizuo is probably the most foolish, the most idiotic, the most humane human alive. Is that why I call him a monster? the man wonders with a half-smile of surprise. He doesn't even realize it himself, until now. The thought comes out of nowhere, a wispy tendril of subconsciousness that slips into his mind. Shizuo…is a human.
A monster. But a human as well.
For another brief second, he lets his eyes wander to the ground again. It seems miles away from his reach. If he leaps to the other side and hooks his arm around to the steel railing, he could probably get a better look down. But what would he see? Blood, maybe? Like the last time he was here, about to watch an innocent girl die because of his heartless words? Or perhaps an empty black hole, ready to draw him into its depths, to take him into the pits of Hell? Would he die, like a human would, if he just let go and jumped?
Izaya inhales, feels the cool touch of the phone in his hand, and stares up at the starless night. The waft of continuous smoke stings his eyes and the breeze is now an annoying burden, blowing hair back into his face. Like a human, huh?
"He's kind of an asshole, but he's my friend as well."
"I really hate you and all... but it's not like I want you to die."
"Fucking flea, you better not get yourself hurt…it's my job to beat your ass and make you cry in pain – no one else's."
He likes to close his eyes on top of a twenty-story building and pretend he's not human. He likes breathing in the sultry, tainted air and letting the wind rustle his coat, his hair, and blow frozen kisses onto his cheek. He likes feeling on top of the world, an omnipotent being like God, that controls people effortlessly, without a care of who he's hurting or who's going to hurt him back.
But, Izaya sighs, it's nights like these that impulses drive all singular thoughts away from his mind. It's nights like these that he can admit all the things he usually denies, the fear ever-present in his heart when he imagines his head smashed against the surface of a pavement, his body staining it crimson-red. It's nights like these that he forgets who he is, forgets that he is the all-knowing God, incapable of dying or feeling, and does stupid, little things he regrets later on. It's nights like these, the red-eyed man glances down at the phone clutched in his hand, at the dozens of missed calls and messages he has received, that he doesn't know what to think anymore. And that is the only reason he finds himself trembling as he takes a small step back from the railing, and away from the edge.
He hates the thought of being human. He hates the thoughts that make him human.
He gives the moon a rueful, almost weary look, as though reproaching the way it seems to glow and lighten up the dark sky. Slowly, he turns toward the stairs, a hesitant, stiff movement of his foot, and then the phone is opened and next to his ear.
"Why the fuck didn't you pick up, flea? I've been calling for ages!"
He can't resist smirking. "You were worried, hmm~?"
There's a pause. "Hell, fucking, no!"
His eyes soften at the blatant lie.
"Ugh, you're just…did you know how worried Shinra and Celty were? Even that woman Namie or something called me…and – and what the fuck! Where were you? Do you know how suspicious I was – just leaving like that without saying a word for months on end and then giving us those weird messages and calls like…like you were about to do something... I mean, I know you're fucked up and possibly insane, but –"
Izaya finds himself smiling at Shizuo's outburst, a strange and peculiar lightness in his chest.
"A-anyway, where the hell are you?"
Izaya blinks and stares at the phone. "Why?"
He can almost feel the irritation in Shizuo's words. "I didn't come all the way to Shinjuku for nothing, flea."
Izaya considers himself a man of many words – many insulting, jeering, and heartless words. A man that one would find hard to make friends with, who probably does not have many true, real friends at all, in the first place. A man who might or might not be slightly insane, who might or might not be an actual monster himself. A man who is still, regardless of anything and everything, made of flesh and blood and bones. Who is still, after all, very alive and human.
But as he inhales the scent of nicotine smoke that is all too familiar, sees the sight of blonde hair that is all too familiar, that brings the smallest hint of a smile to his face, Izaya realizes that, for just this one moment, he is a man of very few words. Very few and just slightly human words.
"Shizu-chan, I'm here~"
A/N: Dedicated to a friend.
Sometimes being human is painful. Sometimes it hurts so terribly that all you can think about is the pain, the agony that leaves you in endless tears. Sometimes you lose yourself and you don't even know what you're doing anymore - you make stupid choices, decisions that you regret, you hurt others, you hurt yourself.
But being human isn't all so bad. Those thoughts of being human, those thoughts that make you up, aren't all so bad. Sometimes we forget that through the hours, days, months, years of pain, being human is what keeps us sane. Sometimes we forget that the smallest things, like someone worrying about you or calling you when you're down, are enough to keep us from falling over the edge of that cliff.