Ritchie didn't have much ambition in life. She didn't like to plan ahead. There was no excitement in it - she much preferred to take life as it came. The most she ever planned in advance was who to invite on her next night out and what clubs that may hit... She didn't really dream about things. If she decided she wanted something then she'd go straight out and do her damnedest to get it.

Right now, the thing she'd decided she wanted to try was dance lessons.

Ritchie was obviously familiar with the modern generation of dance. She knew how to swing, sashay and grind her hips. She knew how to slut drop. She knew how to work her magic on a pole. But what she didn't know were real dances. Dances with real choreography, real sequences, real cultures behind them. And keeping in with her favourite idol, of course, she had a particular genre of dance in mind.

Unfortunately there were a few kinks with this particular plan, meaning it couldn't be as spontaneous a decision as Ritchie would usually have preferred. The first one that sprang to mind was work. The classes she was looking at occurred on set evenings every week. Her shifts did not. They changed weekly, meaning she never knew in advance what evenings she'd have free. She decided she'd have to try sweet talking Kosuke into giving her the same evening off every week on a more long-term basis.

But of course there was another complication, in the form of a certain someone who enjoyed playing with humans on a number of levels - hopes and dreams most definitely included.

"Why would you want to take dance lessons? You already know how to dance."

"Huh?" Ritchie looked round from where she was sat. Izaya simply tapped his computer screen in a pointed fashion. She knew she'd used his computer to research the classes, but she'd made sure to clean up after herself. "How did you know that? I cleared the search history and cookies and everything."

"Please. That's child's play, Ritchie-chan," said Izaya scornfully.

Ritchie's frown deepened. "Seriously?" She got up and strode across to look over Izaya's shoulder. Sure enough, the exact website she'd been looking at was emblazoned across the screen. She knew Izaya was intelligent, but she hadn't expected him to be quite so tech savvy. "How did you do that?"

Izaya leant back in his chair and interlaced his fingers, stretching them out in front of him. "Haven't you ever heard a magician never reveals his secrets?"

Ritchie rolled her eyes. "Fine, whatever." She didn't know why, after all this time, she still asked questions half expecting a straight answer. It was really quite stupid.

"So why exactly do you want to take dance lessons?" Izaya prompted, not finished with the subject. "I thought dancing was already your job."

"That's different," Ritchie dismissed, pointedly indicating the screen again. "In case you haven't noticed I don't exactly start rocking and rolling round the pole when I'm on stage."

Izaya grinned. "Is this more of your sad 50s obsession coming into play?"

"It is not sad! It's a well-renowned era," Ritchie retorted hotly. She knew he was purposely trying to goad her, but she still couldn't ever keep herself from biting back.

Still smirking over how easy Ritchie always was to annoy, Izaya turned his gaze back to the computer screen. "You have to have a partner for rock 'n' roll dancing."

"Well done, you know how to read," said Ritchie sarcastically, wondering what he was trying to get at now.

"But I might get jealous if I know you're off dancing with other guys," said Izaya theatrically, all innocent pretence.

"Don't be ridiculous," was Ritchie's response. "You wouldn't know jealousy if it bit you in the ass."

"You always act like I have no heart, Ritchie-chan," Izaya pouted.

"Hmm. Wonder where I get that idea from," said Ritchie dryly, turning away.

As she did Izaya jumped up out of his chair and cut in front of her, grabbing her hand and twirling her round in a very poor attempt at a dance move. "This is really all you want to learn to do?" he asked, looking amused.

"Um, no... I want to learn real rock 'n' roll dancing for a start - not whatever the hell you're trying to do," Ritchie pointed out, eyebrows raised. "And what are you even trying for anyway? I know you wouldn't want to be my dance partner."

"You wouldn't be wrong there," Izaya agreed, still wearing that same half smirk.

"But you don't want any other guys to dance with me either."

"Right again."

Ritchie frowned again. "And it's not even because you're jealous, is it? You just like to act like I'm some plaything of yours and you always have to get your way about it."

Izaya bypassed her condescending tone, battling it with his own. "You're getting good at this, Ritchie-chan. If this were a class I'd have to give you a gold star."

Ritchie tore her hand away from his, feeling annoyed. She knew it. "Keep your fucking gold star. If I want to take dance lessons then I'm gonna take dance lessons. You can't stop me."

"Oh, but I can and I will," said Izaya, falsely sweet, tucking two fingers under Ritchie's chin and tilting her face up towards his. "Don't forget that we always play by my rules."

Ritchie met his gaze levelly, but angrily. "I lose interest in the game when you start playing dirty," she said coolly, mocking his choice of words.

It was probably just the light, but Ritchie could have sworn she'd seen Izaya's eyes grow darker. He slid his fingers and thumb higher around her face, grinding them against her jaw. "Well then you'd best make a better attempt to pay attention, hadn't you?"

He was digging his fingers in enough to hurt. Ritchie hated when he did things like this. Sure, he was able to mess with her in more ways than she could count - she usually just gritted her teeth and bared it. Sometimes with a little protesting of course. But it was when he started getting physically rough that she drew the line.

She knew he was trying to show his dominance over her. It was what he usually resorted to if she threatened going against him in some way. And she was sure that he also did it to test her. She'd made it clear how she felt about abusive relationships, particularly from her spectator's view of Maddie's. She had a strong feeling that Izaya liked to see how far he could push her with that knowledge. It really was playing dirty.

"Let go of me," she said firmly, in her best attempt to sound calm. She wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of knowing that his grip hurt.

But Izaya rarely ever did as he was told. "I think you're forgetting who's in control here," he said, the light tone of voice not quite matching his eyes. His nails dug cruel welts into Ritchie's jaw line as he flexed his fingers even harder.

Ritchie didn't know if it was the added physical pressure or the blasé comment about the control that she felt they were constantly at war for, but something snapped inside her. She was not a toy and she was going to make damn sure that Izaya knew that. She curled her right hand into a fist and swung up at his face.

She didn't give any real warning for it, but Izaya had a nasty habit of predicting what she was going to do. He grabbed her fist with his free hand and stopped her easily, though he did have to relinquish his grip on her chin to do so. Ritchie took the chance to pull away from him as best as she could, even if he now had her by the wrist instead.

It seemed to do the trick somehow though. Izaya's eyes had bled back to their usual brown and now seemed to dance more with amusement, if anything. "Bad Ritchie-chan. Did you really think that was going to work?"

"It was worth a shot," said Ritchie lightly, testing his grip on her wrist. It wasn't as rough this time, but still too much to pull away from. It looked like his game wasn't over just yet.

Izaya shook his head theatrically. "You should give me more credit. There's a reason I can go up against Shizu-chan over and over."

In spite of herself, Ritchie felt her curiosity pique at Izaya's comment. She'd wondered about the info broker's strength before, but it was more than that that allowed him to hold his own against the city's strongest and angriest man. She knew Izaya was fast, but just how good were his reflexes? Would she even stand a chance if their battle for control ever resorted to a literal fight?

Izaya seemed to notice that the cogs were turning in Ritchie's head, likely by the fact that she'd stopped trying to pull away. "Did I say something that interested you, Ritchie-chan?"

"Has Shizuo ever gotten one over on you before?" Ritchie asked curiously.

"You mean other than the time you so cruelly threw me to him and allowed him to strangle me almost to death?" said Izaya dramatically, his fingers tensing ever so slightly around Ritchie's wrist.

Ritchie rolled her eyes. "Hey, that was all you - you should have been paying attention. And in case you don't remember I was the one who told Shizuo not to squeeze out that last breath of yours."

Izaya clearly didn't appreciate being indebted to someone, because he smoothly ignored Ritchie's last comment. "I've been grazed by the odd trashcan or street sign, but no, Shizu-chan's never come close to winning the war."

"Huh." Ritchie noticed his use of the word 'war'. It was exactly how she so often saw things between Izaya and herself.

Amusement flared in Izaya's eyes again. "So do you think you can do what he couldn't? Do you think you can do better than Shizu-chan?"

Ritchie didn't say anything. She'd been thinking exactly that. She wasn't strong like Shizuo, but where he relied on brute strength she relied on speed and agility. Could that really give her an edge or was it, more likely, just wishful thinking on her part?

Leaving physical imprints on Izaya during sex was one thing, but how amazing would it be if she could mark him in an actual fight? And from the sounds of it Izaya knew exactly what she was thinking. Ritchie didn't exactly think like a normal person, but Izaya still had the scary ability to get inside her head.

Though of course she'd never give him the satisfaction of knowing he was right. "If I can, will you leave me alone?" she said, lacing her tone with as much sarcasm as she could muster.

"Is that a challenge, Ritchie-chan?"

"Maybe it is," said Ritchie, fighting to keep anything from showing on her face.

"Alright then..." Izaya pulled Ritchie in towards him so that their faces were inches apart, her lips mere breaths away from that wicked smirk of his. "If you can get me on this floor then I won't try to stop you from taking those dance lessons of yours."

Ritchie hesitated. Izaya's wagers and deals never went down well. If he was actually suggesting this himself then that just confirmed that what she'd suspected was true. Izaya seemed very sure of himself - that meant there was no way she could win. But Ritchie had never been one to give up easily. He was providing her with the very chance she'd been waiting for... The chance to try and get what she wanted. And try was damn well what she was going to do.

"Are you too chicken, Ritchie-chan?" asked Izaya mockingly, as Ritchie was still thinking things over, still trying to plan her next move. He released her hand and took two steps back, completing the sequence with an exaggerated sigh. "That's too bad."

"Like hell I'm chicken... Think again!" Ritchie growled and then sprang at him, closing the distance he'd just put between them.

It was a stupid move. Izaya could already anticipate what she was going to do at the best of times, even when she didn't always know herself, but she really couldn't have done anything more obvious on this occasion. And of course Izaya had been waiting for it. He skipped out of the way and grabbed Ritchie's outstretched wrist again, though this time to help propel her aside, adding to her momentum.

Ritchie span on her heels, turning and just about stopping herself from crashing into the table where the Chinese Go board sat. Izaya stood in the centre of the room, watching her in enjoyment, waiting for her next move. There was no way she could act and make it not obvious. He'd see everything she tried to do. Well... in that case she'd just have to give it everything she had and hope that she could win without the element of surprise.

Trying not to think about how that meant that she was playing without the one thing that could have given her the slightest chance of winning, Ritchie gritted her teeth and threw herself at Izaya again, her fist raised, hoping that possibly landing a blow might at least distract him. Of course it was just more of that wishful thinking. Izaya caught her fist again like before and twisted her arm painfully behind her back in the same movement.

The hold dragged her in closer to him. Ritchie tried swiping at his legs with her foot in an attempt to kick them out from under him, but Izaya turned the move back on her - sidestepping her foot and then hooking the toe of his shoe around her ankle and dragging it sharply from underneath her.

Ritchie felt herself fall back as his kick compromised her balance, but he still had a firm grip on the arm pinned behind her back and he used it partly to hold her up, partly to pull her down further into an obscure limbo stance so that her shoulder joint screamed in protest and she was looking up helplessly into Izaya's smirking face. It was more similar to an obscene, dipping dance move than the poor twirl he'd attempted earlier.

"You've gotta try harder than that, Ritchie-chan," he chuckled, the fires of amusement still prominent in his dark eyes.

Ritchie scowled and tried to hit out at his face with her free hand, but the angle she was being held at made it impossible to aim or even put any real strength behind it. All she could manage was some rather embarrassing flailing. And of course that just entertained Izaya all the more.

He laughed and then thrust Ritchie outwards, using his grip on her arm, spinning her away from him. Ritchie felt her shoulder pull again as she whirled round, but then Izaya released her and she was suddenly standing upright again - a few feet of distance now between them. Maybe the fucker could dance after all.

"Now try again," Izaya prompted brightly, unperturbed by Ritchie's death glare.

Ritchie hesitated cautiously, trying to gage what the hell she could try next. She'd already realised by now that she was fighting a losing battle. Who had she been kidding? She had no chance of beating Izaya in a straight fight. She didn't even come close to measuring up to him. So how did she get out of this without simply raising her hands in defeat? She couldn't even think of any dirty tricks she could play...

Well... Maybe there was one.

It was a low blow - both literally and metaphorically speaking - but there was one sure-fire way to floor a guy... Which was why it was Ritchie's last resort.

She charged him again, feinting to the left side and then switching abruptly to the right, her fist raised once more. And once again her fist was encircled, stopped by Izaya's stronger hand. Only this time Ritchie had been hoping for it. With her balance steadied by Izaya's own grip, she brought her knee up with as much force as she could to meet his groin. The fastest way to bring a man to his knees.

To Ritchie's dismay though, Izaya still saw it coming. He'd clearly expected her to resort to foul play because at the last second he twisted his body away from her, meaning her knee simply grazed the outside of his thigh instead. Then whilst her leg was still raised - before she could regain her balance - Izaya hooked his free hand underneath it and pulled sharply upwards, sending Ritchie falling back again. This time he released her hand and let her fall.

Ritchie hit the floor hard, the breath whooshing out of her in a pained gasp. She cracked the back of her head on the unforgiving wood. It wasn't enough to cause any real damage, but it was certainly hard enough to hurt.

"You're not very good at this," Izaya taunted, looking down at her, wholly entertained. "Fancy resorting to such dirty tricks."

"You're actually enjoying this, aren't you?" Ritchie growled breathlessly. She started to drag herself up, ignoring the shooting pains down her spine and the throbbing of her skull.

"Well you're the one who keeps trying to hurt me, Ritchie-chan," Izaya replied sardonically.

"Yeah, well you're..." Ritchie trailed off, only just having pulled herself to her knees, as her cell phone started ringing. She could see the display flashing on the coffee table, where she'd left it. She scrambled to her feet and pushed past Izaya grumpily. "Time out."

She hoped like hell it was Sei, or someone else who could provide a good distraction. Anything to get herself out of this mess without actually surrendering. She still had too much pride to admit defeat, but she couldn't exactly keep trying either. She needed time to think up a different strategy, or - definitely wishfully thinking - hope Izaya would just forget about the whole thing... Yeah, right.

Ritchie managed to get to the phone before it stopped ringing. "Hello?" The only response she got was the sound of breathing from the other end. She scowled. Not again... "Look, this is getting really old. Stop calling me already."

She irritably flipped the phone shut. She didn't even need to check the call log to know it had been an unknown number. It wasn't the first time she'd gotten one of these stupid calls. She'd actually had six now. Six over the last few weeks. She had no idea if it was supposed to be a practical joke or someone just being a creep, but it really was getting old.

"I think you have a fan," Izaya chuckled. He still hadn't moved from the spot he'd been standing in.

"Yeah, well, I'm certainly not a fan of them," Ritchie grumbled, stubbornly switching her phone off and replacing it back on the table.

"And you still don't know who's calling?" Izaya asked. He'd already witnessed a few of the previous prank calls, so Ritchie couldn't pin the blame on him. Not directly anyway.

"I told you it's an unknown number," said Ritchie exasperatedly. "What else am I supposed to do?"

"There are ways to trace a phone number," Izaya pointed out. "You just have to know the right people."

"Let me guess. You're one of the right people?"

"Why Ritchie-chan, how nice of you to say..."

"Cut the crap," Ritchie swiftly interrupted him. "Would you be able to trace the number?"

"I would," said Izaya with a knowing smile.

"But you won't," Ritchie finished for him, making it a statement rather than a question.

Izaya's smile widened. "You always grasp the bigger picture so quickly."

Ritchie just rolled her eyes. "Of course I do."

Sometimes she wondered what she'd done to deserve such an insufferable boyfriend. Sure, she'd broken Shizuo's nose, she'd been arrested more times than she could count on one hand, and she got stinking drunk almost routinely... But come on. That still didn't feel like a big enough criminal record to be dealt such a punishment.

Izaya continued to grin at her. "I can find out the number for you... However. There will be a price."

Ritchie raised her eyebrows. "You actually want my money?" She knew that, as an informant, that was what Izaya did. But was he seriously still trying to pull that kind of thing on her?

"Info brokers don't always work for money," Izaya pointed out.

Did he mean what Ritchie thought he meant? If he did then that was the kind of payment she'd be more than willing to make. She moved fluidly back over to him, sliding a hand up his chest and the other round the back of his neck. "Oh yeah?" she asked innocently.

That same amusement danced across Izaya's features. "I wasn't talking about sex, Ritchie-chan."

Ritchie tried not to think about how if he didn't want money or sex then he must have meant some other, likely worse favour. "That's too bad," she said lightly, breathing the words across his lips. "Because I could have paid you a fortune."

Though Izaya still kept up his usual cool demeanour, his body at least was happy with the situation as Ritchie ground her hips against his through their clothes. He may have thought himself above all humans, but he was still just a guy. And all guys' bodies reacted to sensual touch. Even Izaya was a victim to human nature.

Taking the hardening press against her now warm spot as a general consensus, Ritchie moulded herself even closer against the length of Izaya's body, crushing her breasts against his chest so hard that it hurt. Even she occasionally enjoyed a little pain with her pleasure. Not as much as Izaya did of course, but sometimes you just couldn't do better than a nice session of rough sex.

Forgetting the reason she'd started along this line in the first place - forgetting that there'd even been a reason - Ritchie dragged Izaya's mouth down onto hers, slipping her tongue past his lips to explore deep inside. Sensing the urgency building within her from the force of her mouth and the press of her body, Izaya fought back with lips, tongue and teeth.

Ritchie's laced shirt was pulled from her body with such force that it tore slightly at the neck. She didn't even notice. She couldn't quite prioritise what to do with her hands - drag Izaya's belt off or scratch lines down his neck, his shoulders, his back...

They never would have made it to the bedroom. They didn't even make it to the couch. Instead they collapsed on the floor in a heap of limbs and lips, Ritchie still fighting to tear away as many clothes as possible. Izaya's shirt had already been lost in the fray, as well as one of Ritchie's boots. His belt was also now out of the way, his jeans riding down, Ritchie noted in satisfaction as Izaya covered her body with his.

Though Ritchie took great pleasure in being the one on top, she also derived endless amounts of enjoyment being underneath Izaya too. Sometimes being ridden was just as much fun as doing the riding. Getting the dominant position for once was always good, but then she missed out on the spectacular feeling of being driven into the floor.

As the thought briefly, barely coherently, crossed her mind Ritchie realised something crucial: they were on the floor. In the midst of everything she still knew that that was somehow important. Maybe this time she'd have that element of surprise that she so needed...

She suddenly bucked underneath Izaya as hard as she could. It was enough. She managed to flip him over onto his back, her body rolling with his. In one swift movement she'd straddled his waist and grabbed both his wrists, pinning them to the floor. He likely could have gotten out of it if he wanted to, but that wasn't the point.

"Pinned ya," she said smugly.

Surprise flickered briefly through Izaya's expression, quickly replaced by a frown. "That's not how it works, Ritchie-chan."

"Are you sure?" Ritchie asked theatrically, pretending to think about it. "Because from what I recall all you said was I had to get you on the floor. And guess what? You're on the floor."

Izaya's face was impassive for several long moments, then he smirked. "You just love to bend the rules, don't you?"

"Can't bend rules if there never were any to start with," Ritchie pointed out. She still felt smug. She knew she'd won out, no matter how reluctant Izaya was to admit it.

Eventually though, he did concede. "I guess you're right."

Score one for me, Ritchie thought to herself, pleased. Though she was now more intrigued by this new situation they'd found themselves in. Izaya hadn't tried to kick her off. Sure, she'd climbed on top of him plenty of times, but she'd never tried to forcibly pin him down before. She wondered how well it would have worked out, had this really been part of the fight.

"You could get out of this if you wanted to, couldn't you?" asked Ritchie, looking down at him. Her hair had gotten a little longer recently - it hung about her face in a black halo of untidy spikes. She was leaning close enough to Izaya for it to tickle his face.

"Of course," he said confident, no trace of hesitation.

"Then why haven't you tried to yet?"

Izaya's smirk lengthened. "I thought I'd see what it was like to be in your position for once."

Ritchie scowled, not appreciating what he was implying. "Very funny."

"Though I do have to say..." Izaya paused for effect, then in a flash he'd thrust himself up and over, driving Ritchie to the floor once more. It was harder and faster than what she'd tried and she found herself crushed underneath his body before she'd even realised what had happened, his hands now holding her down instead. "...That I much prefer being the one in control."

It was that fight for control once again... And it didn't look like it was one Ritchie could win. Not yet anyway. But maybe for now, at least, she was okay with that.

"What about my dance lessons?" Ritchie struggled to ask.

She felt breathless, though she couldn't quite decide why. Maybe it was the thrill from the sudden, almost animal move of Izaya claiming her beneath him. Maybe it was the weight of being pinned so completely to the floor by the full length of Izaya's body. Or maybe it was the fact that his crotch was pushing hard and ready against hers.

"I suppose you did win the wager... Even if you fought dirty to do so."

"Hey, no rules set, remember?" Ritchie reminded him. He was not going to twist this one on a technicality that had never been put into place.

Izaya chuckled. "Fine, you can take your silly dance lessons."

"How kind of you," Ritchie couldn't help but reply with a barb of sarcasm.

"And maybe, just maybe..." Izaya dipped his head down past hers, running his mouth down the line of her neck and making her squirm. "I'll let you find another way to pay me for finding out who your mysterious caller is."

And with that he sank his teeth into Ritchie's neck. Ritchie writhed underneath him. She wasn't a big fan of pain and she'd never got why Izaya was so hot on it with sex... But the sharp sting was followed by a searing wave of pleasure and she realised that maybe her body understood it more than her head did.

She fought to keep her voice level, to keep from letting on how much that one act of foreplay had affected her. "And maybe, just maybe..." she imitated, breathing into his ear, "I'll let you stay on top."

Izaya mirrored her move, smirking as his hot breath tickled her earlobe. "You say that like you have a choice."

XXX

Author's Note!

Sooo apologies for the long delay in updating... Some of you may already know that I've been out of the country for the last few months and obviously didn't get any chances then. Since I've been back I've just been playing catch up and it's taken me a while just to getting round to typing up everything I wrote whilst I was away! So I apologise with a fairly lengthy chapter.

Also I've had two people mention to me about lack of plotline so I wanted to clear that up. Firstly, there was never actually supposed to be a plotline! When I posted the very first chapter it was originally just going to be a one-shot on how Ritchie and Izaya had met, then everything else was going to be more one-shots. But everyone liked it so much that I decided to turn it into a story and add more filler. All of the ideas included were originally intended for one-shots, so that's why it's taken a lot longer to get into an actual storyline.

Don't get me wrong though - in more recent chapters I've started including hints towards a bigger picture. The phone calls, Izaya's mood swings, bits of Ritchie's past... it's all adding up to something bigger ;) It's just taken longer to get round to it because that was never the original idea aha.

Oh, and this chapter. First time I've ever written sexy stuff in public. I wrote the majority of the last part on the flight home |D (right after some big Danish guy had shoved his hairy ass crack in my face ffff. Needed something to distract myself aha!)