Shizuo was certain now that he had been drugged.

He staggered down the sidewalk, coughing and hacking at the thick, slimy feeling he got from smoking with alcohol still on his tongue. Stopping to lean on the wall, Shizuo dry-heaved and groaned as his world rose and fell like the ocean waves.

"God…" He groaned, hiccupping and pushing off the wall. "I shouldn't-" His stomach rolled and this time Shizuo emptied his stomach until he started to see black spots in his vision. Shizuo leant his head back, staring up at the faint stars he could see past the bright Ikebukuro lights, and sighed. "No more drinks for me tonight…"

He barely heard his attackers before they struck him in the head from behind.

"GRAB HIM!"

Hands assaulted him from every side, finding some purchase in his clothes to grab him and weigh his already heavy body down. He fell when he attempted to swing an arm free of them, getting mashed against the pavement as they fell on him like ravenous dogs. He grunted, dropping his cigarette, and the mob quickly hefted him out of sight of the street.

"Le' go…" Shizuo slurred, trying to snarl menacingly through his inebriated dizziness and pounding headache.

They just laughed: "So, what's next?"

"Now you humans get what you deserve." A voice said clearly as another figure –blurred beyond Shizuo's recognition- came into the alley.

"KILL HIM!" Shizuo heard a few of his ambushers get up, rushing the man, but also heard the casual 'klik' of a knife opening that stopped them dead.

"Still wanna dance, punks?" growled the knife-bearer, followed by a hush of whispers as he stepped forward deliberately.

"I said kill him!" Shizuo grunted as the man standing over his head grabbed his hair and pulled hair, exposing his throat to the sky. "Now!"

"Let. Him. Go."

Shizuo shivered at the knife-wielder's dark voice, his ears still ringing from his captor's deafening shriek, and his stomach did a queasy flip. The stranger and Shizuo's hair-pulling attacker argued for a while, making Shizuo's already aching head pound like a meat tenderizer on a good steak.

"…Then I'll make you wish you had never gone after Shizuo Heiwajima." Shizuo suddenly recognised the voice when the knife-wielder said his name; it was Izaya! Stiffening, he turned his head to the side and- his plan ended, cut short when his head was forced against the pavement hard. "SHIZUO!"

The blonde man groaned, feeling the impact over and over as his heart pushed blood to the swelling. He tried to roll off his stomach, but a foot smashed into the chiselled muscle of his back.

He couldn't withhold the man of pain that swirled up his throat.

"Asshole," Fighting began and Shizuo strained to see who was gaining the greater damage as the people holding him down left bit by bit. Unfortunately, his blurry vision didn't track fast movements in such poor lighting.

Luckily enough, he didn't have to.

The violence was over as suddenly as it had began, and now only two men stood; Izaya, and Shizuo's shouting captor. Shizuo pushed up against the foot resting on his back, making it to his hands and knees before the foot dug into his spine hard.

"get down!" shouted the man, knocking Shizuo's breath out of him with a well-placed kick. The sudden impacted knocked out an arm supporting him, and Shizuo found himself on the pavement again with much distaste.

"You shouldn't have done that." Izaya's voice was so powerful that had Shizuo not been staring at his blurred outline, he would have thought the informant was speaking in his ear. Shizuo could hear them fighting anf thought about looking, but it hurt to move and he decided to stay put. As the stitch in his side disappeared, so did all sounds of struggle around the Herculean blond debt collector.

"Are you alright?" Izaya asked suddenly, making Shizuo's heart stutter. His eyes flew open, swivelling in their sockets, and he saw the informant outline against the midnight-blue sky. He also saw that his sunglasses were cracked, but he didn't care.

"Orihara…" He rasped, his voice rough from vomiting and the kicks. Seeing his usual prey looming over him made Shizuo turn his face into an angry grimace. "Get away from me."

"Come on," Izaya sighed, "I just saved your butt! Can't you show a little gratitude?"

Shizuo opened his mouth, sharp tongue at the ready, and stopped. "Thanks," He grunted, looking away. The Shinjuku informant smiled, "My pleasure, Shizu-chan, now let's get you up of the ground!"

Glaring, Shizuo pushed himself into a hesitant sitting position and pressed carefully at his ribs to check for breakage. Nothing appeared to be broken, so he took the pain as bruising and staggered to his feet with the help of a wall.

"Aww!" Izaya whined, poking his sensitive spine in a way that made his legs quiver. "I wanted to help, Shizu-chan!" Shizuo turned around, swiping clumsily at the informant, and stumbled forward. Had Izaya's arm not come before his chest, he likely would have hit the pavement face-first and stayed there. "Careful, big guy!"

"Tonight, I won't pitch you out of Ikebukuro like a baseball." Shizuo growled, glaring as the flea tried to grab his arm. "There's your goddamn gratitude, now piss off."

"Those humans tranquilized you like a bull elephant!" Izaya protested, holding up his hands. "Let me help you get home, at least." Shizuo pulled back a little, weaving as he scrutinized Izaya's thin face. It looked safe, but one could never be sure with a sneaky flea like Izaya Orihara.

"You're up to something…" Shizuo mumbled wearily, swallowing the bad taste in his mouth.

"Am not!" Izaya objected, eyes wide and dramatic.

Shizuo stared, unimpressed, and leant back against the wall. "Liar."

"Honest!" Izaya said, letting Shizuo sink to his rear with his back against the wall. "I'll call you a cab, get you somewhere safe. It's Ikebukuro, Shizu-chan; you can't stay out like you are!"

"Don't call me that…" Shizuo muttered weakly, pouting sleepily like a toddler.

"Fine then," Izaya smirked, "Shizuo." Hearing the informant say his first name like that made Shizuo's eyes snap open, locking with the informant's in a blaze of mixed emotions.

"I swear to God," Shizuo grunted, laying his arm over Izaya's shoulders to use him as a crutch. "if you screw with me, I'll-"

"Oh, come on!" Izaya chuckled, gripping his wrist and putting an arm around Shizuo's waist. "would I do that? Honestly, you're all doped up on elephant tranquilizer! That would just be cruel!"

Shizuo scowled, "You are cruel, flea."

"Whatever you say, Shizuo…" Izaya chuckled, looking up into the blonde's eyes with a smirk. "Whatever you say."