Izaya hates having a fever, especially on a winter day when his secretary was out stalking her brother.

Well, it's not like Namie would take care of him either way, so he guess it doesn't matter.

Izaya summons the will to get up on his feet. The air chills him to the bones, mocking the heater desperately doing its work in the corner. Honestly he thought his furnitures are of higher quality.

The raven swayed unsteadily. His head hurts and his eyelids felt like lead, but he knew his fever has been getting worse and worse. He needs medicine, and something to eat.

Already he's missing the warmth of his swath of blankets.

Pushing against the urge to just lie back down, he make his way to the kitchen downstairs.

The fridge was empty.

Not that he expected otherwise, though. He's never put anything in the refrigerator except for a few cups of coffee, and Namie isn't the housewife kind, after all. The insides of that fridge was a perpetual food desert.

He reaches for the upper cabinet, hoping to find some instant noodles.

Again, it was empty.

As a reminder, his head throbbed. He sighed then lean against the kitchen counter, wishing he's still in bed. He could even have settled on the kitchen counter, just so he could sleep this terrible headache off.

He closed his eyes for a moment, but it only make matters worse so he force himself off the hard wood and brought out his aid kit.

With weary eyes and waning hope, he browse through its contents.

Bandages... Disinfectant... Alcohol... Some painkillers.

Nothing for a fever, exactly, but well enough.

The informant swallowed the painkillers dry, the whole lot of them that were left.

It wasn't much, but manageable.

Back in the bedroom, he let himself sink into the warm mass of blankets again. And, feeling his headache dulling, he grabs one of his cell phones and dialed Shinra's.

It rings several times...

— "This number is not reachable at the moment— "

Izaya frowns.

So much for being a doctor.

He tried a few more times, just to be certain, but it was futile. The doctor just isn't going to pick up.

He sighed ruefully. At this rate he'll have to go outside on his own...

He glanced at the large window. It was snowing outside.

The raven shivered, then look at his phone and decide to make another call.

/Ring.../

/Ring.../

"Hello?"

"Kururi" he croaked back, grimacing at the way he himself sounded.

"Iza-nii?"

On the background he could hear Mairu chattering, asking 'Who is it, who is it?' and a few moments later, 'Let me talk, Kuru-ne!" And finally, an ear-splitting "Hi Iza-nii! Did you finally decided to let us kill you? We're so glad! Where are you? We will deliver the blow on express! Come on, Kuru-nee!"

The informant put the phone away from his ear, grimacing. His sister could use a bit more manners.

He coughed, clearing his throat, then replied, "Not exactly that. And get your voice down."

Good. He sounded almost like his normal self.

When he heard Mairu retorting to Kururi about being scolded, he continued, a bit frustrated.

"Now, just listen for once. I need you two to come over. Bring some food and medicine. Fever medicine, if you will... Hey, Mairu, Kururi, are you guys listening?"

After staring at each other for several seconds in dumbfounded confusion, Kururi and Mairu blinked themselves awake. Not knowing what to reply, Mairu said, "...Alright, Iza-nii..."

Then, catching herself, she added, "A doze of cyanide coming up!"

On the other end, Izaya let his phone fall limply to the soft mattress.

Somehow, he knew his sisters wouldn't come. He had made himself the brunt of their hatred for too long, even if it was for their own safety.

They would probably hesitate, but in the end, they won't come.

Izaya looked out the window, seeing snowflakes, and can almost felt the cold already.

'Better get it over with' , he told himself, then practically drag himself to the wardrobe and mass a great bundle of furry coats around himself. The informant shivered inside the mass, but grabbed the keys and head for the door anyway.

He felt dizzy, but aside from Shinra and his sisters, who wouldn't come, he doesn't think he has anyone to rely on anymore. Putting it like that hurts sometimes, he likes his sugarcoated lie that he told himself much better.

The wind was cutting, Izaya knew that since before stepping out of his apartment building, but he realised he was underestimating it gravely. A few dozen steps from his starting point, he's already regretting coming out at all.

But he had come this far, and to return empty-handed, without medicine or food, was quite unappealing, so he pushed on.

The relative warmth of the konbini store did him good, easing his shivers.

He grabbed some random things, food he don't care enough to choose and some other familiar medicine he vaguely remember taking before. He felt numb, both from the cold and the odd, vague dizziness of a suppressed headache.

On the way out he swayed, so he knew he needed to get out of here as soon as possible. It is hard to keep track of people and potential attackers with both snow and fever at once.

The sliding door opens, and strong wind hit him like an ice wall, throwing him almost half a step back before he caught himself and force his shivering legs to go on, squinting against the harsh weather.

And it was like that, that Orihara Izaya came almost face to face with Shizuo, who was upwind and couldn't detect him as he usually did. Both stared at each other in confusion, but this time the bartender-suited man recovered first.

"IIIIIIIIZAAAAAAAAYAAAAAAAA" He growled, and Izaya seemed to have finally pushed his mind through the muddled thoughts, sedated by painkillers.

He cursed, and bolted.

Pain shot up his legs, which was cold and frozen for quite a time, and seemed not to get enough blood for running. Izaya needn't push through any crowd, with the streets virtually empty thanks to the weather.

Thank hell for that. He can't hide.

All the coats made him bulky, but his hard-earned dexterity served him well.

He didn't think. He couldn't. He just ran, the distant roar propelled him on.

He didn't dodge. He couldn't see, or even turn to look, as snow bites into his eyes even running along with it.

He puffed and his lungs seemed to burn, along with his face and his chest, while the rest froze and numbed.

Something hit him on the shoulder- a vending machine?- and he crashed against the building to his right. Fortunately it wasn't glass. And he was able to rebound from it and kept running, the plastic bag bouncing as he ran, contents weightless, forgotten.

There was no thrill, only pain radiating from his shoulder. Izaya vaguely imagined it dislocated, and he grimaced.

"COME BACK HERE FLEA! I'LL KILL YOU!"

The voice was close, now. He couldn't outrun this monster today.

The informant took a sudden turn, then found he couldn't tell where he was, with no sign and snow covering most others. He didn't stop, though, just kept running at random. As long as he can lose Shizuo somewhere...

A crash, so near. Izaya's heart raced, and he burned.

A turn, then another.

Izaya stopped.

It was a dead end. Somehow, he had got lost in his own neighborhood and is now facing a wall, high and imposing, with no way of escape.

He turned, and Shizuo was there.

Izaya resisted the urge to collapse, and coughed. He was burning, he could feel it, the heat radiating through him while he shivered. It was so cold.

"Hah! Gotcha, you little flea!" Shizuo seemed... exhilarated. Eager.

Izaya found himself backing against the wall.

It was hard to think... he so wanted to sleep. The world was so muddled, and cold, and hot at the same time.

"Shi- Shizuo-" The informant croaked. His throat was so parched, and he coughed. "I..."

He didn't know what to say. Please let me go? Really, he couldn't- Shizuo grabbed his throat, holding him up off the floor.

He couldn't breathe. He couldn't think. He lifted his frozen hands and crawled at the grip suffocating him, taking away his life. Instincts took over, and he didn't know what he was doing. He thrashed and crawled and tried to breathe.

Pain.

He was sinking...

Then the hand was gone, and he crumpled to the floor drinking sweet air and coughing so hard he was seeing stars. His legs knew what to do and his right hand grabbed the battered plastic bag and he was running again, wind biting into him.

He couldn't see so well, but he got himself up his apartment building somehow and collapsed just inside his entryway.

He felt himself burning. His dislocated shoulder shot pain through his body and he grasp for breath that hurts like a thousand needles.

So looked at the remains of what he had bought, and saw that everything was dropped somewhere except the sanitary mask, which was light and stuck to the plastic.

So, after all that, still no food and no medicine for him.

He shivered, and found his fingers unwilling to move. He could barely even felt it.

The adrenaline faded as his heartbeat slows to only a bit higher than normal and he fell unconscious. Blood from the gash left by the vending machine drips to the floor, untended.