unlimited in time
Shizuo’s hands are so light on his body Izaya feels almost tempted to try and drag the bite of anger out of him, just like old times. He would, too, if he thought it might do any good—do anything other than make Shizuo stop, yet again, in the middle of something they both want but he feels he doesn’t deserve.
In reality, if Izaya were to look inside himself with honesty (which he rarely does, and for good reason), he would probably find that out of the two of them he might just be the really messed up one.
All of this is swiftly forgotten. It’s hard to focus on anything but the present moment when Shizuo is breathing hot and damp at the hollow of his neck like this; when his hands are so warm at Izaya’s hips, even with the barely-there touch. Izaya can feel the feverish alternance of hot-cold all over his skin. It’s a change he welcomes, more than Shizuo probably realizes. As if Izaya would ever tell him that one of the reasons his touches always feel so good is because they’re such a stark contrast to the constant hum of pain in his legs and back.
His mouth opens on a shivering breath when Shizuo’s thigh brushes between his. Shizuo’s face is already close, lips pressing open on his to collect it as he would the first gasp of oxygen after a long time underwater. Izaya drags his hands over his back in answer, over the ridges of his spine and the dips between muscles and bones. Shizuo’s skin is a furnace against his perpetually cold hands. It says a lot about the two of them that Shizuo doesn’t even think about flinching from such an intimate touch.
They’re not going to go very far. Izaya thinks they might want to, one day. But right now is reserved for this—for learning to touch without the will to break or cut. For the rough of the couch under Izaya’s back and the uneasy spread of his still-clothed legs (not too much, for the pain, and this is as much future reference as it is leisure). For the utterly wild concept that is Shizuo kneeling over him with something in his eyes that is far closer to affection than it is to anger.
It’s not as if Izaya doesn’t want him. He’s made no secret of his desires since he was (found) brought back, although to many his blatancy may as well have been disguise. But he can’t lie to Shizuo. And he’s tired of cheating himself over so many things at once. He let go of this one lie rather quickly at the sight of the softness around Shizuo’s mouth and eyes.
Two years shouldn’t have made him even more attractive, but somehow, they did.
There’s a murmur next to Izaya’s ear now, caught against the strands of his hair. Some kind of concern bleeding through the soft haze of pleasure warming slow and languid in his brain and at the hollow of his back. Izaya nods without listening, presses a kiss against the side of Shizuo’s neck—and realizes with sudden clarity that he is lost.
Every inch of his skin is torn between ice and fire. There is sweat shining at his throat but hairs rising along his arms. His heartbeat is a confused thing, a skip-go with no pattern and no goal. He can feel the pain in his bones (not real, all in his head) but the warmth of Shizuo’s body above his is like a hot bottle pressed against the ache of his belly every month as a teenager. It doesn’t take it away, but it makes it bearable, almost forgettable.
Izaya’s entire body is a string of reactions.
Shizuo’s lips press against his and all he can do is breathe in the proximity and loose himself in the feeling of it, of dry skin licked wet a second before, of blood rushing to his face, of the stroke of a tongue against his. Both of them have next to no experience in kissing but still he realizes that this is no teenage fumbling. It’s not self-consciousness making them waver and draw back; it’s the striking absence of hatred and the weight of remorse so obvious in Shizuo’s constant frown—hidden so deep inside Izaya that he himself thought for the longest of time that the emptiness he felt when he thought about his life was only boredom. It took the suffocating grip of panic to make him understand.
“You’re thinking again,” Shizuo says against his mouth. He should look ridiculous, doing that. But really all it does is make Izaya’s blood warm, his flush hidden by the color already high on his cheeks.
“That tends to happen when you have a brain,” he answers, and lets one of his hand fall to the small of Shizuo’s back. The other extricates itself from the tangle of their bodies, ready to reach for the chair sitting a little way from him. If Shizuo has started talking, then they’re probably done for the day.
“You’re not supposed to have your midlife crisis while we’re making out.”
“Please. As if I’d let you witness this side of me. I save all of that for when Namie calls.” Shizuo huffs at that, and rises to his knees before sitting down, carefully moving Izaya’s legs out of the way.
Without the radiant contact with Shizuo’s skin the air feels biting cold. Izaya drags down his shirt where hands had mussed it up to expose skin, and as he pushes himself in a sitting position the pain flares slow along his spine. He doesn’t cringe anymore when that happens.
He’s considering moving his legs sideways to sit closer to Shizuo, but Shizuo takes the option out of him. He grabs Izaya’s calves with surprising gentleness and places his feet in his lap.
Izaya frowns. “I’m capable of doing this much by myself, thank you.”
“Don’t be like that. It hurts when you move them up and to the sides, right?”
By the time Izaya manages to recover from his surprise, a shaking breath has already escaped him. His entire body clenches for a painful second.
Shizuo grimaces then, in realization or in annoyance, Izaya can’t tell. “I’m not trying to mother you,” he says, pulling a hand away from its grasp on Izaya’s ankle and into his own hair. “I just thought- never mind.”
“No,” Izaya says. “What did you think?”
He receives a searching look. There’s nothing quite readable on Shizuo’s face besides the usual tics of uneasiness and irritation. Izaya is pretty much closed off himself—but they both know his guardedness is a sure sign that something is wrong, so really, he might as well stop hiding.
“I didn’t—sneak into your medical stuff or anything. I just notice. When you’re pulling a face, and stuff.”
“And stuff,” Izaya repeats without inflexion.
“Yeah,” Shizuo sighs.
Izaya doesn’t want to ask what stuff he’s referring to. If he does, he’s sure he’ll be met with the kind of soft gaze he can’t stand with the tension currently spreading through him. There lies a pit of incidents none of them wants to remember even when times demand that they talk about it. This isn’t one of those times, though. This is just another pocket of proximity cut short by Izaya’s overthinking, and they’ll get over the malaise in a few minutes. This scenario has been repeated often enough with little changes. Next time, it will be Shizuo’s hands accidentally pressing too hard against a spot of Izaya’s body that psychosomatic pain has chosen as its home—and Izaya cutting off the languid press of their bodies for another half hour of insecurity.
Shizuo grabs his right foot then, palm hot against his sole, and Izaya can’t help but jump a little in place. A chuckle escapes him.
“You think too damn much,” Shizuo growls. His thumb press against the arch of his foot. Some of the tension eases off Izaya’s shoulders.
Not stagnating, he thinks, quieting the small inch of his brain whose one activity is to constantly feed on his own fear of not moving. Three months ago he wouldn’t have allowed Shizuo to massage his foot like this—Shizuo wouldn’t have thought to do it in the first place. Six months before that all the contact they allowed themselves was to breathe in each other’s presence without setting the world on fire.
Now only the dregs of frustrated want still the air, acknowledged for later. Izaya reminds himself that this is what he wants; the long slow energy of change that follows Shizuo, set deep in his eyes and the now absent-minded ease of his touch.
There is nothing still about what they have, even if years pass before the last of the aching regrets is gone.