Namie thinks that they might be dating.

She doesn't voice it though. Knowing Izaya as well as she did (unfortunately), it could all be a feint. The intense looks, the winks, the teasing smirks and the invitations to have lunch outside – these were mere instruments in his plan to lead her on and watch her topple. He'd then pat himself on the back and give a standing ovation, perhaps burn another pack of cards or step on a rook.

Namie will not give him that satisfaction.

It is during the twenty-fourth day in December that he takes her arm and leads her out of the office. Namie asserts the cold hard fact onto her conscious that it is not a date – it is just her playing the role of baby-sitter.

They go people-viewing in the park, it is Izaya's favourite past time (apart from dodging vending machines and driving people insane). He talks under his breath, tells her everyone's name and background history. She doesn't particularly care.

The garden bench is too small for them. No matter how much she edges to the side, Izaya just slides closer to her, bridging whatever space she creates between them. The fleece of his coat is scarcely brushing her hip.

Though Izaya doesn't say, she knows that he likes making her flustered. She won't give him that satisfaction either. She stops trying to inch away, and instead straightens her posture and sits upright. When her shoulder connects with his arm she doesn't bat an eyelid, Izaya stops chatting himself up to look at her from the corner of his eyes with something that might be impress.

But it is probably him brewing up another scheme.

He grabs her elbow and parades them around the crystal-lit streets of Ikebukuro. They have dinner at a quaint café, and she holds onto his coat as he kicks down unattended snowmen. He looks positively enthralled when he spots a blond man in a bartender's outfit across the road – she has to seize his collar to prevent him from pursuing idiocy.

No, she isn't having fun.

He walks her home.

"Na-mi-e –chan, look what we're standing under," Izaya sings joyously.

Namie stares up with a stern face, catching sight of the mistletoe dangling over her doorstep. She tries not to let the sheer alarm, the sheer panic that attacks her heart, reveal itself on her face (damn Izaya, damn him and his cunningness). But she is human too, despite all the controversial experiments she has conducted and the bodies she's dissected – so her face heats.

She won't give in to him – she will not let him have his way and claim his satisfaction.

She'll make sure of it.

But the man is already bending down, closing his eyes and pursing his lips in a display of revolting confidence – the winter air is much warmer than it is supposed to be. And Namie can't help but think, for a second, about what will satisfy her.