.disclaimer: don't own.
.genre: romance, drama.
.word count: 7,049.
.summary: when izaya checks himself into the mental hospital, shizuo finds himself unable to not visit-not because he cared, of course, but because he was curious-bringing with him taunts, annoyance, and a bag of ice.
"Izaya's in the mental hospital."
Shinra looked over to Shizuo, a wry smile on his lips that seemed out of place on the usually bright doctor. Even Shizuo could sense a change in attitude from Celty as he looked at the two of them, fists clenched and eyes narrowed, biting down on his cigarette.
"Why is the flea in the mental hospital?" he asked his question again, in a calmer tone, glaring at Shinra. The doctor simply remained calm with that odd smile on his face.
"You should ask him yourself, Shizuo."
Of course, he put it off.
He didn't want to go find Izaya, to see him in a mental hospital. He didn't want to ask why he was there because he didn't care. It wasn't his business why Izaya was there unless he put him there and Shizuo only had intentions on putting Izaya in a coffin.
But he was curious; he found himself thinking of the flea nearly every moment. He didn't want to care about Izaya, didn't want to admit he was thinking about him, but he couldn't help his wandering mind, always finding its way to the same, single question.
Izaya in the mental hospital?
Orihara Izaya in a mental hospital?
"He checked himself in."
"He did," Shinra said with a rueful smile still and looked up at him, "they told me he just walked in and… said he needed to stay a while. Escape from it all."
The doctor shrugged.
"You're best asking Izaya himself what he meant."
Shizuo couldn't fathom why Izaya would willingly check himself in. He had told himself that Izaya was crazy but never meant it; Izaya was smart, dangerously so, and could plan out everything. He didn't seem like the kind to check himself into a place like that, to allow someone else to control him. If he could help it, Izaya would never put himself in a position where he wasn't the master.
He put it off for days, doing everything he could to not see him because he didn't care, after all, not at all, not even a little bit.
But then he gave up. One morning he woke up and told Tom he needed a day off, needed personal time. Told Shinra that he was visiting Kasuka, made sure Celty wasn't out on her motorcycle when he went. He prayed no one would recognize him, having taken those precautions with his friends after all, but the moment he stepped in everyone jumped, the waiting room becoming deathly silence as he asked awkwardly for Orihara Izaya's room number.
"Room thirteen eighteen."
"You sure you confiscated all of the flea's?" Shizuo asked dryly, sighing when her eyes widened.
It was a silent walk there, his shoes making light tapping sounds on the clean linoleum floors. No smoking allowed, the receptionist had told him, and so there was nothing to calm him as he made his way to Izaya's room. He saw a few nurses in the hallway with carts and assumed it was lunchtime. Knowing Izaya, the pretentious flea would be too arrogant to eat any hospital food.
He turned the corner and headed to the end of the hallway, wondering if Izaya had specifically requested a corner room, to have that isolation because the thought made sense in his mind. He had almost reached the room when the door opened and he nearly jumped, panic jumping through him. What would he say to Izaya, how could he make up an excuse? It seemed different to be caught by Izaya to see him than to walk in and surprise Izaya first.
But it was just Namie.
Not that it was any better because now he had to explain himself to her.
"I—uh—not that I care—"
"…I just brought him food," she cut him off and smiled lightly in amusement, "He won't eat what the hospital gives him."
"I won't tell," she added and walked past him without another word, never once looking back.
Shizuo wanted to yell after her that it was nothing, really, absolutely nothing at all, but composed himself at the last minute and took a few steps forward. With his hand on the doorknob, he turned a breath to calm himself, to recompose himself.
He was here out of curiosity, he told himself, that's what he would say. Not because he cared, but because he was curious; after all, he didn't want the flea to die before he could get to him.
With that in his mind, he turned the doorknob and entered the room, letting it close by itself behind him, feeling a light rush of wind. He replaced the hand in his pocket as he walked in, seeing Izaya stared at the television and eating ootoro (he made Namie deliver him ootoro, really?)
"Hah? Namie, did you forget… eh, Shizu-chan?" Izaya's eyes widened momentarily when he saw the blonde approach. Shizuo stopped a few feet away, making sure he was glaring at him.
"Why are you in here?"
"Ah, Shizu-chan cares for me!" Izaya chirped, carefully putting the ootoro aside. Shizuo noticed he took care that his black sleeved shirt (how did he get out of wearing that hospital uniform?) didn't ride up, using one hand to keep the hem down and leaning so his sleeve wouldn't be pulled up. Brown eyes narrowed at that and he repeated his question, growling the words.
"I just wanted to get away, ne?" Izaya answered and Shizuo's eyes widened, "It's easy to check yourself in, just say you're sad, a bit suicidal and, voila, they let you in! Of course, there's billing, but that's all right…"
"You're faking?" Shizuo snarled, watching one of Izaya's eyes open nonchalantly, "There are people here that are genuinely suffering and you just wanted some kind of a fucking vacation?"
"Even I can't always love humans, Shizu-chan!"
"You're fucking twisted!" he growled and turned around, disgusted by Izaya's answer, hardly hearing Izaya's "Shizu-chan!" called to him, not bothering to wonder why it seemed to sound different.
He was revolted by Izaya, he thought as he stormed out of the place, the flea had reached an all new low. Pretending to be mentally ill, pretending to have to be there, that was mocking to those that were there, those that were suffering. Izaya was always twisted, never normal but this? Thiswas a completely new level for him.
Needless to say, he didn't go back. He avoided the place and avoided Shinra and Celty, both of whom tried calling him. Izaya probably told him (they visited every so often) about Shizuo and wanted to talk to him. All Shizuo would say to them was "why are you still there if he's faking it?"
It was back to his normal routine, following Tom around, helping him collect debts. Whenever Izaya was brought up idly, Shizuo grunted, not willing to discuss it further. He managed to do this for a few days, hardly seeing anyone that would talk to him about Izaya (Tom got the hint and stopped bringing him up).
But one day, on a day off, Shizuo was on his way home from the convenience store, having picked up a few groceries because he had no food left, when he bumped into Namie. The brown haired girl seemed to not recognize Shizuo at first as he was in jeans and a plain white shirt because he saw no need to put on the bartender uniform just to get some snacks and bottles of water.
She had given a curt nod to him, as did he, and they walked past each other. Shizuo told himself to keep going, keep walking, that he didn't care, but he had to stop and turn around and call out to her.
"You know the flea's faking, isn't he?"
She turned around, eyebrow raised. "Excuse me?"
"Izaya. Fucking flea is faking it."
Namie frowned and looked at him, confusion flitting through her eyes. "He's not faking."
"He is," Shizuo was adamant, "He told me himself he's—"
"I don't know why Izaya is lying to you," she cut him off softly, "But I assure you he's not faking. I know it's believable, that he would do something like this, just to see what it's like. But he's not faking; I know he's not. I see him every day, every night and he's definitely not faking; what he feels isn't something he would willingly inflict upon himself. Maybe he doesn't want you to know for whatever reason but he's lying if he told you this is a joke."
Shizuo was stunned into silence when he heard that, eyes wide behind his blue shades, staring at her. People walked around them, at first giving them dirty looks but quickly retracting them once they saw it was Heiwajima Shizuo.
Namie gave him a small smile.
"Izaya's really suffering."
He didn't go back for another few days.
Namie would have no reason to lie to him even if Izaya told her to. It had happened before; Izaya had instructed Namie to tell Shizuo that he was in some obscure alleyway but the girl would always tell Shizuo where the raven really was; unless it was important and put Izaya's life at stake, she saw no reason to respect him anymore than she had to.
So Shizuo knew she was being honest. She knew the whole story, whatever it was; she knew why Izaya was there, she knew what had happened for him to check himself in. And Shizuo didn't want to admit he was curious but he was.
He dragged himself back to the place.
"Ah, Heiwajima-san, Orihara-san doesn't want you to visit him!"
"Tell that louse to suck it."
They knew to not even call security because Shizuo would easily beat them all, hardly breaking out a sweat. All they could do was make a call to Izaya's room, to warn him of the blonde. So when Shizuo walked in, Izaya was smirking with one hand folded behind his head and the other holding a remote.
"Shizu-chan's back, I see. To see if I'm keeping up my charade?"
"You lied to me," he growled and saw Izaya falter, "Namie told me. I don't know why but I don't like being fucking lied to, flea."
"Namie? She's messing with you, Shizu-chan, I—"
"You're suffering. There's something going on in that head of yours."
"Would you do me a favor? I'm still hungry, if you would—"
"Why the fuck did you check yourself in?"
Izaya had fallen silent, realizing that Shizuo wasn't listening and wouldn't until he wanted to and, clearly, he didn't. The crimson eyed male sighed and smiled dryly as he brought his folded arm down, looking away, directing his gaze to his white sheets, his hands with his palms turned upwards. The television continued to blare in the background and Shizuo was suddenly too aware of the silence, realizing the darkening aura around him.
Izaya refused to say anything else after that and so Shizuo gave up, returning home. He had a few missed calls from Tom, Shinra, Kasuka, and texts from Celty, all which he replied to. Yes he would be at work tomorrow, yes he went to see Izaya now go away about it, I'm doing well are you?, and no I will not put Izaya into the ICU unit were his responses.
Shizuo found himself thinking of Izaya's words the next few days, feeling odd if he visited the next day. But his words, "I'm sad," kept ringing in his head over and over again. He was disturbed by how simplistic they were but how they were so genuine; he had uttered them quietly in such a vulnerable state, so unlike him.
He wanted to ask why, how, what, wanted to understand because—
-because no reason, he hated him, he hated the flea.
Four days went by before he requested another day off.
"Tom-san, may I have tomorrow off?"
"I… need to see a friend."
So he had lied, Izaya wasn't a friend. But it was important; now that he knew Izaya wasn't lying and had seen the magnitude of it, it became different. Shizuo was kindhearted, being kind to everyone that deserved it. Even though he hated Izaya he couldn't help but be kind, to care, to be compassionate.
When he walked into the hospital this time, no one tried to stop him, no one even stared. A few glances, glimpses, maybe, but they were accustomed, having come to expect it. The blonde memorized his way to Izaya's room now and when he entered, the raven wasn't surprised at all, giving him only a small smirk.
"I've been expecting you," he said dryly as Shizuo sat down for the first time, pulling a chair up to his beside. Izaya sighed and laid down, folding both hands behind his head and Shizuo stared at him. "Shinra and Celty visit more now; they tell me you're acting weird. Shizu-chan acting weird? That's a laugh for me. Namie comes by too to drop off my lunch mostly."
"You sound different."
Izaya was caught off guard at Shizuo's observation and he turned to him, eyebrow raised. "How so?"
"You…" Shizuo hesitated for a moment, unsure of how to word this, surprised that he could actually be contemplative around the flea, "…Your tone it's… not happy. Not even mocking or taunting it's… empty."
He had been looking downwards at his hands, finding it awkward to look at Izaya as he said that, a simple observation he had made. But Izaya hadn't come up with a witty retort or even scoffed so he that as a sign that he took him seriously. When he looked up again, feeling Izaya's silent command to do so, the man was just gazing at him evenly, no malice, no mockery, nothing of the sort in his expression.
"Can I ask you something?"
"Why… are you sad?"
He should have expected it but Izaya refused to answer him, instead just sending him away. Shizuo had obliged, only because Izaya was now an invalid and Shizuo would be in trouble if he throttled his throat in there.
The next day, he went back immediately, calling Tom and faking a cold. He had intercepted Namie at Russian Sushi, catching the girl slightly off guard when he walked right in front of her as she left.
"I'll take him his ootoro."
"…I need my job, Shizuo, please—"
"I'm not going to kill him."
"That's not what you've been saying for the last several years…"
"Give me the sushi, Namie."
"You sound like you're mugging me."
"Give me the sushi. I'll take it to him every day."
"…I will never understand men."
It had been a rash decision, to take the sushi, but Shizuo found himself telling Namie that he would do it every day. Namie's incredulous expression was completely called for, Shizuo knew, as well as whatever she muttered under her breath when she handed him the bag.
If Izaya was surprised to see him back, he certainly didn't show it. Shizuo had a feeling that Izaya had actually planned this; even in here, he could still control, manipulate him into doing what he wanted. But Shizuo didn't feel manipulated; he had come here on his own free well, delivering the flea his sushi because he was too conceited to eat anything else.
"So tell me why you're sad."
"It's not polite to talk while I'm eating, Shizu-chan."
"I don't care."
Izaya had frowned but eaten a piece of sushi, chewing slowly to make Shizuo wait. The blonde was growing agitated but waited patiently, not about to let Izaya win by getting riled up and leaving. He did this for all the pieces of sushi, making Shizuo sit quietly and wait for him to finish eating, patience disappearing with each passing moment.
When Izaya was done he turned to him, a cold smile on his lips.
"It's not something I want to share with anyone. Especially you, Shizu-chan."
Shizuo had snapped, losing his patience because he had already been trying hard with Izaya. A hand shot out and grabbed the flea's skinny arm, preparing to yell at him. But Izaya had tried to tug his arm free and his sleeve was pulled down during the struggle, revealing red lines, slashes a bit further down on his forearm; high enough so that they wouldn't be seen with an idle glance but low enough so that if he wore a hospital uniform (they were all short sleeved) it would be obvious.
They had both stayed silent, staring at Izaya's pale, exposed arm.
When the raven told Shizuo to get out, to leave in a cold voice, Shizuo obeyed without hesitation.
"Do you know why Izaya checked himself in?"
Namie hesitated, as if unsure whether or not she should tell him.
"…I caught him trying to die."
He had gone to Izaya's office the next day, knowing Namie would be there, unable to forget about the cuts he saw. He had never imagined… he thought…
"I forgot something," she continued, "so I came back to the office. And… I saw him at his desk. Sleeves pushed up, left arm already all cut up and blood. His hand was shaking as he was making another cut on his right arm and when he saw me he just stopped. For a moment he looked shocked, like he was snapped out of some daze. And then he told me to bandage him up, to stop the bleeding. So I did. And then… then he told me he was taking a vacation and went and checked himself in."
"But… why would he…"
"Honestly, I have no idea."
If he had told Namie to stop the bleeding then he obviously didn't want to die, Shizuo had reasoned as he was waiting at Russian Sushi to buy Izaya's lunch (Namie offered to give him the money needed but he scoffed, saying he could at least afford the sushi.)
He had spoken to Namie just before he came to pick up the sushi and to go visit Izaya again, even if the raven didn't want to see him. He didn't care; he was now concerned (not that he'd admit it, masking it under the category of curiosity) about Izaya.
The idea of Izaya wanting to die never crossed Shizuo's mind because Izaya spent all his time running away from Shizuo and living. But Namie wouldn't lie and had no reason to.
He was probably dazed, Shizuo reasoned with himself on the way to the hospital, that was why he had done it, he wasn't thinking clearly.
He couldn't explain why he was so reluctant to admit that Izaya did, in fact, try to kill himself.
"Leave me alone."
"I brought you your lunch."
"You have to eat or you'll—"
"—die?" Izaya asked, smirking. He leaned back against the pillows propped against the headboard, crossing his arms over his chest and, Shizuo noticed, keeping his sleeves as far down as possible. "That's why I'm in here, isn't it?"
But Izaya didn't complain when Shizuo sat down next to him, leaving the sushi on the table. He didn't take it but Shizuo hadn't expected him to; Izaya was the most stubborn person he had ever met.
"Namie told me," he said quietly and saw Izaya scowl, "Are you…"
"Depressed? Suicidal?" he shot back and Shizuo flinched at the malice in his voice. Izaya never spoke to him kindly, of course, but his contempt was always paired with humor or mockery; it was never pure anger, pure hatred like now. It was like he was glimpsing into who Izaya really was, the pain he felt, the sadness corrupting him. "Normal people don't do that to themselves now, do they? Shizu-chan's just been too busy trying to kill me to wonder if I've ever tried to do the same."
Shizuo flinched at his words because of their brutal honesty; it was true, he had been preoccupied with killing Izaya ever since they had met, not even pausing a second to think about him. But in all fairness, he had to argue, that wasn't his fault. Izaya was always the one provoking him.
"Does anyone else know?" he asked quietly, for once being the calm one while Izaya was the agitated one. The raven looked at him out of the corner of his eye and gave a dry smirk, hatred in his eyes.
"Namie because it's hard to brush off having bloody wrists. Shinra because I've overdosed before—"
"—you tried before?"
"Once," Izaya answered quietly after a hesitant pause and Shizuo knew it was because he hadn't meant to let that slip.
"I went to Shinra's," he cut Shizuo off, understanding his question, "Right after I took the third bottle of pills—"
Izaya smirked at him tiredly.
"What can I say? I really wanted to die, Shizu-chan."
A bad flu, Shizuo had faked a cough on the phone with Tom, I'm sorry but could I have another day off? Thank you for understanding, Tom-san. I'll be back as soon as possible.
Lying was a sin, Shizuo thought dryly as he made his way to the hospital again, and he was sinning for the man he hated. In what world did that make sense?
"I don't want ootoro anymore."
"Then I'll bring you something else tomorrow," Shizuo answered, dropping the sushi gracelessly onto the nightstand next Izaya. The raven frowned but took out the box and opened it, setting it on his lap (why he didn't use the tray was a mystery to Shizuo.) Pulling out the chopsticks from their paper sleeve he broke them apart easily and picked up a piece and, surprisingly, held it to Shizuo's lips.
The moment Shizuo's lips parted to ask Izaya just what the hell he was doing, Izaya took the opportunity to stuff the sushi in his mouth. Shizuo had no choice but to eat it—what could he do, spit it out?—and glared at Izaya as he ate the second piece, red eyes staring at Shizuo nonchalantly.
"Do you like it?"
"No," he swallowed, "Hate ootoro."
"Then what do you like?"
"…I like cake."
"Then I want cake tomorrow."
Shizuo's eyes widened when he heard Izaya's quiet words, gaze cast away and refusing to look at him. Izaya hated cake; he hated anything sweet, anything that Shizuo liked and he knew Shizuo loved sweets. So why…
…He doesn't want me wasting my money on something I hate.
The next day Shizuo found himself watching Izaya force himself to eat a slice of strawberry mousse cake. The blonde was smirking with a raised eyebrow, watching Izaya force down bite after bite of the sweet cake, expression similar to one being forced to drink poison.
"I'm surprised you ate it all," he said quietly when Izaya finished it, pulling a face.
"Shizu-chan's meager income cannot be wasted."
Ignoring the last remark, he reached into the bag and pulled out something else, throwing it at Izaya. Crimson eyes widened as he picked it up, face quickly dropping into a scowl.
"A loaf of bread?" he asked, looking up at Shizuo.
The blonde smirked. "Beggars can't be choosers."
Before he left that day, Izaya had pulled on his sleeve, just a light tug but enough to make Shizuo turn around, surprise etched across his expression. "What?"
"Will you be here tomorrow?"
He decided one day of cake was enough torture for Izaya.
The next day he came back with California rolls; he liked them and figured Izaya would too because they weren't sweet or anything. He had watched the male open it, scrutinizing his expression for any kind of displeasure but there was none. If anything, Izaya seemed a bit pleased, breaking apart the chopsticks and taking the lid off.
"No one will miss me if I die," he said suddenly, nonchalantly as he was eating and Shizuo looked up in surprise, "I see no point in burdening others. Nor do I see any point in delighting them to know that I want myself dead too."
"You would be missed."
"Miss chasing me around?"
"…No," Shizuo said and looked up at him, locking gazes with his enemy, wondering why he didn't feel that burning pit of hatred, feeling empty without it.
"You would be missed."
"By you, Shizu-chan?" Izaya asked with a smirk, his tone having that mocking quality to it again. He ate another piece of sushi, waiting for Shizuo to deny it, to call him stupid, to berate him and storm out.
But he didn't.
He just said…
But he didn't say 'no.'
Shizuo may or may not have lost his job, he wasn't sure. Tom either didn't care anymore or knew why he was taking so many days off, not even picking up his phone when Shizuo called or sending a text to say 'it's all right.' The blonde frowned; what would Tom think if he knew he was lying to see Izaya?
Surely he would wonder if Shizuo belonged in the room next to Izaya.
"Tell me," Shizuo had said the moment he walked in and left Izaya's lunch on the table. The raven looked at him, holding his gaze for a full minute before sighing and relenting, knowing that if he didn't do what Shizuo wanted he would eventually.
"I love humans," he started quietly, keeping his eyes averted, "…So they should love me back. But they don't. It's not easy to get the entire human race to detest you but somehow I've managed to do that. I've isolated myself and I never meant to; there's a difference between elevating yourself and isolating yourself, Shizu-chan, I aimed for the former but received the latter. I… I'm scared of myself," he admitted with a small, dry laugh, "I was scared… of what I could accomplish. I've ruined lives of so many with a few words. My humans fear me and I fear myself… I am nothing but an object of terror. I didn't want to stop being like that and that scared me, I didn't want to stop being so scared of myself that I wanted to disappear from this world altogether; I wanted to want to stop so I checked myself in, I don't want help, I don't want to get better, I want to want to get better, I…"
He broke off and looked at his hands, fingers curled and palms facing upwards, eyes wide and a kind of empty smile on his expression, as if fearful of disbelieving.
"How… did I get like this?"
That was the first time Shizuo had ever seen the vulnerable side to Izaya.
It was the first time he had been genuine and opened himself up, even if only for a split second before he closed himself off again. He didn't want to talk about himself and Shizuo knew that, understood it even, didn't blame him. It was hard to talk about yourself when you felt alone; even with Kasuka, Shizuo found it difficult to talk about himself sometimes.
He came back the next day and the next, bringing lunch every time, just sitting with the flea. He gave up avoiding Shinra and Celty, finally telling them, yes, he went to go see Izaya, no, there were no murder attempts. He called Tom and told him that he was seeing Izaya, to which the man remained quiet at for a few moments until Shizuo realized his wording, stuttering not seeing Izaya but seeing Izaya, simply visiting him. The brown haired man had laughed good-naturedly and said it was fine, that he'd still have a job whenever he decided to come back.
He and Izaya didn't talk very often unless it was to exchange laid-back insults. What they did do together was watch the television or eat, sometimes talk about the city. Izaya never talked about himself and why he was there and Shizuo didn't ask or prod. It wasn't his business and, frankly, he wasn't as curious as he used to be. A part of him still wanted to know but a larger part didn't care; he just wanted to make sure Izaya was fine, stable, not depressed.
The idea of Izaya attempting this twice still scared him but he didn't tell the flea this. Twice, twice meant it wasn't an accident. He tried twice, two times, not once, but twice. But he sought out help right away so that was good, wasn't it?
But the second time, Shizuo had to remind himself, if Namie hadn't come back, if she hadn't seen him then things…
…might have ended differently.
"Why is Shizu-chan so nice to me?"
The question was brought up suddenly out of the blue during one of Shizuo's visits. The blonde lost track of how many times he had been to see Izaya. Numbers that seemed to be so clear before we suddenly lost and muddled; they were no longer visits Shizuo dragged himself to but visits that he went to with good spirits, though he refused to show it.
"Shizu-chan hates me, doesn't he?" Izaya asked quietly, putting down the remote and turning to Shizuo, "So why do you always visit me?"
The Heiwajima had been asking himself the same question. Why did he care, why was he so kind? Shinra and Celty either didn't hear him grumbling or ignored it and there was no one else that he could say those kinds of things around.
This was Orihara Izaya, the man he hated above anyone else. He should be glad that he was like this, glad that his enemy could easily kill himself for Shizuo.
"It must be because Shizu-chan is kind," Izaya answered his own question with a pensive frown, "Too kind, soft hearted even to me, his greatest enemy. That is your weakness, Shizu-chan, your one weakness, your one downfall. You are too kind."
"It's… not that…" he answered quietly and Izaya raised an eyebrow, frown tugging at his lips. "It's…"
The information broker's frown deepened as he saw Shizuo hesitate.
"Why does Shizu-chan treat me so well even though he hates me?"
"Just because I hate you doesn't mean I don't care for you, flea."
He had learned something from Shinra and found himself actually excited when he went to visit Izaya.
The Orihara's eyes widened as he peered into the plastic bag and saw another one, the frigidity causing him to have to move it off his lap and place it next to him on the bed.
"Ice?" he asked and looked up to Shizuo with a questioning gaze, brow furrowed. "If this is a joke and you're telling me that I'm cold or something, I don't have the time nor energy for your pranks, Shizu—"
"Same effect," he cut Izaya off, "Less damaging."
"Same effect…?" Izaya echoed, staring at Shizuo then at the bag of ice.
"Shinra told me—"
Shizuo was startled at Izaya's sudden outburst, taking a step back in surprise. Izaya hardly lost his cool; he would seem to lose his temper but regain it quickly but this was a true outburst of emotion. He was glaring, red eyes flashing, fists clenched. He pulled up the sleeve of his left arm and Shizuo felt is heart sink to see the red marks, the angry slashes; they seemed to have multiplied—had they?—and it made him sick because while some were faded others were bright, bright red, horribly jagged, painful scars.
"Same effect, you think holding ice to myself has the same effect as this?!" he asked, showing the blonde his arm, "That pressing ice will give me the same sense of relief, that when I look back at my arm I'll think "oh, look, I pressed ice there!" You don't get it, Shizuo, you don't get it, so don't pretend you understand it!"
Izaya broke off, panting, a ringing silence in the room. The blonde was at a loss for words, unfamiliar as to how to deal with a truly angry Izaya. He had insulted him, it seemed, did he try to belittle his pain?
A glare cut him off.
"Don't stick your dog nose where it doesn't belong."
"Get out, Shizuo. And don't come back."
Namie resumed taking lunch to Izaya for the next week.
Shizuo had stopped by after his last visit to Izaya and told her that he had to get back to work, that he couldn't keep skipping to see him anymore. The girl didn't believe him, as Shizuo was a terrible liar, but didn't question him, simply nodded. He didn't bother to tell her that Izaya had said he didn't want ootoro; it was probably just something he said because he felt bad about making Shizuo pay so much.
He ignored Shinra and Celty, as usual, and luckily for him Tom didn't question him too much, simply accepting the answer of 'I've missed too many days of work.'
Shinra was relentless, continuing to text him, asking why he wasn't seeing Izaya anymore, did something happen? Celty showed up at his door frequently or sought him out in the city, shoving her PDA in his face. The blonde ignored both, turning and walking away.
He did this for a week.
"What?" Shizuo turned around to see Mairu and Kururi, looking at him with wide eyes, "I'm not telling you where Kasuka is, you brats."
"Ah, it's not about Kasuka, it's about Iza-nii!"
"Flea can go die for all I care, I-!"
"Iza-nii is a real jerk," Kururi said quietly, "and Iza-nii doesn't talk about what he really feels."
"So, you stupid log, go back and talk to Iza-nii again!"
It's not like he listened to teenage girls.
He waited a few days, still refusing to go to the hospital, to see Izaya, but the stupid Orihara twins' words wouldn't get out of his head. Just like their brother they were annoying little parasites, their bright, chirping voices echoing in his head.
When he told Tom he wanted a day off, the man wasn't surprised, smirking and gave him a nod, so nonchalantly that Shizuo wondered if he had been expecting this. And he had almost made it to the hospital, it was just after three so Izaya was probably done with his lunch, before he turned around.
But he didn't go home.
Yet he didn't go into the hospital.
He stood still, unsure of where to go but unwavering of not moving, staying still, torn between the two places. He didn't want to leave but he didn't want to go see Izaya first, to admit defeat. People were milling around, walking past him, giving him odd glances, curious to see the blonde standing there, smoking a cigarette.
To go or to stay, that was the question that plagued him, scowling and clenching his fists in his pockets.
This was stupid, he thought and prepared to leave, he should leave.
But then his phone rang.
"Ah, Shizuo!" he heard Shinra's voice on the other side, forcing cheerfulness, "Are you… anywhere near the hospital?"
He refused to answer that. "Why?"
"Could you… go see Izaya?"
"Why would I want to see the flea?"
"The nurses and Namie tell me that he hasn't been eating. We just came back from visiting and the ootoro was untouched and you know how Izaya loves—"
He thought the word and turned around, immediately sprinting into the hospital, not stopping even though he was told to, running until he reached Izaya's room, turning corners without stopping, running up staircases, shoes loud against clean floors.
"The fuck you messin' around with, you goddamn flea?!"
Izaya wasn't surprised when Shizuo burst in, yelling at him as the door slammed against the wall. He simply seemed irritated, lifting his head from folded arms on the tray that was actually pulled out for once. His legs were bent under it and sighed when he saw the blonde.
"Tch," he muttered quietly, "Thought I told you—"
"Shut the fuck up!" he yelled and Izaya closed his eyes, actually flinching at how loud he was, "Why aren't you eating?!"
"I don't want to."
"You're worrying people, you fuckin' parasite! First you're in here because you try to kill yourself and then you stop eating, do you realize how much people care for you?! Namie brings you food, going beyond what a normal secretary would do, Shinra and Celty take time out of their day to see you!"
"So?" Izaya retorted, red eyes flitting open to direct a glare at him, "So what of it? Why do you care? You hate me—"
"Shut the fuck up!"
He strode the small distance that separated him and grabbed Izaya by the front of his black shirt, pulling the light male up. Izaya continued glaring, keeping his face impassive.
"Put me down, you protozoan."
Shizuo's hands were shaking, knuckles turning white as he grabbed Izaya's shirt, forcing the male to look at him in the eye, to feel the intensity of his glare, his anger. Shizuo was kind, so kind that he became unkind to those that didn't treat others with the kindness they treated, so kind that he absolutely hated Izaya, so kind that he didn't seem kind anymore.
"Listen up, flea…"
"…I need a reason to hate you but I don't need a reason to care for you."
Shizuo waited a few days before he went back but that was because Tom had an important job for the two of them and he simply couldn't take the days off. He texted that to Izaya and received a text back saying that it was fine, that the dog had to follow his owner. Shizuo caught himself smirking before berating himself, reminding himself that he hated the flea.
The night before he visited, the blonde found himself at Shinra's, just relaxing because he hadn't done so in a while and during dinner, heard and remembered a specific part that surprised him.
"They say he's not cutting himself anymore."
It came as no surprised to Shizuo that Shinra and Celty knew of Izaya's self-destructive habit.
"What, really?!" he glanced up to see Celty show them on her PDA, the woman sitting as she watched them eat.
"Yeah!" Shinra grinned, "It's amazing, almost as amazing as you, my dear Celty!"
"Shut up and explain."
"So cold, Celty! But they say he's doing something else instead of it."
Shinra glanced at Shizuo, giving him a goofy grin that the blonde made sure to punch off later.
"Just… take it."
Izaya frowned but took the bag of ice and placed it by his bed on the floor, avoiding Shizuo's gaze, realizing that somehow, someone had told him. He'd find out who the moment he got out of there.
"I know," Shizuo cut him off as he sat down on the chair, moving it closer to the bed. He didn't want to show that he was pleased, that Izaya had tried the ice and was actually using it.
He hadn't really thought about it until now but he realized this was the most pleasant he and Izaya had ever been since their first meeting. It seemed so ironic that something like this would bring them together, an event that he thought would have intensified their hatred and Shizuo would have wanted him dead even more.
"Shut up, flea. You were always better when you didn't speak."
Izaya frowned at the comment but looked away, eyes narrowed, expression seemingly uncomfortable and Shizuo sighed.
"I… never expected to care for you. Not… this much," Shizuo said quietly, brow furrowed, "I still don't know… why because I hate you. But at the same time…"
It was like this even was what broke the tension, the hatred between them; a sort of icebreaker. Not that it "fixed" everything but it helped; they no longer wanted to kill each other upon seeing the other and they cared, they both did, for the other, the one they thought they hated so much.
"The ice… you tried it… and… ah, fuck this."
He gave up on words, he was never good with words those were Izaya's strength, he was the passionate one, the one fueled by emotion in contrast to the cold, logical Orihara. Without another moment of hesitating, he leaned forward and kissed him.
He kissed him, Orihara Izaya, Ikebukuro's infamous information broker, the man he had proclaimed to hate upon first meeting, the man he spent the last several years chasing, trying to kill.
He was kissing him, gently, softly, compassionately, one hand on the bed to support himself, the other resting on his jaw, feeling his strands of onyx hair between his fingers. Izaya didn't resist, not in the slightest, simply remained still, neither pushing or pulling away, simply let himself be kissed by the man he deemed a monster.
Strangely enough, the flea smell was gone; all that mattered was that he was kissing Izaya and it felt right, not like he was kissing someone he hated but that it was someone he cared for. He liked it, he liked how it made him feel, how it felt fitting, appropriate.
Izaya murmured the nickname softly when Shizuo pulled back, breaking the kiss and opened his eyes, locking gazes with him. He looked dazed, eyes not sharp for once, and smirked lazily. "Why?"
The bodyguard hesitated before he chuckled and shook his head, feeling Izaya's questioning gaze on him, and he looked up, a half smirk tugging on his lips. It made sense to him, he thought, it suddenly made sense, so simple, something he had realized earlier but hadn't hit him until now.
"Like I said, flea…"
"…I need a reason to hate you, to want you dead, to spend years detesting you…"
"…But I don't need a reason to care for you, want you better, to want you."
.author's notes: see, i've been obsessed with shizaya for a long time now and i finally sat down and wrote a proper oneshot for them. thank you for reading and i hope you enjoyed it, critiques or comments are much appreciated.