All characters © Ryohgo Narita

Summary: Back in their Raijin days, Shinra was always known to stop Heiwajima Shizuo and Orihara Izaya's fights before they could get out of hand. Here's one time where he didn't. Rated T for Shizuo's potty mouth, abuse of food, and bad influences.

Author's note: This was fun, but I'm still getting a feel for Drrr here, so bear with me. This one took a while, since I wasn't quite sure how to go about it, but I was trying for something sweet and light, with the faintest hints of sentimentality and crack. I based my information, including dates, on Narita's official timeline.


The Food Fight of '95

He may have only been 46 kilos soaking wet, he may have favored thick-rimmed glasses in lieu of soft contact lenses, and he may or may not have had an odd and not-so-closet obsession with vivisection, but Kishitani Shinra was one of the most respected juniors at Raijin Academy.

Why?

Because he, for some reason, was the only person able to even remotely curb Heiwajima Shizuo and Orihara Izaya's violent proclivities.

Each school had their own Coyote and Roadrunners or their Elmer and Bugs, Tom and Jerry's, whichever analogy you preferred. With Raijin Academy, it was Heiwajima Shizuo and Orihara Izaya. And everyone, year regardless, was aware that the two of them were going to kill each other one day. It wasn't an overstatement; if school wasn't in session seven hours a day five days a week, those two would definitely have murdered one another by now. Bloodily. When they got going it was impossible for anyone to stop them, and no one besides Kishitani Shinra had ever tried. It was like trying to go up against an avalanche with a shovel, and the other students knew better than to get caught in the crossfire if they valued their body parts intact.

It was difficult for the two to fight with actual weapons during the school day for conspicuous and for legal reasons. And, although he didn't value Orihara Izaya's safety one bit, Shizuo valued the safety of his classmates. It was this that kept him from throwing any object of the classroom at his subject of hatred. School acted as sacred grounds, where vendettas were held in abeyance by brick and plaster and murderous intents were curbed by piles of homework.

"I really don't see the point in fighting during school," Izaya had once mentioned to Shinra. "What would be the use of provoking Shizu-chan in a place where I can observe so many humans instead?"

By that time Izaya had been busy stirring up trouble with other high schools in the area, and that took up most of his time. He was a year younger than Shinra and Shizuo, but he was smart enough that the teachers had moved him up a grade in middle school, when Shinra had first met him. Izaya knew how to plot and connive, and he exercised this talent with unsettling ease. Pinning schools against one another just because he could was right up his ally. Shinra soon discovered that he would play the part of the mediator in that particular conflict. Again.

So for the most part, Shizuo's family rarely had to pay the school for property damage, and Izaya kept his possession of sharp objects to a bare minimum. The teachers breathed unseen sighs of relief that their classrooms hadn't turned into ground zero, and some of the students had stopped wearing padded protection to school under their clothes.

The populace's reprieve rained thin, however, since Shizuo and Izaya tended to resort to...other creative means of warfare.

Like a wheel of fortune whose paint had rotted from overuse, the process repeated in a vicious cycle. First Izaya would provoke Shizuo. Since Shizuo had about a hundred different berserk buttons this wasn't a particularly difficult feat. Then Shizuo, enraged, would get his revenge in some way or another and piss off Izaya for real. Repeat process.

Izaya would hack into the school's database to change Shizuo's grades. Shizuo would put dog shit in Izaya's locker. Izaya would tell all of the girls that Shizuo wore pink lace boxers to bed. Shizuo would throw spit-balls and luges at the back of Izaya's head. Izaya would demagnetize Shizuo's meal card. Shizuo would have the PA announce over the loudspeaker that Izaya regularly masturbated during physics. Izaya would slip whoopie cushions and stink-bombs under Shizuo's seat. Shizuo would lock Izaya's schoolbooks in the janitor's closet. The list went on.

Izaya got a kick out of everyone's reactions (Shinra had only a slim notion then of just how deep his twisted philanthropy was), and Shizuo would have countless opportunities, all of them unsuccessful, to curb his rage.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

"Maybe Shizu-chan is just that stupid."

Shinra now watched the latest development play out, wondering if he should say something. It was lunch hour, and Izaya was munching contently on a home-made bento. Because people were too intimidated by him and his, ah, company to establish a comfortable propinquity, Izaya usually ate alone. Shinra, having known Izaya since middle school, joined him occasionally, like he had today, but Izaya had informed him that he generally ended up losing his appetite when he ate with Shinra.

Heiwajima Shizuo, moments ago, had made a beeline for their table in the school's cafeteria, stomping over with the force of a small elephant herd and slamming both hands down on the table hard enough for the chopsticks on them to bounce a full foot in the air.

"What did you do this time?" Shinra had whispered to Izaya.

"That flea changed my grades again," Shizuo spat now, holding up a scan-tron test that had seen better days. It was tearing under the strength of his grip. "There is no fucking way I got a two on this."

Izaya smiled coyly, the corner of his mouth curling up like peeling onion skins. "As I said, maybe Shizu-chan is just that stupid. You're brain's always been protozoan, but I'd even go further to say that most eukaryotes have higher brain functions than you."

Here we go, Shinra thought dismally, as Shizuo rolled up the sleeves of his Raijin uniform. He could practically see Shizuo's Danger Meter of Anger moving past the yellow and into the orange area, slowly creeping toward the fated red.

"Are you sure you didn't misread the test?" Izaya asked innocently.

"YES, I'M—fuck. Just. I'm going to ram this test up your skinny ass in about one minute," Shizuo growled, stamping his foot and grinding it into the tiled floor.

Izaya considered. "There are so many mistakes on it that I might get constipated if you do, Shizu-chan," he protested, nodding at the scan-tron. "You really should study more."

Shizuo's Danger Meter of Anger hit the red area. In a situation where others would have run, Shinra merely sighed, and straightened his glasses with an idle finger. Should he stop them today? What even gave him such a responsibility in the first place? True, he had known Izaya since middle school and had been the closest thing Izaya had to a friend, but that wasn't what it was. He liked to think it was because of his amiable people skills and charisma, rather than because he was just as batshit section-eight as those two.

Shinra had long since given up on questioning the "why's" of it, and it was something he saw futility in doting on. There really was no direct answer, or at least one that he found satisfactory.

"Izaya. I will—" Whatever Shizuo was going to do no one knew, because at that moment he found himself wiping a pickled plum off of his face. He peeled it off and stared at it incredulously. "...the fuck?"

Shinra sighed again, raising a hand to stop them like he always did...and put it down, reconsidering. He had always been there to calm them down before things got hairy, because if Shizuo and Izaya valued anything in this dull, dismal high school, it was Shinra. Shinra, who was training to become a doctor even though he would probably get his license without the four years of college, med school, residency, and Board Exams. Shinra, who, as a result of his quirky father, was perhaps a bit more twisted upstairs than he liked to think.

Shinra, who always hung around Shizuo and Izaya fearlessly, despite the latter's reputations and quotidian shenanigans that tended to be more violent than not. Shinra, who always stopped them.

Here was one time that he didn't.

Back to reality, Izaya was giving Shizuo a wide-eyed stare. "Whoops!" he exclaimed, holding a hand to his mouth. "My hand slipped!"

And Shizuo, ever so eloquent, responded by grabbing a juice drink from the kid at the next table and hurling it at Izaya's head. That had been the catalyst, Shinra mused later. There was no typical holler of "food fight," or "every man for himself," but the battle of the meals just seemed to happen. One minute everything was fine and dandy and the next edible projectiles were were whizzing through the air.

Shinra ducked under the table, able to avoid most of it, but he still found bits of rice nettled into his hair later that evening and he smelled like fish for the next two days despite his numerous showers. Most students hadn't known exactly what had started the fight, but most of them decided to succumb to the childish delight of being able to throw pre-prepared food at one another. Some sliced apples found their way onto Izaya's face, and he even ate a few. People were ducking to avoid losing eyes to flying pocky. Airborne missiles of cheese and onigiri splattered against the windowpanes (which Shizuo and Izaya, to their embarrassment, would be forced to clean up in detention that day), and pudding made contact with wet accuracy.

When it was all said and done, Izaya found himself trying to clean out mashed potatoes from the inside of his ears and was wincing. Shizuo had gotten a facefull of pepper and was looking irate at the fact that he couldn't seem to stop sneezing. Kadota Kyohei, the sophomore student council president, muttered in disgust as sticky gobs of fruit stuck to his clothes, and a senior named Tom tried furtively to scoop the natto out of his pants when no one was looking.

In Raijin—no, Ikebukuro's future years both Orihara Izaya and Heiwajima Shizuo would become something of legends. The song was always the same: Heiwajima Shizuo did that, Orihara Izaya did this. They ruled the city from its shadows, shaping it and the people who came with their fantastic stories. After a while, some wondered if they'd been stretched to grotesque hyperbole by myths and distortion of tongue, more legends than men. What is them, and what is legend anymore?

Others who have met either one of them personally will say that they're one and the same thing. It's not too difficult to believe.

Years later, on lonely nights when the soft puff of Celty's open neck is the only sound in the room, Shinra often contemplates the reasons as to why the food fight of '95 had been such a remembered event in Raijin history. It hadn't lasted very long, nor had it been extensively damaging to any school property (excluding the sanity of the cafeteria workers). He often contemplates why he hadn't stopped Izaya and Shizuo in the first place.

When he thinks harder about it, Shinra can sometimes remember a smile—a genuine, lopsided one—on Shizuo's face as he hurled a mess of food across the room. Or the laugh of Izaya as he ducked and dodged, like tinkling splinters of miniature bells.

Maybe, Shinra muses as the night slowly turns into morning, that had been one time for them, both of them, all of them, where they had actually been having fun.