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autumn rain.

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Moisture on the window softly blurred the harsh neons from outside, their light seeping from the barely open curtain casting a dim glow inside the hotel room. His bare skin glimmered eerily with the multicolored shadows of the rain on the window, dripping on his back along beads of sweat. Under his touch Izaya felt warm. He could feel his heart fluttering around his fingers, throbbing in time with his shallow gasps.  

"Touch me," Izaya breathed, muffled and pleading, his face hidden between the pillows. "More, Shizuo."

The bed dipped under his weight when he leant over him, tongue stroking away his sweat and teeth sinking into the soft of his hips. He inserted another finger. Izaya gasped again, floating and muted in the space between his mouth and the sheets he was grappling. Shizuo kissed along the little arch of his back, small brushes of lips climbing his spine to stop just behind his nape, his naked body slotting against his perfectly. 

"I missed you," he whispered, damp against his neck, and Shizuo felt Izaya quiver.

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"There are lots of things I don't know about you too, y'know?" 

Celty tilted her head, droplets on her helmet glittering in the artificial orange of the street lights, before her shoulders trembled in muted laughter. She tapped rapidly on her device, and showed her message. 

"Well, I just thought you knew everything already, seeing as Shinra seems to always blabber non-stop about me… " At the end there was a little annoyed face that made Shizuo snort. 

He had grasped the meaning of those the first times he met with Celty, and by now he knew all of them, even though sometimes he still had to ask. They had only met recently but they had bonded instantly, the two of them always trying to make time to chat before they both started with their jobs. It always had some sort of calming effect on him, talking to her like that. It never got uncomfortable or unnerving. She was nice like that. 

"Don't take this the wrong way…" He scratched his head, careful not to drop any ash on his hair from the cigarette held between his fingers, his other clutching an umbrella. "If I were to listen to each and every word he says, I would surely punch him into outer space sooner than he finishes talking." 

Again she laughed, in that quiet silent way of hers. " He can be annoying at times.

"More like every time,” Shizuo scoffed, and took a drag out of his cigarette. He breathed out of his nostrils, smoke rapidly dissipating in the humid weather. "Also, I never kinda listen when others talk about people I don’t know.”

“I need to see the guy in person to really judge them… See their face, you know?" 

She cocked her head, the coarseness of his remark instantly evident. 

His brow knitted, scratching his shoe on the wet gravel. "That was poor, sorry…" 

Immediately, her hands shot in front of her, rain dripping from her skin tight suit as she flailed them around apologetically. " No, no! I was just curious! No offense taken, seriously!

Shizuo shrugged, before taking another drag. 

"What I meant was look at their real faces, I guess?" 

He wandered off, scowling. "This is getting annoying."

She seemed a little taken aback, but didn’t add more on her device, the inscrutable blackness of her visor piercing like a stare.  

Shizuo just felt compelled to offer her a bit more. "I don’t know how to explain it… When I met you, you seemed just alright to me.” 

"When it's weird people I can smell their skank from miles,” and scowled more.

It’s a good skill you have .” Her helmet tilted agreeably. “ Having too much faith in people only winds up hurting you."

Sometimes ." There is a smile at the end. 

Cars continued to speed on the wet asphalt of the bridge behind her, each one blowing a cold breeze between them. He felt goosebumps crawl along his arms, the chill of the autumn evening soaking into his uniform shirt. 

He finished up his cigarette, putting it out in his portable ashtray. “Yeah, I guess…”

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When he entered the bar, the smile of his senpai immediately found him. “Late as always, aren’t you?” 

Shizuo bowed, wet umbrella still in hand, the handle of the door held in the other. 

“I got held by the rain.”

“Oh!” she exclaimed, her pink lips shaping into a perfect circle, “That cool motorcycle lady on the bridge was called ‘Rain’? I see, I see.”

Shizuo frowned. “What? No, her name is Celty.”

“That’s even cooler!”

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The bar was an unlicensed establishment, one of those illegally fitted apartments usually operating as a front for other activities. 

At first, he knew nothing of it. The over-eagerness of the owner to hire him as soon as he had presented himself at the doorstep didn’t really strike him as odd. In hindsight, he should have known better. After all, it wasn’t like he knew something about bartending. He didn’t even touch a drink ever in his 21 years of life. When he found out, though, he was beyond pissed, and no amount of reassuring that there was nothing fishy going on there from the owner really calmed him. In the end it only made him more annoyed, and he raised one of the tables over him ready to split open the slimeball head. 

What stopped him from doing exactly that was his senpai, jumping out from behind the counter and reminding him of the promise he had made in that very place and just a few days before to his brother. 

That night concluded uneventfully, the table returning to its place and Shizuo bowing his excuses. 

Eventually he came to like it, working there. 

It was quiet, most of all.

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“Who would’ve known, it really is you.”

His neck twitched towards the voice, his stare kept low on the abandoned alley below the emergency stairs, the bustling noise of the night ricocheting between the buildings behind the bar. Shizuo exhaled, a warm cloud of smoke rising up to where Izaya was watching him, leaning from the rails of the floor above him, probably with a smirk as wide as his flat face could allow him to do. 

The metal stairs rattled.

Shizuo didn’t even blink when Izaya landed at his side with a short huff, jumping from above, still leaning motionless even when he walked towards him. He took a drag. 

“You said you’d left ‘Bukuro.”

There wasn’t anything more he would have said, yet it was much more than he would have liked to. As soon as his words left him, he felt the air change, the stench of his awful contempt even sharper in the humid weather. 

With the corner of his eye, he saw Izaya put his hands in the pockets of his coat, his stance casual as one would be around a feral animal, the same smile of an arsonist. 

“Changed my mind,” he shrugged.  

Shizuo again turned his look down low as he kept smoking, his twitching fingers hidden under his crossed arms. 

"I didn’t know you became a bartender, Shizu-chan.” Izaya continued, his mocking delight coiling around his clenched fist, tighter and tighter. 

His words snapped harder than a whip. “The hell’s anything to do with you?” 

“I had to just see it with my own two eyes…” He started walking around him again, the clang of his steps closing in on him, “Seeing how you of all people would fit in among people, that is.”

He stopped. His disdainful smile crawled behind his back, in his mind seeing his eyes as devoid as that last day before their graduation. 

“Aren’t your people happy you finally… settled , Shizu-chan?”

More smoke seeped from his nostrils, before he spitted out his cigarette and lunged at him with his fist. Against his knuckles he felt the soft of his cheeks, barely grazing his cold skin, when Izaya avoided him at the last possible second, like the slippery fucker he was. Not wasting any time, Shizuo dashed again at him, with a frenzied readiness he had ingrained in his muscle memory. With a flip, Izaya just jumped on the rail, his jarring cackles echoing over the noise of the city. 

“Midnight, same place as last time." 

He reached inside his pocket, and threw him a key, which Shizuo caught immediately. 

“Don’t be late,” and winked.

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With a gasp, Izaya drew his quaking body closer to him, his nails scraping for a fistful of the hotel sheets while Shizuo thrusted relentlessly into him.

"Do… Do you want this?" Shizuo couldn’t hide the strain in his voice, swallowing on his heavy breath. "Tell me…"

Skin pulled taut over his shoulder blades, Izaya just cried, loud and thick in his throat, before falling again on the bed, his forehead digging between the cushions.

“C… C’mon, Izaya… Tell me…"

"Shi… Shiz… uo…" He sounded like he was choking, each sound coming out from him in broken pieces in sync with his every thrust. “Shi… Shizuo…”

“Do you… really want it?” he jerked inside him abruptly, burying himself to the hilt. 

"Ah!" Izaya punched the sheets, and cried again. "Shizuo!" 

The tension of his body melted all at once in a convulsed shudder, and he came, half hot half cold, on Shizuo's fingers.

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In the tired quiet of the end of the shift, his senpai sighed all of a sudden. 

“Appearances truly are deceiving, huh?” she muttered, placing on her cheek the flat of the glass she was drying, all lost in thoughts. 

“Hey, that was clean!!” Shizuo hastily snatched it from her hand, dunking it again in the sink.

“It still is!” she puffed her cheeks, throwing the dish rag over her shoulders.  

“Yeah, sure,” Shizuo snorted, scrubbing it all over. He glanced at her, again seemingly pensive. “Where is this coming from?”

“Oh?” she snapped out of her thoughts, and then laughed. “Just thinking aloud.” 

Shizuo gave her a look as he passed her the clean glass. 

“Ok, ok…” she picked it up with a smile, lowering her head immediately after. 

"Sometimes people are just not what they seem, don't you think?" 

Shizuo fished another glass out of the sink. "I wouldn't know about that…" 

"For example, take you, Heiwajima-kun…” she carried on, her head still kept low as her hand mechanically dried the glass, “I thought I had you figured out, you know? A straight-up guy going for the girl-next-door type, while instead going all sneaking around, all ‘secret-meeting’ with…” 

“It’s not like that, really,” he blurted out, his thoughts immediately drifting to Celty, “She’s just a friend…"

"We just chat sometimes.”

His senpai turned to look at him, but didn’t add more. She was so short she had to raise her head a little to look at him in the face, and still she couldn’t really look in the eyes unless he turned his head down. 

A brief glimmer flashed in her gaze, before she bursted out laughing. She bumped into him in her laughing fit, making his hand slosh water everywhere in the sink and the glasses clink against each other. 

“O-oi, Kan…”

“You two!” 

The voice of the owner boomed from the farthest edge of the counter, the annoyance for having interrupted his drinking written all over his face. 

“The hell I said about them glasses?”

His senpai promptly swirled on her feet, not missing a beat. “Be careful or be paying!” 

The owner just gruffed, waving his hand and then going back to his drink. “Just get it on.”

She swirled back to him, still snickering. “Ain’t buying it, Hei-wa-ji-ma-kun,” marking every syllable with her index. “But okay! I trust you!”

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Blue and white lights blinded his eyes, the police squad pushing him into a corner in the hotel parking. 

In the middle of the swarm of cars Shizuo saw him. For a moment they stared at each other, before he smiled at him, his eyes flashing red and violent.

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"Look…" A swallow. "Look at me, Izaya.”

The hands on him crawled to his head, accompanying it as Izaya shakily complied, long lashes fluttering with the strain of his neck to look at him with more than the corner of his eye. In the flashing darkness of the neons, he looked stunning, blown pupils magnifying unsaid pleas, sweat tears and spit glittering eerily on his heated cheeks, pink lips blowing shallow breaths on his shoulder. 

Shizuo felt a clench in his heart. “God, Izaya…” he huffed, “You’re so… fucking beautiful…” 

“So… really fucking beautiful…” Shizuo let both his hands circle his chest, caressing him, “You have no… no idea, Izaya…”

“Shi… zuo… I…” he was still looking at him, another kind of light flashing in his lost eyes. “I…” 

Without giving any warning, Shizuo pulled his body to his, moaning as Izaya fell heavily onto him. He felt his body tense in a silent cry when Shizuo rammed his breath out of him, and hugged him closer. 

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Looking at the time on his phone, Shizuo sighed. "It’s almost time for me.” 

How is it going? ” 

“At the bar, you say?” He reached for his cigarettes in his vest pocket, catching one with his lips. “Wasn’t easy at the start, since I knew nothing…” 

His voice wandered off while he tilted his head to hold the umbrella between his neck and shoulder, the numb fingers of both his hands trying to uselessly make the lighter work. Celty shook her head and reached out from her seat on her motorcycle to grab the handle, helpfully holding the umbrella on his head. 

“Ah, thanks…” Shizuo grunted, finally lighting it. He took a drag, and then took the umbrella back, eyebrow raised. “Sure, you don’t want to share?” 

She just waved her hand, leaning again on her motorcycle. 

“Suit yourself,” he took a drag, puffing out smoke. He resumed, “Getting better… Sucking less at bartending in general.”

He turned to her with a small smile, “It’s going good.”

That’s great, Shizuo! ” Celty looked genuinely glad for him, almost bouncing with excitement. Shizuo could feel his cheeks warming up against the cold wind. 

I mean, how long have you started working there? Two, three months?

His cheeks turning even redder, Shizuo grumbled, “Six months…” 

Celty almost fell from her motorcycle. 

Ahh… Let’s see… Uhhh… Six months? Already?? Time sure flies! ” Her fingers rushed to compose something encouraging, slapping her PDA in his face before scrambling to add something more. “Even if slow, that's still improvement! Even small victories count! Erm… No, what I mean is… Shinra always says something along the lines of slow and steady…

“Wins the race,” he completed, his brows knitted. 

Yes! Yes! That’s right! Slow and steady! ” She seemed in physical pain, her chest moving rapidly up and down as if she had run a marathon. “Still six months… ” 

Is your senpai at least helping you? ” 

“The owner doesn’t even let her near the bottles,” he muttered, puffing out smoke. “She says that’s because he discriminates against girls with flat chests, but a regular told me she once almost killed a dude with her drink…”

Her shoulders slumped, “How on earth is that place still open…

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Adding an orange twist on the rim, Shizuo placed the glass on the counter. 

“Here.”

Wordlessly, Izaya took it nimbly, his fingers delicately wrapping around the stem and inspecting it under the dim lights. His perpetual smile spread to his eyes, “Did you poison it, Shizu-chan?” 

“Just drink it, and get the hell out of here.”

Chuckling softly, he started sipping the drink with an unreadable face, gaze never leaving him. Shizuo crossed his arms, waiting. The mellow ambient music filled the void of conversation between them, uneasiness slowly worming inside his chest. 

It was only the two of them, if one were to ignore the constant, brooding presence of the owner. Even during those rainy nights, not many came to the bar. The place was usually empty except for some regulars that came and went just to greet the owner. The few other customers seated alone at tables nursing their drinks, after their melancholic conversation starters had been shunned down for the upteenth time by Shizuo. There was something unnerving in the cheap chats that people wanted to exchange with him. He once broke a glass on a customer’s head because the guy didn’t leave him alone. 

But it was no coincidence Izaya was there. It wasn’t like it was a complete surprise. Very deep in his heart, Shizuo knew the bastard couldn’t resist the urge of mocking him in some way or other. That he came the day his senpai was missing was too much of a fortuitous chance. 

He continued staring at him, until Izaya gasped, sputtering the drink everywhere with hacking coughs. 

Jumping on him behind the counter, Shizuo instantly grabbed him and shook him by the shoulders. “Oi, get a grip!” 

He slammed the glass on the counter, shuddering. “You really wanted to poison me, Shizu-chan!” he wheezed, sticking his tongue out, ”It’s yucky… Too sweet.” 

Shizuo blinked a couple times dumbfounded, before exploding. “Not my fault you have shit for taste tongue!” 

“I saw you!” he pointed an accusing finger at him, “You added a syrup instead of the bitter! What the hell were you thinking?!”

Shizuo stuttered on his words, before he took a deep breath. “The hell you want here?” he practically seethed, tightening his hold on him.

“Whoah, Shizu-chan, so mean,” he put his hand on his, his eyes sparkling with nothing other than mischief. “Can’t your boyfriend come to visit at work?” 

“We ain’t nothing like that,” his eyes shooted around the empty place, another kind of emotion growling among his rage. 

Izaya paused for a bit, before sighing. “Still on that same gospel?”

“How long have we been doing this, Shizu-chan? All the times we fucked on every available surface in that stupid school? My house? The love hotels?”

His eyes shoot for Shizuo’s, the edge in them cutting like a blade. “Nicer, simpler times… Weren’t they, Shizu-chan?”

“What the hell you want, Izaya.” Shizuo’s voice dropped, and grabbed him tighter, almost raising him from his seat. 

Izaya kept unfazed, “You know, I’m surprised…” His hand snaked along his arm, his fingers playing with the lapel of his vest, his smile widening when Shizuo slapped it away. “You can’t make a drink for shit, but in my mind it was definitely more bodyguard-y, than bartender-y…” 

“I have to give it to my inside source, they were right.”  

The hold on him slacked a bit, Shizuo trying to process what he said. 

“The look on your face makes it all up for your horrible drink,” his whispered laughter blew on his face, his body shaking under him with mirth, 

Before Shizuo could do anything, Izaya shook off his hands from him, the stool he was seated on clattering a little with the abrupt movement. His gaze went before Shizuo’s to the owner, a nervous smile poisoning his cocky expression. 

“It’s been fun,” he winked, “Let’s do this again.”

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“Shi… zuo…” Izaya gasped, blunt nails scraping hysterically on his legs for some kind of hold on him, leaving reddish marks on the white of his thighs. “I’m…”

“It’s okay,” He crushed his back closer to him, his voice tinged with desperation the more he was drawing close, his hips faltering in their incessant rhythm. “It’s okay, Izaya…” 

Izaya cried out and came again, his knees jerking against each other, as Shizuo crushed his chest to him.  

“Izaya…” he panted, his voice no more than a breath, dragging each and every syllable of his name inside his ear. His forehead fell heavily on his shoulder and he came, growling deep and hollow between their bodies, his cock pulsing with every spurt inside him. His arms tightened his embrace, crushing his chest against his. 

“I fucking… love you…”

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After a whole night of interrogation, the police let him off the hook for insufficient evidence. It was her brother who came to pick him up at the station, a dismayed look bleeding on his face as he sat at his side. 

“I’m sorry.” Kasuka placed his hand on his knee. 

“Yeah.” 

In the end, her case was considered a suicide. 

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Is everything going well with your senpai?

Shizuo puffed out smoke, nodding. 

Celty gave him a push. “So shy! ” 

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Amidst the intermittent darkness of the neons, the space between their bodies grew cold, their heavy breaths fading under the noise of the incessant rain. He felt Izaya take a breath, his sticky skin peeling away from his.  

“Shizu-chan…” he rasped. 

 

“You can let go now.”