Once the newly found couple got home, they took that time to cuddle and watch a movie. It came to a surprise that Shizuo's favorite was a romantic comedy, but they laughed and talked and occasionally shared a kiss. And everything went smoothly…

But by the time they called Shinra, it was pretty dark outside, and both the underground doctor and Celty were in a panic. They picked up on the first ring, like the trio had been waiting by the telephone the whole time after they left. The glasses clad man spit out questions left and right, while you could hear Celty occasionally trying to take the phone off shinra, or at least that's what the two boys assumed with all the shuffling coming from the other end, which was kind of strange since she wouldn't be able to say anything anyway.

The real shock though, was finding out that Mai was on the worried side as well, even though she wasn't particularly fond of Izaya after the questioning, she still cared for him to an extent. When they told her about the two being enemies before, with the killing rampages through the city, that's when she began to fidget. Even though she liked Izaya's boyfriend - yes, "boyfriend" – she was still a decent human being. They told Shinra that everything was okay, and when he seemed doubtful, they told him they would come in tomorrow… and maybe bribed him with a pint of Shizuo's blood, but that's beside the point…

A warm smile found its way to Izaya's lips when relief was evident in his friend's voice.

The underground doctor said that he'd tell the girls everything was fine and dandy, and that they could go back to their day as long as they got to the lab early the next morning.

Shizuo and Izaya agreed, and that was the end of the conversation.

As they sat in front of the TV, laughing every once in a while, and practically beaming the whole time, Shizuo started to wonder about Mai. Well, not the girl in particular, but what she had done to Izaya. Quickly glancing over to the crimson eyed male, he yawned, stretching his arm, and as cliché as it may seem, it was working. Or so he thought…

The blonde started blushing when he got his arm on the top of the couch by Izaya's head. Inching forward every so often, the heat in his face intensified.

"Shiz- What are you doing?" Izaya said, quickly ducking his head from Shizuo's arm and raising an eyebrow at the man.

Shizuo looked like a deer caught in head lights, eyes wide open, and crazy for an escape. Unable to come up with a logical response, he replied in silence.

Pulling a suspicious face, Izaya leant in closer, looking the blonde directly in his eyes. "You're hiding something…"

"N-no, I'm not." If Shizuo was blushing before his face would make a tomato envious now. It seems Izaya didn't realize their close proximity as he leaned in even closer than before.

"Tell me~" His sing song voice, spread warmth across Shizuo's face, breath mingling with the blondes. It was ridiculous. They had kissed before and Shizuo hadn't gone all red, but now, just the thought of what he was trying to do sent him into a fit, stuttering like a school girl confessing to her sempai.

"I-I don't know wha-"

"Yeah, okay. You're lying. Just tell me, Shizu-chan~"

Shizuo didn't so much as flinch when the nickname was brought up. He and Izaya had already discussed it. There was an attachment to the honorific, a sentimental feel, and Izaya just couldn't seem to shake it. But the question increased his jitteriness as much as it made him more curious.

I mean, Izaya was so close and the ears twitched every so often, but at the moment they were standing at full attention. Shizuo guessed it was because he was staring so intently.

Swallowing audibly, he reached out a hand, and gently caressed the smaller mans' raven locks before moving to one of his cat ears.

Busting into a grin, Izaya was starting to laugh. "Shizu-chan, you were nervous for-"

Laughter slowly subsided into a low purr, growing louder. Shizuo liked the sound, especially because it was him who caused it this time, a low vibratory murmur from deep inside the ravens' chest, one that spread warmth through the Shizuo's own.


The next day, as promised, Izaya and Shizuo showed up bright and early. At first it was awkward with what happened yesterday, but when the boys held hands, more like Izaya practically tearing it off whenever Mai walked by, Celty congratulated them and Shinra gave a small smile. Mai looked a little upset, maybe kind of angry as well, but she soon steeled herself. "Are you still going to work at your best?" Shinra had asked her, concerned. And with a reply, as sophisticated as could be without sounding soulless, she stated clearly: "Shinra you should know about the doctorate oath. Besides, I'm at my best now. I have no distractions, only obligations."

Testing went on for the rest of the day, and it was relatively work filled. Just waiting and testing, waiting and testing. The cycle went on till they left for home.

True to her word, by the end of week two, after the confrontation, months already going by, Mai had formulated the cure... Izaya had been out of work for so long, and his bills were piling up. It's good he knew the direct collector of his morgage, and all of his business, or else he'd be in some serious debt, maybe even without a home.

However, at that moment, unpaid bills were the least of the informant's worries. He was seated next on the couch in Shinra's living room, cuddling up right next to Shizuo. It should have been perfect, but the raven just couldn't shake his doubts. Finally…

"Hey…Shizu?" he breathed hesitantly, wine-red irises flickering up to meet a pair of mocha brown ones.
"Hmm," the debt collector responded, arm automatically wrapping around Izaya's slender shoulders upon hearing the worried tone of the informant. "What's wrong?"

Biting a thin pink lip, Izaya looked down for a moment, almost losing his nerve before asking, "Will you still be my boyfriend when I get fixed?"

Shizuo frowned in confusion. "Why wouldn't I?"
Izaya swallowed nervously. "Because..." he trailed off, losing what little nerve he had. Ugh, I just can't say it! It'll make me sound like some stupid teenage girl.

Sensing his insecurity, the blonde drew Izaya even closer, looking him dead in the eye. "Izaya, I already told you that I like you, no one else."
"No," the informant replied snootily. "You scoffed at me."
"Look, the cat ears and tail don't make up who you are. Why do you doubt me?"
"I don't-" the informant began, but the blonde cut him off.
"You do. Tell me, what's wrong? Not trusting each other was what got us in a fight before. I don't want that to happen again, and I'm sure you don't either. So, why don't we just try talking before it escalates to that point?"

The raven smirked. "Escalates… big word for Shizu-chan."
The blonde glared, letting it be silently known that he did notappreciate that jab.

They held the stare for a few moments before Izaya gradually softened. "Sorry... I'm sorry. I don't mean to say things like that to you; it's just a defense mechanism... Shizuo, honestly? I- I'm scared to tell you the truth."

The blonde was a bit stunned, never thinking that Izaya would admit to something like that. He wanted to assure Izaya, but didn't want to risk stopping him fully by interrupting.
You can tell me anything, was the unvoiced message Shizuo put across when he tightened his grip protectively on the raven's shoulders.
Izaya nodded. "… It's just... What if I'm not appealing to you anymore? What if you only liked me for the cat attributes?" As if on cue, his tail flicked into view. "That's the only time you took a real interest in me."

"Now, that's where you're wrong. When you changed, you were my responsibility. I had to watch over you, and I'm thankful for that." He touched Izaya's cheek when the raven began to deflate at the words, thinking it was a bad thing. "I didn't give you a chance before, and this made me, and I wouldn't have it any other way."

"Those"- Shizuo tugged a cat ear lightly, a vehement tone taking over - "aren't the only things I like about you."

"So, you admit that you like them in the first place!" the raven exclaimed, as always finding a loop hole.

"Yeah- but no…wait. I mean… Well... they're cute, but as I said that's not the only thing I like. Hell, it's not even my favorite."

"Oh, is that so?" the informant questioned, arching one eyebrow skeptically.

"Yes," the blonde said with complete seriousness. "The thing I like most doesn't have anything to do with your appearance. Just the fact that you're you with your teasing, and stupid nickname, and tendency to take things a bit too far, and that you can make me happy, and even have insecurities specifically fit for me. You're the only one who can handle me. You're my favorite, Izaya. You'll always be my favorite."

By the end of the chick-flick moment speech, Izaya's eyes were wide as saucers, and his face as crimson as an autumn apple, his mouth a tiny 'o' of shock. Snapping it shut, he ducked his head down, a little quirk of his whenever he was overwhelmed. Shock flooding his mind, the informant still managed one coherent thought.

He loves me

Unable to control himself, the informant launched onto the debt collector.
"Thank you, Shizu-chan, for that," he breathed in his ear. And he meant it. As usual, the blonde had taken all his fear away. "I love you."

The blondes eyes widened in shock upon hearing those three words once again. Tenderly, he hugged Izaya back, almost giddy with joy. "Yeah," he mumbled. "Me too…"

Just then, a flash of black caught the couple's eyes and they turned to see Celty, standing with the unmistakable air of a person who has just stumbled upon something they shouldn't have seen.

[Oops…sorry!] She texted wildly. [I just wanted to come in and tell you, the cure's ready Izaya. Everything's all set.]

"Oh…all right, thank you Celty," the raven said, detangling himself from the blonde's embrace and following her out towards the operation room. But just before he reached the door, inevitably, he turned around and glanced back at the debt collector, who smiled back.
Don't be afraid, that smile said. I'll be waiting for you when you're done. Don't be afraid.

And Izaya wasn't.


Hours later, the blonde jumped at the subtle sound of a door clicking open. He watched as the Dullahan emerged from the "operating" room.

"Celty! How'd it go?" he asked anxiously.
[Completely cured!] She assured him. [He's coming out right now. Shall I give you two some alone time?]

The blonde rolled his eyes, but smiled at his friend. "Yeah. Thanks, Celty."
Lips twitching up in an invisible smile, the Dullahan ducked out of the room, just in time for a certain newly-human, brunette to make an appearance. A long, somewhat awkward stretch of silence followed.
"I-" The informant began breaking the ice, then stopped short as Shizuo crossed the room in two long strides, reaching out to gently cup the raven's soft cheeks in his hands. Looking deep into his eyes, there was an odd sense of determination in his gaze, as if he were looking for something. Then, as though he had found it, he smiled.

"Yep, still you – still the one I fell in love with."

The informant's heart swelled until it blocked his throat, and once again, he threw himself into Shizuo's embrace.

"I love you," the blonde breathed, one arm wrapped around the brunette's waist, the other stroking his ebony locks.

The informant gave a breathy laugh, holding back tears of joy.
"Yeah, me too Shizu-chan. I love you too..."


THE END

Thank you all for reading this story! It truly means a lot to me and Magicalgirl. Every review, every favorite, and every read was apprecaited. I love you all and stick around for new stories. I've been really busy with the stress of school, exams, family problems, and my own life in general. So, I ask if you could please forgive me for the lateness. Again, it's a happy thought to look back on this story and how many people have enjoyed it.

A special shout of for you! (And Mary-chan, I now pronounce you, husband and bride! Cogradulations on your marriage.)