Chapter 10

They returned to the suite where Izaya promptly parked in front of the laptop. It was a deliberate provocation. Shizuo simply sat on one of the many plush sofas and let him type away in bed. At length the broke the silence.

"You know, are those long cats for real?"

"I have no idea."

"Hmm…would they be 'nagai neko'?"

Izaya glanced but kept on his fast typing, eyes scanning the monitor.

"You're the last person I'd thought would be into internet memes."

"I just like cats."

"I'm afraid I am not familiar with it. But I know someone that I bet is."

Izaya rubbed his hands before turning the laptop to face Shizuo.

"You gonna find out?"

"We shall see. Behold, Heiwajima-san. Much 'lulz' are about to be had. 'Ftw.'"

"At least the kanji stuff made some sense…"

Izaya laughed. The only good thing about Tsukumoya Shinichi was that he could always be contacted. Day and night. At all times.

[What do you know about Longcats?]

[The original Longcat is called 'Shiroi', she is very much alive. The meme started on 2ch and has created many submemes]

Tsukumoya might simply be a name on a screen in the most literal of senses but Izaya could almost feel him trying to decipher a reason behind this inquiry. Shizuo peered curiously at the mute dialogue.

[Hmm…have you seen this 'Shiroi' in person, then? Or should I say, in cat.]

Invisible typing on the other side of electricity.

[Well, no.]

[Then you can't tell for sure that such a creature exists]

[I never saw you in person either and I know that you exist]

Izaya's eyes grew brighter.

"Watch this, Heiwajima-san."

[You don't know for sure that I exist either. Perhaps I don't. Perhaps no one does. Perhaps you are a brain in a vat.]

Blankness. Then,

[You can't say that you're not a brain in a vat either.]

[Very true.]

[When you say 'Longcat' what do you mean, exactly?]

Izaya laughed.

"Oh my, he/she/it thinks that there is some esoteric meaning behind this. Priceless."

[I mean a cat that is long. 'Nagai neko', if you will.]

[Why are you asking about this?]

[Can you locate 'Shiroi'? As in, an actual physical address in the real world.]

More blankness.

[What is in it to me?]

[Why, proving that you know everything]

More cyber silence.

[I'll see what I can do.]

[Wonderful. Got to run now.]

Izaya wished that he had a swivel chair to spin on. He rubbed his hands anew.

"So much fun. He/She/It will deliver the long cat. If this cat is in Okinawa we will be visiting. Like totally and for real."

Shizuo watched him cackle and skip about a few times. All smiles. Shizuo could not exactly see what the joke was but it did not matter.

"You sure look happy."

"Time is a highly valuable commodity to anyone dealing in information. Getting He/She/It to waste plenty of it on something so useless is epic."

It was Izaya's theory that Tsukumoya Shinichi was two people. One day he would investigate this hypothesis but that was not now. For once his mind was not wrapped in Tokyo or blank with fear. He prepared the Jacuzzi, humming. Izaya stepped into the bubbling water and closed his eyes contently. A sudden wave attacked him as Shizuo joined him.

"Will you stop drowning me already!"

"Can you go back to being all happy? 'Cuz I want to have sex with you and it won't work if you're all bitchy."

Izaya laughed. Apprehensive but not overly so.

"Whatever happened to 'hate sex'? And aren't you a bit too blunt?"

"Nah, just honest."

Warning or not Izaya still trembled as Shizuo devoured him with a kiss.

"I'm not too sure I agree with mixing business with, er, I don't think 'pleasure' covers it."

"Only one way of finding it."

Shizuo was deceptively non-intrusive- a few caresses, followed by some groping.

"Are you actually serious about this?"

"Yeah. I'm the kind that means what he says and says what he means."

"So you admit that you're dumb as a brick."

"You've thought so all along."

It was with an effort that Izaya kept his façade of smoothness.

"I'm having my doubts now. But you're mistaking my competences, I'm an informant. Not a prostitute."

"Not much of a difference to me."

The Jacuzzi shrank considerably with Shizuo in it.

"I may use sex to garner information but never to supply it."

Shizuo studied the random pattern of bubbles bursting through the water.

"You don't get it, I'm going to do it whether you want or not. So you might as well like it."

Izaya's next maneuver was to just make a run for it. He might have accomplished it too if not for Shizuo picking him up and carrying him to bed.

"If you think that you can rape me and still get me to prattle about myself afterward then you are mentally challenged. Stockholm's syndrome won't work on me."

"Izaya? Shut up."

He tensed up immediately, his breath caught in his throat as Shizuo's hands trailed down Izaya's body and taking a hold of his most sensitive part. At which point Izaya discarded any possibility of getting away. It would result in excessive damage. Izaya took a deep breath and tried to clear off his mind of the crushing pressure of fear. All he could do now was to wait in the hope of an opening.

Meanwhile Shizuo was intrigued. He followed every minute reaction and adjusted the speed of his ministrations for effect. It was very interesting. Izaya would squirm slightly and gasp under his breath as a pinkish flush tinged his cheeks. Shizuo watched him closely. Izaya barely noticed, he was too concentrated on gripping the sheets.

"I guess you can keep your mouth shut."

There was nothing kinky about it but Izaya did not cope too well with being teased. He closed his eyes so that he would not glare. Shizuo kissed him almost gently and only parted from his lips to see Izaya orgasm. He licked a bit of semen, musingly.

"More salty stuff. You don't have much of stamina, huh? Must be 'cuz you're so skinny."

Izaya was fully collected in no time. Before he could flee or come up with a snappy retort he was assaulted by a sneezing fit. Shizuo tossed him warm hotel pajamas.

"What do you think you're doing?"

"You'll catch a cold."

"I don't mean that."

"Just wanted to see how much you lasted. Got curious."

Izaya narrowed his eyes and got dressed, slowly.

"I see."

"And you don't last long."

Izaya's first impulse was to snap back but he gave up on that and opted for a shrug.

"Isn't it a shame that I have disappointed you."

"Nah, I'm cool with it. Shows that you're not amazing in all things."

"Are you dissing my sexual performance?"

"It wasn't too impressive but that doesn't matter much. I guess that you can get nervous in this kind of thing too."

Shizuo chuckled hollowly.

"And you love that."

"Well, it's good that you're human."

"Anyone would be terrified of you and your crazy violence."

Shizuo nodded.

"Yeah, I guess. Why don't take a nap? You'll crash and burn at this rate."

Izaya wanted to protest but pent up exhaustion caught up with him. His relaxed demeanor around Shizuo was a product of a lot of effort and it was taking its toll on him. Izaya rolled on his side and crawled under the sheets.

"I hope that you're enjoying yourself, Heiwajima-san."

"You make a cute face when you come. No wonder girls like you."

Izaya rolled his eyes at the forced cliché.

"Are you going to jump on me like a creepy rapist?"

"Not gonna do that."

Izaya eyed him suspiciously. Even if Shizuo was telling the truth, Izaya disliked the idea of sleeping in the same room as anyone. Izaya's lovers never stayed for the sleeping part. But his eyes were closing of their own accord and he needed some rest. Izaya sighed. Nothing was going quite the way he planned. Intuition told him that he was safe for the night. He let go of consciousness and immediately fluttered away to dreamless sleep. Shizuo watched him. Vulnerability re-sized Izaya to look even more like a kitty. Asleep, Izaya lost even the faintest hint of menace. He slept quietly, bundled up in one of the sides of the massive bed as if for warmth. Shizuo wondered if Izaya needed the trademark fur jacket because he was too cold due to the lack of body fat. Izaya could run like the wind but clearly he was a bit too light. As far as Shizuo was concerned Izaya was scrawny. Like a stray cat.

Shizuo was amused at the picture. Cats were territorial animals and so was Izaya. Shizuo suspected that traveling for leisure purposes was not something Izaya did. Throughout this journey he had noticed an intermittent worry in him that Shizuo did not think had anything to do with his company. Whatever worried Izaya, it had to do with his convoluted dealings in Tokyo and Shizuo was sure that it served him right.

Master manipulators were of course setting themselves up for a grand disaster. Izaya's might very well upon him. Preliminary hints were surely in the air. Shizuo was not exactly eager to pick up the pieces after the inevitable but he found himself wondering what role he had to play once that happened. Somehow the karmic retribution that he had hoped for did not see so appealing now. For the time being he still had many questions that needed answering. And in one way or another he was getting his answers.

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