Notes: With this, I sort of ran with the muses and it wound up... becoming rather personal in a way. The song just sort of hit close to home and this fic sprouted into being around the idea that formulated as a result. So, yeah, it has a personal meaning to me.
Title: Into the Dark
Fandom: Durarara!
Pairing: Shizaya
Rating: pg13
Words: 7291 words
Prompt: BASED ON THIS. ;_; ANGSTY GOODNESS~~~
Disclaimer: It's not mine. It all belongs to others who I am in no way associated with and I make nothing from writing this, got it? I also do not own the lyrics that appear in this chapter; they're from the song Hello/How are you originally sung by Miku Hatsune.

Into the Dark

i opened the window, and softly whispered out
how are you?
There's no one here, i'm alone in the room
the morning's come, a morning of pouring rain
somebody, wind up my coil...

It had been raining for the past few weeks. Izaya wasn't sure if he was glad for it – after all, it matched his mood – or if he just wanted to start glaring at the sky for making him feel worse.

Maybe it was, he really wasn't sure anymore.

He'd retreated to his bedroom early – maybe that was a bit of an understatement; it was ten AM and he was curled up by the window – after sending Namie off with only a text message not to bother to come in today. The rest of his work he'd shoved off or taken care of with another all-nighter. Name wouldn't bother him about his health, since all he was to her was basically a walking ATM that happened to be particularly annoying.

Not like he cared about her. Or his health for that matter. It wasn't like he was actually tired; he'd been through worse before.

With a sigh, he watched as people mulled about on the streets below; obscured by umbrellas or rain coats or scurrying towards buildings for cover. One would think that they'd have gotten used to the weather by now; it hadn't let up since it started, apart from some brief breaks at night.

But that didn't stop the thunder.

Maybe it was a good thing that he wasn't sleeping.

Izaya was under no illusions that he looked like shit. His reflection in the window told him that much – too pale skin and dark, purplish-black circles under his eyes. Now that he paid a it a little more thought, he realized that he hadn't actually eaten anything for two days; aside from a bit of coffee and a couple of mouthfuls of leftovers from his fridge.

Would it matter if he drove himself into the ground and just collapsed? Tch, no. No one would care. Scratch that; they wouldn't care and they'd celebrate that fact.

I don't have any hope for myself.

He just sat there for a couple more hours, watching as the sky grew gradually darker and the people mulling about grew in number as the day wore on. Soon he could slip out among them and just blend in, be another grey shape flitting through life like it was a chore.

Which it was, wasn't it?

It wasn't like he had anyone to leave behind. If he just decided to disappear one day, no one would care. There wouldn't be anyone to miss him. That was a tempting possibility.

He could start fresh somewhere if he cared to – which he didn't, no surprises there – and maybe try to patch a better life together. But no. That wasn't how it worked. Especially not for people like him.

No. They had to suffer through life, struggle through it, pretending that everything was okay and that they were at least content with the shitty deal that they'd been cut. People like him didn't get to be happy; they only made people more miserable. That was how things had to be. Balances had to be struck; not everyone knew what love or happiness were like, got to experience those things.

That was right; humanity needed people like him to keep the rest of them happy and content and loved.

It didn't matter if he never got a happy ending; he didn't need one. That's right. He just had to go on suffering quietly to make the world a better place... that was just how it had to be... right...?

He kept telling himself that was true.

The air in his apartment felt stagnant and heavy; like it was weighing on him more than it should. It was hard to breathe, forcing air in made that lump in his throat harden and making it that much more difficult. And in his chest it felt as though a knife had sunk in, twisting painfully with every breath as his heart constricted with each beat.

It felt like he was suffocating.

He needed to get out. He couldn't take this anymore. It all hurt too much; weighed on him too much and threatened to bury him alive.

Maybe a walk would help him clear his head, he couldn't go on for much longer like this before falling apart completely.

if life had a time card,
what would be my ending time?

His coat lay where it had been discarded on the back of the couch. Grabbing it, he shoved his arms into the sleeves and flipped the hood up. True, he'd still get soaked, but some protection was better than none at all.

Pointedly, he ignored the umbrella stored in the closet; he wanted to be able to think and feel the rain. At least that was something he could feel, just like everyone else. He'd be able to think clearly if he could feel the chill of the rain, the feel of it striking him.

And maybe the cold would help snap him out of this dark mood of his.

Checking his pockets to make sure he had his keys, Izaya left his apartment. The lock clicked behind him as he closed the door, walking down the hallway with his head bowed. He took the stairs instead of the elevator. Right then he wanted to be alone, not have to deal with some half-assed cheer on the part of some bored idiot in an elevator.

It didn't help that he hated elevators; hated the feel of being closed in, that there was no way out.

Funny, that was just how his life had turned out. There was no way out; he had to deal with what he'd been given. That hadn't mattered to him before, he couldn't see how that could change now. Why should it matter?

Orihara Izaya, pity party of one. Tch, he really was pathetic...

One-hundred and sixty-two, one-hundred and sixty-three, one-hundred and sixty-four... He counted the steps as he walked them, trying to focus his thoughts even just a little. Fuck, he was such a mess, wasn't he?

Blissfully, the lobby of the building was empty when he emerged from the stairwell. The elevator doors dinged closed as he opened the door. Good, that meant no forced pleasantries; he really didn't have the energy to deal with them.

Quickly, he crossed the distance from the stairwell to the door of his building, slipping outside into the mass of people on the sidewalk. He quickly fell into step with the crowd, blending in easily. The rain hit his jacket with a rhythm, his feet falling into it as his thoughts wandered absently.

He didn't have a destination in mind, letting his feet take him wherever they wanted.

People pushed and shoved, in a hurry to get their destinations and Izaya let them. What did it matter? He didn't have one in mind, wasn't in any hurry to get to a place that didn't exist.

The exhaustion was gnawing a little at him, maybe he should've actually bothered to get some sleep. Whatever, it didn't matter. If he collapsed, he collapsed. The difference between his apartment and the outside didn't really matter all that much.

I don't have any hope for myself.

It didn't take very long for him to wind up soaked completely through. And even though it was chilly outside, he ignored it. In fact, he embraced it; at least it meant that he could feel something, be a little bit like the humanity that he loved so much.

Eventually, his feet led him back to the familiar streets of Ikebukuro; bustling with life and energy and people. But even the familiar energy of the place failed to change his mood, he felt melancholic; the same way that he'd felt all day, for the past few weeks. How odd. Usually the streets of his favourite haunt could chase out those feelings, bring back a little of the Izaya that everyone knew and hated.

Hated. He was used to that. He was used to being called almost every name in the book; from a young age he'd been ostracized by those his own age, picked on and made fun of. Maybe that had something to do with how he'd turned out – sure his home life had been normal, idyllic even, but that hid the fact that everything else hadn't.

What did it matter? He'd gotten over that years ago; moved on. He'd proven himself at least worthy to be alive.

Hadn't he?

Fuck it, it wasn't like he had those answers. He just lied to himself to keep himself going another day, another week or month, it didn't matter.

He was envious of his precious humans; being able to love and care. But he knew their dark sides, their cruelty and their violence. Humans were capable of acts of great kindness, just as they were capable of committing great acts of horror. That was just how they were, creatures of duality.

so enviable, everyone being loved
don't say anything stupid

Even then, they were still cruel. But someone had to love them, and who better than him? Someone who had seen them at their worst, had seen what they could turn a child into. It made sense; in a twisted kind of way.

Or at least, it made sense to him. And that really wasn't saying much.

Spotting the back of a familiar blond head in the crowd ahead of him, Izaya ducked down the nearest alley. Right then he wasn't looking for a confrontation with Shizuo; he just wanted to be alone. As he was, he'd probably just let the brute beat the shit out of him just to prove to himself that yeah, he was alive.

Fuck, I'm so messed up. He sighed, taking his bearings and turning down another back street. It was like a maze, but he did know where he was so he might as well wander through them.

He could get mugged for all he cared. It wouldn't make a difference to his mood.

As a matter of fact, it would probably just make it worse. Not like it really mattered to him. He'd gotten used to being treated as an object – or invisible – or anything else, but never a person. To them, he was just something useful that needed to be taken advantage of and that had always been alright with him; he didn't mind being used, it gave him a slim reason to keep pushing forward.

After all, he was too much of a coward to take his own life. Wasn't that right?

He was used to being what people expected him to be: a manipulative jerk ass who enjoyed playing with the emotions of those around him. His parents had never been much better; always treated him like the son they thought he was, never paying attention to what was actually going on in his life.

It didn't matter now. He was who he was; there was no changing that.

No matter how much it hurt.

i have to prepare
to hide the trace of my tears

He didn't bother wiping away the moisture that was accumulating at the corners of his eyes; told himself that it was just the rain, that it didn't matter if anyone saw him. Fuck if he cared.

It hadn't mattered before, what anyone thought of him.

Izaya had gotten used to people calling him names; they'd called him everything in the book, even his own parents had gotten in on it once or twice. What was one more person insulting him going to do?

Definitely wouldn't push him off the edge. He was already there and just hanging on for the hell of it; it really didn't matter if someone decided to give him an extra push off, they'd been trying to get that result for years.

Eventually, his feet led him to a little playground. Obviously it had been abandoned for quite a while, the swing set was rusty and the slide and monkey bars were covered in faded and peeling paint. The entire area was empty. Even better.

The gravel crunched loudly under his feet as he stepped onto it. Ignoring it, he headed towards the swings, taking a seat on one and not caring about how the water pooled on it soaked straight through his pants. He was already soaked to the bone, it didn't really make a difference.

He just wanted to be left alone to his thoughts.

Absently, he pushed the swing back and forth. Surprisingly it didn't screech from the use, just swayed back and forth as Izaya stared at the ground under his feet.

Kids probably used to come here all the time, full of dreams and imaginations running wild. Maybe they came here to make wishes on stars sometimes, or to share secrets. Kid stuff. Things that Izaya had never done.

What do I wish for...? Craning his head back, he looked up at the sky. It was still dark and overcast and all he really got for his troubles was a face full of water. Well that just sucked.

It trickled down his neck, making him shiver. Great, he was on his way to pneumonia or something; that would just be his luck, catching some godaweful disease because he was out being depressed at an abandoned playground in some shitty part of Ikebukuro. Yep, that was the story of his life. He really was pathetic.

"What the fuck are you doing here flea?"

you've never smiled or laughed,
so i ask, can't we try to talk?

Slowly, Izaya turned his head and blinked to clear his tears and the rain. He could make out Shizuo standing at the edge of the playground, a little blurry around the edges, holding an umbrella in one hand and a half-smoked cigarette in the other.

He turned away from the sight; he really wasn't in the mood.

The blond growled, Izaya could imagine his expression; eyebrow twitching in irritation as a murderous look crossed his face. Despite what he said, he still probably knew Shizuo the best out of anyone.

Wasn't that sad? It was almost enough to make him laugh, he thought bitterly.

Oh, how ironic; the one who arguably knew him best was someone who he wouldn't really call human, someone who hated him and wanted him dead. Wasn't that just too funny? It was too bad he didn't have the energy to laugh. There really was something wrong with him.

Izaya was well-aware that his attitude was pissing the blond off. He heard the crunch of gravel underfoot as the other approached, letting his eyes drift closed as he waited to either be jerked roughly out of his seat or just for Shizuo's fist to make contact with his jaw or face.

Neither came.

The only sound that greeted his ears was the squeak of protest from the rusty swing next to him as a body settled into it. That... he hadn't expected that. Just what the hell was Shizuo thinking?

He hated not being able to tell what was running through that stupid head of his; Shizuo never reacted the way he expected him to. Figures, he should have thought about that.

Cracking his eyes open, he took a cautious peek from the corners of his eyes at the blond sitting next to him on the swing set. His umbrella was closed, leaning against the post, and he was quickly on his way to getting just as wet as Izaya was; although he probably didn't care.

Well okay, maybe that was one thing that they had in common.

And maybe there was more, but Izaya wasn't willing to admit any of that; not even to himself.

I'm really so weak...

He thought that Shizuo was going to say something, but the blond remained silent, which was very much unlike him. Or, at least, the Shizuo that he knew and experienced on a near daily basis; he was always yelling at him, for one reason or another. Not that he'd ever let it bother him before.

So what had changed? Had he? Had Shizuo? No, that wasn't possible. Shizuo... Shizuo couldn't have changed. That much he was sure of. Which meant that he'd been the one to change. For the better or worse, he wasn't sure.

Eventually, the silence finally got to him. Izaya sighed, "What do you want Shizu-chan?"

The blond didn't even look at him when he responded, which made Izaya frown. Stop confusing me. You're making it worse, do you know that Shizu-chan?

"You look like shit."

Izaya rolled his eyes, "Thank you for that stunning observation. And that's not answering the question."

He shrugged, "There's no point to beating someone up who is already doing a pretty good job of it on their own."

"I'm fi–"

"Bullshit." Now, Shizuo turned to look at him, eyes blazing. "You look like you haven't eaten or slept in days. Not to mention the cloud of despair that you've got hovering over your head. It's like you've got a giant sign that says 'mug me' over your head."

Fuck, when did he get so good at reading me?

Izaya looked away, staring at his shoes and the gravel. He forced back a shiver even as his heart hammered in his chest. There was... Shizuo couldn't know about him. But he could read him like a book. When did he learn so much about him?

It felt as though the air was congealing in his lungs.

it's too painful for me to even breathe

Why couldn't he just have gotten through his day without running into the blond man? It would have been so much easier if Shizuo had just minded his own business and left him alone. Just like everyone else.

Izaya sighed. Maybe if he just ignored the other, he'd go away. Why Shizuo had to show up when he just wanted to be alone was a mystery to him.

The two of them remained sitting there in silence for a long stretch of time; the only sounds being that of the rain and the occasional squeak of the swings. Shizuo showed no signs of leaving, eyes focused on something in the distance – maybe one of the buildings? But his continued presence just served to make Izaya more uncomfortable than he already was.

He fervently wished that the blond couldn't arouse such feelings in him, ones that he was so sure were forever outside of his reach. In his chest, his heart felt as though it might be torn in two.

Why does he have to make everything so difficult? So... confusing...? If he could have, he would have pulled his knees to his chest and curled in on himself. No, these weren't the thoughts that someone like him was meant to be harbouring. It wasn't his. He couldn't have it, no matter how hard he wished.

And people treated it so lightly, took it for granted when there were people like him who... Oh, what did it matter? He had never let it bother him so much before.

But then again, Shizuo had never acted like he was now before. Every other time, he always gave into his temper and hatred – however irrational it might be – and took it out on Izaya. That was something the brunette could deal with. Anger was justified. It was the norm. Not this. Not this Shizuo who sat beside him now, treated him as though... as though he was human, normal.

This did not happen to Orihara Izaya.

What was happening? He didn't understand.

The tears started slipping past but they were lost to the rain.

Do you really want to be loved, I ask?

He did. Really, that was... that was something that he had always wanted, but no matter what he did, all everyone gave him was hate. That had all he'd been given, he knew of nothing else. What was he supposed to do now? Was Shizuo even aware of what he was potentially offering just by being there? With him?

"What do you want Shizu-chan?" He forced his voice to sound even, to have the right amount of disproval and anger in it. He wasn't about to let Shizuo in without a fight, he would push him away. It was for the best.

The blond shrugged, "Nothing."

"Then why are you here?"

"Because you look like if I just left you here, you'd let yourself drown or mugged or something. You might not realize it, but you're just asking for someone to come up and kill you."

"That's a lie and you know it." I'm scared to die... isn't that sad? I could just end it but I'm too much of a coward to try.

"Whatever you say Izaya," the blond replied. He turned to look at him, locking him with stormy eyes. "But we both know who the liar is here."

It's me, it's me. It's always me.

"You're awfully talkative today Shizu-chan." Izaya kicked the gravel aimlessly, "It's not like you."

"Yeah? Well you aren't exactly acting like yourself either." The blond had a cigarette dangling between his lips, but he didn't light it; it was completely soaked, it was more out of habit than anything. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong," Izaya replied. "You're just imagining things."

"Sure I am; I'm not the one trying to drown myself out of misery in the fucking rain. Stop being such an ass and just tell me what's wrong."

The blond shot him what had to be the darkest glare that he was capable of and pointed at him accusingly, "And don't you fucking dare tell me that you're fine or that it's nothing because we both know that's not true."

Izaya fell silent, what was he supposed to say to that?

words have come up to the throat
but all that comes out the mouth is lies

Shizuo sighed; he sounded almost exasperated, "Look, as much as I hate to admit it, you've got me worried. So talk."

"You hate me." And damn it, he was going to avoid answering that question for as long as possible; maybe if he irritated Shizuo enough, he'd leave.

"And you're the one who always pisses me off," Shizuo shot back easily. He was far too relaxed; too calm.

"I irritate everyone."

Shizuo rolled his eyes, "Only because you try so hard to."

"What does it matter? I'm annoying; you've said it yourself before many times."

"That's usually because you are being annoying most of the time; I bet if you tried, you could at least be halfway decent."

Oh, this was just too ironic. "You're giving me life advice? You of all people?"

"Out of everyone you've ever run into or pissed off, I probably do know you the best," the blond admitted. He leaned back a little in the swing, "If I really want to think about it, then I'd say that we're kind of the same."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Izaya narrowed his eyes. "We're nothing alike; there's nothing that we have in common."

"No need to get so defensive," Shizuo muttered. "And yeah, I think we are."

"That's stupid. I think that there might be something wrong with your brain – not that I didn't know that before."

He wouldn't admit it, but his heart was hammering wildly in his chest. Shizuo was hitting too close to home, he was just getting too close to him. And no matter how hard he tried to push him away, to piss him off, it just wasn't working. What was going on? He was confused.

He was confused and angry and hurt and hopeful and all sorts of emotions that were at war inside of himself. All because of Shizuo.

Damn him.

"Hey, just hear me out."

Izaya sighed and pointedly tore his eyes away from the blond, staring at the ground instead, "Fine."

Great, just great. His emotions were starting to bleed over that carefully constructed wall of his; he was making this too easy for the blond to figure him out.

"Huh. I thought you'd put up a fight."

"Just get on with it Shizu-chan; I don't have all day." Yes I do, but I don't want to spend it with you... not when all you're doing in confusing me and giving me false hope.

"Alright, alright... you're irritable today..."

The blond took a deep breath; Izaya could still feel his eyes boring into him, he hadn't looked away. Not once. He couldn't suppress the coil of warmth that settled somewhere deep inside of his chest, he didn't want to.

"Well... you're always pushing people away," he began slowly; it was clear that he was weighing each word carefully. "It's like, I don't want to let people close because I'm afraid that I'll hurt them, that I won't be able to control myself... but I think that you don't want to let people get close because you're afraid that they'll hurt you."

It felt as though his stomach had dropped out of his feet. How did–? When did–? He could feel his heart stuttering wildly in his chest as panic started to seep through his blood stream. Shizuo couldn't – he couldn't – this was just too – life was too cruel sometimes. Why was it dangling something he couldn't have right in front of him?

Get away, get away... have to... get away... no this isn't... this isn't right...!

But before he could move, beyond a sudden jerk forward, there was a hand around his arm; firm, like an iron band and he couldn't escape.

The panic started to overwhelm him, thudding wildly through his veins as the ground started to spin before him and his vision swam. He wasn't getting enough oxygen. But he didn't care.

What did it matter?

Over the wild hammering of his pulse, he could just make out Shizuo's voice. He was... talking to him... what was he saying?

"Hey, Izaya calm down. It's alright..."

He had to concentrate, otherwise the words sounded very far away; like he was listening to them from the other end of a tunnel...

"Fuck! Breathe you idiot! Breath!"

There was another hand on his shoulder now, gently shaking him and someone was in front of him, kneeling. That was... Shizuo, right? Everything was still fuzzy and spinning.

He slumped forward bonelessly, falling off the swing and into warm arms and he could hear a heart thudding wildly – was it from fear? – and breathing and...

"Breathe, come on... breathe...!"

Breathe? Right. He had too... it was too shallow and halting and he wasn't getting enough oxygen; that was why his vision was swimming and spots were forming.

And something was holding him tightly too, something warm and rising and falling in rhythm; he tried to match his breathing to it. One shaking breath in, one out. In and out. Slowly, Izaya felt his breathing even out and his vision started to clear up.

He was in a heap on the ground, the water soaking quickly through his already soaked pants and he shivered. But Shizuo was holding him up, arms strong and firm around him and holding him to his chest tightly.

It would have been horribly embarrassing if it wasn't for the fact that it was very comfortable. Well, yes it was still embarrassing, but there was no one around to see but them and for once in his life, Izaya didn't want to move. For once, he was comfortable and warm and he felt safe and – he cut himself off there.

Under his head, he could hear the steady beat of Shizuo's heart; still beating a little too quickly, but gradually slowing down. Had he actually worried the blond with his little panic attack?

A quick stab of guilt ran through him. He didn't deserve this.

"You alright now?"

He tried to tell himself that he was just imagining the slight tremor in that voice, but it wasn't working.

All he could do was nod wordlessly, hoping that Shizuo wouldn't pull away and hoping that he would; he was confused and hopeful – so hopeful – but he knew better than that. But his walls weren't come back to him, they were still lying on the floor in pieces.

Shizuo let out a heavy breath of relief and his arms tightened around Izaya for several long moments, as though he was reassuring himself that the brunette was still there and fine. Well, physically he was, emotionally was a completely different matter.

Izaya finally found his voice, and managed to force it to work – but he hated how weak it sounded. "Why? Why are you... doing this? You hate me."

Those arms pulled him a little closer, further into the blond's lap and Izaya flushed. He hadn't realized it before, but his hands were fisted in the material of Shizuo's vest.

"Because you need me. Whether you want to admit it or not."

How long had he spent waiting for someone to say that? Days? Months? Years? His entire life? He couldn't possibly know the answer to that, no matter how deep into himself he looked; not when he didn't even know himself.

He bit his lip, how was he supposed to respond to that?

Blood was pounding through his veins and there were tears running down his cheeks that he couldn't stop. He felt so scared and afraid – how much would it hurt if he let Shizuo in?

It might be too late for that, a voice whispered from a corner of his mind, you've already let him in and let him see this side of you.

How had he not noticed that?

Izaya sighed, heavily, and grumbled out against Shizuo's shoulder, "I'm not asking for your help."

"I know."

"Then what are you offering me?"

The blond hesitated, clearly thinking through what he was about to say before he spoke next, "A second chance."

"What makes you think I want one?"

"Everyone does."

Am I everyone? "Where do I fit into that?"

"If you didn't want a second chance, you wouldn't keep coming back to harass me," Shizuo reasoned levelly. He was surprisingly calm about the entire thing.

Izaya snorted, "I think you're going soft Shizu-chan."

"Maybe," Shizuo shrugged. "But I think it's pretty obvious that you need someone; you can't keep pushing everyone away Izaya."

"You don't know that."

"I do." He stood up then, but extended a hand to the brunette; the promise was implicit in the gesture.

That extended hand left Izaya with two choices: accept and possibly dig his way out of this hole he'd dug himself, or refuse and continue going on the road that he was on, as self-destructive as it was. The latter would be easier, but he was finding it so difficult to go on. He was tired... so, so tired...

How much could it hurt?

He really didn't have anything to lose, he'd already hit rock bottom – well, almost, but he was scared of what hitting the bottom for him could mean for him.

Izaya extended his hand and took Shizuo's; his hands were clammy and cold compared to the blond's, which were warm and so much larger than his. It was strange how he was noticing all of the differences between them now despite having known the other for years. He was fragile in comparison to Shizuo's bulk and practically indestructible nature – he'd seen Shizuo stabbed, shot, hit by cars...

They were so different, could Shizuo actually give him what he was looking for?

He hoped that was true.

Maybe this time he could break that pattern; if anyone was good at defying his expectations, it was Heiwajima Shizuo.

He could try.

Seven months later...

Bright light streamed in through the window. Izaya squeezed his eyes shut and grabbed his pillow and shoved it over his head to block out the light; it was a Saturday, he didn't want to be up this early. Why were the curtains open again?

"Oi, Izaya get out of bed – it's already 10:30!"

Right, that was why.

He groaned and snuggled deeper under the covers. He really wasn't interested in getting up quite yet; Shizuo, though, was usually up and about by at least nine on weekends and earlier on weekdays. Sometimes he got lucky and the blond would indulge him in his preference to be lazy, but most of the time he was up and about.

Ever since that day months ago, Shizuo had been... supportive. It was very hard to describe how he acted; but supportive and affectionate probably covered the entire spectrum, for the most part. It had been a long journey – and it was still a work-in-progress in Izaya's mind – but Shizuo seemed content with how much he had improved. There were still some rough patches and some set-backs, but those were slowly becoming less frequent occurrences.

There had been plenty of late night phone calls that lasted into the wee hours of the morning, a lot of break downs and patching back together afterwards; Izaya was a mess and Shizuo was attempting to clean it up, so to speak. He had to chase after him in the rain sometimes and drag him inside so that he didn't catch something nasty.

"It's as though it's my second job; you're a real handful Izaya."

Unsurprisingly – or at least to some it felt – they're relationship had... evolved into something more. Izaya still wasn't sure how that had happened, but he wasn't going to complain.

It was nice to wake up next to someone for once.

Shizuo really did make a nice pillow.

"You're still in bed?"

Izaya peeked out from under the blankets and pillow; Shizuo was standing in the door with his arms crossed and looking at the brunette sternly. He looked almost unrecognizable out of his usual bartender attire, now in a plain black tee and jeans, but just as attractive as always.

"... what?" Izaya grumbled; he really didn't want to get out of bed. Instead he gestured vaguely for the blond to come back and curl up with him, that was what he wanted right then.

Shizuo sighed, clearly impatient. "You do realize that we have to meet Celty and Shinra in less than an hour, right?"

He frowned, "That's today?"

"If it wasn't, I wouldn't be pestering you about this," Shizuo replied; heading over to the closet and pulling out clothes and throwing them in the direction of the bed. "If you get moving now, you'll have time for a shower before you have to get dressed."

"Why didn't you remind me last night?" Izaya tried to untangle himself from the sheets but just wound up tumbling to the ground in a heap of body and blankets. He managed to poke his head out of the cocoon that he'd made for himself, blinking at the blond as he tried to glare at him.

He was entirely unsuccessful in his endeavour, because Shizuo just grinned at him rather wolfishly.

"I tried, but you were more interested in other activities."

Oh yes, now he remembered that. Izaya flushed a pale pink at the reminder of how they'd spent the night and why he was waking up naked and feeling just a little sore – and that wasn't because he'd just fallen out of bed.

"Do you need some help?" Shizuo asked with a chuckle, but his gaze was appreciative and warm as Izaya managed to wiggle his way out of the blankets he'd tangled himself in.

"Very funny," Izaya snapped back. "I can manage on my own. Don't you have something better to do than harass me?"

"Nope."

Snatching up the nearest article of clothing from the floor, Izaya stood up, feeling a lot less vulnerable now that he wasn't completely naked.

The blond grinned and laughed a little, "You do know that you're wearing my boxers, right?"

"Yeah, yeah. You shut up." And of course, Shizuo had to be standing in the doorway and blocking the way to the bathroom; his arms slid around Izaya's waist and pulled him close so that he could press a quick peck to his lips. "Okay, I get it; you made your point."

"You'll be okay? I don't want to find out that you tried to drown yourself in the shower or something?"

It was a testament to what they'd been through that it sounded half-serious – well, the first part was more serious and concerned and the second part was said half-jokingly. But it did manage to wrestle an small, grudging smile out of Izaya.

"Yeah, I'll be fine." He pressed a quick kiss to the other's lips and slipped out of his arms; pausing only to call over his shoulder just as he was about to close the bathroom door, "No peeking!"

He could hear Shizuo chuckle and respond with, "It's not like I haven't seen it before."

Oh, Izaya thought, he'd have to come up with some way to get back at the blond for how many times he'd made him blush over the past several months. It just was not fair that it was so much more difficult to fluster the taller man; Izaya had been trying but it just never seemed to work.

Maybe it had something to do with how Shizuo didn't really seem to care what people thought of him; it was something to be admired. He'd been working on instilling that same sort of self-confidence in Izaya and he'd been successful to an extent; Izaya doubted he'd ever be able to feel that way about himself, he was still too dependent on others.

On a bad day, he still needed Shizuo there to pull him out of that dark place that he would slip into.

He closed the door and stripped out of Shizuo's boxers, chucking them into a corner of the bathroom as he stepped into the shower stall. He pulled the door closed behind him and turned on the water, adjusting it until it was the right temperature; steam quickly filled the bathroom and fogged up the door of the shower stall.

Izaya didn't particularly care what sort of shampoo he used and he'd been staying with Shizuo off and on for months, so the blond had gotten used to him stealing his shampoo. The one thing that he insisted on was that Izaya keep his own tooth brush if he intended to be staying overnight.

So, aside from the extra toothbrush and some clothing shoved into the back of the blond's closet, there really wasn't any other indication that Shizuo had a roommate now.

That and one or two picture frames that had inexplicably appeared in the living room on the shelf there.

It was... weird to say the least; Izaya still wasn't completely used to someone wanting to make memories with him, as the saying went. But it was something that he was finding oddly comforting, it was helping him along. Much to his surprise, Shinra and Celty had joined in on the effort; probably because Shizuo had asked them too.

Hence, why the four of them were going out to lunch together. Shinra was the one who picked out the restaurant, probably one where Celty's helmet wouldn't arouse too much suspicion or could go relatively unnoticed; Izaya never really paid attention to the explanation.

Rinsing out the shampoo, Izaya stood under the stream of water for several minutes, just thinking over the turns which his life had taken recently.

He was jerked out of his thoughts by Shizuo knocking on the door.

"Hurry up! We don't have all day!"

That made him smile; some things didn't change.

"Yeah, I'll be right out!"

He turned off the water, slipping a little as he stepped out onto the rug. Goosebumps immediately sprouted across his flesh as he stepped out into the cool air of the bathroom. Snatching a towel off the rack, he quickly dried his hair and wrapped the towel around his waist.

Shizuo wasn't in the hallway, but Izaya could hear him shuffling around in the family room. It made him smile as he quickly darted into the bedroom to finish drying off and get dressed for the day.

A quick glance at the clothes that Shizuo had thrown on the bed were indicative of his tastes; they kind of matched what the blond was wearing. Well, except Shizuo's clothes for the day were comparatively monotone.

Maybe it's just about the memories...

Shrugging, Izaya pulled on the dark jeans and red shirt that had been laid out for him after fishing out some clean underwear and socks from his side of the drawer. At the very least, they fit him well and he didn't mind so much that Shizuo was picking out his clothes like a parent would.

i just want to say thanks
just once would be fine

Even so, he grabbed one of his hoodies from the closet; he didn't really feel comfortable with anything that lacked long sleeves. Besides, it had a hood and that was good too. Pulling it on, he zipped it up, realizing that the sleeves were a little too long. Well, that wasn't particularly important.

Shizuo poked his head into the room, "You ready?"

"Yep!" He couldn't deny that there was a bounce in his step that hadn't been there before; he felt a lot more comfortable too.

Maybe the sex did have something to do with that – he'd have to look into it – but he really didn't care too much about it. That was something new. He'd stopped over-analysing every possible motivation that Shizuo could have had for helping him months ago and just learned to accept it for what it was. He was still working on it a little, but he'd vastly improved; sometimes he had doubts, but they were quickly assuaged.

Shizuo was good at that.

The blond in question grinned, "Are you sure you're gonna wear that? It's really nice out."

"I'm not impervious to temperatures like you are Shizu-chan," Izaya chided gently. "Besides, it's light and I prefer sleeves."

He just shook his head good-naturedly at the response, "I guess I've still got work to do, huh?"

"This doesn't have anything to do with that," Izaya replied with a frown. "It's just a preference."

"If you say so. Come on, we've got to hurry or we'll be late."

With more confidence than he'd ever have thought he'd possess before, Izaya reached out and caught Shizuo's hand in both of his. He smiled a little when the blond automatically entwined their fingers together as they left the apartment. His hand was large and warm around Izaya's, but the brunette wasn't afraid.

He knew Shizuo would never hurt him.

such troublesome creatures, aren't we?
it's just being human...

FIN.

I know that the ending is kind of... awkward, but I feel that if I tried to keep going it would never end. I enjoyed this fill a lot and even though it's personal, it helped me just a little bit. I hope that all of you enjoy it as much as I loved writing it. 3

One more thing that I can scratch off my to do list.

Comments are much appreciated!

Twilight.