Izaya took a deep breath and spread his arms open.
"Ah, Tokyo. Even the air is different."
Shizuo wrinkled his nose. They had just arrived in the capital, the city of all cities, and Shizuo already missed the nice atmosphere of Okinawa with its clear skies and deep blue sea.
"Aren't you a hypocrite. Complaining about the quality of air when you fill your lungs with poison."
Shizuo rubbed his chin, thoughtfully.
"Yeah, you got a point. Guess I can quit now. Since I made a promise with myself."
And just like this he tossed his cigarette pack to a curb. Izaya blinked.
"I have to ask, what promise is this?"
"If I got through to you then I'd quit smoking."
"And you decided this before hiring me?"
"Didn't you say you fell in love with me in Okinawa?"
"And I did. But I wanted to, how should I put this, communicate with you before any of that."
Shizuo was quite pleased that the annoying air quotes were gone. Izaya glided down the sideway with his typical swagger.
"Hmm…so, Heiwajima Shizuo. Do you think that you know me now?"
"Completely? No, not even close."
Izaya lifted an eyebrow.
"That was the right answer."
"But I know you much better. And I have time to learn more. It's probably impossible to ever learn everything about someone no matter what but trying, really trying, is good enough. That is what I think."
Izaya smiled openly.
"Every now and then you say some rather pertinent things."
"Thanks. Here it is."
Shizuo produced the tiny bell from a pocket and dangled it in front of Izaya who burst out laughing.
"You cannot be serious."
"Told you I got one for you."
A small alarm informed Izaya that he had received an email.
"Shizu-chan, how do you feel about getting on a plane again?"
Izaya showed him the picture he had just received.
"It does look quite a lot like Long Cat. Sighted in…I will let you guess."
Don't tell me, Hiroshima…?"
Izaya proceeded to skip around in that crazy dance routine of his that never failed to amuse Shizuo to no end. Shizuo held him and kissed him much to Izaya's dismay.
"You can't do that in public!"
"Sorry. Are you going after Long Cat?"
"If you want to then I'd be glad to tag along."
"Why don't we take the train instead?"
"The train? What for?"
"To see the landscape."
"Is there anything worth seeing in this country apart from Tokyo?"
"Don't be a jerk, Okinawa is real pretty and Nagasaki looks great."
Izaya waved dismissively.
"I predict that we will see rice fields, rice fields and rice fields."
"It'll be fun, you'll see."
"So let me guess, no Shinkansen?"
"We are becoming rural. Next thing I know I'll be tilling the fields or something along those lines."
"Nah, we have to catch Long Cat. Or to be more national, 'Nagai Neko'."
"What do you mean? It's not a stray cat, we can't just catch him."
"That's too bad."
"Besides, if we had a pet just who would take care of it?"
"Cats take care of themselves, long or not."
"Unless we're about to move in together for good then it'd be complicated. And you don't have to pick now to stop smoking. I am afraid you'll get cranky to the point of it being dangerous for me."
"Nah, won't happen. And we'd just have to live together."
"Heh, maybe we can bribe the owners or steal Long Cat from them."
"So we can live together?"
"You sure can be persistent."
"I'll take that as 'sure'. And I have to be, no way I could be your lover otherwise."
"Oh dearie. You have a point there. I'll think about it."
"So, shall we go?"
Izaya was a few steps behind. For a while he watched Shizuo who had no issues holding his hand to Izaya to take. Izaya wanted to inform Shizuo that such things were beyond odd but somehow he felt that it would cheapen the moment. He took Shizuo's hand and placed it inside the pocket along with his own. The tiny bell was there too and it bounced freely.
"Let us go, then."
And they walked side by side.