A/N: Another of my earlier stories. I think of oneshots, this one is still my favorite. The feedback I've received on it means SOOO much to me.


"HAHAHA! I told you! Nothing will ever change between us!"

WHACK. SLAM. UGH.

Vending machines or solid ground? Which is harder?

Difficult to say, right? The answer is that it varies based on simple physics, which is still too complicated for the average human brain to comprehend, so who cares?

Migraine. Spots. Blood. Another day in paradise for Orihara Izaya. Literally.

Heh.

How masochistic. It just cannot be helped.

The taste of his strength is like heroin flowing through my twisted veins. Ever since that fateful day, when I discovered what he could do, it has been this way. I destroyed our friendship for the sole purpose of satiating the cravings. Let's face it. I've been in all too many fights. Won them all. He is the only person who can get the adrenaline flowing like this. He is the only opponent who is absolutely unstoppable. Even when I run, he is always sure to pick up where we left off during the encounter before. He's simply the type that nobody wants trouble with. Nobody except for me.

Call it an addiction. Tell me I need rehab. I don't care.

I want it.

I need it.

I love it.

Constantly, I daydream about what it would be like to die this way. In a nutshell: perfection.

Unfortunately, we still have a past, so even though he tells me, as well as all of Ikebukuro, he wants to kill me, I'm sure he never would. Not on purpose, at least. His problem is his anger. There's no use in denying that the man has issues, the origins of which, he is still uncertain of. Knowing this has made me plenty confident. When he says he'll kill me, it's definitely his frustration speaking. On the other hand, I can't deny that he would not be so vicious towards me if I hadn't left him with nothing but a scar the day after he promised himself to me, as long as we both shall live.

Both… shall… live… hmm…

Okay, maybe he does want to kill me, but I know he won't, because he definitely still loves me. Yes. Definitely.

Kyaa! How romantic, now that I really think about it.

And if he ever ceases to chase me to my death, maybe we'll be together again and those stupid street urchins will quit throwing themselves at him. Women. Tch.

So, despite the thrill of the fights and the chases, I figure we're going to get old eventually. We won't be able to play this little game of ours forever. Right? Someday we are going to stop this, and when that day comes, he'll take me back.

Feeling the scarlet body fluid gush from the crack in my skull down my face, I pull myself off of the pavement. When I rediscover my balance, I'm unable to resist the urge. I stick out my tongue, pilfering a small sample of my own blood. It's when he makes me bleed that I feel the most alive.

"I-za-ya-kun," he growls between small pants.

He's so cute when he's angry and out of breath. I can't refuse a small giggle from escaping. It only sends him deeper into his rage. My sadism must be equal to my masochism. Probably greater, actually. Oh, yes. Most definitely greater.

"Come here, worm," he roars, ripping a lamppost out of the cement. He's costing this city a fortune in damages.

He swings, and I'm barely on time to spring out of the way before it crashes into my body. I land on a parked car with ease, as usual. Time to tease him.

"Oh, Shizu-chan," I overact a sigh, "Don't tell me you're still mad at me for framing you, ne?"

He cringes at my nickname for him. Mine. My own. It's symbolic of my ownership, so don't even think about using it. Plus, he despises it. "Shut up, tick," he likes to call me names relating to insects and parasites, "You know I'm over that incident."

In case you're wondering, he knows I know that he knows that I know.

"Then what are you doing swinging poles and throwing vending machines?" I place a hand on a hip, continuing to torment him.

"Because I want you out of this city. I want you out of my damn sight! If I have to kill you for that, I will!"

See? What did I tell you? So much unwarranted tension between us.

"Kill me, and I'll haunt you."

He swings his lamppost, missing again. I land casually behind him, just so I can watch him take a second to look for me. What an idiot. Confused Shizzy is almost as cute as angry Shizzy.

But what's this?

I am struck by a dizzy wave, along with numbness in my fingertips. It's a feeling almost like drunkenness, but alcohol isn't my style.

Two Shizuos? No. Blurry vision.

Today has been a fun day in Ikebukuro, but this feeling… the possibility of calling it quits before the sun fully sets makes itself present. How disappointing, really. Originally, I planned to take our duel deep into the night, or possibly investigate that interesting new kid. Mikado. Yeah. That's his name. No! I'd much rather be with my Shizu-chan. That's why I made this adventure.

Damn. I'm losing focus. Focus, Izaya. You need to focus.

SLAM! CRUNCH! NGH!

Shizuo's lamppost connects with my torso, detaches, and sends me flying into a wall, earning a few petrified gasps from tourist onlookers. The locals in this city are more than used to these obscure, violent events. I'm not a baseball, though. He doesn't need to swing so hard. I'll forgive him this time. He knows I'm built sturdier than I look. If there were a God, I'd thank him for this gift. However, thanking a blend of gangs and genetics will have to do for now.

I'm sure I'm okay, even though I can't stop myself from cringing as a pull myself up off the ground, swaying slightly when the dizziness makes a slight increase. The sharp tingling sensation on my back lets me know that I'm probably bleeding again.

"Are you okay?" I hear a female voice, sounding so close yet so far away. She's American. Her accent is obvious. She isn't from here, and therefore poses no relevance to my wellbeing.

"You should really get over it, don't you think?" I tell Shizuo in a mocking tone, pulling out my switchblade.

Scoffing, he gets a tighter grip on the lamppost. "Not til you're dead, louse."

Ugh. I love him and his one-track mind. Don't you?

Swinging that heavy bar of metal at me, I choose to run. As long as he has that thing, my knife is useless, so I weave in and out of the random businessmen and tourists, hoping he's right behind me. This is way too entertaining to go home over a headache.

"IZAYA!" Shizu-chan roars after me.

This giddiness within… Only my Shizzy brings these feelings about. While I am quite fond of people, only Shizuo knows how to send a shiver down my spine like this.

Dashing through the crowd, I laugh aloud at various screams as I push random bodies out of my way, only for them to be run down again by my Shizu-chan. This is a thrill ride. He's so retarded, so dull, just an absolutely imbecile compared to me. It is what keeps him chasing after me. Him and his one-track mind. This is what makes us a perfect pair. If his brain were any larger he would have dropped this ages ago. He would realize that in all actuality I'm not worth his devoted time.

Before coming upon the realization of where I've lead us, I dash through a pair of doors as families with children exit them, then launch up a flight of stairs. I know he isn't far behind me. I have to stop, though. My vision is blurry and as I lift my eyes to view my surroundings I see that my head isn't the only thing swimming.

The Sunshine International Aquarium. How the hell? I have no recollection of making it up here. When did I travel to the tenth floor of the World Import Mart Building? Sunshine City is such an unusual place. Here in Ikebukuro, it appears anything can happen, including this. I decide not to worry myself with questions of "why" and "how" any more than I just have. The throbbing in my head refuses to put up with it.

My concern is Shizu-chan. I've been staring at the tropical fish, who swim in circles, unaware that they've never seen the sea, for a few moments now. His voice has not roared through this building's halls since making my grand entrance. He's probably being polite. Ha! Stupid Shizuo. Maybe he's actually paying the admission to get in here. Or… Maybe he didn't make it in. This is likely. My cell phone tells me that the time is just past six in the evening. The aquarium is closed. My fun may very well be over for the night.

Sliding down the Plexiglas which separates the fish from myself, and hitting the floor with a light thump, I wait just a bit longer for my most hated love. Though I know it hasn't been long, I feel like I've been waiting for days. I cannot hypnotize myself by staring at these sea creatures as they live their pathetic, captive lives. Like the rest of Ikebukuro, fish are a much lower species than myself, even those with a mysterious beauty about them. In a peculiar sense, these ocean dwelling creatures remind me if Shizuo.

Severely let down, I think to myself that I should get home. He has most certainly given up on the hunt… Damn it, Shizu-chan… you have gotten my hopes up again. Bastard.

Disappointment pulls me back to the floor I do my best to pull myself up, only to find myself knocked back down by my own injuries. Suddenly, I feel completely different, as if somebody were inside me, flipping a switch on my mood. Could I have gotten carried away today? Did I take my adventure too far? I should learn to listen to the cracks in my skull. Now I can't get up. It isn't that I lack the will or anything. I'm trying my damnedest. Ugh.

Before I know it, I'm making the decision to rest here until the pain passes. Do not think I don't know what you're thinking. After all, you're nothing more than human. You're thinking "Didn't you go into this expecting to get hurt?"

Yeah.

So?

I've gotten carried away before…

But… my eyelids are getting heavy… and my thoughts are not making sense… I feel… I feel…

Comfortable.

comfortable?

My eyes open with a jolt, like an electric shock attacked them both simultaneously. Sitting up, I realize I am no longer at the aquarium, but in another familiar place, without my torn clothes or dried blood in my hair. My jacket has been replaced by sheets and my wounds hidden by bandages. Does any of it matter? I still feel broken by disappointment.

Falling back into the pillows and sheets, it's difficult to decide whether I'm excited or infuriated with this, so I let out a groan. Vulnerable. This makes me entirely vulnerable… yet I know it's what I want at the end of every day. In my dreams, I would wake up here every morning. No. Maybe I'm losing my touch. Independence relies on a lack of commitment. Commitment… Tch. Only to my own desires, never to wants I share with him.

Getting out of here is a good idea. I'll slither out the open window.

As I'm rolling out of bed - his bed - I am quickly interrupted by the opening of the door and a low growl. "The hell you doing?" Shizuo interrogates me while his coffee colored eyes bore into my soul.

I sneer, running my fingers through my hair, "Leaving."

There is no need to show him what I feel.

Cautiously, I watch him travel from the door to less than six inches from where I sit, on the edge of the bed. He sets two pills and a glass of water on the bedside table. Almost immediately, I'm disgusted by a strange feeling in my chest. I hate this feeling. It's my heart… giving into him… feeling guilty, but light all at once.

With his hands free, he pushes me back onto the bed, forcing me to lie down. "You're not going anywhere, flea," he says dangerously… threateningly.

"How long have I been out?" I wonder out loud.

He shrugs. "Found you passed out on the staircase between the ninth and tenth floors of the World Import building around ten o'clock last night."

"I need to leave," I frown, "You should have left me there."

As I say this, I find him completely taken aback by my words. He'll refuse to accept this as truth, though he still knows. We're much too close for comfort… too close for our own safety. This isn't right. He is still mine. I still want him… but these circumstances… I don't care if I must go back on my own words. Words and feelings… they're different. This isn't fun anymore. This is foolhardy.

"Did anybody see us?"

"I'm not that stupid, you ungrateful idiot," says Shizuo. I can tell he's beginning to get angry because he feels like I don't appreciate this.

We're so different on the streets of the city than we are here. Out there, I can expect nothing but violence and anger from him. Here, he's much more collected. He does a better job thinking things through. I think it's because we don't have to hide from each other when we're sheltered from the public eye. Neither of us will ever allow the world to see what we are beneath the constant fighting. However, I like both sides of our relationship. These rare moments that should not be happening are beautiful in their own right, while the violent street wars between us pump adrenaline through my veins, forcing me into a sadistic addiction.

"I need to leave," I repeat myself.

"Shut up. Are you that much of a masochist?" he inquires, pushing me back down, "You're in no shape to go anywhere."

"What do you know?" I leer.

He shoots a glare at me. "I know that I beat the shit outta you yesterday, whether or not you wanna admit to it."

I stare at him, perfectly amused. "You could have won until you brought me home."

"What would be the point of that?"

Burying myself deeper into the sheets, I laugh wildly, especially when his cheeks flush a fiery shade of fury and lust. I'm not even sure what to say to this. Does he not realize? Is he so oblivious? A low snarl emits from his throat as he traps me between his strong arms. He acts as if he can drill fear into me. Never. His actions simply give my giggles an extended invitation to mock him. "What the hell is wrong with you?" he asks as more of a statement than a question.

His anger is going to erupt out of him soon if he continues his refusal to calm down. Perhaps it wouldn't be such a problem if it weren't so easy to get to him. I'm not the one who made him this way, so he can barely blame me for any of this. All I've ever done is take advantage of the circumstances.

"Oh, Shizu-chan," I act innocent, "You're so mean."

Incredulous, his jaw drops. The expression is much too amazing for me to hold a straight face. Catching it, he pulls away from me. "You're disgusting," he glowers.

"Don't be like that," I grin calmly, "You know I –"

"Don't," he cuts me off, "Do not say it."

"Why not?"

"Saying it makes this real."

"Real? Ha! Shizuo, you want it to be real, or else you wouldn't have brought me here."

"Would it help if I told you I'm regretting it?"

I shake my head from side to side, "No. That means you're lying to us both."

"Even so, it would have been the wiser choice."

"Then let me go," I smile and attempt to slip past him.

"Knock it off," he forcefully pushes me back down, "Regret or not, I'm not gonna just let you leave."

"Imbecile."

"Shut up, flea. I'm the only imbecile with the capacity to care about you."

"Then why do you try so hard to kill me?"

"You piss me off ninety-eight percent of the time," he goes into an explanation, "If you're dead there's hardly anything standing in the way of a peaceful life."

"Still sticking to that hypothesis, eh, Shizzy? Your denial is so over the top sometimes."

Shizuo's coffee orbs drop to the carpeted floor. Evidently defeated, he takes several steps back. My breath catches in my throat. Were my words really so bold?

"Fine," he exhales, "I give up."

I'm frozen in my confusion. "What?"

"Go. You wanna leave? Then fuckin' do it. Leave."

God damn our indecisiveness.

What the hell is wrong with me? Just how hard did I hit my head? I should be escaping without rhyme or reason. I should be half way out that door, making promises to piss him off later, a brazen smile painted across my face. Could it be that I'm actually hurt by harsh words? Since when did I have these types of emotions? Never. I've never had them… not since I lost them so long ago. "Shizuo, I –"

"Izaya," a warning sounds in his voice.

I can't avert a sigh. "I suppose we both forfeit this round."

Until now, I had not realized the black sheets clenched in my fists. Unwillingly, I force myself to let them go. For the first time, I am actually going to do what Shizuo commands of me. I feel weak… helpless… average… human…

Whoa.

Standing up causes another of my dizzy waves to crash over me, this one being the biggest yet. A moment of closing my eyes appears to help. For how long, I'm still unsure. I think I'll take the train home. Opening my eyes, I glance up at Shizu-chan. His glassy spheres promise me that if I don't leave, he'll become violent.

With our gazes still glued to each other, I reach for my jacket, not even concerned with whatever happened to my bloodstained shirt.

Suddenly, it's very hot in this room, like I've been lit on fire. My jacket, which only sat inches from my reach five seconds ago, now seems one-hundred yards away. Meanwhile, my empty stomach feels weak. Watching me, an immediate change flashes in Shizuo's eyes, as if he's catching on to something that I'm missing.

"I think…" I begin to say, but I lose my thoughts. All of them. Gone. "I think…" Think, Izaya. What are you trying to say? Nothing comes to mind. I'm blank. Me. Izaya Orihara, who always has so much to talk about, is annulled of all thought.

Right now, all I know is that I'm losing my balance and… and now… I'm… falling…

The part of my brain which still has some control is telling me to brace for a painful impact even though I know I'm helpless. So I wait… this fall seems to be taking so long… so, so long to make it to the floor… so long to piss Shizuo off more than I already have… so long to fall through the arms that have just captured me.

Huh? Arms?

"What did I tell you. Izaya? You can't even stand," Shizuo grumbles, "You're in no shape to be leaving."

Oh. How pleasantly surprising.

"Don't be silly," I attempt to laugh it off, "You're overreacting."

"Shut up," his anger produces a subtle growl for me, "I've been in an out of enough hospitals to recognize a concussion when I see one."

Damn it. He played is trump card. Now I'm certainly defenseless. "Shizu-chan?"

Still in his arms, I feel him flinch at his name. "Yeah?"

"I think I'll take those pills now…"

This is so discomfited… so unlike us…

He awkwardly lets me go, gently guiding me back to his bed; handing me the glass of water and the tiny white tablets. After chasing the pain killers down my throat with a large gulp of water, I examine Shizuo, allowing my eyes to travel up and down as much as they'd like. Today, Shizu-chan looks different. Quickly I see that this is because he is not dressed like the idiot bartender he was before I got him arrested. Instead, he appears much more laid back in simple jeans and a t-shirt as crimson as my own eyes.

"You look significantly less stupid in that getup," I enlighten him, "What's with the change?"

"Got your blood on my other clothes."

"Hm… it's a good look for you."

Yes, I realize the stupidity ebbing and flowing between us.

With a semi-forced half grin, Shizuo takes a seat next to me on his bed.

"So how long to these concussions tend to last?" I ask to destroy the silence between us, even though this is not the first I've had.

"Couple days at most," he answers, "You should be fine by tomorrow, though. You heal fast."

I smile at the way he knows this. Somewhere, in the back of my screwed up mind, I'm screaming at myself to stop what I'm doing. I'm cursing my own phenomenal madness, unable to resist as my hand gently slides into Shizuo's. He is startled at first by the innocent gesture. Nevertheless, he succumbs to it more rapidly than I do.

"Damn it!" he barks, breaking another forming silence.

I am pushed onto my back by his free hand before he gently rolls on top of me, careful not to cause pain or further damage to my preexisting injuries, forgetting entirely that I crave his abuse. Usually, he's forcefully rough; however, I find his gentle side incredibly captivating for once. Rarely is he this way with me. I've seen him gentle before, especially with small children and animals, but this… this is a new breed of tender; one which he has fashioned for me alone. Who really needs to be at war all the time, anyway?

I think I'm changing my mind now. I think… I'm sure… I'd rather die like this than by having my skull crushed by a flying vending machine or traffic light.

Ha! Now I know I've lost my mind. I'm fucking crazy.

"Shizu…" I say beneath my breath, searching his eyes with mine. I want to see his soul. I want to see past our battles and into his heart. I want to know what he really feels for me.

He pauses, unknowing of where to go next with our sinful escapade, but I can help him with that. His eyes are telling me what he wants - what we want.

I am cursing myself for doing this. What kind of idiot have I turned into? I mean… really? Am I really here right now?

I pull myself up from the mattress until I my lips reach his. The pain pills haven't kicked in, so it hurts to keep my body held up this way. I don't care. Shizuo is quick to take notice. He unlaces his fingers from mine and pulls me closer, holding me up with his hand on my scraped and bloody back.

Eventually, his lips travel away from mine, leaving them lonely and longing for more, but keeping my skin company as they travel down my neck and across my bare collar bone. I pull us back down to the mattress. I want to dig deeper into this ecstasy. Pushing him away, Shizuo looks like an injured puppy until my trembling fingertips find the hem of his blood-colored shirt. He helps me peel it off of him, revealing to me his collar - the true mark of my ownership. It is not within my willpower to resist tracing the long pink scar with several fingers. It is exactly where I left it as an open flesh wound. This scar… These moments… Shizuo. My Shizuo.

"You don't have to look at it," he says averting his eyes away from me entirely, "I know it isn't a pretty sight."

What's this? Am I sensing… shame? I mean… I suppose it is his fault for leaving it there instead of going to the hospital for stitches, yet…

Another moment of staring in absolute wonder passes.

"No… I think it's beautiful."

In the back of my mind, there I am again, cursing myself for my choice of words and actions… cursing myself for admitting to what I feel as an undying truth.

Nervously, he brings his eyes back to me. "Beautiful? A scar?"

Nodding, I tell him, "It ties you to me for life. It makes you mine."

"You never needed to scar me for that," a small smile brightens up a usually tense face.

"That would be significantly less fun, though, Shizu-chan."

"Shut up, maggot."

With another kiss, the heat intensifies, leaving me without the opportunity to retaliate against him. We are swift to become gently tangled. I cannot help but love the way he treats me like glass after knocking the shit out of me in the city's view. However, despite my new love of this treatment, I crave so much more. It would not faze me to be treated like a rag doll, as he usually does. With a light amount of force, I flip him onto his back, grinning at his astonishment. He seems to think I'm suffering from deeper injuries than I essentially have. Honestly, this is another thing about him that is too adorable for words. Deep down he worries, all the while camouflaging it beneath his angry, tough exterior.

"You make it too easy," I chuckle, positioning myself on his muscular torso.

A split second flashes by.

I am on my back again, staring up into those eyes. "I'm done messing around," he nips at my ear, "Give me what I want."

His hot breath caressing my ear and weaving into my hair sends a sharp quiver down my spine. The tremor gives me tiny goose bumps up and down my arms. Lost for words, I nod. He can take me now. I'm ready.

He attacks my mouth with his for a third time, sending me into an ecstasy induced paralysis, while his fingers fight with my buttoned jeans. I smile as we kiss, motioning to help him, but am stopped along the way. Stubborn Shizzy has come out to play, refusing my assistance.

Finally, he makes sure to win the fight by tearing off the button. He'll owe me a new pair of jeans later, but for now, I'm fine with this. It is entirely comical when his ire escapes him in these diminutive ways. Being wholly exposed to a person has never been so comfortable.

"Tell me you want this," he snarls, biting at my neck.

"Shizu-chan," I tease, "You know I -"

"No. Say it like you mean it. No excuses."

"But I -"

"Damn it, Izaya!"

Fine, Shizuo. I'll let you win today. After all, you did bring me home instead of leaving me passed out in a stairwell. "I want this," I gasp as his hand slides from my hip to lower, iniquitous regions.

"Do you?" he hisses, with his other hand raking at my shoulder.

"Yes!" I breathe, losing my freedom to his touch.

It is our final straw. We're growing more raring with every breath drawn in, like this will be our very last adventure as lovers behind the scenes. For all we know, it could be. For all we know, one of us will die tomorrow. There's never a way to be certain in a city such as Tokyo, so for our own safety, we take what we are given. Still, whether he wants it or not, I plan to seize more of him than he is probably willing to give. I can't help that I'm selfish and needy over my Shizu-chan.

Time is quickly lost to us when we fully drown together in the dark sheets. We are sheltered here, feeling like the minutes will never expire. When I'm here like this, with him, I never want to be afraid of the end. I refuse to live in a future that does not yet exist, when the present is fully open to me. I can look forward to what is to come without losing myself. This is my focus now. His touch, his taste, his lust, his hate, his being belongs to me in these enigmatic moments. We don't need the world and the bullshit it comes with. Even I with my sick obsession for a city I can't stay away from, the majority of my addiction is all thanks to the man on top of me, doing whatever he wants to my dirty, damaged body. I love humans. I love their ignorance. I love their meaningless wants and desires. I love to twist them around my finger, instill fear in their hearts, and laugh at their mistakes. Nevertheless, of all the people I've ever explored, tormented, and observed, not a single one has ever come close to this one. Of all the skeletons I am keeping from him, he is only caring of the ones between us. He won't question me on the rest as long as we take refuge beneath cotton linens. Instead, he'll give me this…

Against his own will, Shizuo will love me in hidden exploits until we're fighting to catch our own breath.

With one final motion, the pleasure of this skin-to-skin undertaking reaches its maximum, sending us past the point of no return. He collapses beside me, eyes on the ceiling, gasping for the surrounding air to fill his lungs. He is not alone. I draw in deep breaths, until my heart slows to its normal pace.

"That… that was…" Shizuo pants, "That…"

I titter. "Incredible."

"Better."

"Phenomenal?"

He nods. "You're greedy, little fuck. You know that?"

It appears I cannot wipe the cheeky beam from my own lips. "How so?"

Shizuo doesn't answer me. Instead, he sits up, lighting himself a cigarette, acting like nothing was said at all. Within seconds of inhaling the cancer stick, the nicotine sinks into his system, taking a hold on him… hypnotizing him… tearing him from me. "Those things are going to kill you some day," I frown.

He smirks. "Not if chasing after you kills me first."

Setting one of my more wild laughs free, I curl up in his bed, wrapping his sex-laced sheets around my bare skin. "Stupid Shizu-chan."

Within seconds of my final words, we take another glance at one another. In a loving manner, he runs his strong hand through my messy hair, cursing under his breath for promoting such tenderness. Lighthearted, feeling fresh and whole, I drift into sleep beside Shizuo Heiwajima, quite conscious to a reality that will oppose this dream tomorrow.