I had to write a tag to epy 22 as well. I mean, it's too good not to.
Revenge for Unwarranted Emotions
It started out as a perfect day.
Izaya leans back from the computer screen and claps his hands together, laughing, looking for all the world like a child watching his favorite cartoons as opposed to a grown man plotting a three-way gang war for the sole purpose of reaching a mythological heaven to be bestowed upon him by a stolen fairy's head. They do say fact is stranger than fiction.
Izaya slurps up his smoothie in the most obnoxiously loud way he can manage, disappointed by the fact that Namie is no longer here to reward him with a glare in his direction, and gleefully reads the commentaries people are leaving all over the internet. He is doubly happy today—not only is his plan to reach Valhalla progressing steadily, but to boot, he has the pleasure of imagining the turmoil and betrayal in each of his three principal pieces. It is delicious, the way Mikado felt compelled to shut down Dollars, as if that will have any impact on the corruption within the Yellow Turbans. And Kida, about to feel twice betrayed! Once by his best friend, and once more by his group. Though the one acting most interestingly is Anri-chan, in fact, trying to piece things together and play the undercover spy to right all perceived wrongs.
I heard someone got shot tonight.
The Yellow Turbans!
Izaya perks up, putting his drink down and swiveling to face the screen properly. He waits for another drama to unfold, unaware that it is his own.
They're out of control!
But who got shot?
I didn't get a name, but I heard that he was wearing a bartender outfit…
Izaya blinks. And hurriedly types, No, but that can't be Heiwajima Shizuo! (*A*) Why would the Yellow Turbans have a problem against him? And he's not the type to get shot. (´^ー^｀)
He is Dollars though…
Izaya's pulse speeds up and he grits his teeth in frustration, I bet it was someone else wearing similar clothes. Can you imagine, Heiwajima Shizuo done in by a bullet?
The mere idea is ridiculous, and Izaya forces out a sharp bark of laughter to render it even more ridiculous.
The cheap melody of a children's cartoon – Izaya's favorite when he was a kid—suddenly breaks the monotone beeps of the chatroom, and Izaya glares at the interruption. But when he glances over, he sees it is Shinra's number, and that in itself is such a rare occurrence that Izaya decides to pick up, keeping an eye on the chatroom meanwhile.
"Aah, make this quick, Shinra. While it's a pleasure getting a call from you, I'm a busy man and my attentions are currently needed—"
"I thought you might want to know," Shinra cuts in, voice somber, "Shizuo-kun's been shot. I'm doing all I can but…" he lets the sentence fade into the faint static of the line, and Izaya's blood runs cold. Why? How did this happen?
It takes a moment for Izaya to find his voice, ridding all emotion from it until he could be talking about what to eat for lunch tomorrow, "Right, well. Are you at your apartment?"
"No, Celty and I took him to my office, it's where all of my tools are—"
"Ah, whatever, it's not like I care."
Izaya snaps his phone closed and throws it at the couch, satisfied to hear the chink as it hits the head's container. What is this? Izaya stares at the screen and for some reason is having trouble comprehending this. Heiwajima Shizuo has been shot. And according to Shinra, might die. Not at Izaya's hands, not through his conniving plots, or at the mercy of his blade, but shot like a dog by some lousy gang members.
Shizuo can't die like this.
For some reason, the thought plays on a loop through Izaya's head as he stuffs his feet into his shoes and almost forgets his keys and his phone, and he runs out the door and down the stairs, blood racing too much to wait for an elevator, and sprints out into the streets.
Shizuo can't be killed by anyone but Izaya himself. This is a truth that is known all over Ikebukuro. In their own twisted way, they are meant for each other. There is a thread tying them together than only they can sever—not some punk on the streets! Izaya's mind wars between shock and anger and the primal fear of losing something important. His stomach churns and he thinks this shouldn't affect me so, damn it!
Someone is going to pay in blood for this, and as soon as Izaya finds out who…
He runs, water splashing onto his face and soaking up through his pants but he pays it no mind, turning corners fast enough he skids and almost trips. Ikebukuro is as quiet and ominous as the sky above it, thundering and letting loose a deluge of water and blood and unrest. He runs into darker and shadier sections of the city, breath being shoved in and out of his lungs, legs working on automatic. No one dares do something so reckless in his city without his knowledge, damn it!
He stops just shy of running into the rusting door at the end of a back-street alley littered with trashbags and stray cats. He pounds on the door and the creak of metal reveals a small opening at eye-level.
"4 am," Izaya snarls, impatient. The time that corresponds to the zodiac sign under which the leader was born, "Hurry it up."
The door opens and Izaya stalks through as if he owned the place. He heads down the rickety stairs, stopping at the first level where all the underlings gather and says, leaning against the door and tilting his head condescendingly towards them, "Now, I'm sure one of you has the information I'm looking for."
"Izaya-san!" a few of them stand up, surprised, and a few others look wary and nervous. Izaya wonders what kind of face he is making to get that particular expression. At any other moment he would exploit it, play with their discomfort a bit more, but right now he can do nothing more than merely relish it.
"100,000 yen to whoever can tell me who shot Heiwajima Shizuo."
They exchange glances, and while some shrug and others just narrow their eyes, one of them pipes up, "I heard some friends in the Yellow Turbans talking about Horada – he used to be in the Blue Squares, and apparently Heiwajima Shizuo did him and his buddies in the night before yesterday, so he was talking about getting revenge."
Izaya's eyes narrow dangerously, and he reaches into his pocket. The guy gulps and scrambles backwards immediately, but all Izaya does is take out his wallet, letting a 100,000 yen note flutter to the floor.
"Thanks for the information," he says, sweet voice at odds with the menace in his eyes as he turns and waves.
Now Izaya is truly pissed. He can't kill damn Horada, because that would upset his plans. He needs the brute to continue the mutiny and misconduct of the Yellow Turbans.
But there are things other than death, and Izaya is quite good at them.
He drops down stealthily from a window near the ceiling to the railing overlooking the vast warehouse that is the Yellow Turbans' hideout. Kida isn't around, but then again, Izaya hadn't been expecting him to. Which makes it all too easy. He looks around, and it isn't hard to pick out the one old geezer leading this sorry bunch of kids. He stands on top of the railing, balancing himself effortlessly, and jumps.
The landing is easy – with his skill in parkour, he can drop down from even four stories. But it still shocks the many spectators in the warehouse, who alternately look up at the air and at him and then jump away, some screaming as if he were an apparition, the devil himself spontaneously appearing in front of them. Izaya can think of no better entrance, feels his mind slipping into the high that accompanies the fearful, adoring eyes of humanity on him. He keeps his mind focused on that and on his current goal, not allowing it to trail off to Shinra, and whose body his hands are currently working on.
"What – who are you?" Horada points a quaking finger at him, frightened like the rest at his sudden and seemingly impossible appearance and Izaya clucks his tongue.
"I'm so disappointed, Horada-kun. I know you so well, and yet you've never heard of me?" one hand twirls the air above his head lazily, while the other is deep in his pocket, eagerly running his fingers along the edge of his blade. He's out for blood tonight.
"Who- who the hell are you?" and the big oaf puffs out his chest, resorting to threats, "You're in the Yellow Turbans' headquarters, you know. You're completely surrounded! You've gotta be a fool to come in here by yourself!"
"I'm shaking," Izaya responds, tossing his head to the side and looking up at him, "And that's the first time anyone's ever called Orihara Izaya a fool. I'll have to mark that on my calendar."
The effect is immediate. There are gasps throughout the crowd, and a few people back away. Most stay still, looking either confused or suspicious, some relieved, remembering his invaluable help during their times of need, but all of them have the fear and wariness of recognition in their eyes now, and Izaya basks in the glory of his reputation.
Horada pales slightly, but he laughs, a big ugly laugh to match his big ugly face, "Orihara Izaya, eh? So what brings you here?"
Izaya hops up onto the platform, forcing Horada to back up to put space between them, "I have some things to talk about with you. How about we step outside for a moment?"
Horada frowns, mouth turning downward, "What do you take me for? I'm not going anywhere alone with you."
Izaya laughs, actually amused, "Wow, so there is a brain somewhere in that big head of you. But I promise you don't have to worry about your life—whether you know it or not, you're an important pawn in my game, and I approve of your current actions within the Yellow Turbans. Nicely played."
Horada seems mollified by Izaya's praise, but he is still hesitant. Izaya's gaze sharpens.
"Come, man. If I wanted to kill you, I would have picked a place not surrounded by your comrades. I'm not suicidal, after all. And you owe me – I could tell your dear Shogun about your place in the Blue Squares, and if I were to do that… well, that's when you would have to worry about your life. He's not too fond of the Blue Squares, after all. And much less of the people who did that to his girlfriend."
Honestly, Izaya isn't either, Saki is a nice girl, but it's also not his problem, and just one of the many casualties of gangs and war. Izaya turns around, shrugging and speaking in a voice loud enough to be heard by most of the warehouse.
"Ah, and after all I've done for the Yellow Turbans! You can't grant me one little conversation? Come, your comrades remember me – I don't bite."
Hard, he adds to himself, smirking.
Horada looks around, and though no one is saying Yeah, sure, Izaya's a great guy, we're all chum-chum with him, no one's actually saying anything to the contrary. Izaya's never bit them, after all.
Horada nods then, hands on his hips in an attempt at false bravado, "Alright, I'll give you your conversation."
"Great." Izaya grins, walking down the ramp and out the back door, listening to Horada's footsteps behind him.
It's still raining outside, and they stand under the protection of the overhang above the door for loading and unloading supplies. The rain is strong enough that it blurs everything in the distance, and forms a constant spray of splashes on the ground as it falls into puddles that have become a small sea. There is almost no light, but what shines through the crack in the door from the inside is enough for Izaya to see Horada's expression.
"So, what's this about?" Horada says, and now that he's out here and alone with Izaya, the nervousness creeps back into his stance and into the muscles of his face.
Izaya stretches lazily, "Well, a little birdie told me that you were the one who shot Heiwajima Shizuo. Am I right?"
Horada is taken by surprise, "Eh? W-well, yeah, he messed with us the other day! He was looking for a good thrashing!"
Izaya is disgusted by this blundering idiot, and his grin is saccharine sweet. The sweeter his smile, the more malice behind it as well, "And because you're no match for him in strength, you resorted to a cowardly weapon like a gun. Can't be helped, I suppose, it is Shizu-chan we're talking about. But I guess you weren't aware, Horada-kun," he narrows his eyes, his switchblade flicking open out of nowhere and glinting eerily in the dim light, "Heiwajima Shizuo is mine alone to deal with."
Horada yelps and points, "You – you said you weren't going to hurt me!"
Izaya cackles, eyes lighting up, "I said you didn't have to fear for your life. I won't kill you. But there are other things that are just as… painful as death."
Horada looks frightened and confused, "But, but—can't we talk about this? I didn't know!"
Izaya laughs, "Good try, but that's no excuse. Especially if Shizu-chan dies because of you. I'm not the type to make promises, but I assure you, if Shizu-chan dies, you'll end up preferring death. As it is, I'm an understanding soul, and your punishment for touching what's mine is pretty simple."
Izaya looks at the cowardly face in front of him, takes one step forward and reaches a hand out to catch the raindrops, "You currently owe the yakuza a pretty hefty debt, don't you? Well, I've taken care of that. You don't owe them a cent anymore."
The bewilderment on Horada's face is almost arousing.
"But your debt hasn't been removed, sad to say. No, it's just been… converted. Instead of owing them money, now you owe your services. To Takeguchi-san himself," Izaya's smile becomes absolutely terrifying, the tips of his canines showing as his grin becomes wide and predatory. He flicks the water off, and goes on to examine his nails as he continues, "I've heard Takeguchi-san has grown bored with his last boy-toy, and though you're not exactly up there in the looks department, he's not known for being tasteful, merely greedy. I'm sure you'll be well appreciated."
Horada pales, his face pasty white against the stark, dark background, and one hand rises to cover his mouth as if he might be sick, "You – you didn't!"
"Oh, but I did."
" Just – what—" he glances towards the warehouse, and opens his mouth.
Lightning fast, Izaya has Horada knocked down, one hand over his mouth to stifle his yell. Horada begins to thrash, but Izaya presses the point of his blade on the inside of Horada's thigh, and the prick of pain makes his thrashings cease immediately, "Careful. Make one noise or otherwise attempt to call your friends, and your family jewels won't get to be passed on."
Izaya smirks in satisfaction at the slimy fear in the brute's eyes. It fills him with a heady burst of adrenaline and dazes him with happiness. That, coupled with the cold rage inside him and the satisfaction of revenge, makes him nearly giddy.
He toys with the lapels of Horada's jacket, flicking the buttons off one by one, "You've trespassed onto my territory, and I don't take kindly to that."
"I didn't know!" Horada whimpers, the sound muffled by Izaya's hand. Izaya grimaces at the spit on his hand and removes it to wipe it off on Horada's jacket. Disgusting, to have this man's essence on him.
"Maybe you should have thought about that before, hmm?" Izaya presses the tip of his blade against Horada's collarbone, cutting his shirt open and pressing in until the skin breaks and a bead of blood accumulates, "And I'm going to give you a little reminder, so that you don't make a mistake like that ever again. Don't touch what's mine."
Horada looks like he's about to scream, and immediately, Izaya's blade is against his thigh again, and Horada aborts his scream immediately.
He carves the kanji for 'mistake' into Horada's flesh, opposite of his heart.
Um, haha, so Shizuo doesn't even appear in this chapter, sorry! There's still one more chapter, and almost finished, too :) he'll be in there.
You people who are actually into concrit: Tell me, did I get Izaya's character believable enough? Since we've never really seen him upset...