Title: settling in
Summary: "It had been seven years since Shinra had given Izaya his blood while he was under his care. Either the bond hadn't faded yet or Izaya had conditioned himself to still feel it; but it felt alive, and foreign, and although he had grown used to the hollowness of it he could never grow to ignore it."
Pairing: gen Izaya & Namie, implied Shizuo/Izaya
It wasn't that Izaya couldn't work with or around the one-sided bond Shinra had seen fit to give him the first time Shizuo had managed to make him bleed. It was only Shinra's blood after all. And Shinra and Izaya hardly spent any time together once high school was over—so Izaya had had ample time to get used to the slight ache of Shinra's presence, and absence, and the concept of Shinra in general.
Thank god Shinra hadn't thought to give him, say, Shizuo's blood as a lifelong prank.
But he was more tired than he thought he would be. Even taking into consideration his fresh stab wound and the spark of bright-hot concern Mamiya Manami's vengeful attack had awoken in him, he couldn't have predicted how exhausted he would be once he reached his Shinjuku apartment.
"You want me to what?" Namie said, absolutely horrified.
He would've felt more hurt at her almost physical repulsion to the idea if he couldn't already feel his body temperature rising and Shinra's voice echo in his mind, taunting.
Like fuck he would give up and go to Shinra.
"Blood," Izaya repeated through gritted teeth. His side hurt now. He needed more painkillers. "I happen to have a vial of my blood ready, and I need you to give me one of yours. Unless you want to do this the old-fashioned way and rub together our open wounds, which we shall have cut with a great sword. I'm sure I can acquire a sword easily enough."
"I'm not bonding with you," Namie spat, but her shoulders had relaxed. She eyed him critically for a moment. "You're a mess."
Izaya smiled tightly. "Why, thank you."
She snorted at that, and turned her back on him to walk back to her desk. Izaya let his head fall to the armrest of his couch, now fully lying down, and tried to ignore the throbbing in his side. At least the stitches hadn't ruptured during the cab ride home.
It did hurt, he had to admit. It hurt to see Namie refuse so categorically to even consider the idea of a bond with him. He couldn't decide if it hurt more or less than the fact that he had asked for one in the first place; but either way, watching her back as she leaned over the thick folder spread on the tabletop, he could feel the slow ice of rejection crystallizing near the heavy imbalance of his embryo of a bond with Shinra.
"This wouldn't have to change anything," he said before he could stop himself. "Just allow me some more peace of mind."
"You've been very needy about that lately," she answered without looking at him.
Izaya opened his mouth, then closed it. The fact that she had called him needy stung, but not as much as how true it was.
He knew why his throat felt tight and his cheeks warm. The tears came as a surprise, but he dug his nails in his palms and firmly categorized them as a mix of exhaustion, hormones, and physical pain. He had managed to run entire negotiations and meetings while on his fever in the past. He wouldn't snap just because a beta who hated his guts refused to bond with him. He shouldn't have expected her to say yes in the first place.
When he risked a look around the back of the couch, Namie was staring at him.
"Seiji is the only person I could ever give my blood to," she said flatly. But there was a softness in her eyes, a brand of pity different from the acidity he could usually feel in them whenever he was in their general vicinity.
"You're already bonded to him. He's your brother."
She snorted again. "Do you consider your sisters to be a proper bond?"
Well, no. He didn't. But he still thought her obsession and Yagiri Seiji's weird acceptance of it was more of a bond than his own with Mairu and Kururi.
She seemed to read that on his face, because she scowled. "If you have time to annoy me with this, you should work. Shiki called."
"I'm in way too much pain over your refusal to possibly be able to manage Shiki Haruya right this moment," he whined.
"Right," she sighed. "Go to sleep, then, so I can finally go home. Maybe when you wake up you'll have snapped out of the ridiculous idea of bonding with me."
Izaya smiled through the hot tears sliding down his cheeks. Namie ignored them like she had ignored the previous ones, and simply went back to her desk.
After a while, Izaya shifted to his side and slowly sat up. His wound hurt more this way, but he wouldn't ask Namie to act as a crutch. The way up the stairs and to his bedroom was difficult. The flares of pain at each step he took anchored him, though. By the time he reached his bed and let himself fall on it fully clothed, only unbuckling his belt to be more comfortable as he slept, he felt less wrecked by his emotions.
Of course Namie refused to bond with him. Just as Shinra would have if Izaya had come to him—except Shinra would have done it with a smile on his face instead of a grimace.
It had been seven years since Shinra had given him his blood while he was under his care. Either the bond hadn't faded yet or Izaya had conditioned himself to still feel it; but it felt alive, and foreign, and although he had grown used to the hollowness of it he could never grow to ignore it. He thought a full bond might be different, even if he wasn't foolish enough to believe himself to be the kind of person who would care for it the way other omegas would. But Namie wasn't that kind of person either, even for a beta. He didn't think it would be that bad.
It would help him focus. Something he hadn't truly been able to do for months now, for reasons he couldn't fathom.
Izaya closed his eyes and thanked himself for leaving his window open. The outside air rushed in and over his face, cooling against the sheen of sweat on his brow from the fever. His stomach was knotted and every beat of his heart threatened to upturn his mouth once more, but it was nothing he hadn't slept through before.
He needed to make plans, he thought fuzzily. He couldn't go to Ikebukuro and bother Shizuo while he was recovering from a stab wound, and there was a possibility that someone more dangerous than Mamiya had heard of his hospitalization and was plotting to take action against him. Maybe the Yodogiri Jinnai organization would come finish the work itself. His moves were reduced, and so was the number of alphas he could have access to when the codependency set in.
Izaya woke up with a start the next morning when Namie shook his shoulder. Her face looked faintly disgusted when he managed to blink the crust of sleep away from his eyes and properly see her. Probably because of the sweat staining his shirt and sticking it to his entire torso—and the blood from his stabbing now coagulated an unappealing brown around the tear in his side. His hand went up to meet hers without thinking, but she batted it away.
"It's almost nine," she said. "I know you don't like to wake up late. I don't want you moaning all day about missed opportunities or such nonsense, even if it means you get less than five hours of sleep. You're even worse with PMS."
He grunted in reply, mouth dry, and grabbed unseeingly for the bottle of water he always kept by his bed. Namie handed it to him wordlessly.
It was only after he had drained a good half of it that he noticed the small glass bottle on his bedside table. It was filled with blood.
He stared at it unseeingly for a second, unable to link the existence of a bottle of blood that wasn't his to any reasonable cause. Then Namie shifted on her feet next to him, and Izaya let out a tense breath, looking up at her once more.
"I was thinking," she drawled. He arms crossed over her chest, but she didn't look as confident as she sounded. "With how much of a pain you've been lately, and with your being stabbed and somehow managing not to die, you're probably going to do something stupid. Like bother Heiwajima Shizuo while you're incapable of outrunning him. Because apparently provoking the deadly wrath of dangerous stray alphas is your twisted way of grounding yourself while you're feverish."
He felt his heartbeat speed up at her statement, and had to stop himself from cutting her off.
"Anyway," Namie continued, "if you die, I'm out of a job, and all open for Nebula to pick up. And it would be utterly unsatisfying to have you die just because you're not stable enough to resist your disgusting hormones."
He smiled wryly. "You're always such a joy to be around. No wonder so many people like you."
"You're one to talk."
"Ah, but I'm not the one agreeing to bond with someone I loathe, am I?"
She made a face at that, and he laughed. He took the small bottle of blood in his hand. The glass was warm against his skin, even through the haze of the fever.
The fear came to him then that maybe this was all a trick, maybe she was giving him someone else's blood or planned for him to be the only one bonded between the two of them. His breath sped up, suffusing cold wariness through his heart even as his hand clenched around the bottle. He didn't think he could take another half-alive connection, unwanted or not.
But when Izaya looked back up Namie was holding the plastic tube full of his own blood which he had left in the pocket on his torn coat the night before.
"If we're doing this I am watching every single step of the way," she said firmly. "I'm not taking the risk of this being part of your plan to make me completely loyal to you for the next ten years."
He relaxed a little. Let her think he wasn't afraid of the reverse scenario more than anything, then. "No, we wouldn't want that."
She didn't offer to help him out of bed, and he didn't ask her. He dragged himself to the shower, shedding his clothes as quickly as he could and stepping in before the water had enough time to warm up. It was fine, though. The cold felt good on his skin, stabilizing. Enough for him to quiet the chaotic beat of his heart and process his thoughts.
As long as he could remember, he had always closed a door on the possibility of willingly bonding to someone. He never thought about the reasons why mostly because he knew the issues that lay there waiting to be reopened and breathed in. It was easier to simply close himself off to the possibility.
He was aware that Namie probably wanted something out of this as well. She had no love for him, or even a hint of a good sentiment. He loved her in the same way he loved anyone—maybe more because of the sheer amount of time he spent in her presence, which was the only reason he even admitted to the stray thoughts of a more personal relationship that had haunted him for more than a year. That, and the pain and haziness and general overwhelming concept of going on as if nothing happened when he had almost died and now faced another fever spent alone. But it was better than nothing, and while it was a commitment it wasn't a permanent one, unless they both wanted it to be.
He didn't let himself think about that possibility either.
When he came downstairs smelling of soap instead of sweat and grime, she was waiting for him with the syringes ready.
"Don't expect me to hug you, no matter how clingy you get," she warned.
Izaya took a seat in front of her. He grabbed his syringe, tapped it with his finger to let out any air bubble. The whole thing was impersonal, clinical. He wondered if anyone before him had bonded like this, surrounded by the smell of antiseptic, sitting in a hard chair in front of a near-stranger.
He paused after placing the needle on the protruding vein at his elbow.
"Thank you," he said. There was more feeling and honestly in his voice than he had let there be for years.
She gave him a complicated look, and a tiny nod. Izaya watched her face every second of the way, even as her blood entered his veins and resonated with his own entering hers, and the first pinpricks of kinship settled in his mind.