Original provided by durararascans, thank you!
Epitome of Eighteen Histories 8
Heiwajima Shizuo Episode
This is a story of the past.
A story of twisted past.
Somewhere in Ikebukuro. An alley.
“Um, you’re Heiwajima Shizuo-san… right?”
Heiwajima Shizuo, now a third year in high school, frowned unconsciously as this voice addressed him.
Standing before him was a girl barely into middle school.
She was dressed unassumingly in casual clothes, and it was hard to imagine her as the type of girl that would approach a delinquent with dyed-blond hair.
“Um, my name is Kinomiya Kazane. I’m sorry if I approached the wrong person.”
“…No, I’m Shizuo. You need something?”
Kinomiya Kazane. He thought for a while, but it was a completely unfamiliar name.
Could bullies have dared her to approach him?
With this thought, Shizuo glanced around.
But as he saw that no one was observing them, he grew increasingly uncertain.
As he did this, the girl started, timidly,
“Ah… Um, sorry if I’m interrupting something.”
“No, I’m… pretty much done with my business already.”
Shizuo replied, cracking his neck.
His ‘business’ was piled high in a mountain behind him.
Although dressed in varying attire, at a glance the men were clearly gangsters.
As usual he had been challenged without any real reason, and barraged by more than twenty opponents; yet as of just now Shizuo had retaliated and come out of the fight nearly unscathed.
Yet this girl spoke to him as though they were friends, nervously but clearly.
“Um… There are some things… I want to ask…”
“Are you on a dare? I’m exactly what I look like.”
Thinking he must have been approached by someone seeing him as no more than an exotic beast at a zoo, Shizuo dully jerked his head to indicate the prone forms of the delinquents behind him.
“I’ve no mood to spell things out one by one. Sorry.”
Not knowing how he should be treating a girl younger than himself, Shizuo opt to distance himself from her.
But the girl’s reply threw him for a loop.
“You’ve gotten it wrong! The one I want to ask about isn’t you… it’s Kishitani Shinra-san!”
At those words, Shizuo slowly grew more hesitant.
“Yes, I’ve been looking into Kishitani-sempai for some time now. Before today I asked this person called Kadota-san, too… But I want to hear more from different people… About what kind of a person he is, or what he likes, things like that…”
She trailed off, before saying, hesitantly but coherently,
“I heard you’re very famous in Ikebukuro, Heiwajima-san. They say you’re the strongest around here.”
“…That’s an exaggeration. I’m only using violence. That has nothing to do with strength, does it?”
“Is that how it is?”
“…More or less.”
To Shizuo, who was dressed in his blazer and looked away as he said this, Kazane continued,
“Heiwajima-san, what kind of relationship do you have with Kishitani-san? Um… That is, to be honest, you seem to be completely different types… So I’m thinking, if I know how this came about I might learn more about Kishitani-sempai…”
As he saw her ask this bashfully, Shizuo came to a conclusion.
—Ah, I see.
—This girl… has a crush on Shinra, huh.
While Kadota had on first sight saw some familiarity in her face and pinpointed her as a family relation, Shizuo mistook the situation and nodded to himself in understanding.
“I see… so that’s how it is…”
—That guy… I did hear he was confessed to once before, but to think…
—The world’s full of people with weird tastes.
Thinking this, Shizuo turned his back on the girl, and urged her to follow him.
“Anyway, if we stay here long the cops will come and things will get troublesome, so let’s talk while walking.”
As he glanced at the girl following him without complaint, the thought came to Shizuo.
—Now that I think of it, I never really took notice of how I came to have a pervert like that as a friend. He’s honestly just someone I got stuck with since elementary school.
Despite tilting his head about it himself, Shizuo spoke, facing his past.
So as to convey to the girl named Kazane what kind of a person Shinra was.
“We were just classmates at first…”
And perhaps to come to terms with his own past as well.
“Now I think about it, he was the only one. The only person who spoke to me normally since that day…”
Heiwajima Shizuo, elementary school era.
Shizuo had returned to class, having completed his term at the hospital after dislocating a multitude of bones throughout his body.
He was received by the fearful wailing of his classmates.
His various dislocations were due to having performed an act beyond the capacity of his own body.
In other words—infuriated by the teasing of his classmates, he had performed the superhuman feat of raising a desk and flinging it at a velocity exceeding 100km/h.
The table had flown past the perpetrators of the teasing, and pierced the wall of the classroom.
If its path had diverged by ten or twenty centimetres, even in the best case scenario, at least one of his classmates would likely no longer be around in the world today.
Even as children, the classmates responsible for the teasing now understood this on an instinctual level, and staring at Shizuo, they cried out, blood draining from their faces.
They were so afraid it seemed that, should he take one step closer, they might even climb onto a chair and jump out the window; yet strangely enough this only raised the hackles of Shizuo’s young psyche.
It was they who had started it with the teasing. With this knowledge, even aware that violence was wrong, even understanding the situation intellectually, he could not find this situation fair. At this point in time, Shizuo was much too young to suppress his anger within himself.
If the desk had struck any of them and caused injury he would have apologised; but right now the only one hurt was himself. Maybe his dislocated bones could be called just desserts, but even ignoring that part of things, Shizuo received the impression that he was being treated like a fool, with no way to defend himself.
His classmates had not only failed to apologise, but were now screaming when they saw him.
Although this was more than enough to incur Shizuo’s wrath—
“Hey! Shizuo-kun! Wow, I can’t believe you’ve been discharged already!”
While the rest of the class was eying Shizuo like some sort of monstrous animal, one person alone faced him with the same smile as before.
“This must be what they call stranger than fiction! I asked your family, and they said it was much worse than just dislocation, and your joints were damaged too? I can’t believe you’ve recovered this much already… Oh, and you’re not even on crutches, are you! Healing all of that in a few weeks, this truly is a modern miracle! Hey, I want to record the recovery time, do you mind getting hurt again?!”
The words were clearly crossing boundaries, but rather than provoke Shizuo further, they replaced his anger with something else.
The speaker was the one and only classmate who had visited him in the hospital.
He was a bespectacled boy who had not been particularly close to Shizuo before that, and had always felt like any other typical classmate—Kishitani Shinra.
When asked why he had come to visit, he had said, ‘You’re amazing for actually being able to do something so ridiculous. Can I dissect you? I want to see if your muscles are the same as normal people’s!’ After that screwed up statement, Shizuo had silenced Shinra from the bed with his iron claw.
Yet it was those words that converted Shizuo’s anger from ‘fury’ to ‘helpless annoyance’.
“…Why must I get injured all over again for your sake?!”
Shizuo complained childishly, swatting away Shinra who had grabbed his hand too familiarly.
But Shinra sprained his wrist as a result, sparking another controversy.
A few days passed.
Shinra, who had only approached Shizuo with a smile, had had his wrist sprained. With the spread of this rumour, Shizuo’s days of being ostracised by his classmates continued for a time.
Shinra himself seemed unaffected. ‘You see, normal people don’t recover in such a short time. Even a sprain takes a few days to heal, this can only mean your body is special! Not only that, it might be growing even more unique as we speak!’ He would prattle on excitedly about this even though Shizuo could care less.
With a tint of frailty to his voice, fear lurking in the darkness of his eyes, Shizuo murmured.
“Doesn’t being with me… make you scared?”
He averted his eyes as he spoke. Shinra tilted his head.
“You know Hiruyama who was teasing me, and even the rest of the class, they all call me a monster behind my back?”
“Yeah, that’s true, I think you must be some kind of monster or demon too, you know? What’s with this all of a sudden? There’s no way human child could have put a desk into a wall, is there?”
Shinra stated this readily. Yet he only proceeded to tilt his head further in confusion and ask a question of his own:
“So, what has that got to do with being scared?”
“…You’re seriously saying that.”
Shizuo sensed something foreboding from Shinra, who had said those words not to console him, but out of genuine perplexion.
He sighed deeply to shake off that trace of fear, and told Shinra,
“Anyway, just leave me alone. You’ll get bullied.”
A few days later.
Hiruyama and his group, the ones who had started the entire chain of events, suddenly came to him and apologised.
Their eyes were fearful, but rather than Shizuo, those eyes were directed at Shinra, who stood behind them, smiling happily.
Both Shinra and Hiruyama and company had bruises on their faces, and scuffs on their bodies from what must have been a serious fight.
After accepting the apology from Hiruyama and chasing away the group, Shizuo frowned and asked Shinra,
“Ah well, I just said they should apologise. Then some stuff happened and we ended up in a fight.”
A fight. One could hardly imagine a word like that having a place in the life of the flimsy-looking, bespectacled boy.
Shizuo, brow furrowed, asked Shinra.
“You… Why would you go so far for someone like me?”
There Shinra looked startled for an instant, before he laughed and waved it off.
“Ahh, no, no, it wasn’t because of you. I wouldn’t go around picking fights with people just for your sake.”
Shinra said this casually, before he crossed his arms and pouted.
“But you see, Hiruyama-kun and his friends were horrible, you know? It’s one thing if they call you a monster—”
“So you’re fine with that?”
“It doesn’t matter to me even if you’re a monster, Shizuo-kun. Though you might be human too. That’s why I’d love if you’d let me dissect you, so I can find out… Anyway, that’s not the point right now.”
Shinra uttered such inhuman words nonchalantly, before going on to say,
“But hear me out, Shizuo-kun. Those guys, they said, ‘Monsters can’t get along with humans,’ and, ‘Someone should get an adult to exterminate him’, you know? Don’t you think that’s horrible? Exterminating someone just for being a monster! So then I got angry and ended up fighting with them…”
Shinra had calmed down by now, but there was real anger in his voice.
It was almost as if someone had badmouthed his family; Shizuo tilted his head at the other boy in confusion for a moment, before he sighed.
“…You’re a weird guy, huh.”
In a rare display, Shizuo expressed his true heart to someone outside his family. Shinra widened his eyes at him in surprise.
“…I never thought I would be hearing that from you.”
A few years later. Ikebukuro.
“Then things just snowballed from there. We went to different middle schools, but we met again in high school, so here we are.”
“So that’s how it is…”
“So, well, what I can say about him is very simple. He’s weird, and he’s a good-for-nothing. But even if he’s a bad guy, I don’t think it would be from the core of him, yeah?”
After a moment of hesitation, he smiled wryly and continued.
“…After all, he really saved me when I was a kid.”
As he reached this point, the thought suddenly came to Shizuo.
Why was he confiding this much of his past in this girl?
As this thought came to him, Shizuo realised.
That somewhere, somehow—he sensed the same air from her that Shinra had had in their elementary school years.
“Hey… are you afraid of me?”
“…To be honest, I’m really scared. My legs are sort of, um, shaking…”
“…That’s overly honest.”
Shizuo smiled wryly once more, and Kazane replied,
“But… thank you so much. I feel like I heard a very happy story.”
“Goodness, what if I turned out to be a bad guy and just beat you up without listening?”
Yet Kazane shook her head slightly.
“Up till now I’ve only watched Kishitani-sempai from a distance… But I’ve talked to various people, and I think he must be a good person… So Heiwajima-san, since he chose you as his friend, I thought you must be a good person too. …But I’m sorry, I’m shaking anyway, that’s awfully rude of me, isn’t it?”
The girl wilted, and Shizuo sighed.
“It doesn’t bother me. It’s normal to shiver if you see someone being violent in front of you. Or rather, it’s a problem if you don’t. It’s natural not to like violence.”
Then Shizuo slowly turned to face ahead.
To look at the men coming down the street towards them, most likely comrades of the earlier delinquents.
Their number was several times more than before; perhaps even tens of times. A crowd that included even bosozoku gangs, wielding steel pipes and other various weapons, was walking towards Shizuo.
“So well, since it looks like I have no choice but to run wild now… you can hate me, and run as far as you can.”
“! I’ll call the police…”
“You should call an ambulance instead.”
He cracked his neck audibly, and signalling with his eyes for her to leave, sent her away in the opposite direction.
“…For them though, of course.”
“…! Please don’t exert yourself too much!”
After bowing her head countless times, the girl ran off into the streets of Ikebukuro with her phone in her hand.
—I don’t know what anyone could like about that dumbass, but I’ll pray you’ll have good affinity with him.
With that, still somewhat misunderstanding the situation, Shizuo watched the girl go until she disappeared into the distance.
“Now… you bastards…”
And then the bitter smile he had worn till then vanished, as he glared expressionlessly at the approaching delinquents.
“I’m not into younger girls, but since you interrupted my first conversation with a girl in a long time, surely you know I could die of loneliness…”
“In other words… you can’t complain if you die, haaaaaAAAAAaaahHH?!”
On the roof of an adjacent building.
A boy looked down at the girl running off against the backdrop of Shizuo’s roar of rage.
“Now, putting aside whether Shizu-chan will die against that many people… that girl’s been showing up a lot around here.”
The boy in the black uniform—Orihara Izaya—murmured to himself as he watched the girl.
“Maybe I should have her looked into just a little…”
And the city began to twist again, beginning with the words of the boy who was to become an ‘informant’.
While even the very people who were being twisted remained clueless of what would be born of this, in the city, in the distant future.