The chair he sat in was cold, its metal frame like ice as his fingers tightened on it even more. A chill shot through his fractured spine and resulted in an unpleasant and disjointed sensation from the contact. Izaya waited for it to pass but it lingered in his body for minutes on end. This could have been a result of his subconscious clinging to any stimulation it could get after the mind-numbing three days he'd spent in the hospital, or it could've been his nerves acting up. He reasoned that it was a combination of both.

His father was no more than twenty feet away, looking professional and untouchable. Not once since he arrived had he paid any attention to his son and Izaya couldn't help but think of just how trivial this must have seemed to him. He was in court, fighting for the custody of a son that he never wanted. The contradictory nature of that made Izaya's head throb even more. Did his father just need someone he could knock around when he was in a bad mood? No, his dad was too controlled for that. The only reason he had showed up for this was so he could maintain his social image. Losing his son in a court battle definitely wouldn't reflect well on him.

Clad in a black pin-stripe suit, his lawyer took up the seat beside him and rifled through some legal papers. He noticed Izaya looking at him and smiled casually. Izaya just scowled in response. Facing forward once again, he went over what he was expected to say. For the past seventy-two hours he had been drilled on the facts about the abuse he endured, his self-injury, and his social life. He'd recited everything the night before, repeatedly until he'd brought himself to tears from speaking of his trauma. Izaya grit his teeth to keep from going through that today.

Low murmurs were heard all around him until a woman, an older lady who he assumed was the judge, entered the room. She put up a hand and took her position above all of them. Glasses perched on her nose, the woman sized them up. Izaya clutched the chair tight enough that he thought he would wear down the bones in his fingertips.

"All rise," the bailiff chimed from beside the judge. Scuffling sounds filled the room and when they ended, Izaya realized he hadn't moved at all. He couldn't. The bailiff was staring pointedly at him, about to repeat himself, when the judge intervened.

"You may be seated," she said. More shuffling sounds chorused around him as people took their seats once more.

Izaya sat there, hypersensitive to what went on in that room as the formalities were taken care of. Every whisper seemed too loud, every scuffle of shoes sounded like an earthquake. The freezing air that seeped from the courthouse vents did nothing to help the goose bumps creeping along his forearms, which were only half covered by the shirt the hospital gave him.

"Now, let's hear the defendant's opening statement."

Straightening his coat, the attorney appointed to Izaya's father stood and made his way to the center of the room. "My client pleads innocent of all charges. All injuries sustained by Izaya Orihara were self inflicted. Shirou has never laid a hand on this boy."


Time was moving too slowly; Izaya could feel himself drowning in the sand of the metaphorical hourglass he was trapped in. With every minute he felt himself suffocate just a little bit more.

People were moving to and fro, travelling between the benches and the witness stand. Half of the questions being asked didn't seem to relate to the situation at hand, but the dueling lawyers found them extremely relevant with the way they frowned or grinned after each one. Both seemed to be doing a fair amount of each until Shinra took his turn as the witness. After that, things seemed to be working in Izaya's favor. He even managed to return the small smile shot at him by his lawyer. This gesture was quickly killed by Izaya's name being called by the judge.

"Izaya, please come to the witness stand," called the woman from her high chair, one hand readjusting her glasses as the other sorted through documents.

His eyes widened slightly, and Izaya stared at his lawyer desperately, only to get a sad shake of the head in response. He reluctantly let go of the chair and walked over to the stand. The feeling he got from this simple act reminded him of a lamb being led to slaughter. Himself being the lamb, of course, while his dad played the part of the butcher.

As soon as he was in place, the questions started flowing.

"You've self-harmed in the past, Izaya?" was the first query from his father's attorney.


"How frequently would you say you do this?"

"Four to five times a week. Once a day at the most."

"What do you use to injure yourself?"

"Anything that I have on hand. Usually a switchblade."

"Would I be correct in saying that you've bruised yourself before with say, a blunt object?"

This question was meant to trip him up, he knew it, and he didn't even bat an eyelash. "No. I've only scarred myself with sharp objects or burned myself. Not once have I left bruises on myself. The only bruises I've ever received are from my father."

The glare Izaya got from the man in question was enough to have him shrinking back, nails scratching into the wooden beam in front of him. If his father couldn't hurt him anymore, why was he so scared?

With bleary eyes, Shizuo tried to make out the numbers on his alarm clock. Was that a six, or was that an eight? The blonde groaned and rested his chin on the edge of his nightstand with a quiet thunk so his face was only a few inches away from the clock. After squinting at it for some time, he made the numbers out to say 12:36. Rolling back over, Shizuo buried his face in a plush pillow. 12:36. He really had slept late. As he mulled this over a feeling of dread stirred in his stomach. Wasn't there something he had to do today? It was something important, he knew that much.


Shizuo lurched out of bed as the panic took hold of him. He frantically undressed only to hastily tug on the suit laid out for him by his brother.

Izaya's court case was today, and he forgot.

Stumbling for his shoes which were placed by the front door, Shizuo took his frustration out on Kasuka, who sat calmly at the kitchen table with a sandwich for lunch.

"Why didn't you wake me up?!" he shouted.

Kasuka shrugged and took a bite out of his sandwich. "I tried to. You wouldn't wake up no matter what I did. You were too busy hugging your pillow."

That made sense. Ever since he'd made the resolution to get Izaya a gift and show some real physical affection towards the boy, it was all he could think about. Apparently that carried over into his sleep as well. Still, this was something he would never reveal to even Kasuka. Shizuo flushed and yelled to his brother as he ran out the door, "I wasn't hugging it!"

A man in a navy blue police uniform gripped Shizuo's shoulder. "You can't go in there, son."

"I have to! My friend is in there, I have to be there for him!" Shizuo growled back, trying hard not to lose his temper. He didn't have a problem with authority per se, but sometimes when people told him what to do, he had trouble controlling his anger. It was getting hard with the way this cop was trying to manhandle him.

"I'm sorry, but once court is in session I can't let anyone in." The police officer tried to turn him away, but was stopped by Shizuo's iron grip on his wrist.

"Fuck that!"

The officer was a blur as his body crashed through the glass doors that Shizuo had nearly torn off the hinges already. Chest heaving from the strain, Shizuo stood and watched to make sure he hadn't killed anyone in his efforts to make it to Izaya. A strangled groan was all he needed to continue on.

Busting through the double doors, Shizuo felt his heart stop. He was late. The verdict had already been reached. The people milling around the courtroom stared at him in terror; two of them were all but surprised by his sudden appearance.

"Shizuo…" Shinra started, but was unable to finish the sentence. All he could do was stare at his friend. Izaya moved forward and stood in front of Shizuo with an unreadable expression.

"You're a bit late, Shizu-chan."

"I…know. I know."

The dark haired teen forced a smile. "Good news. My father has ten years in prison. I, on the other hand, will be moving to Shinjuku since I'm old enough to stay on my own. My sisters are staying with a relative in Shibuya. Isn't that great?"

"You'll still go to Raira, right?" Shizuo asked, his throat closing up. He thought for a moment that he stopped breathing when Izaya shook his head.

"No. I'll be going to a different school for the rest of the school term. But that's good for you, Shizu-chan! You won't have to deal with me anymore!"

The last syllable was squeaked out rather than spoken because Shizuo's arms had wrapped tightly around the smaller boy, successfully shutting him up.

"Stupid flea. You're supposed to stay in 'bukuro so I can chase you."

"Ah, I apologize. You'll have to do without me for a while," Izaya sputtered, bringing one hand up to tug gently at the blonde strands of that brushed his cheek. Heat pooled in his belly as Shizuo nuzzled his neck like an affectionate little puppy.

"I hate you."

These words had taken on a new meaning for them, one that sent Izaya's heart soaring. They meant the opposite, which neither of them would ever be able to utter without losing every ounce of masculine pride that they had.

"I hate you more."

A craptastic new chapter for my lovely readers who desrve more than that. I know nothing of legal matters, and had no idea what to do with this chapter honestly. I apologize. The next one will be marginally better.