Izaya kept a wary eye on Celty. She doesn't have a head, and people not having a head is wrong. It's scary, and it's tying knots in Izaya's little stomach.

Yet everyone else acted all ok about Celty, even Shizuo.

Izaya didn't pay close attention on the conversation yet, the threatening being needed to have an eye on, and it was approaching Izaya.

He felt a spike of panic, that he has to run away, hide, pull a blanket over his head until all this passed. He stumbled back one step, and a thought froze him.

He needed to protect his sisters. He needed to be here, waiting for Shizuo to bring them for him. He might have to protect Shizuo too. He was an adult, far bigger than Izaya, but he's also too kind.

Izaya knows where knives are kept, and he was sure he knows how to use it.

And so he stood his guard, while Celty came up to him and thrusted some square thing into his face. He blinked. It was some kind of drab screen.

"Celty, I don't think Izaya can read yet."

Celty quickly tapped a lot on the square thing, and this time thrust it into Shizuo's face. Izaya rushed over threateningly and pulled at her other arm.

"No hurt Shizuo!" He threatened. And somehow, Izaya got a feeling that the creature smiled, even without a face. Like she's saying, "What a cute little kid!"

"Ah, Izaya, Celty is my friend. You can trust her. She might be strange but she is a good person."

"…..a good person?" Izaya repeated, then fixed his big doe eye at Celty again.

A tense moment passed, and a frown twisted itself into existence on the young face. "Shizuo is too kind! No trust Celty yet!"

Celty jumped in surprise, and knelt down to Izaya's height, making calming gestures.

"Sorry, Celty. Izaya's a little…. untrusting." Shizuo said. And with the introductions over, Izaya went to the corner of the room, pretending to play quietly. In fact, the young ears were pointed and ready to overhear any of the conversation.

Granted, he could hear only Shizuo's part of the conversation, and thus didn't piece together much details. Until Shizuo called him over.

"Alright, Izaya, let's get you to meet Shinra."

Like any new mom, Shizuo is coming to learn to carry a small bag with him wherever he goes. Its contents? Bottles of milk, a small lunch box, cleaning wipes, diapers, and change of clothing.

Izaya is an intelligent child, and he's already learned to use the potty, but outside of the apartment things could be…. unfortunate.

Riding behind Celty on her black bike, with Izaya sandwiched in between, Shizuo felt in the bag in case he forgot anything. Everything seemed to be in place.

Then, scarcely before Shizuo could put his hand back around the tiny waist of the child Izaya, he leaned heavily to one side, struggling to see the front view beyond Celty's encompassing back.

This caused the bike to swerve to the other side abruptly as Celty suddenly has to balance out the shifted weight. "Izaya! No! Sit properly, Izaya!" Shizuo shouted over the wind, holding on tight to the frail small body.

Izaya flinched and immediately corrected his seat, laying one cheek against Celty's black bodysuit.

"Don't surprise me like that!" He shouted over the wind. And Izaya nodded slightly to let him know he gets it. His eyes were wide though, and even if his hands have to be wrapped around Celty's waist, Shizuo could tell he was longing to wrap them around himself, where Shizuo had held onto him.

In his surprise and fear for Izaya's safety, Shizuo had probably squeezed too tightly. It might even bruise up later.

Instantly he regretted it, but told himself that it was better than having Izaya falling off a fast moving bike onto the highway, where he might even be run over by cars.

Still, the conscience remains. What if Izaya come to hate him, again? What if Izaya come to see him as a violent monster, again?

He doesn't know just when he had become this concerned over the little child's opinion, but now, he couldn't take his mind off it.

This dampened Shizuo's mood for the rest of the ride.

"Awwww, Izaya! You're so cute!"

Izaya looked startled, and run back halfway to Shizuo before halting suddenly with a bewildered expression on his face.

As if he'd suddenly got lost.

So, it was Shizuo himself who knelt down to the small child and put a protective arm between him and Shinra.

"Shinra, you're scaring him."

Shinra put a hand behind his head apologetically, "Ah, sorry."

"So, if the story you told me was true, what do you want me to do?"

Shizuo was actually set off a bit by this question. He didn't know what he really expected by telling Shinra everything. He had honestly never thought of it.

Shinra continued,

"I don't reckon you want me to find a way to turn him back, if that's even possible? The real problem then would be taking care of the child Izaya. Do you want me to contact an orphanage? Or do you want to... dispose of him?"

"No!" Shizuo said more forcefully than he'd expected of himself.

"No, on both counts."

"Then, what are you going to do? I don't want to offend but, can you of all people take care of a child, Shizuo? Not only your temper problems and unusual strength, but also the time commitment and the money... it's no easy thing raising children, I assume."

"Ah... for that, there's no problem with money, I just use what's in the bast— Izaya's own accounts. The guy's filthy rich, we can live off that for a long time yet. I'm taking my time off work for a while... Tom-san understands."

Shinra nodded sympathetically, but there was a slight dry smile on his face.

"As for my temper... well, after taking time off work and staying with Izaya, I'm not... getting angry as often. I'm even in a semi-good mood most of the time."

Shinra gasped threatrically.

"Who would think children would be the undoing of the mighty Beast of Ikebukuro!"

"Beast of Kekeikuburo?" Izaya said asked looking up with that wide, innocent eyes.

The adults jumped at the sudden question. Especially Shizuo.

The Beast of Ikebukuro removed his sunglasses and looked at the little Izaya, dreading his reaction.

"Why Shizuo Beast of Ikubeburo?" Izaya asked innocently, "Shizuo is kind. Shizuo is good person. Shizuo not a beast!" He asserted determinedly.

Shizuo knelt beside Izaya and lifted the edge of his small shirt a little. Everyone could see the purpling marks of Shizuo's fingers around Izaya's torso, the beginnings of a bad bruise.

"This is why people call me a beast, Izaya. I'm too strong. I hurt people."

Izaya snatched his shirt and pulled it back in place, his expression was fierce.

"Shizuo isn't a beast! Shizuo is strong, Shizuo protects people!" He wraps his arms around his torso, crouching to the ground, "Shizuo protect me from falling dead. Shizuo is kind."

Shinra and Celty shared a glance.

Shizuo reached over to the crouching Izaya, and pulled him into a gentle embrace.

Of all people, Izaya understands.

Izaya panted just slightly, and brushed the rotted wood scraps off his clothing.

Nobody answered the cottage door, so he'd had to force his way in. Granted, this wooden cottage seemed to have stood against the weather for a century, so the crumbling door wasn't that hard to get through.

Once inside, Izaya adjusted his hat, and looked around.

The disguise was for naught after all, he hadn't met the Youkai in question— or maybe he had.

The Youkai might be standing right in front of him, and he couldn't see.

Either way, he had spotted the object he was looking for.

It was not any particular object he was looking for, exactly, but the discrepancy in the age of the objects.

And there it was, a brand new clock, hanging from the weathered wall.

"Bingo." Izaya smirked.