Not Justice (Chapter 1 – Index)

Index: Chapter 1 – Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7

Rated: M

Length: 38,700

Warnings: spoilers for Durarara!!SH, references to child abuse, discussion of an adult assaulting a minor, violence.


 

Not Justice
Chapter 1

“That’s not enough,” Yahiro said. “If you truly want to help Nozomi, if you want her to go back to the way she was before—then becoming a new Orihara Izaya isn’t enough.”

Kuon looked staticky, electric. In the dark of the night the dye had bled out of his hair and left it looking as black as the picture on Kuronuma Aoba’s phone.

“You need to become even better than him,” he said.

Kuon smiled, and begged, “Punch me.”

So Yahiro did. He let the lull of violence take over him the way it had weeks ago on that rooftop, when Celty shrouded him in shadow, when he took down dozens with only his bare hands and liquid fear burning in his stomach. But there was only Kuon here, and Kuon was perhaps the first person Yahiro had not been scared of—and even as his fist made contact with the boy’s cheek it was with some softness, without the strength of his shoulder behind it. For the first time in his life, Yahiro held back.


Yahiro’s phone rang when he was a street away from his own building. He took it out of his pocket and fidgeted for a moment before opening it, and when he did the screen was lit up on Kuronuma Aoba’s name.

“Where’s Kuon?” Kuronuma said snappily before Yahiro could put in a word.

“Home,” Yahiro answered. “He’s sleeping, I think. Or at least resting. Maybe he’s in too much pain to sleep. Probably.”

“He was injured?”

“He asked me to punch him.”

There was a pause. “I see.”

Yahiro didn’t think he did. Maybe that was presumptuous of him, though, so he said nothing.

“Did he tell you anything about what happened?” Kuronuma asked, a little more softly.

“He told me that he used me,” was all Yahiro said.

That’s fine, then, he had told Kuon. And it was. Everything was fine, as long as Kuon didn’t make that face again, the one he did just after that—like a wounded animal, like he was bleeding out of his every pore but too prideful to ask for help.

Yahiro was no stranger to fear. He didn’t think he had ever felt it the way Kuon or Himeka did, though.

“I’m surprised you let him off with just a punch, then.”

Yahiro wasn’t very sure what Kuronuma of all people knew about that, so he stayed silent again. After a while Kuronuma seemed to understand this.

“Well,” he said. “I’ll leave you to it, then.”

Yahiro considered his options for a second. And then he said: “Senpai, what do you know about Orihara Izaya?”

The breath Kuronuma sucked in came in like so much static, and he made an ugly little sound low in his throat that made Yahiro’s ear crushed against his phone prickle instinctively.

“Sorry,” Yahiro said.

“Don’t apologize if you don’t mean it.”

Yahiro closed his mouth, since his tone of voice was apparently betraying him again. He was at the bottom of his apartment building now, and Togusa’s van was here, glinting under the yellow lamp of the parking lot. He leaned against the wall next to the outdoor stairs.

“You’re one for unburying things,” Kuronuma grumbled. “I can see why Mi—” he paused. “Well, anyway. Orihara Izaya is dead.”

“I thought he was just missing,” Yahiro replied, frowning at the dark street in front of him.

“Everyone who thinks that is an idiot. There’s no way he could’ve survived after that fight.”

Yahiro hadn’t expected that. “What fight?”

“Never mind,” Kuronuma cut in. “I don’t like thinking about that man if I can help it, and neither should you.”

“So no one knows for sure if he’s alive or not?”

“Mizuchi,” Kuronuma said darkly. Yahiro’s fingers pressed a little tighter against the case of his phone, his palm growing wet against the plastic. “If you value your life, you won’t go digging into this.”

Kuronuma really did not know him very well, Yahiro thought. Unlike Himeka and Kuon. “How dangerous are we talking, here?” he asked.

“Heiwajima Shizuo was the one who killed him,” Kuronuma answered.

And Yahiro did feel his blood freeze at this, fright and adrenaline coming alive under his skin until his sight bled into a white haze. Then he breathed; and the fear abated, coming undone under the familiar weight of guilt. It settled in his stomach and grew.

He still hadn’t apologized to Heiwajima Shizuo for hurting him. He still hadn’t explained himself for attacking the man at all.

“I didn’t think he was the kind to kill anyone,” he said softly.

“Orihara Izaya always thought himself an exception to the rules, and for once in his life, he was.” There was a lot going on in Kuronuma’s voice, an anger more deeply-set than his usual display of nerves and heat. Maybe he sensed it himself, because he cleared his throat, and when he spoke again his tone was lighter. “Anyway. Though Heiwajima is probably the most volatile person to talk to about Orihara, he won’t go after you for sneaking around. But the yakuza will. And trust me,” he voice shook a little on the word, “you don’t want that.”

Have you sneaked around, Kuronuma? Yahiro didn’t ask. “Thank you for the advice.”

“Yeah. Whatever.”

For a moment neither of them talked. The night air was warm on Yahiro’s skin, the electric light not as blinding as it had been a few minutes ago. He stared at the empty eyes of the anime character on Togusa’s van’s door.

“I…”

Yahiro blinked. “Sorry. Did you say something?”

“No,” Kuronuma said. But then, “Yes. Listen. You know the Orihara twins.”

“I do.” Though he preferred to avoid them if he could.

“Yeah. I can only tell you what I saw that night—and I saw Orihara Izaya getting beaten to the brink of death. I don’t know why it happened, and Orihara disappeared before I could see him die. But he couldn’t have survived those wounds,” and his tone was final again, “not unless he immediately checked into a hospital. Which he didn’t. I know, I looked.”

“Okay,” Yahiro said.

“This said,” Kuronuma continued. “If he is alive, Mairu and Kururi are probably your best shot at finding him.”

“I thought they hadn’t had any news from him either.”

“They haven’t. They know someone who definitely has, though. If he’s alive, that is, which would be the worst news I’ve heard in the past year.”

Yahiro ran his thumb over the scars on his knuckles. “This is a little obscure,” he commented.

“Just call them,” Kuronuma sighed. “They’re probably still up anyway.”

“Isn’t that a little insensitive? Calling them just to ask about their maybe-dead brother?”

Kuronuma let out a laugh. “They won’t care.”

He hung up without another word. Yahiro kept the phone to his ear for a while anyway, even though the screen was sliding off his skin every time he moved and his arm was starting to ache.

He knew he still had the ghost of paranoia in him from the serial attacks in the city. And there was the issue of figuring out exactly what he wanted out of this conversation, out of Orihara Izaya’s name that he kept hearing as if the man had dug a hole in the city that everyone he knew couldn’t help stumbling around. It was on Kuon’s tongue like bile and on Kuronuma’s like fire. On Nozomi’s like adoration.

And now it was on Yahiro’s mind.

Yahiro didn’t know Orihara Izaya. He didn’t know what he looked like, what he acted like, what it was about him that made him save two orphans and then leave them behind until one lost her mind and the other built himself into the man’s shadow. There was nothing for Yahiro to gain from understanding Orihara Izaya, who was probably dead and definitely didn’t want to be around anymore if he wasn’t.

He had come to Ikebukuro out of selfish intentions. To witness monsters, so that he could tell himself he wasn’t the worst thing to have been born on earth. To watch their lives, so that he could convince himself that he had a right to happiness and normalcy as well. He had carelessly treaded onto the lives that Heiwajima Shizuo and the Headless Rider had painstakingly built for themselves, and he still didn’t think that he deserved forgiveness for it. He had acted with them the way people in his hometown acted with him. The shame of it burned deep in his stomach.

Kuronuma had taken his questions to mean that he wanted to find Orihara Izaya, though Yahiro had made no mention of this. He hadn’t even thought about it when he asked. He just wanted to understand Kuon a little better.

Now, he thought, bringing his phone to eye-level and scrolling down his short list of contacts to Mairu and Kururi’s names, he didn’t think it was just about Kuon anymore.

Heiwajima Shizuo and Celty were one thing. They were good people, with good lives, who were only trying their best. They were friends. They just wanted peace. Yahiro had judged them and attacked them with no previous knowledge of who they really were—and, though he was loath to push blame anywhere but on himself, with a bit of a push in the back from Kuon.

All accounts had depicted Orihara Izaya as a terrible person, though. The kind one might truly qualify as monstrous.

It was tempting, still, the idea of seeing what a real monster looked like.


Namie’s life in Boston wasn’t any better or worse than it had been in Ikebukuro. Maybe worse because she wanted to improve her English as much as she wanted to pull out her own toenails one by one. She mostly stayed confined inside Kishitani’s lab, and her hotel room after the same security guard threw her out every night. She slept badly. She ate badly. She bought expensive coffee beans that she never took the time to brew and survived mostly off of cheap espresso and spite, and if the espresso decreased in taste every time she drank it at least her spite stayed just as sour at the back of her tongue.

If it had only been up to her she would’ve stayed in Japan. She was adult enough to acknowledge it. Maybe in Ikebukuro, though there was little for her there; maybe she would have moved into Izaya’s empty Shikuju apartment that she still had the key to; or maybe—and the thought felt like acid reflux—maybe she would have followed Izaya himself, wherever he was now.

But the head had come to America, and Seiji went wherever the head went, and therefore Namie did as well.

She was looking at it now, sat at the very back room of the lab that only Kishitani and herself had access to. It floated in its aquarium-like glass box and stared at nothing, and only the twist of its mouth betrayed the last expression it had worn before Kishitani’s freak of a son cut it off from its body again. Horror and sorrow.

“Go home, Namie-kun,” Kishitani said to her from his side of the glass.

Namie spin her pen between trembling fingers. “I think not,” she replied.

“Darling,” Emilia started, putting a hand on her shoulder. “Please don’t mistake my husband’s words for worry. You look rather bad, and you don’t smell too good either, if I may. It’s really more for everyone else’s comfort than yours.”

August had dragged by hot and damp, with its share of insomnia and lack of energy. Namie knew she looked bad. She was sweaty, she was hungry, she hadn’t showered in days. Her face was probably as white as the walls around them except for the circles around her eyes and the greasy shine on her nose.

“You have a way with words,” she said under breath.

“Thank you,” Emilia replied brightly.

Still, she knew her being here wouldn’t make much of a difference either way. It hadn’t in the last twenty months or so.

Kishitani started babbling to his wife once it was clear Namie wasn’t going to deign say anything else, and through the now-constant ringing in her ears she caught something about sewers. She felt exhaustion drop on her and hollow out her insides, so she stood up and said, “I’m leaving.”

“Do take a shower, please,” Kishitani replied uncaringly.

Some bite awoke in her at that, but not enough to actually answer him.

The way from the lab to her hotel was a short one. She didn’t bother taking off her lab coat for it, a little because it made her look severe and professional instead of rather unkempt, and a little because she just didn’t have the energy to. She’d wash it at the hotel’s laundry room that night. She walked through the sticky evening air without looking around herself at all, not even when one of Kishitani’s weird interns yelled some kind of salutation at her. Two years ago she would’ve flipped him off.

She kicked dirty clothes off of her way once she entered her room. They weren’t quite littering the entire floor space—the room was big enough for that, way bigger than the one she had inhabited while working for Izaya—but it was starting to look a bit alarming. She threw her coat on the desk chair above two other sweaters that had been there since April and headed into the en suite.

The shower did feel good, she thought grudgingly. The steam cleared her head a bit, leaving her a little appalled that she had let herself become so inactive. In the end she used more hot water than was absolutely proper, and as she stepped out to dry herself and thought about energy and water waste, she felt a little vindicated.

She took the time to actually make coffee herself. Her entire body felt too warm, and the open window did nothing to attract fresher winds her way, but she drank the entire mug before it had time to cool, until her mouth was numb to the burn. She ran her tongue on the edges of her teeth; she was sure she could cut herself like this and bleed out, and she wouldn’t even feel it.

Her phone buzzed while she was opening her laptop. It was a text from Harima, saying, We still meeting tonight?

Yes, she answered curtly. She swore quietly under her breath when her laptop froze, and hit it quickly on the side in the hope it would actually start. Maybe it was time to buy a new one. Or have someone repair this relic.

I wanna try the new French place in front of Seiji’s apartment! Harima sent back. Then a row of emojis that blurred into a single entity of unreadable characters in front of Namie’s tired eyes.

Namie didn’t answer.

Checking her emails usually took her a short time. Kishitani may be part of a super-secret research program, but he still had students—and those students and himself seemed to think Namie was a sort of assistant, which meant that they tended to contact her at every hour of the day or night over the slightest inconvenience. She was used to this sort of work but she found no enjoyment in it—not that she found enjoyment in research either anymore—so she generally deleted everything off the bat except for a very few things.

The only read message sitting in her inbox was from Izaya. It was two weeks old now, and after a quick look at it, she decided to leave it for the following day. Every time she read it she felt the same kind of nervous and uncomfortable and a little offended.

If he really wanted to talk, he would call.

She groaned and leaned back into her chair, stretching her shoulders until her back cracked loudly. The hand she ran over her face was shaking a little from hunger, which was starting to crawl up her inside like nausea again. Black coffee wasn’t enough to sustain her, and she knew it, but lately it was hard to find the energy for much else besides takeout.

She opened one of the two messages she hadn’t deleted on sight and tried to chase all thoughts of Izaya from her mind.

They came back once she read it.

For a moment she stared at her screen unseeingly; then her mouth closed painfully, and her heartbeat sped up until she could feel it at her throat. She flicked her eyes up to the sender, but the name wasn’t anyone she knew.

She still had access to Izaya’s old online files. She still knew all the passwords. She could—

Someone knocked at her door before she did anything. She jumped out of her chair, and her hand flew over to the drawer of her desk where she kept her knife. It was a little dusty when she took it out, and it slipped from her fingers and clattered on top of the desk; but she managed to grab it firmly at last, and when she opened her door without unlocking the privacy chain she had enough adrenaline in her to use it.

Harima was standing in the hallway. “I’m a little early,” she said with a smile.

Namie’s grip relaxed a little. “A little,” she repeated.

“Only two hours. I was right outside the hotel when I texted you, and I really want to drag you to that restaurant.” Harima took a step forward and tugged on the chain, smiling a little mockingly. “Are you naked, Namie-san? You should’ve told me you were in that sort of mood.”

“I’m not, you insufferable child.”

Namie closed the door in Harima’s face right as she was opening her mouth to speak. It would’ve been satisfying if she didn’t still feel like the was reeling from being punched.

She put the knife back on top of her desk a little weakly. Now that Harima was here she didn’t have time to look into anything, so she typed Who gave you this address as quickly as she could and hit send before her brain hit regret. She stepped into the first pair of heels she could find and opened her door again. Predictably, Harima was eye-level with where the lock was.

“Your place is filthy,” she commented, dragging her eyes quickly over what she could see behind Namie’s legs. Then she smiled again, and looked up. “You’re not, though.”

“You’re as disgusting as ever,” Namie replied.

Harima grinned.

The restaurant ended up being a long way farther than just “in front of Seiji’s place”. Ten minutes into their walk Namie was longing for flats and Harima was chuckling, the line of her collar outrageously low on her chest so that the fake scars on her neck were displayed proudly. People stared at her as she walked, and therefore at Namie too—and though Harima always thrived in being the center of all attention Namie never developed a taste for it. She tripped Harima at the entrance of the restaurant when they finally arrived.

It didn’t even look that fancy, she thought, looking around the lobby and to the dining room behind on the side. Just new and still sparkling-clean.

With newness came interested customers, so their wait was long after they ordered their food. Namie’s English was bad and her French was non-existent; she let Harima pick her meal for her, which the girl did with an ominous smile. The waiter was not as unfazed by her blatant flirtation as Namie was—he blushed a little while talking to her, and Namie watched him with disgust crawling as familiar as comfort under her skin. Once he was gone Harima looked at her again.

“So,” she said.

“Yes?”

Harima rested her chin on one hand. “Don’t you want my report?”

For a moment Namie didn’t understand what she was referring to. Her thoughts were still on the message in her inbox, the question framed so polite and inconspicuous that she couldn’t help feeling as if some assassin was going to jump on her from any shadow. She almost asked, What report? but as she opened her mouth her mind finally made the connection between Harima’s presence and the date of the day.

“Oh.” She sucked in a breath, a little shakily. “Yes. Let’s hear it.”

She had forgotten Seiji.

Harima’s eyes were bright with suspicion. She leaned back into the fake leather of her seat and talked without mentioning it, though.

There was a different kind of panic in Namie now. As Harima spoke she realized she hadn’t though about Seiji more than in passing for days—or was it weeks? Had she gone so long forgetting the purpose of her presence here, of her life? Even now with a detailed description of her brother’s activities at his workplace and with Harima herself she found that her hand was pressed on the outline of her phone against her thigh. She could slip it out of her jeans and open her inbox from there and see if the stranger had replied, see if Izaya had texted her, maybe even called. She closed her fingers into a fist and dug her nails into her palm hard enough that she couldn’t ignore the pain anymore, and when she breathed again her whole body shook with it.

“He mostly hangs around the lab during the night,” Harima said to her. She smiled politely when the same waiter came back with their drinks, and Namie sipped the red wine Harima had ordered for her. It was boring, but the heat of alcohol helped her focus. “He’s not going in, though.”

“Why not?” she replied, lifting her head to stare at the girl.

Harima’s eyes glinted in the light of the fake-gold chandelier above them. “I don’t know. He won’t tell me.”

Maybe he’s changed, Namie reflected blankly.

Harima hummed around the rim of her own glass. “I think he’s changing,” she said, echoing Namie’s thoughts. “He doesn’t really talk about the head so much anymore. He still goes to the lab at night and stands around the building for a while, but he never goes in. Not even into the lobby. He’s stopped calling Shingen-san every day too.”

Namie’s mouth tasted bitter, and it wasn’t because of the wine. “I see.”

“That’s it?” Harima asked. She leaned forward, and when Namie stared at the scars she had ordered Kishitani’s son to put on her years ago the only thing she felt was a vague sort of regret. “Damn, I’ve been holding off telling you for months now, and this is how you react? Depressing.”

“Anything to disappoint you,” Namie replied dryly.

This made Harima smile again. “At least this doesn’t change,” she said, her voice surprisingly soft. “You’ll hang on to this awful bitterness until the day you die. I’ve always liked that about you.”

Namie felt her face heat in answer, something too close to embarrassment fluttering at her throat. “Harima,” she said warningly.

“Don’t worry,” Harima replied. She toyed with the bright green stick in her glass that she hadn’t taken out even after stirring the syrup together with the soda. Her face looked more serious than it had been before. “I know you hate me, Namie-san.”

This wasn’t the answer Namie wanted. Harima knew, because she always knew everything, and so it meant she was playing with Namie now—which Namie hated more than anything in the world.

She was still simmering when Harima spoke again. “I think he’s trying to find himself.”

“Seiji?”

“Yeah.” She downed half of her glass in one go. Namie felt her own throat close up in disgust. She hated carbonated drinks. “He’s starting to see me, you know?” she said, and her hand came into her short hair this time so that her head rested tilted on it. Her eyes never left Namie’s. “Not just as a pale copy of the woman he loves, but me.”

Namie looked for the horror and anguish this should have uprisen in her, but there was nothing.

Their food came not long after that. The waiter looked a little more stable on his feet and avoided both Harima’s eyes and Namie’s—he mumbled the names of the dishes he served and went back to take care of his other customers as fast as he could.

They ate in silence. The food wasn’t bad, but she didn’t think she would have felt any different about it had been atrocious; by now her hunger had turned to full-out nausea, and she made herself swallow her pasta without tasting any of it just so her hands would stop shaking. They did, a few minutes in. Harima dwarfed down her own plate with as much dignity as a dog. Though the sight was unpleasant Namie had known worse company during meals, so she didn’t complain.

They skipped dessert in favor of coffee—tea and pastries for Harima, and even the tea was oversweet, two and a half sachets of sugar poured into it as soon as it was placed in front of her. She only drank it once it had become lukewarm. They paid at the counter before leaving, and Namie didn’t leave a tip.

She expected Harima to stray from her as soon as they reached the apartment she shared with Seiji. But the girl followed in Namie’s steps like some sort of baby animal, always one foot behind but her eyes burning a hole into the skin of Namie’s nape. Namie ignored it as she did the ache of her feet inside her high heeled shoes. She only turned to face her again once she reached the entrance to her hotel’s lobby.

“This is enough, I think,” she declared flatly.

Harima smiled at her and curtsied jokingly. “Too bad,” she replied.

And maybe Namie should have left it at that, but the discomfort from earlier was back now. “Stop this,” she ordered.

“What do you mean?”

Namie gestured at her angrily. She couldn’t look at the girl’s face anymore. “Stop flirting with me, Harima. You’re a child.”

Harima straightened her back. She didn’t step closer, thankfully. Namie was still staring somewhere above the line of scars at her neck.

“I flirt with everyone,” Harima said. But she didn’t sound quite so sure of herself anymore.

“Not with me,” Namie replied.

“I didn’t think you cared about things like this, Namie-san,” the girl said. Her lips curled at the corner. “You even kissed me, once.”

Shame burned at the hollow of Namie’s throat. It felt like she was bleeding from her heart out, and it left her lightheaded. Her eyesight was blurry now. She swallowed painfully, and she said, “I shouldn’t have.”

She turned her back on Harima and opened the door to the lobby. Harima said, “I don’t think you’re changing for the worse either,” behind her, and Namie almost tripped on her own feet.

“Shut the fuck up,” she said to no one. The door slammed shut behind her. She didn’t look back.

Her room was just as messy as she had left it, except that she had forgotten to close her window, so now there were probably mosquitos around. She stood still at the entrance for a moment, looking blankly around the mess of dirty and clean clothes on her floor and the little wisps of dust that she could see peeking from under her bed even in the dark of mid-evening. She tugged her shoes off her feet and winced when the flat of her soles made contact with the floor.

It only took her a few minutes to drag all the clothes into the bin that she would take down to the basement’s laundry room later. She vacuumed around the room once she was done, and maybe it was her imagination alone, but she felt like she was breathing a little easier.

Once she had done everything she could to delay what she had wanted to do all evening, she sat down at her desk and opened her laptop.

Who gave you this address, she had written. And the stranger had replied, Mairu and Kururi.

She bit down on the side of her tongue until it ached.

Mairu and Kururi had very deliberately not had any contact with her since she had left. She thought she had an idea why, at the time. She thought she understood what it meant for them that Izaya had disappeared without a word—without even the assurance that he was alive, and with strict instructions not to tell his sisters that he was. He hadn’t even tried to disguise it as worry on their behalf. He was just too cowardly to talk to them the way he was with calling her, or he didn’t care enough. She tasted blood at the thought.

You must have the wrong person, she wrote. And then she kicked her chair away from her desk and contemplated going for a second longer-than-necessary shower.

Her phone buzzed with the notification when they replied, less than a minute later. I don’t think so, they said. But I apologize for inconveniencing you like this.

The name Mizuchi Yahiro revealed nothing when she tried to look for it in Izaya’s old files. Part of her quivered at the sight of familiar names and data she had filed away herself over months of working for him; her own name taunted her when she scrolled down the list. Googling the name turned out to be just as useless.

Whoever this person was, Izaya hadn’t known them while he was living in Tokyo. It was possible that they were doing this for someone else, though.

Scrolling back up in the list, she clicked on her own file.

It was long, as she had expected. Izaya had recorded her activities long before ever talking to her in person, long before that mess with the Ryuugamine kid and Nebula decided she was better off dead than alive. His notes went into excruciating detail; from her weight, height, common wardrobe choices—boring, he had written, and she let out a laugh that made her belly ache—to the places she ate at and her brother’s own file and her imagined feelings about her family. From her shoe size to a stolen grocery receipt she had probably left around his apartment one day. It was as useless to him as anything else was, but he had put it there anyway. Probably to laugh at her.

“You fucking creep,” she murmured. Air came out of her lungs a little more shakily than it was coming in. “Shit.”

My secretary was written at the very bottom of the page. Like an afterthought.

It wasn’t, though.

Namie rested her elbows atop her desk and pressed onto her closed eyes with her fingers. When she opened them again there were blurry grey spots in her vision, and she blinked them off fiercely. Mizuchi’s messages were still in her inbox, right above Izaya’s.

She didn’t think she could ever forget the call Izaya had given her before he left. Don’t tell Mairu and Kururi anything, he had ordered. And then: Don’t tell anything to anyone. He hadn’t contacted her for more than a month after that.

Her life in America wasn’t any better or worse than it had been in Japan, she told herself. Maybe better because at least here she was free to come and go without the risk of someone coming after her to finish her off. She had her brother here, and she could keep watch on the Dullahan’s head that had ruined her and her entire family.

Still there was a hole in her, something see-through that made everything look grey, everything taste like mud. She went through the motions of every day in a way she never did when she worked for Izaya, and maybe it was only that she was changing—growing older—like Harima had said, but she didn’t think so.

She missed it. She missed the closeness, she missed the fights, she missed the unpredictability of those days. She missed walking into a home every morning and knowing that someone inside was expecting her.

If he missed me, she thought—and the self-loathing had never felt realer than it did in this instant—if he missed me, he would call.

“Oh, fuck you,” she said loudly. The annoying man in the room neighboring hers banged his fist on the wall twice.

She copied Izaya’s email address into her reply to Mizuchi Yahiro before sending it, and for the first time in months the breath she took tasted like actual air.

If she was going to miss the worst person on earth she might as well make him pay for it. She had put up with his feeble attempts at keeping contact for twenty months, it was time he got a little desperate for her attention.

Next chapter

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