A/N: Dear goD, I have been so ridiculously caught up in cosplay and school and work that I haven't written jackshit in months and had NO idea this was still missing a chapter until I finally got a day off (today) in which writing seemed like a good idea (but I'm writing an SnK fic) and I realized wow, damn. I suck. Here's the last chapter! Thanks for bearing with me all this time and waiting it out. Uhm... I probably should have stated earlier (if I haven't already) that this story IS available IN FULL on the Durarara! Kinkmeme on livejournal, but I suck. Gomen. ;3;
"God damn it, flea! Slow the fuck down so I can kick your ass!"
"That'd be real nice, and all, but I'm spoken for."
I couldn't help it. His words… those feelings… Was he serious? Well, I suppose I knew it was true, but to hear him actually say it… I stopped running, and turned to face him, sparing no time when whipping out my switchblade. I was always ready for a fight. "HA! When did you learn to beget a clever comeback. After all - UNF!"
A large hand charged at my throat. Next thing I knew, my back was slamming into the wall, and the bag I'd been carrying dropped to the ground.
"Gotcha," he wickedly smiled, proud of his minor accomplishment.
"Look! I really don't have time for this, Shizu-chan. Rain check?"
Honestly, I really didn't have time. I had somewhere to be, people waiting on me, fun to have, work to do.
I wiped a tiny trickle of blood from my lip, realizing that when this chase had first begun, he got me in the first hit. Unfair. I wasn't even ready for it! He's lucky I'm so small. Slipping out of his grasp is way too easy sometimes.
"Now, now. You're being a little unfair, don't you think? I have quite an evening to plan for, and beating me up is not conducive to my schedule!"
What time was it anyway? I swear, the last time I checked it was only mid-afternoon. Ever notice how time just soars on by when you're in a rush?
"Heh. If you hold still, it'll only take a minute," he growled, bringing his mouth dangerously close to my ear.
I shuddered at the sensation of his hot breath flowing across exposed skin.
"But I… Eh?"
Why was he pulling back? Why was he letting go?
"What's this?" Shizuo asked, stooping down to pick up my bag from the pavement.
I sighed, slipping my knife back into my pocket. Damn it. When did it get so hot outside? "None of your business."
"What's it for?"
"I told you. And I paid a lot for it. I have quite the evening ahead of me. Let's make this better for both of us. I'm sure - given the time - your significant other is expecting you home, and I'd rather not have a fresh bruise tonight."
Furrowing his brow, he'd revealed that I'd gotten to him, and stepped out of my way. The eyes of the city were on us, staring in their usual bewilderment. You'd think they'd be used to it by now. Some things never change.
Supposedly that long break away from Ikebukuro got to them. For a while, they'd forgotten about us.
"Nee! Thank you, Shizu-chan," I cheered, bouncing forward to place a tiny peck on his cheek; taking my shopping bag back from him.
The strangers watching us were left floored, while I dashed away, incredibly proud of myself for the act. If I hurried, I'd get back to Shinjuku to make great time. I was even looking forward to being ahead of schedule, which hadn't happened much since my life made such an incredible turn.
Everything had changed in six months. Everything.
Increasingly, I discovered myself to be more and more of an unorganized mess, smiling like a carefree idiot rather than a sinister information broker. I barely recognized myself anymore; yet I couldn't make myself care. Dare I say I even liked the change? I was smiling… really smiling…
Looking at me, nobody ever would have known that seven months ago, I was an entirely different person… a person who felt lower than human, who didn't know how to smile - how to laugh - and certainly never knew what it was to love.
"Mmm. That. Smells incredible," he smiled, resting his head on my shoulder.
"It should!" I exclaimed matter-of-factly, adding a large portion of mushrooms to the sizzling concoction before quickly slipping away from him to organize the sushi tray I'd picked up on my way home. "I've worked hard on this!"
"I was talking about you," he chuckled, leaning against the wall, watching me work.
"Oi! Don't be useless!" I half laughed, handing him the tray, "Take this to the roof, would you?"
"Are you going to acknowledge that statement?" he asked, looking a bit hurt.
"I acknowledged it with giving you something to do so that you'll stop ogling me! I will not be objectified by you, Heiwajima Shizuo!"
"I'm sorry… I…" his face fell a bit, "I just want to make up for-"
"Don't worry about it!" I turned around with a smile, "You can barely see it! And I kind of liked it."
"Liked it?! I hit you! And you liked it?!"
"Seven months in and you still don't get that I'm a bit of a masochist, do you?" I folded my arms.
Shizuo shrugged, "Guess not…"
"Not to mention… it keeps the illusion up, you know?"
He scratched the back of his head with his free hand, "Er… So you're still-"
"Ah, Shizu-chan," I sighed, "Yes. For now. Friends and family, alright?"
"No matter. Now will you take that upstairs before our guests start eating each other? And tell them to back off my toro."
"You've already eaten half of it!" his grin broke through the brief moment of tension.
"I want it. All of it," I kept smug.
"It doesn't even match the main course!"
"But it goes perfectly with my soul!"
Continuing to stare at him, he finally took the hint, making his way out of the kitchen slowly. I was finally relieved to be getting rid of him when the idiot turned around again.
"What?!" I asked, exasperated.
Those stormy eyes scanned me up and down. I could feel every cell in my body gravitating toward his gaze as a strong wanton desire grew between us. Next thing I knew, I was doing just the same, following every line, every curve, every detail.
"You look good," he explained, considerably bashful. For why, I cannot say. "Really good. You should wear sweaters more often."
Feeling a rush of heat shoot to my ears, I glanced down at the black cardigan, and the crimson button-up underneath. "Well… you know… it's new… so…" I muttered aimlessly, nervously pushing up the sleeves as they began to fall back down.
"It's a good trade from that jacket," he teased.
Playfully, I narrowed my eyes. "I could say the same for you - who has been wearing the same bartender getup for- what? Two years?"
Seeing Shizuo in jeans and a simple black polo was nothing short of refreshing, even if he was unwilling to lose those cobalt shades.
"Eh," he shrugged. I wondered if he had any idea how hard it was not to look at him.
"Go. Take that. Roof. Now," I reminded him, turning back to the food in front of me. "I'll be up in a few minutes, okay?"
Smirking, I momentarily wondered how easy it would be to get him to call me that in bed.
Stepping out onto the rooftop, my breath hitched catching sight of the setting October sun as it blew me away. The last time I'd seen a sunset, I was less than a step away from taking my own life, thinking that it was the most spectacular thing I had ever witnessed. This time, I staggered slightly, having discovered that this one may have been better.
Broken up clouds decorated the sky, receiving a multifaceted hue from the dimming light as the ornamental lights on the roof's garden began to light up in time with the growing darkness around me. From where I stood, I could see the fiery orange sphere sinking into more distant buildings, concrete and steel turned golden by the dying light. Above, stars twinkled in the romantic dusk. At a loss for words, tears pricked my eyes, causing me to nearly forget the concoction in my hands.
"Come on, Izaya! Stop zoning out! We're hungry!" Shinra's peppy voice brought me back to earth.
Blinking back tears, I replaced stun with a grin, setting the pot in the center of the table. Glancing around, I made sure all was set from each light bulb functioning in its proper place, to the heaters close enough to keep the overhead armada warm without catching fire. The drinks were perfectly organized at the mini bar, and the table was evenly set. Not a utensil out of place. Folding my arms, I was satisfied with my work.
"Stop staring!" Shinra laughed, "We all know you're a perfectionist, so I took a picture of it! Sit down!"
"Shinra, has anyone ever told you that you talk too much?" I whipped my gaze around to meet his, proud when his jaw dropped. Flabbergasted. "Finally! You're speechless!"
Beside him, the loose tremors flowing through Celty told me she was laughing, while a significant number of heart shapes dispersed from her shadow. Meanwhile, the two teens opposite of them had broken out of their visual fixations long enough to acknowledge that the universe still carried on without them.
"Hey…" I took another glance around, "Where's Shizu-chan?"
Still at a loss for words - that, or now he was holding a grudge - Celty flashed me a message on her PDA faster than the underground doctor could have spoken it. Weird couple.
[He went downstairs to meet Kasuka-kun.]
"Ah…" I shrunk a bit in response, unwilling to admit that I'd purposely tried to forget that the younger Heiwajima would be participating in this small dinner party.
[Don't worry. It's been a long time. And look, Kida-kun has forgiven you.]
That was a load of crap. Everyone on the roof knew that the only reason Kida Masaomi had shown up after the invite was because Mikado used those unusual cerulean eyes to beg. Ha. The kid was just like me. He'd never topped in his life, but he sure knew how to dominate.
"I know, I know," I made a sorry attempt to wave off the tension. "I just don't know what to say to him."
[Shizuo making you happy would be a good start.]
"Oh, Celty. If he doesn't believe it from Shizu-chan, he's not going to trust it from me. I guess I'll just have to wait and see. As much as I'd love to, I can't know everything."
The headless woman gave an agreeable nod, setting her little black brick on the table for future use.
The last time I had seen the young actor, I was eavesdropping on a yelling match between him and his beloved older brother, while he did his best to remind Shizuo that I was a creation of evil. A demon birthed from the fires of Hell. He had never even seen my face before I slipped out the window. I broke down that night, and tried to throw myself off the roof. Did he know this of me?
Hearing the door to the roof open, chills raced down my spine. My heart paused, along with the rest of the world, as I worked up the intestinal fortitude to bring my gaze to said door. I could feel the eyes of my guests flitting back and forth between myself and the actor.
We stared each other down. His indifferent gray eyes were fixed intently on me. I couldn't stop reaching to slide my sleeves up past my elbows no matter how many times they insisted on slipping back to my wrists. Kasuka was reading into my soul, no doubt using his skills as an actor to see my true intentions. Adrenaline coursed through my veins at alarming rates, but I couldn't feel my heart race. I was terrified - terrified that I wouldn't gain his approval. Terrified that -
"Izaya-san," the actor blinked, nodding once.
"K-Kasuka-kun…" I barely made it through the initial acknowledgement. Quickly, I averted my gaze to the woman in a lacy white dress shyly standing behind him, taking note of the intertwined fingers.
Shizuo curved around his brother, coming to wrap an arm around my shoulder. He pulled me closer, his enormous strength nearly stealing me off my feet. "Calm down," he muttered in my ear.
"This is my girlfriend," Kasuka stepped forward as the young woman - a particularly sad looking specimen who still managed to radiate perfection - joined his side. "Ruri, meet Orihara Izaya."
With introductions and hellos settled, I directed the attention to the dinner waiting on the table.
"It looks great!" Mikado exclaimed as I removed the lid from my masterpiece, revealing it to hungry eyes to match hungry stomachs.
Shinra chortled. "Spaghetti? What gave you that idea?"
"You. Be quiet!" I jokingly warned, pointing my fork at him.
Yes. A fork.
"What are you going to do?" he mock-leered. "Stab me!?"
"Already have. Middle school. My first pocket knife. Care to show the party your scar?"
"Eh?! I think I'll pass!" attention flipped to Mikado as his face went pale.
"Don't worry," I turned to the Dollars leader, "We're kidding. That never happened."
Shinra laughed, "Not exactly… You just want to take all the credit for it instead."
"Can we just eat already?" Shizuo whimpered, crashing his head into my bicep. "I'm starving."
"You're a glutton!" I told him, scooping a more-than-generous serving onto his plate.
"Always has been," Kasuka said, expressionless.
Though, if I'm not mistaken, he was truly fighting a smirk from tugging at his lips. Ruri and Celty giggled. The only person not involving himself in the conversation was a very hypnotized Masaomi, who was happily fixated on keeping himself glued to the Dollars leader.
"Kida Masaomi!" I hooked his attention with a bit of force, "I know your parents don't feed you, so stop fantasizing about eating your boyfriend, and eat your food!"
Proud of myself, I crossed my arms, enjoying the irresistible round of laughter that made its way around the table when the two students jumped apart, turning red from their necks up. Mikado spent a good twenty seconds stuttering through inaudible excuses. Kida could only shoot me a special look, custom made for my snarky comments, when he couldn't think of an equally clever retort.
"So anyway!" Shinra cut in, interrupting a mild staring contest, "Why spaghetti, Izaya-kun?"
"Simple. Italian food is like… one of those things, you know?"
Shizuo shook his head. "I don't follow."
"It's one of those foods that brings people together. It can be shared between two, on a romantic level," I winked at the messy-haired blond, "Or a large family. But how many times do you hear of somebody eating it alone? Plus, have you ever had day-old spaghetti? It shouldn't taste that good!"
"Speaking of family, where are your sisters? Shouldn't they be here?"
"HA! Hell no! Those little monsters-" my heart filled with a strange, tingling warmth, "-and I are going to Okinawa tomorrow."
"In October?" Kasuka arched a disinterested brow.
"Yeah…" I reveled in the heat flooding my chest, "Just to look around," Shizuo's eyes caught mine. "We have a lot to talk about," I shrugged.
"And who knows what havoc they'd wreak if they caught sight of you," Shizuo told his brother.
The actor almost looked curious, giving me the impression that Shizuo wasn't telling him about Mairu's infatuation with my boyfriend's brother. Better left unsaid. I didn't want to know the consequences to come if that girl had any inkling that her obsession was eating dinner on my rooftop.
"Anyway," Shizuo casually changed topics, "I'm glad you could make it tonight. It's been a while."
"Indeed," the younger Heiwajima agreed.
"How long has it been?"
"Seven months," I answered robotically, barely considering the circumstances of the brothers' last meeting.
"That's a long time not to see your family," Mikado said.
"How long has it been since you've been home, Ryuugamine-kun?" Shinra asked the Raira student.
The boy frowned. "Since I moved to Tokyo."
"Don't you miss it?" Shizuo wondered, "Small town living? You've thrown yourself into a pretty scary place."
"My hometown was pretty boring… and even though it's dangerous here, I have Masaomi."
Celty typed a quick message into her PDA and showed it to both boys. [You have us too.]
Continuing our dinner, conversation surrounding the topics of love, friends, and family filled the table. It was the first time in months that I felt like I had a place in the world. Over the last six months with Shizuo, the road to recovery contained its frequent ups and downs. I knew that no matter what I did, I'd have him to turn to at the end of each day. However, gaining the acceptance of others was still quite the challenge. Making my peace with myself also came and went. While I didn't try to kill myself again, I couldn't fight every negative emotion. Shinra told me it was to be expected, but that I didn't need professional help or medication. He assured me that as long as I trusted the people who offered a helping hand, I'd be okay. He was right. Not only did I trust Shizuo, but I was able to fully rely on both Shinra and Celty as the good friends they'd been fighting to be.
I made sure to thank Simon for saving my life, being sure to have a long conversation with him on the importance of life. Whilst speaking Russian, one thing was true about that man: he always had the wisest words. Though, I suppose he still had them in Japanese. Maybe it was the eloquence of his native tongue that really settled into my soul.
Slowly, but surely, I was working my way back into human hearts. I could sense Kida's forgiveness on the horizon, eagerly awaiting it and even going as far as to offer him a job. Still a bit wary, he agreed with Mikado's encouragement.
Life wasn't perfect. I was okay with that. I was okay. Seeing all that was left to mend, I was encouraged to see the minor to major wounds scab over and heal. My party on the rooftop was only another step in mending the brokenness of my life.
Drink in hand, I stared up at the stars littered around the crescent moon, thinking about what was left to patch up. To come so far… to be so close… it was all because of Shizuo that I did not just survive, but truly lived to see another day.
"Hey," the calm, familiar voice of the actor startled me a bit as he joined me in staring at the moon.
"Oh," I acknowledged him, suddenly becoming a bit nervous, "Kasuka-kun."
"Can we talk for a minute?"
Taking my eyes away from the moon, I crossed my gaze with his. His steel eyes reflected the light exactly the way Shizuo's did, despite the half-lidded, apathetic mask, he was just as emotional. "Of course," I nodded.
He averted his gaze to the sky. "I wanted to apologize, Izaya-san."
"Izaya is fine… but… apologize?"
"I was wrong. Time has proven that. I shouldn't have said the things I did; the accusations… I'm sorry. You love my brother, don't you?"
"Well…" I chuckled nervously, "In so many words…"
"You haven't told Aniki, have you?"
"I know he tells you every day. In my own way, I'm jealous. He and I have a strange relationship," the actor began to confess. "I can admit this. We've never really known what to say to each other, even in a fight. Our feelings are usually expressed through actions, which is difficult because my work takes me away from home most of the time. I don't see him often. But when I left his apartment after that fight, it settled in quickly how adamant he was about you. He didn't have to say he loved you. It was obvious. He has never fought so hard in his life… for anything. Not the way he fights for you."
I stared at him with wide eyes. "I… I'm afraid I don't know what to say. Thank you…?"
"Just tell him. You feel it don't you?"
"So what stops you? You're an excellent speaker. Good with words. Good with people. The way you look at each other… I get it. You should too, Izaya. We're in similar professions in a way. We practically get paid to understand people, don't we?"
"I definitely agree with that. Though, I am afraid it's not so simple. Shizu-chan has been here for me every moment that I've needed him most. Losing him would kill me before I could kill myself. That's why I can't just say it. For all we've been through, to treat those three little words so casually would almost make a mockery of his affections. To be so simple…"
"You're waiting until the time is right," Kasuka understood.
"Until then, he's happy just knowing it's there. And I'm happy to show him through my actions."
"Reasonable. Again, I'm sorry. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me?"
"Heh… Kasuka-kun, as harsh as those words were back then… I agreed with you when I heard them. Of course you're forgiven."
"I'm glad. You mean a lot to him… and that means a lot to me."
Hanejima Yuuhei disappeared for several seconds, allowing the real Heiwajima Kasuka to put down that cool mask. With that, half-lidded eyes opened a tad wider, and a full smile - brighter than the ones often shown through his roles - flashed my way, surprising me with how much like Shizuo's it was. From there, he walked away, returning to the pretty girl in the lacy white dress.
"What was that about?" Shizuo asked, stealing his brother's place.
Finishing off my drink, I answered with a shrug-smile-combination. "I think I just became friends with your little brother."
"Good. I hoped you might."
"Tch. Yeah. You're more similar than you let on."
"You think? Well… I guess you'd be the expert, wouldn't you, Shizu-chan?"
His arm slid around my waist, pulling me closer. "Tonight was really amazing. You really outdid yourself."
"Thank you…" I felt my cheeks go hot.
I leaned into him, exhausted from a long - rewarding as it was - day.
"Tired?" he queried.
Scooping me up in his arms, Shizuo lifted me off the ground and carried me bridal-style to the door.
"What are you doing?!" I exclaimed, kicking my legs.
"Shut up," he smirked, carrying me down the stairs.
"Shh. It's late. You'll wake up your neighbors," he laughed.
I couldn't help but reciprocate the feel-good vibe while our guests watched curiously as we disappeared from the roof; down the hall. Coiling my arms around his neck, I buried my face in his chest until we made our way through my front door, where I was eventually tossed onto my bed.
"Get some rest," he advised, "I'll kick everyone out, clean up, and then it'll be just the two of us."
"I don't get you," I snickered, "You make no sense. Ever."
"And that's why you love me."
"Huh?!" I couldn't help it. Caught up in the moment, I was taken by surprise. Allowing my shock a moment to fade, I watched a lusty smile course its way from his eyes to his lips. "Yeah…" I mumbled mindlessly, finding myself completely captivated by those swirling hurricane spheres. "I do."
"I love you, too."