Author's Notes:My comeback one-shot! xD Oh I've been listening to too much K-pop, lol. But I digress...

My first update in roughly 8 months. Did you think I'd died? Well, I haven't. I've just been busy. x3

Considering I basically forced myself to write through writer's block, I'm exceedingly surprised with how much I actually like this one-shot. ^^ This was written for one of my friends on Jamly. She helped me with a blond moment of mine. xD Also, thanks so much to Ri (another of the Jamily) for beta'ing this for me~! xD

You guys are both awesome! xD

Enjoy everyone~! And remember, Z doesn't own Durarara!


Bleached
2,758 Words

Rikiya was exceedingly bored. School had just gotten out for the day, but all of his friends were off doing other things, so he was alone. His sister had explicitly told him not to bother her at work, but it was looking more and more like he might have to. The cable was out at home, as was the internet, so he couldn't do anything. All of the books in the house were girly and the ten-year-old wouldn't be caught dead reading one. Resigned to the earful he would receive for bothering her, Rikiya headed out. Getting yelled at was better than sitting in the empty apartment alone.

However, on his way to the hair salon, a loud yell and a crash sidetracked him. Several hundred meters away, in the park where his class had recently planted flowers in an attempt to 'beautify' Ikebukuro, a businessman lay sprawled on the ground next to a rather large, full trash can. Pulling a banana peel from his shoulder, the man looked across the park at somebody Rikiya couldn't quite see.

"What the hell, man?" the suit asked, tossing the banana peel away in disgust.

Another man in a bartender outfit stepped into view. Annoyance radiated from him as he growled and barred his teeth angrily.

"O-okay. I'll have the money tomorrow. I promise!" The suit was up and gone in no time flat.

Still growling in annoyance, the remaining man pulled one of the garden fences out of the ground and chucked it at the fleeing victim. It missed by inches, and only because the suit tripped and landed face first in the street.

Rikiya didn't care about the inhuman strength it took to remove the fence from the ground, nor did he care that the man who threw it still had a vein throbbing in his forehead. The only thing that mattered to him was the precious lilies he'd planted only two days ago. His sister smiled when she had seen them! It was the first real smile he'd seen since the move to Ikebukuro. And this man had destroyed those flowers. He wouldn't get to see his sister smile over them again!

"Hey!" Rikiya called out to the much older man. He puffed up his chest to look taller and pointed at the bartender. "What do you think you're doing? We worked hard to plant those flowers!"

The man turned his attention to Rikiya for only a split second. Annoyance and an evil glare made an appearance on his face, before he took off to pursue the suit.

Rikiya surveyed the damage remorsefully. Only the lilies had been destroyed. Why had it only been the lilies? The one type of flower his sister would smile at and now all remnants of them were gone. He had worked so hard to save up the extra money towards purchasing the more expensive flowers. In frustration, Rikiya punched the ground, leaving a small imprint of a fist in the wreckage.

"What's the matter, baby? Your pretty flowers get ruined by big bad Heiwajima?"

The taunting voice only angered Rikiya more. He stood up and lunged at the owner, fully intent on beating him up or taking a beating.


Haruka noticed something was wrong the moment her brother entered the store. Usually, he tried to avoid her, and thus avoid the lecture about not interrupting work. But instead, he walked right over and plopped down in the chair next to her current client.

"What's up, Ki-chan?" Haruka asked casually as she switched to a different comb.

"Got in a fight," he replied quietly, hiding his two black eyes, bloody nose, and split lip.

Haruka eyed her little brother. There was no telling him not to get in fights. He was much too passionate to restrain himself when he got angry.

"Who with?"

"Two high schoolers."

Haruka sighed, continuing to even out the ends on her client. "High schoolers? Ki-chan, you're ten. At least pick fights with kids your age."

"But they were making fun of me!"

"Why?"

"I got mad at some guy for destroying the lilies."

Haruka paused and looked at her brother. He still wasn't looking at her, but she could tell he was upset about the flowers. "Well, we'll just have to go buy some more and plant them in pots in the apartment. Then nobody will destroy them."

"Really?" Rikiya's head shot up and his eyes sparkled with excitement. "I'm going to go look right now!" With renewed energy, Rikiya left the hair salon in search of the perfect flowers for his beloved onee-san.

Haruka's client, an elderly woman, looked on with amusement as the little boy exited. "You do so well with your son. I never would have guessed you were old enough to have him."

"Ki-chan isn't my son," Haruka laughed off for the thousandth time. "He's my little brother."

The woman nodded absently and lapsed back into silence.


Shizuo was annoyed to say the least. Tom had sent him to collect a debt by himself, which had ended horribly. The damn man couldn't pay, and some kid had started yelling at him. Very annoying. To top it off, he'd just caught his reflection in the mirror, and his natural dark brown roots were beginning to show through the bleached hair. His last visit to a hairstylist had ended very unpleasantly, but he couldn't do it himself.

So, with huge restraint not to break the window that reminded him he was way overdue for a bleaching, Shizuo took off to the hair salon.


As soon as the tall man with the bleached hair and bartender getup walked through the door, all of the other girls suddenly decided to take their lunch breaks.

"You can handle him, right, Watanabe-chan?" one of the girls asked Haruka before disappearing through the door.

"I'll be with you in a moment, sir. I'm almost done."

He gave a stiff nod, grumbling under his breath. Haruka couldn't catch any of it over the hairdryer currently turned on high.

"There you are, ma'am."

After getting the old woman all squared away, Haruka turned and smiled at the man. "Do you need me to touch up your roots, sir?"

He nodded stiffly, again, and followed Haruka over to the chair the old woman had vacated. "Do you need a trim as well, or just the roots bleached?"

"Just the bleach."

"If you could follow me over here..." Haruka pointed to the sinks.

After adjusting the seat so her client was comfortable, she started rinsing his hair. As she ran her fingers through it, she noticed how damaged and melted it truly was. "Who was the last person to do your hair?"

He shrugged noncommittally, trying to ignore her as best he could and just get the stupid thing over with. Sometimes bleaching his hair was such a pain in the ass.

"Okay... um. I'm Watanabe Haruka. And you are?"

"Heiwajima Shizuo."

Haruka nodded and gave a small smile. At least it was some sort of response. Having only lived in Ikebukuro since the school year started, she was ignorant to the whispers surrounding her current client.

"And, if you don't mind my asking, where do you work, Heiwajima-san?"

Silence. They walked back over to her chair, and Shizuo sat down while Haruka went to get bleach.

The rest of the time was spent with Haruka probing as cautiously as possible for responses from her very antisocial client. While he found her infuriatingly annoying, Shizuo managed to keep his cool rather well, and was quite pleased with the end result. He ran a hand through his hair, noting that she'd put something in it to make it soft again, almost like his natural hair.

"And you should put this in your hair at least once a day to keep it soft, Heiwajima-san," Haruka told him, handing over a bright pink bottle [1]. "It works wonders on bleached hair. Oh! Let me wrap it up for you."

Shizuo exited the salon with a small, brown package, and an only slightly put out expression on his face.

"Nothing was broken!" one of the other hair stylists exclaimed, coming out of the break room. "Amazing! How did you do it?"

"What do you mean?" Haruka asked as she washed off the brush.

"Every time that Heiwajima Shizuo comes into the salon, whoever does his hair is fired and something is smashed!"


When Haruka got home, Rikiya was waiting with two small clay pots, potting soil, and two small day lilies. He grinned at her. "Want to help me plant them, Haruka-neesan?"

"Sure," she replied, setting down her purse.

Her brother's lip had swollen considerably, but his nose had stopped bleeding. "You really shouldn't be getting into fights like that, Ki-chan."

"Why? I want to get stronger and protect you!"

"Fighting high schoolers won't make you stronger. Now come here." She caught her little brother up in a hug before there was a knock at the door.

"I'll get it. You keep planting." Haruka smiled and went to the door. Standing outside were two men. One had glasses and dreadlocks, and wore a black suit. The other, standing taller, hair newly bleached, in the same bartender outfit, was Heiwajima Shizuo.

"Tom-chan, how can I help you?" Haruka asked innocently. She was not surprised to see the shorter man. He'd called and told her to expect a visit, but her newest client was a bit of a shocker. Of course, she shouldn't have been surprised that Tom had a bodyguard, considering his line of work.

"Have you gotten any of the money?" he asked almost reluctantly.

"Some. Would you like to come in while I go get it?" Haruka opened the door and ushered them inside before going to her purse.

"Who's at the door, Haruka-neesan?" Rikiya asked.

"Tom-chan. Why don't you go find a place to put the lilies and water them, Ki-chan?" Haruka ushered her brother into the next room with one clay pot in hand. She grabbed her purse, counted out all of her tips and returned to the two men waiting in the entryway.

"This is all I have for now. I'm sorry it's not even close to all of it." She handed over the small stack of bills and smiled tentatively.

"It's fine. As long as you're paying."

"I still can't thank you enough for lending me the money to get this apartment back. It means a lot."

"I've put the pots away, Haruka-nee~!" Rikiya sang happily. "Does Tanaka-san want to stay for dinner?" The little boy had taken a shine to the loan shark, as he came over every other week to collect payments. The boy was oblivious to the real goings-on, which was for the best.

"I really shouldn't impose." Tom scratched the back of his head as he heard Rikiya scurrying around in the kitchen. "See you in two weeks?"

Haruka nodded and showed the men out.


As business picked up with summer approaching, Tom had less and less time in between collections on a given day, so more and more often, Shizuo was present when he collected from Haruka. Tom, who had known Haruka since childhood, had been reluctant to give her a loan to begin with. After much pressuring, he finally gave in. Although, it was awkward to collect from an honest person, Tom figured better him than someone who would take advantage of it.

Shizuo found it awkward because the victim was so good-natured. She was the opposite of what a client always was; payments on time, no running, no fighting, no excuses. Until one day, when Tom had to send Shizuo over there alone.

Haruka answered the door, her black hair tied up in a loose bun, and a raw steak held against one eye. "Oh, hello Heiwajima-san. Please, come in." She stepped aside, and he entered, just as always. Her appearance disconcerted him though; she was always well kept and made-up when they came to collect. "You look like you'll need another touch up on your hair soon. And possibly a trim?"

She set the steak down on a plate on the table and went over to her purse. Pulling out her wallet, she turned it upside-down and spilled the contents on her counter. This was another odd occurrence. Haruka had always had the money tucked away neatly in its own little compartment. Theories were beginning to form in his mind as she collected the coins and brought them over to him.

"I'm sorry it's not the full payment, Heiwajima-san. I just need one extra day. I can get the rest tomorrow after I deposit my paycheck when the banks open." Haruka's bangs covered her face as she offered the meager 1000 yen in coin, but she couldn't hide the splint and bandages around one of her wrists. "Please tell Tom-chan I'm sorry. Please?" She looked up at Shizuo, revealing the large black eye and cuts across her cheek, as well as big fat tears about ready to spill over.

Instantly, the need to protect this woman flooded Shizuo. He'd been accompanying Tom to collect money for almost six months, and she'd never missed a payment. Something was very wrong.

"What happened?" he asked before he could catch himself.

"It's nothing." She waved him off, turning to grab the steak again for her black eye.

Shizuo's hand shot out and grabbed her uninjured wrist. "What happened," he demanded coolly. The usual hot, fiery anger was beginning to simmer. Something was not right.

Haruka tried to free her wrist, but Shizuo was much too strong. "I was mugged," she conceded, hiding her eyes and wrapping the robe tighter around her body with her free hand.

That simple motion told him enough. Mugged wasn't the only thing that had happened. "Who?"

"Some guys in yellow scarves. I-I don't know," Haruka shook her head to clear it.

Without another word and before he broke anything -which he knew he would do if he stayed any longer- Shizuo exited the apartment and slipped the coins into his pocket.

Haruka sat down and took a shaky breath. Shizuo had looked about ready to murder her. She hadn't had the money, and that was the one thing Tom had been very explicit about: always have the money on time. He didn't care how long it took to pay off the debt, as long as she had the amount specified at the time specified. Otherwise, there would be consequences. Haruka wasn't sure whether Tom would hold true to the threat with an old friend, but she wasn't hopeful. He had a business to run, as much history as they might have together.

She slept with Rikiya that night, afraid to be alone. He didn't know what had happened aside from the mugging, but he still let her sleep beside him in bed. He couldn't believe how useless he'd been at protecting his sister.


The next morning, Rikiya went out with Haruka to cash her paycheck, and then returned to the apartment so Haruka could take a nap. Rikiya was skipping school, which didn't make Haruka very happy, but there was nothing she could do about it; she needed the company.

When there was a knock on the door, Rikiya answered. "Tanaka-san~! Heiwajima-san. Did you come to see Haruka-nee?"

The two men followed Rikiya into the main room, where Haruka was situated on the couch, blanket wrapped tight around her. She sat up and reached for the money on the table when the three entered. "I have the rest, Tom-chan. I'm sorry for the inconvenience." She lowered her eyes to hide the embarrassment.

Tom waved her off. "Shizuo caught some guys with scarves and got your money back, plus some. We'll call you even."

"Really?" Haruka looked over at Shizuo in surprise. The man hardly spoke.

"Hey Rikiya-kun, why don't we make something for Haruka in the kitchen?" Tom looked between Shizuo and Haruka before ushering the young boy out of the room.

"Thank you, Heiwajima-san. You didn't have to do that."

Shizuo looked awkwardly at the floor and shuffled his feet. What was he supposed to say?

Another pair of feet entered his line of vision. "Heiwajima-san?"

"Hm?" he asked noncommittally, moving his eyes to the same level as Haruka's.

"I mean it. Thank you." She wrapped her arms around him in a hug. "Nobody has ever done something so thoughtful for me."

Still unsure exactly what to do, he returned the hug lightly, afraid to break her.


[1] I meant for this to be an actual product I use to reduce frizz on permed hair. It's called "It's a 10 - Miracle leave-in product" and does come in a hot pink bottle. ^^

Reviews are lovely. Thanks for reading~!