Izaya was the first one to wake up. His body ached in pain, and it would have been a bit troublesome to sleep, if it wasn't for the fact that he was completely exhausted.

Being brutally fucked by a beast would have that effect on you, he pondered vaguely before he carefully slinked away from the arm that was very nearly strangling him. He smiled. Even while he slept, Shizuo-chan was still trying to kill him. Some things never changed.

Izaya slowly made his way to the bathroom and studied the various cuts and bruises on his body in the mirror. He really did look like he'd been fighting a wild beast last night...and lost.

He barely held back an insane chuckle that threatened to well up at the thought. He managed to hold back, if barely. It wouldn't do to wake the sleeping beast up after all. At least not before he'd covered his body in some clothes and... washed the stench off.

He quickly hit the buttons that were controlling the tap to his bathtub, and after a quick cat-wash in the shower he sank down. He sighed happily at the lukewarm water, and marveled at how it still stung his body. Even in places the water should not be able to enter. He grinned as he thought back on the events of last night. He had never felt more alive in his life!

He was just happy that it was only his body that was damaged, and not his face. That would have been far harder to hide. And he really didn't want to explain what had happened to anyone. Never mind allowing Shizuo to see him hurt. He had his pride.

In the room next door, Haru groaned at the light streaming in from the window, and silently cursed the delicious eggnog that he might, just might have snuck more than a little off after the adults had forgotten about him and went off to do...whatever grown-ups do. From the sound of it, either remodeling the house, or killing each other. Or... He shuddered, refusing to think about the third option. Damn Erica and her explicit yaoi! Damn her to Hell!

He threw the pillow across the room and got up. Maybe he'd get rid of the image if he went to watch some tv. If he was quick, maybe he could catch the last half of Doraemon...

Shizuo woke up, a slight smile playing on his lips. He had the strangest dreams, but for some reason, he felt...satisfied? Was that what this feeling was? It was almost like happiness. Nearly peaceful. Something the fortissimo of Ikebukuro did not feel too often.

He sat up and shook his head, grumbling a bit over the slight headache he felt.

"Kch." Did he drink too much? He still wasn't entirely awake, and he vaguely wondered where he was. This wasn't his own shitty bed. It was...soft. Practically luxurious. Probably expensive too, by the feel of it. Had he passed out in a hotel?

He looked up and did a double-take as he looked around the room.

There was a large crack in the wall. A large wall-fastened mirror was cracked and broken as if someone had slammed into it, and there was specks of blood on the bed next to him.

"The fuck...?!" He grunted, before his eyes shot up wide as his memory flooded back to him. It wasn't a dream! He quickly glanced around the empty, broken bedroom that looked like he'd had one of his rage-fits before flopping back on the bed, pressing the palm of his hands against his eyes. Fuuuuuuck...

Suddenly he shot up, his eyes shooting from side to side in what could only be conceived as panic. Izaya!

He threw the covers to the floor and rushed off, nearly tearing the door of its hinges before his brain caught up that there was a kid in the house, and he grabbed a pair of boxers and his shirt to cover himself up, but leaving it mostly unbuttoned.

"IZAYA!" He called. Fuck! What had he done?! He'd practically raped him! How could he?! He cursed silently as he rushed into the living room.

"IZAYAAA?!" He skidded to a stop, and could do nothing but blink at the sight that met him.

"Ara, ara~ In such a rush to see me, Shizuo-chan~?" Izaya's teasing voice chuckled at him over the coffee-cup he was holding, before he took a calm sip.

As Shizuo rushed over to him, Izaya merely stared at the beast over the steaming hot coffee in his hand. Izaya's ever-present sardonic smile gracing his face as he spun his office-chair to face him.

"Izaya." Shizuo breathed his name in relief and disbelief as he spied the fleabag sitting behind his desk, looking to all the world as if he'd been up working all night. As if nothing had even happened.

He hadn't run away! He didn't even look hurt! He wasn't... Before Shizuo even realized what he was doing he had rushed over to hug him, thanking all the gods he could think of that he was all right.

"Shizuo-chan..." Izaya froze, unsure what to do. This... this was not how it was supposed to go.

He had expected Shizuo to be embarrassed. Possibly angry. Maybe he'd even shout at him, or just run out the door, regretting it had ever happened. Not...this!

He could hold back a slight hiss of pain as the emotional Monster hugged him. He didn't think anything was broken, and he'd be damned if he'd ever let his best friend check him over without one hell of a good lie! But he knew he was pretty badly bruised, and had more than a few cuts and scrapes hidden away under the clothes. He also wasn't entirely sure he could...or should...walk right now.

"I'm sorry." Shizuo whispered into his chest, having sunk to the floor, hugging him as gently as he was able too. He felt incredibly guilty at the hiss of pain. As if he had read his mind, Izaya quickly replied.

"You're crushing me with your beast-strength, that's all." Izaya struggled to keep his voice steady, because it really fucking hurt. "Let me go, you beast!" He tried to sound stern, but it came out pretty weak. It wasn't helped by the fact that he was still holding on to Shizuo's shirt. He quickly let go.

"Last night... I couldn't... I didn't..." Shizuo carefully let him go, not wanting to hurt him further.

"What? That's what all this is about?" Izaya said mockingly light. "Like you could ever hurt me!" he grinned that infuriating grin again. It was almost convincing. If it wasn't for the fact that the hand that held the cup was shaking just slightly... And... Izaya noticed what Shizuo was staring at and quickly pulled the sleeve down to cover the rapidly blackening bruise on his wrist.

"Did I...?" Shizuo made a grab for him, making Izaya instinctively jump away, only to fold over to hold his side. "Ow-ow-ow." He cursed himself and his own weakness as he sank to the floor.

"It's nothing. Don't worry about it!" Izaya growled out, pushing himself back up. "See? I'm fine!" He said as he stood up. "Go help Haru in the kitchen before he burns something!" Izaya's wide grin became a bit more forced, and he prayed that Shizuo would get the hell out before he collapsed. Maybe he should call Shinra after all...

Shizuo wasn't exactly a gentle lover. But Izaya didn't want that anyway. It wouldn't have been nearly as exciting if he was.

And, even if he refused to admit it to anyone -barely even to himself- deep down he knew he was an asshole.

He wasn't an idiot. And even if he didn't agree with the rules and morals of society, it didn't mean it didn't affect him, just a bit. Just enough to be well aware of how much he deserved every shitty thing that happened to him. That he deserved the pain.

But it didn't mean he'd ever let anyone else see it. Least of all the infuriating beast in front of him that could never behave in any predictable way! And a tiny, tiny part of him did kinda like that... even if it seemed like Shizuo lived to make his life difficult!

Thankfully, at least this time the beast decided to make it a bit less embarrassing at least.

"WHAT THE FUCK!? You're letting a KID cook for you!? WHAT IF HE HURTS HIMSELF, HUH?!" Shizuo yelled at him.

"Better run and make sure he doesn't then~" Izaya teased, before gritting his teeth. The last thing he saw before the blackness that crept around the edge of his vision closed in on him was that the beast stalked hurriedly off towards where Izaya had pointed at, in search of the kitchen.

Maybe he shouldn't have pushed himself that much... Maybe...

As he slowly faded into consciousness, he found himself on far closer to the floor than he was used to. Even his bed wasn't this low, being of a western-inspired build and all...

Voices floated to him from somewhere slightly above him and to the right.

"Stupid fly! Pushing himself like that! If only..." Shizuo's voice faded into an angry nonsensical grumbling as he muttered under his breath.

"Shizuo-san, please sit down! You'll wear through my floor walking in a circle like that!" The voice of Shinra sounded exasperated, and Izaya couldn't help but smile weakly as he cracked open his eyes.

"Ah. Izaya!" Shinra's face suddenly came in view...far too close for comfort. "How are you feeling? Any pain? What if I push here?!" The hyperactive doctor kept prodding and poking him until he smacked his hands away. "What were you even doing?! You don't usually get hurt like this? Was it Shizuo? Is that why he's worried? Did he think he killed you?!" Izaya chuckled at the thought. If only he knew...

"Hehe. Nothing to worry about. Just some people blaming me for their problems, you know how it is." Izaya grinned as he sat up, only to be pushed back down by the strong hands of the beast whom had inflicted it, before said beast blushed bright red as he realized Izaya was shirtless.

"Tch. Stop lying you damned fly." He grumbled, more out of habit than anything, Izaya supposed.

"Ara?" Shinra looked between them with a confused expression. Shizuo was blushing like mad. Izaya was grinning mockingly, the same way he always did, but there was something...different... A slight glimmer in his eyes maybe? The way his eyes lingered a bit longer than absolutely necessary on Shizuo's exposed chest...he had put on pants, but decided there was no time to button his shirt.

"Well..." Shinra cleared his throat, unsure what to say. Shizuo didn't seem to notice, too busy with his own embarrassment and where to focus his eyes... Anywhere but on Izaya.

"Wait! Did Shizuo...?" Shrinra's eyes widened even more as the realization hit him, before he took a deep breath and sighed, then pushed his glasses up on his nose and said in his most professional voice; "I suppose I should check for damage...other places as well then. Turn over!" He said, a slight gleam of humor in his eyes at the horrified looks he got in return.

"Wha... No! NO! Absolutely NOT!" Izaya nearly shouted at him, pulling the blanket closer around him, his cheek heating up slightly. Honestly! Shinra had no sense of decency! And that came from him!

Shizuo, tho mortified and embarrassed, couldn't help but twist his lips in a small smile as he watched the flea fight off the black marked doctor, hissing like a cat, and Shizuo could have sworn his hair got even frizzier than usual. It was adorable! Wait...did he really think that?

Shizuo did a double-take and stared at the cat-like man that was reduced to scratching at the indecent doctor with his claws, as Shinra had foresight enough to remove all his knives.

In the end, Shinra threatened to enlist Celty's help if he didn't lie still and let him examine him. And threatened with the indignity of a woman seeing him like that... Izaya finally relented, even if he demanded that Shizuo left the room, which was almost enough to make the chain-smoking monster laugh.

He'd seen far more than that of Izaya last night, but somehow he felt a twig of sympathy for the annoying man, and he hid his grin as he walked out to light a cigarette on the balcony, and left Izaya to what was left of his wounded pride.

Shizuo felt a lot less cheerful when Shinra lectured him about controlling his strength before he gave him an improvised lecture in safe sex while hiding behind Celty.

He felt his eye twitch in annoyance, and if it hadn't been for Celty, a lot more than their table would have been broken during that conversation.

But the thought of Izaya's pain, and how it was caused by him, did make him twitch with guilt. So in the end, he decided he should at least apologize to the flea.

Shizuo had no idea how he ended up hugging him to comfort him when he went on about the indignities Shinra forced on him, after brushing aside anything Shizuo said with;

"Fear you? Don't make me laugh!" And when Izaya chuckled. It felt like a tease. His breath warm on Shizuo's ear afterward and whispered a suggestion to repeat the action again someday, the only thing Shizuo could do was to breath in relief and hug him yet again.

Izaya didn't fear him. He didn't break! Nothing, absolutely nothing Shizuo did could scare the damned flea away! And in many ways, that was a comforting thought for a monster like him, who was used to elicit fear even in his closest friends.

Izaya rolled his eyes at Shizuo's hugging. The beast was pretty good in bed...especially for someone who had never done it before...and he didn't mind a repeat. But he really hoped he wouldn't have to put up with all this emotional bullshit every time.

Then an idea came to him, and a devious, calculating smirk graced his lips, and his fist gripped Shizuo's shirt a bit tighter. An action that Shizuo naturally mistook for emotional turmoil, rather than the sexual possessiveness and scheming delight that it was, and carefully held the smaller man tighter, stroking his back as gently as he could.

Izaya had to bite his tongue to not burst into maniacal cackles at his own genius. That would totally ruin his plans. Shizuo was a beast! An untamable beast, some might say... And yet Izaya was struck with a sudden desire to tame him! He grinned at the thought.

Oh, what a triumph that would be! To tame the great Beast of Ikebukuro! It would be his greatest challenge yet!

Haru was pacing. Not that Namie was particularly helpful, muttering about whatever her asshole boss had gotten himself into this time, she hoped he died, but still...

He almost burst with relief when his daddy and Shizuo busted in through the door. His dad yelling at Shizuo to put him down, while Shizuo demanded he'd stay still and let him take care of him.

Haru had to hide a smile and choked back laughter at the endearing scene they were making. But he was also very revealed to find that his daddy was very much alive, and just needed some bed-rest. Although Haru doubted very much he'd actually rest.

He was proven right not even ten minutes after Shizuo had physically forced him into bed. Izaya already demanded to at least get his laptop so he could work! And he really didn't have time to rest!

Shizuo only relented after Izaya pointed out that if the Yakuza didn't get their info, they might come after both of them AND Haru.

And while Shizuo was pretty sure they wouldn't be able to hurt him, he wasn't so sure about the flea...no matter what Izaya claimed himself. The damned fleabag lied constantly anyway, and he looked as scrawny as an ally-cat and he was hurt as well. Probably didn't eat enough either. And a kid was a kid.

Shizuo relented with a grumble, under the condition that Izaya didn't leave bed that day. Which introduced the small make-shift family to the wonderful world of curry. And more curry. For Every. Single. MEAL!*

Needless to say, by supper Izaya had demanded that he either ordered sushi from Simon, or let Haru cook! The latter suggestion brought on a whole new discussion.

"I can't believe you made a kid cook for you! What kind of sicko forces a kid to cook, huh!?"

"Apparently his former guardians, along with threats to burn him if he burned the food. And don't look at me like that! He offered!" Izaya defended himself, and Shizuo got a distinctive homicidal gleam in his eye.

"They. Did. WHAT!?" the beast yelled loud enough for the windows to shake.

"Don't worry about it. They're all dead now." Izaya smirked darkly, knowing all too well how Shizuo thought...most of the time. This stopped Shizuo in his tracks.

"Y..You killed them, didn't you?" Shizuo asked in a weak voice. There was an undertone there that even the great expert on humans could not quite recognize.

He wasn't sure if Shizuo was accusing him or just horrified at the thought. He did, however, hear the slight catch in his son's breath and he watched the fear creep into his eyes out of the corner of his own. Haru's whole body tensed up, clearly worried what Shizuo would do if he found out he had killed someone. Shizuo never did hide his absurdly moralistic tendencies after all.

"And if I did?" Izaya said, tilting his head up in a silent defensive challenge, as he glared at Shizuo. What was one more sin on his head? There was no need for his son to suffer if he could take the burden upon himself.

"Che." Shizuo huffed and lit another cigarette. "Got what they deserved," Shizuo grumbled and stalked out of the room, leaving two shocked ravenetts behind.

Time flew by quickly, and it didn't take long before Izaya was back up and running. Much too quickly for the overprotective beast. And somehow, the strange new pattern just...stuck.

Izaya would continue to tease the monster and play with his beloved humans -as he had always done - until said monster hunted him down and leaving behind a trail of destruction behind them. That part was certainly nothing new, or unusual.

However, they always ended up... 'making up'... in a dark ally somewhere. Which the horrified citizens were convinced was a sign that they finally were getting very close to killing each other. It certainly sounded like they were at least, although no one had the courage to actually check.

It barely took a few months before that too became a normal thing that most people paid little to no attention too. Just like their normal city chases had been. Well, except to the occasional, terrified tourist and out-of-towner of course.

However, that brings us up to that very special day in the yearly life of every couples... Even one as dysfunctional as this.

And it all started in the living-room of their happy little... well... For all the time Shizuo spent there, both him and Izaya would refuse to ever call it 'their' home.

"Tch." Shizuo grunted to himself. He was watching Haru while Izaya was out, claiming to do his job.

"Up to no good again." He glared at the door, wondering what kind of mischief the damned flee was up to this time, and why he had agreed to babysit his kid instead of trying to stop him.

"He's not a bad guy you know," Haru said, making Shizuo jump.

"What?!" Shizuo glared at him. How the hell did he manage to creep up on him like that?! No doubt something Izaya had taught him.

"Dad. He's not really a bad-guy." He sighed and sat down on the floor with their new pet monster/Haru's second father.

"Tch." Shizuo said, not believing it for a second. He wanted to say 'I know he's your dad, but he's also an asshole that hurts people for fun!' But he couldn't get himself to hurt a kid like that, or destroy the image he had of his father as perfect, and he refused to lie to anyone. He hated lies!

However, the emotions must have shown on his face... that kid was really too damned perceptive sometimes, because the next thing he said was;

"He doesn't really mean to hurt them. He actually helps them. They just don't know it." Haru said quietly. "They just can't see it, because..." he waved his hand in a vague gesturing motion. Shizuo knew what he meant tho. Because he always acted and sounded like an asshole.

"Don't need to be an ass to help people," Shizuo stated. He didn't need to lie and hurt people.

"He can't." Haru sighed. "Be nice I mean. If he was nice, people would like him."

"..." Shizuo's eyes widened in disbelief. "Fuck is wrong with him, huh?!"

How could someone not want people to like him?! Shizuo hated it when people got scared of him, and he valued those few who liked him despite his flaws all the more for it. He wished he could get people to like him. He wished they knew he didn't want to hurt anyone!

For all his big talk and god complex, Izaya was still very much human. He didn't have the horrible curse Shizuo had. He'd never hurt anyone by accident, or because he got angry. He actually envied Izaya's carefree attitude...just a little bit. Just like he envied everyone who could connect with other humans in a normal human way.

"If people liked dad, he might end up caring about them." Haru sighed again. The monster really needed everything explained in detail, didn't he? He really was all brawn and no brain, for all that he occasionally showed something that resembled intelligence. Maybe his dad was right and it was just animal instincts...

"Isn't that a good thing?" Shizuo felt his anger rising. He hated not understanding, and the damned flee just pissed him off!

"If you care about someone, they can hurt you," Haru said, rolling his eyes when he saw Shizuo clearly didn't see what he saw.

"Daddy's heart is very fragile. If you fill it with human emotions like love and betrayal, it will break," he looked down sadly at the floor. "Uncle Shinra told me that once... And..." he took a deep breath. "I can see it. You can see it too! I know you can!" his little eyes glistened with defiant tears. It was so sad that nobody else could see it. See just how hurt his daddy was. Why he did the things he did.

Shizuo, however, had his own demons to battle when it came to the self-proclaimed god of humanity.

"The fuck?! He never tells me anything! It's like every time I think we're having it all nice and romantic, he does something to piss me off! I swear he's doing it on purpose!" he yelled and punched the wall next to Haru. Haru didn't even flinch, acting just like the damned flea. It was infuriating!

Haru merely gave him a blank stare that turned into a small smile. He knew Shizuo wouldn't hurt him. He'd never hurt him! Not like his uncle and aunt had done. That thought was why he smiled, but all Shizuo had seen was the same attitude Izaya always had. It seemed mocking to the enraged monster.

It was only his constant focus on Haru being a child that kept him from lashing out and breaking his little body.

That thought, however, drained away his anger and filled him with fear. 'I almost hurt a kid! A fucking child!' he admonished himself, suddenly filled with a bout of self-loathing.

"I need to... I need to go," he muttered and rushed out the door before Haru could stop him. If he stayed a second longer he might do something he'd regret for the rest of his life. He didn't think he could live with himself if he killed someone. Especially someone that young and innocent.

"That's what I meant!" Haru yelled after him as he left. Then he sighed and shook his head.

"He'll figure it out sooner or later," Haru said to himself, before stalking into the kitchen. Shizuo had forgotten to order them food, he was soooo forgetful! The big friendly beast really needed his daddy and him to look after him, Haru thought as he plopped a few eggs into the frying pan.

But that was okay. He knew how to take care of himself. And his parents. Even if one of them was a forgetful doggie and the other one a bit flighty and emotionally stunted.

They both needed him. And that thought made him smile. It felt good to be needed.

After Shizuo had calmed down, he had sat down to ponder on what the kid had meant.

Haru always saw the good in everyone, no matter how bad they were. He was such a wonderful child. Haru seemed to possess a rare kindness. Something innocent and untainted, despite all he had gone through in his short life.

But Shizuo was still convinced that some people had no niceness in them at all. People like Izaya.

What did Haru mean? Izaya pushing me away was somehow related to...to... His eyes flew open and he suddenly felt a need to smash his head again the wall. He settled for slapping his palm over his face.

"Fuck!" he said to himself. "I'm fucking blind!" he muttered, before he got up and kicked a can straight over the nearest rooftop to get out some frustration. The kid was right!

When did Izaya push him away? It was always, always when they had something close to an intimate moment! How could he not have noticed it before?!

Then he winced. And he'd played right into his trap, hadn't he? Allowed him to push him away. Every single time!

But if he didn't care...why would he come back? Again and again, Izaya always came back. He did care! That was the only logical explanation!

And Shizuo, like an idiot, kept hurting him! Kept attacking and belittling him. Him! The only person who wasn't scared of his monstrous strength. The one person who might actually...dare he think it? ...care about, maybe even love this monster that was him!

Oh, sure, the kid liked him well enough, but it just wasn't the same. Children were too innocent to fully understand what he was, unlike Izaya.

Shizuo sat down on the sidewalk and groaned, clutching his head and tugging at his hair. Fuck, he was such an idiot! 'Who's the asshole now?!' Shizuo thought, letting out a broken, self-deprecating laugh.

If there was one thing Shizuo despised, it was hurting people. Especially the few people who cared about him. Especially the few people he honestly cared about.

"Fuck, I must be insane." he declared, lighting himself another cigarette. Somehow the damned flea...or maybe he really was a cat? He remembered how he had acted when he got hurt, at Shinra's place...

Cats were always like that. They waltz into your life like they own the place. And no matter how many times you throw them out, they just keep coming back. They're also far too quick to ever catch it when you want to. And before you know it, they've wormed their way into your heart.

The flea was like that, he realized. He thought he hated him. Had always hated him. But lately... And when he got to know him...

"Fuck me..." Shizuo said. "I'm so screwed." He chocked out a pained laugh. The irony was not lost on him.

Well... He supposed he knew what he had to do now... A soft smile tugging at his lips. And Shizuo was not one to waste time when he knew what to do.

Shizuo was cursing up a storm in his kitchen. Which, at the current moment, looked like a bomb had exploded in a chocolate factory, and burned a hole through several pots and parts of the sink... for some reason.

"Stop it! You're going too fast!" he shouted at the laptop-screen, while furiously mixing the brown batter he was currently working on.

"Stupid Wa-ru-ti-nu day guide." he cussed some more and poured what might, with a lot of imagination, be chocolate, -very, very lumpy chocolate- into a form so it could set.

It hadn't been easy, and he absolutely refused to let any of his friends get a wind of what he was doing, much less that damned flea he was doing it for!

He could already hear Tom asking him who the lucky girl was, and he wasn't sure he wanted to explain that!

And his brother would probably just tell him to watch his movies. His brother didn't exactly know any more about love and romantic feeling than he did himself.

Celty would probably laugh at him, trying to hide it, and then suggest the over-the-top shit that Shinra always did... he really wasn't sure that was something he wanted to get into.

Not to mention Shinra himself... He shuddered at the thought. Nope. The internet would be better!

He had almost considered asking those teenagers he kept running into about it, but he didn't really know them. And it would just look weird and suspicious if he tried asking teens for dating advice. He was not Izaya damnit!

So he decided to find a chat forum, and hope it had some sensible people in it. He found one called 'Love Chat', it sounded about right...once he read the translation of the title anyway.

And the girls in the forum he had found were very nice and helpful when he asked them for what the best way to confess your love for a guy was. Although he immediately dismissed their fashion suggestions. He'd seen some guys in dresses before, but he refused to be one of them!

He didn't want to hurt their feelings by saying it, however, so he let them rant.

Apparently there was a whole day set aside for romantic confessions. And, as luck would have it, it was only a couple of days away. Well, tomorrow - now.

Which is why he was in his kitchen making home made chocolate, by following a cooking video on a blog page the girls had suggested for him.

He glared at the chocolate. Was chocolate supposed to be black? And lumpy?

He glared at the girl proudly showing off her creation on the screen. It looked nothing at all like what he had produced.

Did he use too much cocoa? Too little sugar? But Izaya hated sweet stuff, so he had decided to drop any sugar. Cocoa was pretty bitter already. And the recipes he had read suggested you could add coffee. And Izaya loved coffee, so he added coffee.

He stared at it again. Maybe he should have ground the coffee better? He could still see the grains.*

He looked at the resulting mess and sighed. If only it had been next month, he could have asked his boss if he could work a few extra shifts, so he could have just bought Izaya some of the expensive stuff the girls had raved about.

But it was nice of them to understand he didn't have much money and send him to that blog. He somehow doubted they'd been as nice if they had known who he was... Maybe the flea was right. He smiled wryly. Maybe the internet wasn't all that bad.

He looked over at the clock on his wall. He still had time for one more try, -everything else was already set up- maybe he should try again. And this time he'd use a metal bowl to crush the stupid coffee in, not the easily broken stone bowl!

Shizuo glared at himself in the mirror and wondered if maybe he should have gotten a suit. Was a suit something you wore to dates? He really didn't want to ask the girl he had been talking too... they were clearly obsessed with dresses. Probably some teenage fashion. He had seen some of them talked about on tv some time ago. Rock bands or some-such nonsense.

In the end he decided to just be casual about it. Izaya was always casual anyway, even if his clothes were clearly expensive. Maybe a suit was better after all? Izaya seemed to like expensive things.

But Shizuo just couldn't imagine Izaya wearing anything formal, and if he wore something formal himself, then Izaya might feel pressured to do so to, but maybe it was better to look your best for your date? Then on the other hand, he didn't want to make Izaya feel like he had to do something. Did the guy even own anything but his normal clothes anyway?! He'd sure as hell never seen him in a suit. What if he hated them? He never wore the school uniform the way he should back in high school...

Shizuo grabbed his head and groaned. He was overthinking things again.

He had considered if he should follow their advice on making it a group-date, but he really didn't want anyone he knew to know about it yet. It might embarrass Izaya too... the damned flea was much more sensitive than people thought him to be. He might get embarrassed if Shizuo acted presumptuous when he hadn't even actually asked him.

He had thought long and hard about what exactly he should say... and written a long note on it, just so he remembered. He glanced at the watch to see if he had time to rehearse it one more time...

"Shit!" he exclaimed. He'd spent so much time worrying that he was going to end up being late if he didn't get going... not that his table reservation would go anywhere, considering where they were going, but he didn't like to inconvenience people.

He grabbed the box with the now clumsily wrapped chocolate and headed out the door.

Shizuo paused for a second in front of Izaya's door, before taking a deep breath. 'If you do not enter the tiger's cave, you will not catch its cub',* he thought and knocked.

When Izaya finally opened his door he was looking exceptionally grumpy, as if something had just happened. He was also looking incredibly hot as he seemed to be missing his usual sweater... and any undershirts...

Shizuo felt his mouth go dry. With his brain suddenly shutting down, his well rehearsed speech was all but forgotten. He roughly trusted the heart-shaped, badly wrapped home-made chocolate at him and grunted out;

"I like you. Date. Russian sushi." Shizuo felt his cheeks flush red when Izaya looked confused for a second, then he read the label on the chocolate.

"Honmei Choco..." he read, lips quirking up in amusement. Shizuo was trying really, really hard to act normal, and like the Beast he was, he failed spectacularly. He must have mixed up the chocolate types. This was the one you gave to your boyfriend, not your friend. Silly Monster~

He halfway considered pointing out that it was girls who gave boys chocolate on Valentines Day... boy didn't do so until White Day... but he quickly decided it would be far more amusing to go along with it and see what else the big beast had come up with. Plus... Sushi sounded good right about now. He could use some cheering up after that accident with the coffee maker. And Otoroo always cheered him up.

"Daddy, I think I managed to get that stubborn coffee stain out, and it's in the wash-bin now. Here's a new sweater... oh, hi Shizuo-san" Haru said, handing Izaya a new sweater, while smiling at his adopted father/pet. Haru had decided to adopt him at least, regardless of anyone else's thoughts on the matter.

"Thank you son," Izaya said, ruffling the kids hair, a small but genuine smile gracing his lips.

"Looks like I'll be going out a bit. I'll call someone to come and watch you." he glanced over at Shizuo, and his eyes shone with amusement.

But the only thing Shizuo saw was the endearing picture of a Family... one that could be his, if he played his cards right. He also saw a man and a kid who didn't fear him. A man whom might even like him back!

"Sushi. Now." Shizuo said, hiding his embarrassment by grabbing Izaya's arm and dragging him along, barely allowing him to grab his coat on the way as Haru ran after them with it.

"So forceful~" Izaya said teasingly.

Shizuo never stopped surprising him. And Izaya loved surprises. He chuckled when he saw how flushed Shizuo was, and leaned closer, letting his warm breath caress the man's ear, teasing him even more.

"Suki~" Izaya said. Because, he did in fact, love the forceful side of the beast. It was exiting. Intriguing. Fun!

Shizuo, on the other hand, felt as if his hear skipped a beat, and his breath caught for a second. 'He likes me? He likes me! He likes me back!' *

How could such a small word have such a large impact?

"SHI-ZU-OH! I-ZA-YA! Friends good. Make love, not war! Come, have free Sushi. Good sushi to celebrate friendship. Wait, no free, I go broke. You pay. But celebrate! Come, come!" Simon smiled at the strange sight of Shizuo blushing, while Izaya went along with everything, and taking it in strides.

"What do you say, Shizuo? Want to make love, not war?" Izaya wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, making Shizuo choke on his cigarette and drop it.

"Izaya!" he hissed, blushing furiously. They were in public! The damned flea had no shame! Non!

All he got in return was laughter, and Izaya ordering them both beers, as well as accepted from Simon what could be sushi...or maybe a science experience gone horribly wrong. Shizuo leaned toward the latter option.

But Izaya just grinned and nodded at Simon, who lit up with joy over selling the 'house special'. It did not pass Shizuo by that the damned flea told Simon to put it on Shizuo's tab. It was just like him.

And he did all of this, even when Shizuo knew that Izaya was well aware of how much he hated beer, and that whatever Simon suggested as the 'house special' was probably lethal. Or at the very least would give you food poisoning. And that wasn't even mentioning sticking him with the tab!

He shot a glare at the smaller man. Standing there with his cocky grin and slightly tussled hair. And his stupidly sexy body slightly exposed as he lifted the tray up higher than necessary, to avoid that a pair of teenagers that was running past him to crash into it.

Shizuo blushed again and stalked over to a boot in one of the darker corners, the one he had reserved. He quickly removed the reserved-sign before Izaya could notice it.

This was a bad idea. Going anywhere public with the damned flea was always a bad idea. His lips twitched in amusement as he watched his date dodge through the suddenly incoming crowd, all nimble and cat-like. He also somehow managing to balance the arrangement of food and drinks that perched precariously on top of a tray that could barely fit everything on it.

Shizuo couldn't help but admire the man's dexterity. And that brought back other memories, of an entirely different setting the smaller man was all too good at using that hot body of his, and he blushed deeply again. Maybe getting drunk wasn't such a bad idea after all? Even if it was bitter bear. At least if he were to survive the night without dying of embarrassment. He reached for the glass closest to him as Izaya placed down the plate on the table.

Izaya chuckled to himself as he watched Shizuo scrounge up his face in disgust at the bitter-tasting beer. It was amazing how committed the Monster was to acting human. It was nearly adorable and cute... once he was tamed anyway. And not a threat to his beloved humans or the city itself.

It was strange, he thought, how comfortable he had become with his greatest enemy. Although he supposed that they had been enemies for so long now... that perhaps it made them kinda-sorta friends. How did that strange english proverb go again? 'Opposites attracts', or some such rot.

He glanced over at the Beast that was currently smelling one of the strange concoctions Simon had pushed on them. He chuckled and sipped his wonderful beer. Cold and bitter... Perfect!

He supposed there might be some truth in that saying. There really was no other explanation for why he found the beast that was currently viciously chomping down what could only be described as a health hazard with such foolish gusto.

Izaya smiled sweetly at Shizuo when the old man put a plate of delicious Otooro down in front of him. The glare he got in return made him grin. Really... Shizuo should have known better than to allow him to order for them.

"Mmmmh~" Izaya half-way moaned at the taste, dragging it out and licking his fingers to tease the beast even more. He half-way wondered if he should try and trick him to eat a piece, but it really would be a waste of good otooro. Shizuo would never appreciate the bitter taste of the fatty tuna, sadly. The man had an unhealthy appetite for sweets.

Luckily for the establishment, Shizuo suddenly had far worse problems to deal with than anger at the information broker across the table from him for ordering him food that he was very sure the damned flea knew he hated.

It was not made any better by Izaya casually leaning close enough to brush up against his leg, leaning on his knee with one slender, tempting hand as he dangled a piece of the damnable bitter version of tuna in front of his face. He felt like squirming in his seat. Whether to get that hand closer to the problem or further away, he wasn't sure of.

To cover up his embarrassment...and just to be obnoxious right back at him, he chomped down on the tuna that was held out at him, his lips brushing the delicate fingers of the man opposite of him.

Shizuo held back a laugh. It helped that the fact that the taste of the tuna was truly disgusting and made him want to throw up. But Izaya suddenly looked like a cat caught in the flashlights, with a light blush dusting his cheeks.

'Good', Shizuo thought, 'At least I won't be the only one with that...problem...now'.

The next second he got surprised again as Izaya threw his head back and laughed.

"Ahahahahaha! You never quit surprising me, Shizuo-chan~" he said, breaking into the most adorable chuckles towards the end.

How had he never noticed how child-like and honest Izaya was in his every action before? He might lie his ass off when he spoke, but his body and his actions never lied. And everything he did, he did with every fiber of his being. Completely honest and carefree. Just like a child...

Shizuo had never heard Izaya laugh. Not a real laugh anyway. There was something terribly attractive about it. And the way his red-brown eyes sparkled in the light. And the way his hair fell in a chaotic mess around his face, and yet somehow always was perfect... Shizuo took another sip of the beer to cover up his thoughts, only to find it empty.

He went to grab the beer from Izaya, only to grab Izaya's hand instead. He marveled at how soft it was. How small it was and how it seemed to fit so perfect in his own. And how cute Izaya looked with that strange, vulnerable look in his eyes as he was staring directly into his own eyes...

"Izaya...I..." Shizuo hesitated, wondering how to explain what he was feeling. How his heart was beating faster and he felt... Was this love? Real, deep love, and not just caring and lust? Shizuo wondered, staring deeply into those wonderfully enticing eyes... Like a seductive demon. That suddenly looked far more vulnerable than he had ever seen him before.

Of course, just when they seemed to be having a moment Izaya quipped:

"I knew you would like the beer. Maybe I should call and cancel the assassination attempt on you this month, since you've been nice enough to foot the bill," Izaya grinned and acted like he meant every word, then proceeded to pick up his phone and text someone.

"There we go, all done." he grinned at Shizuo, already halfway off his chair in anticipation of what would happen next.

Shizuo's eye twitched. The damned flea with his damned lies, as if he couldn't smell each and every one of them! The chopsticks broke under his fingers.

"Oh, look at the time, I better go meet my client. This was fun, we should do it again. Byee~" Izaya said and took off running before Shizuo could say anything, leaving him with the bill...

He had intended to pay it, of course, but the incredible rudeness of not even offering was the last straw in a long line of insults.

"IIIIII-ZAAAAA-YAAAAA!" he crashed the table over and ran after the damnable flea, leaving even Simon too dumbfounded to stop them. All he could do was to shake his head sadly and sigh.

"Ara, Ara~? Shizuo-chan is getting slow in his old age?" Izaya teased

Shizuo responded by grabbing the closest vending machine and hurling it at him. Incidentally, as it turned out, that was a flower vending machine, and it sprung open and showered his dodgy target in a variety of flowers as it hit the wall behind him. Izaya couldn't help himself. He grabbed a surviving red rose and pretended to swoon over it.

"What's this? Shizuo-chan is giving me flowers? How romantic~" he laughed. Right before he had to dodge a small table Shizuo had picked up from a nearby cafe.

"Yeah?! How about a plush toy to go with that stupid smile?!" Shizuo shouted, as he ripped up a claw game and hurled it at his nemesis-lover, ignoring the shouts from the teens who had been playing with it.

"Ah, my monster is so nice to me~" Izaya laughed teasingly and shaking a plushy at Shizuo teasingly, right before throwing the nearest plushy -which happened to be a black cat- in his face and running away.

"IZAAAAAYAAAAAAAA!" Shizuo screamed "Stand still while I beat you to death with my love!" he shouted and took off after him, the toy cat still in his hand. Ironically enough, the rose had somehow found its way into one of Izaya's button holes, and the teddy vanished into his pockets. Shizuo was convinced he was a kleptomaniac, not that he paid it much attention.

To his own surprise, Shizuo managed to catch his prey after only running a few blocks and down an ally.

"What's the matter? Can't run so fast on a full stomach?" Shizuo said triumphantly. And a little confused. Usually he couldn't catch the damned fly no matter how hard he tried.

"Maybe I wanted you to catch me~" Izaya said teasingly, a strangely hoarse note to his voice, and a dark passion burning in his eyes. Then he grabbed Shizuo's collar and pulled him into a searingly hot kiss.

Several blocks down Simon shook his head sadly, hearing the echos of their screams.

"Is no good, this fighting," he said. "Maybe I should..." he stopped as he felt a hand on his shoulder.

"Don't worry about it," his boss said in russian with an amused tweak of his lips. "They'll be fine."

"But boss! They're killing eachother. It's not good if they kill eachother." Simon injected.

"They'll be fine. Trust me. You're young. You have much to learn," his boss said, returning to polish the glasses.

"Now come. Help me clean up the kitchen. The kids will be fine." then he added as a side-note. "And then we make them pay for damages when they come back next time."


*Shizuo can cook exactly ONE thing, according to the author, and that is Curry. If I recall correctly, he's pretty good at it, but it's also the only thing he can cook. And he'd refuse to let Haru cook for them, being a kid and all.

*As may be obvious, the girls thought he was a girl too. Shizuo obviously didn't realize how he sounded asking for advice on how to woo a guy. lol

Also... He doesn't realize you have to brew the coffee before adding it to the chocolate.

Yes... Shizuo really, REALLY can't cook! xD

*Suki means 'to like/like'. And you use context to figure out WHAT said person like. It is also the most common way to confess your love for someone.

Izaya is just teasing Shizuo, saying 'I like it' -it referring to Shizuo being rough- in a naughty, bedroom way.

Shizuo, having just made his own love-confession (which Izaya read as 'I like you as a friend'), thinks Izaya returns his feelings.

Isn't the japanese language wonderful for drama and misunderstandings? lol

"If you do not enter the tiger's cave, you will not catch its cub."

Meaning: You can't achieve anything without taking risks, or "nothing ventured, nothing gained."