All characters © Ryohgo Narita

Summary: Ten characters, and things that you may or may not know about them.

Ten Slices of Life in the Ikebukuro Pie

I. Shizuo

2,2737 yen per month on cigarettes.

109,140 yen (to Shinra) per week for broken bones, torn muscles, and other injuries.

Up to 909,500 yen per week for various property damage.

Not to mention the 3,638 for the sunglasses that kept getting broken, the 27,285 for repeated tailoring (even with the number of suits Kasuka had given him), and the 25,466 yen a month for anger management counseling.

Despite being part of Ikebukuro's upper echelon, there was a reason Heiwajima Shizuo couldn't afford an apartment as opulent as Izaya's. He realized that he was high maintenance. He realized that he was more destructive than he was helpful. He realized that if he kept this up he would have to start paying less attention to other peoples' debts and more toward his own.

He also realized that the reputation was priceless.


II. Izaya

Namie didn't even know how they had gotten into this situation. She should have known better than to adopt a false sense of security just because she'd started living with Orihara Izaya. It was a stupid thing to have done, really-to have convinced herself that everything would go her way forever. That was the result, she supposed, of living with a man who not only knew everything about everyone, but who was also smart enough to manipulate an entire city's population to his advantage. He had money, reputation, and talked of humans as if he was something other than one, which had lulled them both into a shallow sense of pomposity and self-importance.

But she had forgotten that even Orihara Izaya made mistakes.

They hadn't taken into account that Russian Sushi, of all places, would be a spot for armed robbery. And by foreign perpetrators of whom Izaya had no idea entered the country to boot. Seriously-who robbed a sushi restaurant?

But that wasn't even the most incredible part.

And no, it wasn't the fact that Simon and Dennis had mysteriously vanished during the heist. It wasn't the attempt to sneak out the back door while the rest of the restaurant was being held hostage. It wasn't even doing it step by step to avoid the creaky floorboards.

It was the fact that Namie had Izaya pushed firmly against the wall with her fingers pinching his nose shut as he struggled with a sneezing fit.

In the months that they had lived together she hadn't once seen him sniffle. And now here he was, stifling sneeze after sneeze in the crook of his fur-tinged parka, eyes leaking like a faucet with bad plumbing. Sure, there was a thick coating of dust in the halls behind the serving parlor, but Namie hadn't taken Izaya for the allergic type. There were new things you learned every day, apparently.

When he thought he had himself under control, they had continued their silent escape. That was, until Namie saw him stop again with a peculiar expression on his face. He had his parkour knife in one hand, the other fumbling in his pocket for anything resembling a Kleenex, but Namie could tell that he wasn't going to make it in time. With a quick (and as silent as possible) motion she had clamped her fingers over Izaya's nose.

He looked at her with a surprised expression that was so unlike his usual smirk that Namie almost barked out laughter. The catty Orihara Izaya, felled only by nasal irritation. It was damned near funny, if their situation hadn't been so dire.

She just hoped they got out of this one alive.


III. Togusa

He stared at the little slip of paper taped to his windshield. It wasn't the fact that he had gotten a ticket, but the fact that he had gotten a ticket.

Despite what other people may presume, Saburo Togusa had never gotten a ticket in his life. If that didn't say anything about his skills, he didn't know what did. And, thanks to him, all four members of the Dotachin gang were now rendered immune to any form of motion sickness.

He had driven down stairs.

He had driven up stairs.

He didn't use the break on turns.

Speed limits were relative. Togusa saw them more as guidelines.

He tailgated, especially when lives were on the line.

He sometimes drove on the sidewalk.

He had serious road rage.

Once he had even driven through a coffee shop.

The back of his van had no seat belts for Karisawa and Yumasaki.

He sped up at yellow lights and made sharp turns.

Another time he had driven into the fountain at Minami Ikebukuro park.

Probably thanks to Orihara Izaya in some form or another, Togusa had managed to avoid all of the traffic cops with his license still intact...which was why this confused him. He looked at the yellow paper again, reading the fine with a scowl ensconcing into his face. He just couldn't fathom how he could have gotten a ticket.

And a parking ticket, of all things.


IV. Kadota

(aka "Dotachin")

He had an image to keep: a former Blue Squares gangster, now part of Dollars. A leader, role model, and tough guy when he had to be.

It was also an image that, at certain times of the day, he failed miserably to keep.

Such as this moment, right now, when he had this month's edition of LaLa in his hand. One of Walker's.

It had started this summer as the spawn of boredom, heat, and that itchy thing known as curiosity. Too hot to do much of anything else and relishing in the AC of Togusa's van, Kadota had idly picked up one of Erika and Walker's manga volumes that was strewn over the van's interior. One thing led to another, and I'm sure you can guess what happened next. Kadota got addicted.

He was well aware of the fanfics that Erika and Walker write about him and company, but even Kadota was smart enough to stay away from those.

He would eat his own hat before admitting to Walker and Erika that he wasn't so clueless about the things they read. He would turn into a laughingstock, a fool, the gang's opprobrium in that he was slowly but surely turning into a closet otaku.

The most embarrassing part of it was that he liked shoujo manga. Not seinen or shounen. Shoujo.

Kadota shrugged and opened the cover. Oh, well. At least he didn't share Erika's tastes in shipping.


V. Shinra

Four years of college. Four years of med school. Another three to seven years of internship and practice. This was the general road to becoming a qualified doctor.

Kishitani Shinra didn't have a medical license. He was only 24.

It might have had something to do with the fact that his father had started training him at the age of four, but Shinra didn't need an MD to know that he was qualified.

His clients mainly consisted of Shizuo, gang members, Shizuo, occasionally Izaya (it was rare but it did happen), and Shizuo. They all paid him considerable amounts to be fixed up and made it one of the reasons that Shinra could make fun of Izaya and Shizuo and actually get away with it.

He had a father whose face he hadn't seen in years despite (unfortunately) meeting the man on a regular basis, an attraction to a headless woman that bordered on necrophilia, knowledge and participation in some of the human experiments going on, and underground money pouring into his paycheck.

There were so many things wrong with this picture.

But Shinra smiles as he closes Shizuo's latest suture, knowing that they'll all live to see another day. Shizuo nonchalantly thanks him, not actually realizing that he had just been saved from what would have been a fatal wound if he had waited a few more hours.

So yes, on technical terms Shinra is practicing illegally, but his job has never felt so right.


VI. Shingen

He sighs; this has been the second time in the past two weeks since he arrived in Japan. It's become an increasingly redundant task to politely explain to the Japanese police that no, he's not suspicious. No, he's not part of the mafia or the yakuza nor is he a serial killer (though if they wanted, he could certainly name a few individuals for them). It's not his fault that he's received public complaints about his appearance or that he scares the old women in the parks. He just doesn't like the air.

They're young, these officers. They ask if he's a terrorist. Does he look like a terrorist? Shingen tells them that he's a scientist. He then proceeds to launch into his well-rehearsed topic on the number of different chemicals in Tokyo's atmosphere, happily pontificating about what he knows best. And finally, they let him go.

Really, he thinks. Youngsters these days never want to believe what's right in front of their eyes. And even through these filtered goggles, there's a lot to see.

Shingen once met a man in America who never aged nor died, no matter how many times he was killed. Later he'd met a couple of robbers with a similar condition, who apparently still thought they were somewhere in the 1930's. There were not only Valkyries and Dullahans in the world, it seemed, but a whole assortment of oddities and things that shouldn't exist.

It makes him wonder what can be done.

The Kishitani family is perhaps one of the sole families that Orihara Izaya can respect on some level. Brilliance runs in the genes, even if it's well-disguised. Shinra is his closest acquaintance back from his Raira days, and Izaya supposes he can relate to him on a loose level of friendship even if he can't connect on a personal level.

But it is Shingen and Shingen alone that Izaya can relate to on an intellectual one.


VII. Simon

Simon's not nearly as bad as Japanese as he claims to be.

Sure, it's not his native language. Sure, Russian only has 33 letters whereas Japanese has up to 50,000 kanji.

He makes intentional mistakes with his grammar because he likes to think it makes him appear more innocent. It helps him deal with who he is now, who he's trying to be, rather than what he was. The people who aren't terrified of him tentatively correct him, and Simon politely thanks them.

It's not like he even needs 1,000 of those kanji to communicate effectively. Things are always better simple.

Even a neophyte at Japanese could tell when people were telling the truth and when they weren't. Simon knew that Orihara Izaya was a liar. He knew that Celty was naive and in love. He knew that Shizuo was twisted but genuine.

No, you certainly didn't need language to understand people.


VIII. Anri

She really, really hated button-down shirts.

Her most salient feature was not her legs, her cropped hair, her glasses, or even the large brown doe's eyes that blinked from behind them. At least not to the general male population, anyway.

It didn't help that Raira's uniform was a button-down one. And she was currently sporting a 34 DDD bust.

All they cared about were those bags of meat on her chest. They couldn't help but stick out, much to her embarrassment, and Anri found herself grimly wishing, on more than one occasion, that she had been born a boy.

The only person Anri dared go shopping with for clothes and lingerie was Celty (she had stopped going to the mall with Kida after he had once commented that he liked all his Victoria's Secret bras on sale for 100 percent off). And Celty would make an exception against her Not Going Out in Public policy, just for her.

Anri had no one else to go to the outlets with, since she used to only do this kind of shopping with Mika. But now it was Celty she had started to bond with, partially because neither of them was entirely human.

It was Celty, coincidentally, who showed her what types of shirts were more flattering for her figure. On several occasions she even paid for Anri and treated her to ice cream afterward. Anri would be happy for a while, and then it would fade as she came home to a quite, dark studio apartment.

It was times like these, Anri thought, fingering her new blouses in the dim light, that she almost wished she had parents again.


VIX. Mikado

Despite their surface personalities being as opposite as summer and winter, Ryuugamine Mikado bore the strongest resemblance to Orihara Izaya more than anyone in Ikebukuro.

It was rare that you found people like Mikado in the world these days. He genuinely wanted to improve society. He wasn't on the same level as Izaya (who had an odd way of showing his philanthropy), but Mikado felt a mild love for his community. He believed that people would be happier if they helped one another.

But even someone as nice as Mikado had his boiling points.

As mentioned, it was rare to find people like Mikado in the world these days. He was one of those rare individuals who you would underestimate, only to have them go completely rabid on you sometime down the road. The end result was not a pretty thing.

He was an all-around nice guy, he really was. Shy, endearing, though not much in the brawn department. Apparently though, it all lay in the brains. That's where you started to see the Izaya in him breaking through.

He turned the internet into a weapon. He created a rising force in Ikebukuro without ever showing his face. And when he got angry his fury was quiet, searing, and cold. He fought with his mind and with manipulation-even if it was not on the same level of callousness as Izaya's, and when he felt threatened...

...let's just say that Jekyll doesn't always need a special potion to turn into Hyde.


X. Celty

She had first noticed something wrong when Shinra abruptly got up in the middle of dinner and left. Later he claimed it had been a call of nature. She begged to differ, saying that "calls of nature" didn't usually last twenty minutes. They then proceeded to get into a lengthy debate on how long it took to go to the bathroom-a discussion that Celty hopes she'll never have to recall again.

Though she did recall Shinra looking a little pale then.

The second time it had been a little less subtle. She'd heard the sounds coming from down the hall, followed by the familiar buzzing sound of Shinra using his electric toothbrush. Then it had happened again, and again, mostly after meals. And still he said nothing.

She had approached Shinra questioningly, after one week, telling him to take some medicine if he had a stomach bug. He had looked surprised then, blinking at her owlishly from behind his glasses before mumbling that it wasn't a stomach bug.

That night Celty had gotten home late to find food on the table already. She apologized for not being able to prepare dinner and watched Shinra eat silently, perusing his face for signs of nausea or discomfort. She continued to watch him closely for the rest of the evening.

He was fine.

It hit her then: Shinra was only sick after he had eaten her meals.

As mad as she was at herself and at him for not bringing it to her attention that she had the cooking skills of a home-ec flunkie, Celty couldn't help but feel a deep-down twinge of affection. She hadn't realized that this thing called love could be so self-destructive.