A/N: Chapter has been edited!

I don't own Durarara.

chapter five

Deep in thought, or as deep in thought as someone like her could be, Nanase trudged up the stairs to her apartment. The events from earlier kept replaying in her mind; the fight, Shizuo taking a knife in the hand (and being completely fine, which blew her away … though it really shouldn't have, considering she wasn't exactly normal), and the strange man.

"A-are you okay? Who was that?" She had asked, trying to inspect Shizuo's hand.

He'd pulled it away from her to let it rest at his side, before saying, "Damn flea, that's who..." And completely disregarding her spoken concern.

Once work was over, she'd pestered Tom about it; she felt she should know this sort of thing if these fights of theirs really happened so much. Orihara Izaya, Tom told her, and that they used to go to school together. He also warned her that it'd be wise to never mention that name in front of Shizuo, lest irreversible damage be caused.

Nanase sighed before sticking the key in her door. She'd never gotten around to thanking Shizuo for-

"Hey there."

Letting out a strangled yelp, she spun around, hand over her beating chest. Izaya was there, leaning up against the railing, his hands shoved in his coat pockets. "Y-you!" Was all she managed, wide-eyed as she stared at him.

"Me, indeed," He hummed, pushing himself off the railing. "I'm truly sorry if I scared you!"

"Yeah, right," Nanase huffed. She knew, after all, that he wasn't sorry in the least bit. "Orihara Izaya, right? I don't know what you want, but … I-I'm going inside now." The keys were still in the door, and she quickly jiggled them around, glancing back at him. He was still there, staring at her like she was some sort of specimen.

"You're scared of me, but you're not scared of Shizu-chan? How odd," Izaya laughed, waltzing up and leaning dangerously close to her. She froze at his breath whispering across her ear, "What's someone like you doing around Shizu-chan, anyway?"

"That's none of your business!" She declared, trying to shrink herself closer to the door. The door, for its part, was being particularly hard to open. Nanase swore she'd tell the landlord about it first thing in the morning-

"I suppose it isn't," He sighed, backing away to a semi-comfortable distance. "However, that still doesn't change the fact that a barbarian like him doesn't frighten you. He could snap you in half if he really wanted to," Izaya stated, nonchalantly picking at a nail.

"How did you even find me? Were you... you were following me!?" She shrilled, then turned her attention back to the door. "As soon as I get inside, I'm gonna call the police and tell them some super mean, creepy guy's stalking me-"

"Go ahead," Izaya smirked at her when she turned around again to look at him in disbelief. "It's not like I can't dig up enough blackmail to keep the police from doing anything, anyway."

As much as she wanted to call his bluff, she realized with horror that he was telling the truth. "... What do you want, then?" Perhaps if she aquiesced with whatever he wanted, he'd leave her alone?

"Just a few questions, that's all."

"Two! You get two questions!"

"Two," He agreed. After deciding he was telling the truth, she nodded warily, hand still on her doorknob. "Why aren't you scared of Shizu-chan like everyone else, hmm? I'm just dying to know!"

"... Shizuo-san is an honest person," She glared at him, which she imagined probably wasn't too intimidating, seeing as he was still smiling at her. "And maybe he is a little violent..." Izaya snorted at that, and she sniffed at him in disdain before continuing. "But I don't think he means to be. Shizuo-san doesn't deliberately intend to hurt anyone-"

"Why, I do believe I can disprove that theory," He said dryly.

"-like you seem to do. You threw a knife at my face, for crying out loud!" She finished, still trying to give him the evil eye. "Is that all?"

"We agreed on two, didn't we? Are you hard of hearing as well as sight, seeing as you seem to be able to overlook his protozoan tendencies?"

"Of course not!" She pouted, though she had no clue what the word protozoan meant.

"How do you know Shizu-chan, then?"

Not wanting to get into the whole back story of Shizuo chasing off punks harrassing her on a flower delivery, or catching her from falling off a ladder, or hauling her drunk person home (at this point, she realized with some embarassment that he'd done a good amount of saving her, including the whole knife incident), she simply said, "We... we work together."

He rubbed his chin at that, tilting his head. "You? Work with debt collectors? You're as small as a bean," He laughed at her affronted look, "So what could you possibly help them out with?"

"That's more than two!" She sent a small prayer skywards when the key finally clicked in place and her door opened. "Now, if you don't mind-"

"Ah, ah, it's alright. I'll be seeing you around, anyway … don't worry, there will be plenty of time to get to know each other!" He began to walk away, throwing a wave over his shoulder.

"Just great," She grumbled, slamming the door shut – because as he had walked away, Nanase hadn't felt a single sign that said he was lying about his last words.

The next day, Izaya practically skipped his way into a small flower shop. He'd looked into this Masukawa Nanase, since she'd sparked a bit of his interest, and had seen that her last place of employment had been the tiny store.

Life had been rather boring and unexhilarating, save for his fights with Shizu-chan – but at least this was something to occupy his time. Besides that, he truly was curious as to what a sloppy looking girl like her was doing working with debt collectors. She looked like she couldn't hurt a fly, even if her life depended on it.

A short, balding man was snoring away at the counter, and Izaya rapped on the surface until the man woke up, startled. "A-ah, hello. Can I help you?" He asked, blinking sleep out of his eyes.

"I'd just like to ask a few questions about one of your previous employees," Izaya said, prodding at a bouquet. His eyes slid to the owner's. "Masukawa Nanase."

The owner straightened, frowning. "That girl? What did she do now?"

"Nothing, really," A few petals fell off, and Izaya turned back unapologetically to look at the glowering man. "I'm just visiting all her last places of employment. She's asked me for a job, and of course, I must check references." He smirked. "You don't seem to like her much."

The man snorted. "Damn girl ratted me out! Of course I'm not fond of her."

"Ratted you out, you say?"

The owner shifted before looking up at Izaya. "I probably shouldn't be telling you this... but if you're gonna hire that girl, you should probably know what you'll have to put up with."

"Yes, yes. Do go on," Izaya motioned, eyes narrowing. Really, this was too easy.

"I had some trouble with..." The man cleared his throat, "Debt collectors. Damn collectors are always asking for unreasonable amounts of money, I swear-" Izaya raised a brow. "-...anyhow, she told them I didn't have the money. I mean, I didn't, but it's not like the collectors knew that."

"So how did she know that?"

"Hell if I know," The man retorted, "She was always sort of strange, but that... she just seemed to know that..."

"Know that you were lying?" Izaya finished for him.

"Right. I'd even say that maybe she'd been guessing... but she seemed damn sure of herself, the brat." He yawned. "Now, is that all? I've got important things to handle."

"Of course. Perhaps you could make me an arrangement? Something really big and obnoxious!" Izaya smiled.

The owner wondered if this was some kind of joke, considering the conversation they just had, but money was money, and so he inwardly shrugged and got to work.

"I'll walk you home," Shizuo offered.

Nanase looked up at him in surprise. "Are you sure, Shizuo-san? I mean, we've been working all day. You don't have to..."

"It's late," The blond shrugged. "I don't mind."

He figured it wouldn't hurt. It wasn't like he had anything else to do that night, after all, and the girl hadn't been anything but nice, though she seemed a bit slow on the uptake at times. After being around her for the better portion of his days when he worked, he was starting to get used to her presence.

"Well... okay," She nodded. The walk home was silent, though she broke it a few minutes in. "Hey, Shizuo-san..."

"Shizuo's fine," He told her, flicking the ash off of his cigarette.

"Shizuo... Thanks for yesterday," She mumbled shyly. "Your hand... I imagine that must've hurt, haha... and thanks for all the other times, too. You've rescued me an awful lot for us only knowing each other such a short time."

"It's nothing." He glanced at his hand, adorned with garishly bright Hello Kitty bandaids – courtesy of Nanase. On any other normal circumstance, he would've ripped them off or outright refused them, but she seemed to be honestly worried about him.

"They were all I had," Nanase had chuckled in apology, "Glue isn't really the... proper treatment for that sort of thing..."

Women rarely showed him any type of concern, save for Celty and that one woman from his childhood – at that last thought, he almost felt a bit guilty for relishing in her doting over him.

"Right," She giggled nervously. She wondered if maybe she should mention that Izaya had followed her to her apartment, but Tom's warning rung in her head, and she decided against it. She didn't want to sour his mood or make him explode, and they were almost at her apartment anyway.

The walk was still quiet the rest of the way home, and they were walking up the last flight of stairs when she spotted a bouquet lying on her doorstep.

"Flowers?" She mumbled, picking them up once she reached her door and looking at them curiously. They were huge – they nearly took up the entire walkway to her apartment. She doubted she had any secret admirers, so where did they come from?

A card was attached; she noticed with some wariness that it was the same type of card that often accompanied arrangements at her old job at the flower shop. She unfolded it and began to read the small paper, temporarily forgetting Shizuo's presence.


Here's to the start of a beautiful relationship!

P.S.: Tell Shizu-chan I wish his hand a speedy recovery!


Shizuo noticed the worried look on her face - almost scared - as she read the card that came with the bouquet, feeling a frown come over his face. "Something wrong?" He asked, tossing his cigarette off the other side of the railing.

"Um... N-no!" She squeaked, quickly turning and clutching the flowers to her chest. "Thanks for walking me home, Shizuo. I-I'll see you tomorrow morning!" Nanase felt guilty about lying to him (not to mention that it made her feel like a hypocrite), but she didn't want to make him feel like he'd have to save her from something... again.

He nodded and waited until she'd gotten inside, and he was about to walk away when he noticed the card had fallen to the ground. The blond debated with himself if reading it was an invasion of privacy, but the look of worry she had worn on her face had slightly concerned him and won over. The girl was a pretty good example of an 'open book'. He bent down to pick it up, reading the words, before a familiar ire rose up.

The innocent piece of paper crumpled in his fist, and he slammed his hand down on the railing outside of Nanase's door.


A/N: Chapter has been edited!