So sorry, I've written this chapter ages ago, but I always forgot to post it here. Well then, I hope you forgive me and please enjoy this chapter ^^;a
When I thought things have left me to death,
Everything's just getting more and more remarkable.
Why is this world so interesting?
A New Game in Town
The sight of a strangely familiar brown-haired high-schooler invited a frown upon Izaya's face, if only temporarily. He slightly pursed his lips, tilting his head to the side as he took in the way those stiff eyes and that strong jaw line reminded him of someone—a brat—who he kind of liked to piss off years ago. Then it was only natural if everything clicked oh so fast in his head, given his exceptional intelligence and memory.
"Yagiri Seiji-kun, what a surprise!" He sent up a far-too-cheerful smile towards the boy. "Ah, where's your dear sister?"
Nodding, Seiji gave him a humorless, taut gaze instead. "Of course sis is at work, Izaya-san. I'm actually surprised to see you've really come back."
"Why, didn't you miss me?" Izaya's grin only added Seiji's rigidness—no one really wanted to see the guy who liked to bully them when they were still hopeless, small kids. "Well, too bad Namie isn't here, I must say. By the way, your uncle has just taken my father away."
"Honestly, I don't care what you're trying to pull off of my sis, Izaya-san." At that, Izaya only laughed as if he had expected Seiji's answer. "Besides, I don't know what my uncle's doing. I'm just here to visit a . . . school friend."
"Mm?" Glancing at the bouquet of roses in Seiji's right hand, Izaya knew better than what was happening inside Seiji's head. "Visiting, I suppose that's the only plausible excuse available, yes? But to skip school only to pay a little visit to a friend is hardly plausible."
Seiji glanced sideways, an icy scowl on his face. "I can't tell you anything right now." He stared back at Izaya with absolute resoluteness in his eyes. "But I'm in an important mission."
Izaya was barely able to keep the amusement a secret. But the slight suspicion he had regarding Seiji's mission was perfectly concealed. "Mm-hm, of course," he settled with a short comment.
Frowning a little bit, Seiji chose to divert their conversation. "What happened to your head?"
"This?" Izaya chuckled while pointing at the bandage that was sneaking out from under his fringes. "This is only a memento I got from a touching meeting with a monster."
If Seiji wasn't very preserved, he might have rolled his eyes exaggeratedly. "I thought you've matured a bit, Izaya-san." He tightened his grip to the bouquet. "But like I said, I don't care. I have an important thing to do, so—"
"Yes, yes, go meet your girlfriend." Izaya shooed him with a careless wave. "I don't want to be the one who interrupts your little rendezvous." Seiji chose to ignore that, seemingly unperturbed as he regarded Izaya with a polite nod.
"Then I'll excuse myself."
Watching Seiji knock the door and wait for the ever sweet voice chirping a 'come in', Izaya brought a finger up on his lips contemplatively; his smile lingered but didn't quite reach his eyes. Briskly, he headed towards the door once the boy had disappeared behind it. The name plate read 'Harima Mika'; he took a mental note. Maybe peeking inside wouldn't do any harm, but he knew better than indulging himself in temporary pleasure. He aimed for something bigger, and that would be worth the wait. Upon the excited squeal of a girl that reverberated through the door again, an even wider smirk lined on his lips.
"Poor, poor Namie," he almost sang as he walked away.
Shit, this was a joke, right?
The building standing before him was clearly different than any of the other places Shizuo had worked in. The whole area was nearly twice as big as his high school, Raijin—or Raira now. The sparkling, golden lining pillars that were completing the crisp white walls, and the intimidating glass sliding doors that had the width of four normal doors, all polished like it had never been used, didn't convince him that he was indeed standing before the right place.
"Oi, drop your pranks." He bit his cigarette, shooting a glare to Shinra, who was ogling the whole view with obvious amazement. "I don't believe you have a connection in this place."
"As expected of Izaya! He can get you work in this five star hotel, the bar must be really fancy!" Shinra happily ignored Shizuo's oh-so-predictable accusation, making a gesture of wiping an imaginary drools with his sleeve. His words, however, made Shizuo's glare intensify.
"What do you mean by Izaya?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah." Shinra beamed, gladly showing the rows of his teeth which somehow made Shizuo's stomach stir in protest. "Like I said, he was partly at fault for you to be fired, so I persuaded him to take some responsibilities!"
Shizuo could sense his left eye twitching.
"You're fucking kidding me—"
Before he could finish his snarl and dump the fucking offer to the nearest trashcan and just go home, though, Shinra had beat him to it with a smile that failed to cover his sourness—as though he had just bore witness to someone kicking an innocent puppy.
"No, I'm not kidding. This is your last chance, Shizuo. Think about it."
Shrugging, Shizuo sniffed. "Last chance or not, I don't want anything to do with that—"
"You know, Tanaka-san can't help you anymore, I can't help you anymore, but Izaya can." Shinra raised his eyebrows as he said so.
For a while, Shizuo was forced into silence upon the ugly truth of that statement, staring at practically nowhere, whilst Shinra observed him with chilling gravity. Yet, knowing the growing hesitation in Shizuo, Shinra rubbed the back of his neck and formed an 'I-know-what-you're-thinking' grin.
"Izaya aside, it's not a bad offer, isn't it?"
Taking a sidelong glance at the building, Shizuo took his sunglasses off and slipped it inside his breast pocket. "Who the hell is he?" The way he blew the smoke out of his lips showed how exasperated he was inside.
"If you're asking me what he is to this hotel, then I don't know," said Shinra with an awkward chuckle. Instantly Shizuo's eyes trained on him again, incredulous.
"You don't know?"
"Uh . . . well, he knows the group that owns this hotel."
Narrowing his eyes, Shizuo could feel suspicion had started crawling uncomfortably into his mind. "What group?" he asked as calmly as his temper permitted him.
". . . Isn't that yakuza?"
"I guess . . . ?" Shinra presented a hideous grin, which completely failed to fix the situation. Shizuo sighed exasperatedly, combing his bangs out of his forehead.
"I knew it. That guy's bad news." He shook his head, stepping on the cigarette butt longer than necessary. "Like I want to get involved in some crazy shit."
"No, Shizuo, think about this," Shinra said immediately. "This is a five star, with fancy bar and all, meaning less people will piss you off. Plus, it's owned by a yakuza group, lesser people dare to make a fuss there. You'll finally find a peaceful place to work at, get a good salary, and . . . " He paused, fixing his glassed on the bridge of his nose. ". . . It's not owned by Izaya."
Shizuo seemed to think for a couple of seconds, but he shook his head again. "Sure, stupid gangs won't make a fuss there. Because gunshots are more likely."
"Gunshots aren't an everyday thing." The smile on Shinra's lips was such that made Shizuo's hand itch to plant a punch.
"He's still the one who is helping me in."
"Because he got you kicked out of your job. Isn't that fair enough?"
Sighing, Shizuo's fingers combed through his hair. No, fair didn't sound right. Indeed Izaya was the one who triggered his anger that time, but Shizuo knew that sooner or later it would still happen even without Izaya being an ass. Wherever he worked at, he was bound to lose his temper and went on a rampage like the beast he was. He just didn't –
He couldn't trust his own self.
"You're blacklisted from the other bars, and fixing drinks is the only thing you like, even though you don't like to drink and that's weird, but—ah my point is, this is a good opportunity, you know?"
Upon Shinra's supposedly stupid babbling, Shizuo swallowed the bitter liquid in his mouth and nearly grimaced at the taste, if only because of he was aware that he really was a blacklisted bartender. Damn, he knew Shinra was a smartass, but he never thought there would be a moment he would hate that fact. How could someone so easily stab needles to his wounds only to convince him do the things he didn't want to?
'Brother, I heard you got a new job. Where is it?'
Taking a deep breath to drive away Kasuka's email—or the horrible taste of guilt, to be precise—from his mind, Shizuo narrowed his eyes, gazing at the sky that had already been painted with the dark orange hue of dusk. He clenched his teeth, almost hissing, then scratched his head in annoyance.
"I won't meet him if I work here, right?" he said it so fast that Shinra had to take a moment to fully understand the question.
"As far as I know, Izaya doesn't like alcohol, and since it's not his place . . ." He left it hanging, knowing full well there was no need to continue. Shizuo had tuned everything out anyway, being wholly preoccupied by the battles inside his head. Almost a minute later, Shizuo sighed loudly, hands in his pockets.
"Fine, I still have to make money. Got no choice," he grumbled through gritted teeth.
"You know . . . that's not quite true. I'm willing to pay you if I can run some tests to you." Shinra grinned belatedly, before throwing his hands up in front of his face in mock surrender when Shizuo's eyes spoke murder. "But a blood sample would be great too, if you don't want to—" There were cracking sounds coming from Shizuo's knuckles. "—or maybe you want to test these pills I made last week—"
"Okay, not my face!" Shinra leapt sideways as a fist was launched towards him, missing only a millimeter. "Peace, okay? You know you hate violence."
"I hate noisy people more," Shizuo said, although the words didn't sound as harsh as he intended to. "Now what?" he continued, resisting the urge to break Shinra's glasses.
"Uh . . ." Adjusting up the preyed glasses, Shinra cocked his head upwards, staring at the pearl white alphabets that were hanging extravagantly on top of the glass door. "Why don't you go in and speak to the manager, then? They've been waiting for you, I think."
"Right, because the dumbass is a friggin' important person that they'd follow his request." Shizuo rolled his eyes.
"Well, Izaya is—"
A buzz stopped whatever had been on the tip of Shinra's tongue, and he fumbled inside his pocket to fish out his cell. Frowning for a while, he pursed his lips at the displayed screen.
To: Kishitani Shinra
Sender: Orihara Izaya
I'm going to extend my stay in the hotel, so why not do me a favor by delaying our plan to make that brute work there? Moving to another hotel's too much work after all~
Sent at 6.35 PM, March 20]
Raising his eyebrows in thought, Shinra glanced up to see Shizuo had already crossed the sliding door, talking to the bellboy in what Shinra guessed as asking for directions to the office. Turning his attention towards the email on his cell again, Shinra tilted his head to the side, before shrugging with a simple 'oh well' from his lips.
[Subject: Re: none
To: Orihara Izaya
Sender: Kishitani Shinra
Whoops! Too late~!
Sent at 6.39 PM, March 20]
Dropping the cell phone inside his pocket, he followed Shizuo with an even wider grin.
"Thanks for the hard work, Heiwajima-san!"
Smiling awkwardly, Shizuo nodded as he made his way out of the back exit through the kitchen. His new supervisor, a man that looked younger despite his age—Shizuo guessed he must have been more than thirty judging from the way he treated Shizuo like a kid—grinning widely that made his round face look chubbier. As soon as he was out in the narrow alleyway, the smell of garbage invaded his nostrils, and he quickly reached for a cigarette.
To say Shizuo was surprised might be an understatement. He had never expected that his superior, colleagues and even the guests would be this temper-friendly. He had yet to lose his control in the last two days; maybe Shinra was right, high-class places like this had more educated people gathering, thus, less brawn-show. He was still doubtful that everything would be this perfect forever, though. All things considered, this was still a place run by yakuza.
Taking long strides to the bigger road that the hotel's main entrance was facing, he breathed the scent of mid spring air, before fumbling with his lighter. He blew the smoke into the air, snatching his sunglasses off and pocketed it while he swallowed in the colorful neon lamps showering almost every corner of the street.
He was about to take a turn at the corner when a flash of black filled his vision, followed by something that was heavy enough to knock his air stock out his lungs. He skidded to a stop, back smashing into the wall as whatever it was that had jumped into him struggled free from his reflexive grip and bounced backward. Shizuo blinked, mouth opened in confusion as the outline of the person became clearer under the dazzling neon.
". . . Shizu-chan," Izaya said, a tentative smile plastered almost instantly on his lips in an attempt to mask his surprise—or even relief, from the look of it. Still, he didn't seem to care what Shizuo was trying to say, eyes darted over his shoulder and onto the road from whence he just ran. "Fancy meeting you here," he said simply.
"Yeah? For me it's bad news," Shizuo bit out, eyebrows furrowed even deeper. For a moment, he had to swallow the guilt that was taunting in the pit of his stomach upon the sight of a bandage on Izaya's forehead, but the feeling was quickly swept out by curiosity.
"Of course, the feeling is mutual, I assure you." Izaya shrugged, his complexion a funny mixture of pale white and electric green from the flickering neon above the DVD rental store, in front of which they were standing. He didn't drop a sweat, nor did he look even a tiny bit of out of breath, yet Shizuo didn't miss the failed casual semblance Izaya tried to give out, if only because the guy kept on glancing to his right through the corners of his eyes.
Shizuo was about to open his mouth again, half-curious, half-tempted to just shove Izaya away and walk straight home, when several footsteps echoed nearby, breaking the otherwise dull atmosphere. What had made Shizuo clamp his mouth shut again, however, was the alertness on Izaya's face—eyes widened and body jerked towards the sound where he heard them coming. Yet in a split second, the control had returned, and Izaya was already back to his calculative look when Shizuo felt something push him roughly towards a dark gangway between the DVD store and an empty office block. With a hiss, Shizuo's back landed on the piles of crates, head stinging from the bumping, as his limbs entangled with Izaya's.
He was slammed shut as Izaya sat up on his thighs abruptly, palms pressing onto Shizuo's lips. It wasn't in Shizuo's nature to just keep quiet to be treated this way, but the look in Izaya's face when he narrowed his eyes, gravely observing the mouth of the alleyway yet still managing to radiate the creepy composure, successfully stole Shizuo's focus. Less than a minute later—which seemed like hours—a middle aged man passed the street with a much younger girl, looking drunk and head over heels to each other. Izaya tweaked his brows, waiting, and as the footsteps had died in his ears, he exhaled the breath he didn't know he was holding, eyebrows relaxing gradually.
"Sorry," he said softly, shifting to get away from Shizuo's thighs.
"Sorry?" Shizuo repeated, sounded dubious above all things. ". . . what was that?" He shook his head slightly as at the back of his mind, he oddly noticed how sensitive his lips were to the breeze now that Izaya's palms were no longer attached.
"Well, things happened," Izaya said, shrugging. Shizuo squinted his eyes in suspicion.
"You're involved in some shady shit." That was downright accusation, but Izaya didn't look troubled in the slightest. If anything, he merely raised his brows in mock-surprise, lips curled into a naughty grin.
"I'm surprised Shizu-chan can come up with hypotheses."
"You know yakuza, you act like a mental . . . it's not that hard to guess." Now it was Shizuo's turn to shrug.
"Ah, ah." Izaya shook his head playfully, arms folding across his chest. "Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm quite normal actually."
"Yeah, right. I don't know if the definition of 'normal' is the same for us."
"Hmm, I guess you've got a point." Izaya nodded. "Monsters have their own definitions. I can see where you're coming from."
"Fuck you," Shizuo hissed.
"No, thanks. I don't do monsters." Izaya's grin widened; the color of his eyes grew dark as he backed into the light. "But if Shizu-chan wants me to kiss him again . . ."
"You're sick." Shaking his head, Shizuo stood up to lean his hip on the crate as he reached for a cigarette in his pocket. "I'm not gonna fall into your crazy shit again."
"That's so sad to hear." Izaya laughed, oddly too cheerful to Shizuo's liking. But then that childish, overly expressive humor on his face dissipated just as fast as it came, leaving only calmness radiating around him as he stared at the blinking streetlamp outside the gangway. "How is it? Do you enjoy working there?" He shoved his hands into his coat's pockets.
"Why do you care?" Shizuo needed three attempts on his lighter before he could take a long drag.
"Mm . . . because Shinra would crap on me."
"Serves you right."
Laughing like it was the funniest thing he had ever heard, Izaya tilted his head to the side, eyes roaming on Shizuo's. "Why are you angry all the time?"
"Why are you annoying all the time?"
Izaya laughed again. "I wonder why."
"Why are you even here at—" Flipping open his cell, Shizuo squinted his eyes upon the glowing green on the screen, "—fucking five in the morning?"
"Why can't I?" Izaya asked, kicking gravel only to pick them up and toss them onto the opposite wall. Little 'thuds' echoed, being completely disregarded. "I stay in that hotel after all."
Shizuo almost let out an annoyed growl upon the revelation, but Izaya beat him to it, pointing to his own forehead nonchalantly. "Before you say anything, no, I'm not staying there to piss you off. Why would I want to see someone who almost broke my head?"
Flinching a bit, Shizuo found himself mirroring what Izaya did—mindlessly kicking gravel around as he ducked his head only to avoid those mocking eyes. "You said you purposefully let yourself injured, so don't put all the blame on me."
"I'm not putting all the blame on you. If you feel guilty, however, it's not my responsibility." The smirk was there again, pasted on Izaya's thin lips; the neon light from the street didn't quite reach his form, yet it still managed to create a soft, airy glow around him as he looked pointedly at Shizuo. How a person could both look so perfect and obnoxious at the same time was beyond Shizuo's comprehension.
"Tch. You don't have a home or what." Shizuo opted to divert his eyes once again, twisting his cigarette between his middle and forefinger.
Lifting his chin up until the crown of his head rested on the brick wall, Izaya buried his hands deeper inside his pockets. "Do you know what they say, that home is where the heart is, Shizu-chan?
"Yeah, that means a heartless bastard like you doesn't have a home."
Raising his brows so high, Izaya clutched his chest, pretending to be hurt. "How mean, Shizu-chan. But as expected, you think like a protozoan."
"And you think like some sort of psycho philosopher."
"Do I?" Snickering, Izaya straightened his body without even sparing a glance towards Shizuo. He kicked the wall behind him, skipping lightly towards the mouth of the gangway. "But I'm not obligated to tell you anything about me, ne, Shizu-chan."
Shizuo merely narrowed his right eye, and silence was the only thing that was present between them. Pausing on his journey, Izaya took a deep breath before muttering something barely loud enough for Shizuo to hear.
"Humans only believe in something they want to believe in. Interesting, isn't it?"
For a moment, Shizuo didn't answer; his forehead creased at the sudden change of topic. When he finally did, attempting to tell Izaya 'what the hell are you even talking about' with a low growl, Izaya sent a wink over his shoulder.
"But Shizu-chan is a monster, so he'll never know."
And with that, he skipped again, faster this time, and disappeared from Shizuo's line of sight before the latter could say— or throw—anything.
Hissing alone in the secluded darkness, Shizuo could feel something flaring from the bottom of his stomach, spreading like a group of ugly moths inside his veins; his cigarette barely hooked between his teeth. Clutching the corner of the crate behind him, Shizuo was hardly startled when a loud crack vibrated in the air soon after. He spat his cigarette out, crushing it with his heel, until the voice in his mind yelled about how stupid he was for thinking he could talk to Izaya.
"I swear I'll kill that bastard," he muttered in rage, nose wrinkled and shoulders hunched as he kept his hands in his pockets, kicking gravels all the way out of the dark alley. When he reached the main street, he halted to steal a look at the silhouette of the enormous hotel flickering in light. He sniffed, waiting, searching, then gave up after no more than thirty seconds.
"I'll kill him," he said one last time before heading home.
~to be continued~
A/N: Finally, there was some (not quite) Shizaya moments in this chapter xD;