Sorry for the long wait, guys, but here's the next chapter. I'm not sure if it turned out well, so I'd appreciate any advice or ideas people may have. Please read, review, and enjoy!


Even long after they left, Izaya was still thinking about what Shizuo and Namie said to him.

'You'll be alone for the rest of your life.'

'You'll have no one left.'

"I don't care," Izaya said angrily to himself, "at least that way I won't get hurt."

But even as he said this, Izaya knew it wasn't true. He didn't want to be alone anymore. He'd been alone for his entire life and he didn't think he could stand to be alone forever. He would literally die from loneliness. Just like a rabbit.

Izaya turned around in his bed. He had been in the same spot ever since they left, only moving to eat or use the restroom. He didn't even bother taking more painkillers. Not that it mattered; he couldn't feel anything at the moment, let alone pain.

It was now Monday and if Izaya didn't get up soon, he was going to be late for school and his parents would be angry. For once, he found himself not caring. Usually, Izaya was happy to go to school. If not to get away from his parent, then it was because of his sisters. He loved walking his sisters to their own school and knowing that by the end of the day, they would be excited to see him when he picked him up. They would smile at him brightly and tell them all about their day as they each clung to one of his hands. His sisters loved him and they were literally the light of his life. But today they weren't here. And without them, Izaya was forever stuck in a darkness that threatened to consume him every waking moment.

Maybe this darkness was just an effect from taking that extra painkiller the other day. Or maybe it had always been there, lurking in the shadows of Izaya's broken soul. Either way, it was here now and he couldn't escape from it.

Izaya was falling, falling, falling in a never ending pit of despair and aloneness with nowhere to escape to. He felt himself suffocating in this darkness to the point where he actually began to stop breathing. Everything was sucked into it: his emotions, his pain, his thoughts, even his senses.

He was back in the closet his father locked him in as a child and Izaya was terrified. He knew that this was all in his head and that he was still safe on his bed, but he couldn't get rid of the fear deep in his gut. Izaya had to get away from it. He had to banish the darkness from his mind and the only way he knew how to do that was to find people. People would make everything better.

Izaya forced himself off his bed through the darkness and got dressed. He had to go to school. School was the only safe place for him now. School had people and Izaya needed people to get rid of the darkness. The darkness known as loneliness.

As soon as Izaya was dressed, he ran out his front door and straight to school. When he saw the all the people, Izaya was able to breath normally again and the darkness subsided. It didn't disappear completely though, and it probably wouldn't for a while, but it was enough.

He slowly began to calm down as he walked farther into the school, towards civilization. His breathing went back to normal and all his senses returned to him. This of course, included his pain as well. But Izaya didn't care about that right now; he couldn't.

All he was concerned with was the fact that he was no longer alone. Even if the people hated him, even if they wanted him dead, Izaya was happy as long as he was with someone else. He even preferred his father's beatings to the agony loneliness brought him.

Izaya smiled brightly as he walked into the school building. Right now, he pretended he didn't have a care in the world. Not for his pain, not for the cold looks people gave him, and not for the worried glances he got from Shinra and Namie. He smiled at them as though everything was as it should be. He smiled like they were oblivious to all his suffering and they knew nothing about him. Izaya pretended that he was now the same Izaya that everyone knew and despised. He pretended that he wasn't broken.

Izaya sat through class with a smirk on his face, but that was about as Izaya as he got. He didn't make jabs at the people around him. He didn't torment or manipulate or harass. He just... sat silently with that smile, only talking when spoken to. No one seemed to notice Izaya's change in behavior. They didn't even seem to notice Izaya's bruised face. They just avoided him like usual and tried not to get in his way. The only ones who seemed to notice was Shinra and Shizuo. And Shizuo watched Izaya like a hawk.

Shizuo just couldn't figure Izaya out. He didn't understand what made him tick. Why didn't Izaya cover up his bruise this time? Why was he smiling? What did Izaya have to smile about? Just a few days ago, the boy was crying on the infirmary floor after revealing things about himself he probably never intended to let out. And now, here he was smiling as if he was having the best day of his life, and Shizuo knew that that wasn't possible. Shizuo hated to admit it, but he was worried about Izaya. It seemed that Shinra was thinking along the same lines as Shizuo was when he turned towards him with a serious look.

"Shizuo, I think there's something seriously wrong with Izaya."

Shizuo nodded at Shinra's statement and continued to stare at Izaya. He had yet to do or say anything about their staring like he usually did and Shizuo had to wonder what was going through his head. It was almost like Izaya was in his own little world where no one else could hope to enter. After awhile, Shinra spoke again, "I think it has to do with his sisters being gone."

At this, Shizuo turned to look at Shinra for the first time that day. Now, he was interested.

"What do you mean?"

Shinra hummed thoughtfully before saying, "It's just something I remember Izaya saying after I confronted him about the closet incident."

Shizuo knew what Shinra was referring to and suddenly felt guilty. At the time, he had no idea that the flea was claustrophobic, and he locked him in a dark closet for thirty minutes. Now, he wished he had been a little nicer to Izaya.

"I tried to get him to let me help and, of course, he refused. When I told him that he needed someone's help, Izaya told me that he had help, from his sisters," Shinra paused for a moment and his eyes suddenly became sad, "His sisters aren't here now and I have to wonder, just how much did he need them? How much is he hurting by himself now that they're gone? Is this the first time Izaya has been without his sisters to help him through his pain? Tell me, Shizuo. Do you think Izaya will be okay?"

Shinra gave Shizuo a lot to think about. From what Shizuo has seen, Izaya looked the happiest when he was with his sisters. Even though there was an emptiness in his eyes when they weren't looking, Izaya still seemed more alive around them. Would Izaya be okay without them? Shizuo wasn't so sure.

"I don't know, Shinra, but let's hope so."

Days passed and Izaya was still the same. The smirk was still pasted on his face and the only thing changing about him were his eyes. His eyes darkened and became more unfocused, more empty. Each day the darkness he felt grew more and more intense and it took all of his effort just to get himself out of bed. He felt trapped within his own loneliness and despair, unable to feel anything else. The only thing that kept him going was the knowledge that his sisters would be back. That he wouldn't be alone forever.

It was now Friday and Izaya hadn't talked to or bothered anyone all week. People were starting to notice. They noticed Izaya's silence and the lack of destruction. They noticed the bruise adorning Izaya's face, but most of all, they noticed the dead look in his eyes. Most people were glad about the change in Izaya while other's were worried. The teachers tried talking to Izaya, as did some of the students, but now Izaya wasn't even speaking when people tried to engage him in conversation. He even dropped the smirk, no longer seeing a point in trying to smile. He just looked out the windows next to his seat.

Shinra watched him worriedly and jumped when someone touched his shoulder. When he turned to see who it was, he found Kyohei Kadota.

"Oh hey, Kadota. What's up?" Shinra smiled warmly at his friend.

Kyohei briefly looked at Izaya before looking back at Shinra, "What's wrong with Izaya? Is this some sort of new game he's playing, or what? And where is Shizuo? Usually he'd be here picking a fight with Izaya."

Shinra's smile faltered and he, too, looked at Izaya, "No, this is no game. And I'm not exactly sure what's wrong either, though I have my suspicions. He won't talk, even to me. It's quite worrying. And Shizuo, well, he couldn't stand the silence, so he left. He said it unnerved him or something."

Kyohei was about to answer when Shizuo came in with Namie in tow. Shinra was shocked and watched as the two came farther into the classroom. Shizuo was pulling Namie by her arm and Namie didn't look too happy.

"What are you doing? Let me go!" Namie demanded as they approached Shinra and Shizuo finally let go.

Namie rubbed her wrist and noticed Izaya sitting next to the window. She looked at Shizuo and said, "Why did you bring me here?"

"To talk to Izaya," Shizuo said simply and shrugged.

"Why would you do that, Shizuo? You know Izaya isn't talking to anyone right now," Shinra said sounding just as confused as Namie looked.

Shizuo sighed and shook his head, "He'll talk to Namie."

"What makes you think that?" Kyohei asked what everyone else was thinking.

Frustrated, Shizuo spoke slowly as if to a dense child, "Because, Izaya is more open with Namie than with any of us. And what are you doing here, Kyohei? You're not apart of this."

"I am now," Kyohei said hotly and crossed his arms.

Shinra and Namie were left thinking about what Shizuo had said. How in the world was Izaya more open with Namie? He avoided her questions just like everyone else. Shizuo really must be insane. Why else would he think that?

Knowing that there was no point in arguing with Shizuo, Namie decided just to go with it, "Fine, I'll try. But don't be disappointed when it doesn't work."

Namie walked over to Izaya and sat in the seat in front of him. She watched him for a moment, evaluating his expression or lack thereof. She looked past the emptiness in his eyes and saw the sadness and pain. Finally, Namie spoke, "What's wrong Izaya? Why are you so sad?"

She knew it was a stupid question. What reason does Izaya have NOT to be sad? From what Namie could tell, Izaya's life was hell. Still, she asked him, hoping that he would talk to her. He didn't, of course, just like she thought, but he did turn to look at her. That was a plus.

"Won't you you talk to me? I want to help," now, why she wanted to help, Namie didn't know. She had told herself time and again that she was only curious, that she didn't care, but she always found him on her mind. These past few days she hasn't seen him, Namie's been worrying about Izaya constantly. She was abruptly brought out of her thoughts when Izaya spoke.

"How are you going to help me?"

Namie focused her attention back on Izaya. She saw curiosity and a faint hope hidden in his expression, and she didn't want to let him down. Namie smiled at Izaya and said, "First of all, let's get you out of here,okay?"

Namie took his hand and lead him past shocked students, and left the classroom. All Shinra, Shizuo, and Kyohei could do was stare after them as they vanished from sight.