notes: There are two assumptions I made when writing this; that after his death, the fact that Light was Kira would not be shared with Misa or his remaining family, and that after her kidnapping, Sayu had been in a facility for a few months and then could be considered well enough to be released. Everything else is yours to assume.

inspirations: The song 'Wild Gardens', by Magneta Lane among many others, and the book 'number9dream' by David Mitchell.

disclaimer: I wish.

x Masquerade x

by Ebony

Sayu has always thought of Light and Misa as the sort of 'beautiful people' who don't really exist. Normal people have flaws and quirks, and bad habits they can't get rid of, but 'beautiful people' are somehow free of this; they know what to say, what to wear – the right way to do everything. They're polished, looking like they just stepped out of a glossy photograph in a magazine – like superheroes, like Gods.

In that way, they don't quite seem human. Maybe they just don't seem real, but then again, maybe the rest of us choose to view them this way.

Even though she had grown up with Light and witnessed him in his lesser moments, there was still something that separated them. It was as if he had been slightly out of focus, and the more she squinted the harder it was to see him (none of them would say it, but he was slipping away). Nevertheless, Sayu she did adore her older brother, and had grown used to ignoring the distance between them (in age, in test scores, in awards and in praise), knowing it would do her no good to concentrate on working up to his sky-scraping standards when she could work comfortably at her own. "How could a person stand all that hard work without going a little insane?" she remembers thinking, and then telling herself that it shouldn't matter – Light's her brother, and he loves her, so none of that should matter (but does it?).

Honestly, Sayu thinks "beautiful people" are probably just good at faking it. But these days, Sayu doesn't know if she really believes what she thinks or not.


The day Light's ashes are buried is overcast but warm. Sayu regrets the black blouse she pulled on that morning, but in her exhausted state (she had laid sleepless for almost the entire night) it was the best she could find. The people milling around seem just figments passing through her memories as she sifts through them; this feels too much like a dream for comfort. Head clouded, she stands off to the side in a daze and scans the crowd for her mother.

Instead of Sachiko, her eyes find Misa standing by the urn, head bowed and hands clenched at her sides. Even with her hair a mess, make-up dripping abstractly down her face and her childlike features distorting as she sobs, she's still managed to look pretty in a way, like a broken doll (discarded plaything that he grew bored with).

Sinking her teeth into her bottom lip, Sayu tries to pretend she isn't bitter. However, her brother is still dead, and no dream or memory – nothing can bring him back. Both Light and her father are gone for good, no matter what she pretends.


The service passes fairly quickly, though Sayu is too dazed to take much in. That's not her brother, she keeps thinking, there's no way those ashes are the only thing left of him. Her mind already made itself up that such is impossible, so even when she tries, it's hard to cry about it.

And though no one mentions it, she knows Light's death is Kira's fault, and she damns him quietly. It's amazing how the actions of one disgusting person have caused so many tragedies for her family.

A few people from the NPA stick around afterwards, but not much talking is done, as everyone still appears too shaken. Not once does Matsuda even attempt to flirt with her, and they are all cautious when they meet her eye – "How are you doing, Sayu-chan?" (and they don't even try to hide what they really mean by that). They treat her as if she has become a child again. Yes, she assures them, she's fine now, and how are they? Are they okay?

(It's not me, I swear, I'm fine now, I'm okay.)

Even her mother seems to be looking at her a little strangely, though Sayu quickly blames it on the stress she has been under lately and holds Sachiko's damp face into her shoulder. Cars rush by on the street beside them, oblivious, the steady sound of them just another distraction Sayu eagerly latches onto as she gently rubs her mother's back.

"It's all right," she mumbles, not really knowing what to say that hasn't already been said. "I'm sure that… I mean, he must…"

It's not until Misa is standing right there next to them that Sayu even notices her. The older woman looks like a ghost, so thin and pale, and the top of her head only reaches Sayu's nose despite the large heels on her shoes.

"Misa is sorry," she whispers, and though it looks as if it pains her, she tries her best to smile (that magazine cover smile that looks so practiced, so marketable).

"Oh, don't be," says Sachiko, embracing her with a sniffle. "You were good to him."

And Misa shrinks a little more into herself, dark-nailed fingers tightening their grip on Sachiko before the two women part.

"So, are you heading back home after this?" Sachiko asks her, changing to subject.

Misa shakes her head slightly, giving another (pained but) pleasant smile. "Ah, no, Misa was planning on staying in a hotel here for a few days, to take a little break from things."

"Nonsense, dear," Sachiko cuts in. "If you're going to stay, stay with me. There's lots of room, and Lord knows I need the company."

"But Misa already has her things at the hotel and–"

"Actually," Sayu hears herself cut in, "she can stay with me, if she wants. It'll be good for us – we never really got to know each other, did we, Misa? And I'll help you bring your stuff from the hotel to my apartment, how's that?"

Her mother gives her a look of approval while Misa gives an unsure nod, and Sayu herself doesn't know why she offered. Her apartment is still a mess from when she moved in a week or two ago and there's only one bed, so she will have to do the polite thing and sleep on the couch (though she doubts she'll really end up sleeping that much). But the words are already out – she can't take it back, and really, there is no use worrying about things that have already passed…

"Thank you, Sayu-chan," Misa says, grabbing Sayu's hand tightly (and in this moment she stops being just a pretty image, a phantom, an idea; she's warm flesh and blood pressed against Sayu, she's real!). They say quick good-byes to Sachiko before heading off. Life has been restored to Misa as she pulls Sayu along with a sudden (most likely feigned) gaiety, and for a moment or so, Sayu feels like she's reverted her fourteen year-old self, watching captivated as Light and Misa ascended the stairs into their own separate world – a world she couldn't touch.


"We can go out for dinner if you want," Sayu says as she tosses the second of Misa's tote bags onto her sofa. "I don't really have much here…"

"No, no, we'll stay in," she hears Misa respond from the front door of the apartment, slipping off her shoes. "And whatever Sayu-chan wants us to eat is fine. Misa can help cook too! Misa likes cooking!"

"You sure?" Sayu asks, receiving a nod in return. She has to admit, she was not expecting this – no, she had been expecting a spoiled woman-child, demanding her needs be met and throwing tantrums.

"Yep. Misa was always cooking for Light… when he was busy with his work…" She throws her eyes down to the floor and Sayu's throat tightens a little.

He's dead, and yet he's still everywhere, breathing down their necks and resonating inside every word spoken. In every heavy-lidded glance, he's there, leaving small reminders in the corners of their eyes that disappear as they turn to look. He's there, but still intangible.

"Do you mind if Misa has a shower?" the faux-blonde says eventually.

"Go ahead. Through the door on your right."

As soon as Misa is out of sight, Sayu collapses back onto the sofa, landing in between the tote bags. Pushing her arms out as far as they can reach in stretch, she glances disdainfully at Misa's luggage, wondering why on earth she had to pack so damn much if she was intending to stay for a short time. However, when she peeks into the bags, she discovers that among the things Misa packed, half of them belong - belonged to Light, and she decides to leave the issue alone.


Sayu manages to put together a salad and some rice for dinner – there's a bottle of wine as well, though she's tentative to use it. It's certainly not the best she could do, but she doesn't feel like running out to the store to buy something else while Misa is in the shower, as her feet are still sore from earlier that day. Misa takes a long time to wash herself, just as Sayu expected. When she's done, she tiptoes out into the hall with one of Sayu's towels wrapped around her torso, quickly picking up one of the bags and hurrying back to the washroom. Sayu forces herself to keep her eyes down, and continues chopping carrots.

"It smells good!" Misa comments when she comes back out, fully dressed (black blouse, lace skirt, hair tied up with a black ribbon – she looks like a little girl). Sayu smiles and thanks her, but knows it really doesn't. They're just playing parts.

She decides to get out the wine after all.

They make polite, scripted conversation at first. After that, Sayu just lets Misa talk – she talks about how modeling used to be, and how nice this wine is, and this dress she bought the other day, and how she just loves how Sayu's done her hair. (Much to Sayu's delight, she doesn't ask that concerned, "How are you doing now?" and she doesn't seem to doubt Sayu's sanity – whatever that really means; Light would know – either.) All worthy distractions. But the more she talks, the faster she talks, and the faster she drinks her wine. She's starting her fifth cup when she reaches across the table to grab Sayu's wrist with an unexpected strength.

"You know," she says, her head bowed and her hand shaking, "Misa is jealous of Sayu-chan. And she feels bad about it. She can't help it, but she feels bad about it anyways."

"What's there to be jealous of?" says Sayu lightly, and Misa's nails (black polish chipped) dig a little into her wrist.

"You got to spend all that time with him, when you were kids. You knew him all that time, and you have so many memories. Misa just… Misa misses him. Misa wants more memories of him – she has lots, but she… I want him back!"

There's no need to explain who 'he' is. Sayu tries pulling her arm back, but Misa just holds on even tighter. Here it is, Sayu thinks, here's what she's been hiding behind all those smiles, this selfish, this human creature. However, the realization does not give her the satisfaction she had expected, and her stomach seems to harden at the sight of Misa's trembling shoulders, the smudge of salad dressing on her cheek.

"It's not fair!" Misa hisses. "I loved him! I loved him! And he loved Misa too!"

"I'm sure he did," Sayu says shakily. "But he would want you to be happy, Misa, and you're hurting me. Let go, please."

It takes a few seconds, but things seem to sink in. Sayu exhales in relief as Misa releases her arm and withdraws, breathing quietly.

"Misa's sorry, Sayu-chan."

"It's fine, don't worry about–"

She shakes her head. "It's not. Misa is sorry. She's caused so much trouble for you."

With that, she starts to sob desperately again, trying to hide her face in her hands. Sighing, Sayu gets up and goes to stand behind the desolate woman, placing a hand on her arm in an attempt at comfort (though really, Sayu isn't sure what to do at all in these situations – it was Light who was always good at thinking on his feet). She feels bitter, of course. They all miss him, they all think it's not fair, and they're dealing with it. Misa shouldn't get special treatment.

"You're not any trouble at all," she says softly anyway, controlling her tongue. "Come on, let's go to bed. I'll clean up in the morning."

"Misa's sorry. She'll try harder, promise," Misa murmurs as she stands, and for a moment, Sayu thinks that maybe the words aren't directed at her. She decides this doesn't matter, and with Misa's arms locked around her neck (like a noose, so tight it hurts a little to breathe), she brings them both into her messy bedroom. Boxes with clothes falling out of them are stacked in one corner, there are some plates on the floor from the breakfasts she barely eats and a shoddy mirror is leaning against the wall.

When she places Misa on the bed, the faux-blonde still refuses to let go so Sayu, seeing no alternative, decides to lie down beside her. She lets Misa use her arm as a pillow and press her finely crafted body right up close to Sayu's (is this what it felt like for him?). It doesn't feel like a dream, but she almost wishes it did. Soon after getting over the curious feeling of Misa's flesh against hers, Sayu falls into the deepest sleep she has had for weeks.


Morning arrives with dull light coming in through the bedroom door and an ache in Sayu's shoulder from the way she slept on it. She presses her face into her pillow, trying to push her mind back into unconsciousness (she think she was dreaming, but cannot remember what of). Remembering Misa, she realizes the other side of her bed is empty and she drags herself up to see where she's gone.

She finds Misa huddled on the sofa, knees clutched to her chest and hair hanging in her swollen eyes. After a while, Misa notices Sayu's reflection in the window she's been staring out of, watching the pale sunrise light up the city around them, and swivels her head to look. Her body is bathed in shadows, with sunlight outlining the fine edges of her arms, face, neck, hair tangled with gold. Sayu flinches as their eyes meet.

"Let's go somewhere," Misa whispers, her voice hoarse, pleading. "Please. Misa doesn't care where, just somewhere…"

Sayu isn't sure of what to say. She's still looking for a new job and it would be nice to take a little vacation, but does she really want to go anywhere with this miserable wreck of a woman? But then again, whom else does Misa have right now?

"All right. We'll leave in an hour," she says, turning away before she can see Misa's reaction.


They decide to travel from place to place by train – Sayu is the one who buys the tickets, but Misa's credit cards pay for them. By the time they find their seats, Misa's mask has slipped firmly back into place. Bags tucked beneath their seats (she convinced Misa to leave one of her bags back in the apartment), Sayu listens patiently to Misa's anecdotes.

"Oh, Misa remembers, there was this one time she was taking a train back home from a photo shoot way out in the country, and," Misa giggles, "this straaaange woman sat down beside her…" and Sayu lets her mind drift back out into space for the rest of the story, though she does remember to laugh when the end comes.

"Misa likes it when you smile, Sayu-chan," Misa says, delighted. "You know, you look a lot like Light when you smile like that."

The train ride only takes a few hours, so after booking a hotel room for the night and phoning Sachiko to let her know where they are, they still have lots of time. Misa decides to take Sayu sightseeing and shopping, though they have more fun trying on the clothing than anything else, like children playing dress up (playing pretend). Sayu has to admit, it feels nice to be so frivolous – to be careless, soaking up life without having to work so hard for the chance. It feels nice to walk around in the yellow sundress Misa bought for her, their arms linked together, attracting stares. Misa is recognized by a few people, and isn't that just a thrill.

It's so easy just to forget about everything when things are like this…

(She swears she sees him, just across the street, but no, it can't be him because he's gone, he's gone, he's gone, and why can't she get that through her head?

"What's the matter?" Misa's hand presses against her thigh, a vivid reminder.

"Nothing, it's nothing…."

There's nothing wrong with you, you're fine.)

Night comes again too soon, and suddenly he's everywhere again as Sayu realizes the only pyjamas she packed were ones he had given her for her birthday a year or two ago. He mailed them to her with a card attached, but at least he remembered; he always remembered, year after year. Trying to push it out of her mind, Sayu watches Misa carefully wipe the make up off her face, brush her teeth, and then tie her hair back. She goes through the routine meticulously, as if it's going to save her life.

Somehow, their hotel room seems far too quiet (gaping holes and spaces), and Sayu thinks she knows why Misa talks so much. She changes position every once and a while but she's still restless, aware, unable to sleep (for what if you dreamt…?) For a long time she can only hear Misa's breathing mismatched against her own, and the faint sounds of the city nightlife, but then the creaking of mattress springs cuts sharply through the air; Misa's footsteps, the fabric of her nightgown rustling as she moved (on her tiptoes, making secrets).

She doesn't have to ask – Sayu moves over and gives her room. Sayu gives her a shoulder to cry on, wondering quietly why she is unable to do otherwise.

"Misa just can't believe that he's… that she's here without him. Maybe I should be dead. Misa doesn't really want to be living like this, without him – oh, why him? Why not me? It shouldn't have been him, he was too…," Misa whispers into Sayu's flesh. "Maybe I am dead. Is there any way of knowing? Is there any way of knowing if any of this–"

Sayu's fingers cover Misa's lips and her chin rests against Misa's crown (did he used to hold her like this?).

"Just go to sleep."

(It'll be fine in the morning.)

When Sayu wakes from dreams she can't remember, Misa is back in her own bed, snoring a little, limbs thrown out carelessly and sheets bunched at the end of the bed. Sayu decides not to mention their conversation the night before – it won't do any harm to let it go.


The day goes by the same as the one before it did; a train ride, then booking an extravagant hotel. No one at the desk recognizes Misa so she and Sayu claim to be sisters visiting their uncle, and later they laugh at how easily they were believed.

Their day turns out just as surreal as the previous one, though Sayu has gotten a little used to it by now, and the beautiful things seem more solid, or perhaps more common. They take a break after a while, and rest their sore feet while they eat ice cream beneath a tree in a schoolyard, sitting so close their pale arms almost touch. Misa smoothes out her skirts, looking at the layers of lace thoughtfully and picking at a thread that has come loose.

"Misa remembers, this one time…"

She doesn't finish, curling her lips into a smile instead. This one looks genuine.

"What sort of memories do you have, Sayu-chan?"

Sayu can feel sticky drips of ice cream on her hand. She has lots of memories, of course, but which ones to tell Misa about? The strangest moments stand out to her – when her mother taught her how to make eggs, the time before a soccer game her friend whispered to her "My father left us yesterday" and they ended up winning, playing with Light's cat as a child (it had gotten run over just before she turned twelve)…

That's what Misa wants her to bring up now – Light. They have gotten clever about avoiding the subject of him lately, but he still slips in sometimes. It's easier to talk about him now, but Sayu knows the wound is still raw, and stings if you press in too deep. His face in her mind looks a little off and it's starting to bother her.

"All sorts of memories. But none worth talking about," she says.

It's just the past, and it's gone, part of her argues. But our memories, another counters, our memories are all that we are.

"Oh, Misa's sure there are–"

"Why do you talk like that?" Sayu interjects without thinking. "It's so childish. And maybe I just don't have that many good memories, hm?"

That last bit is a lie, and she doesn't know why she said it. Sure she has her bad memories (blurred images, her wrists are tied, she has been here for days as their prisoner), but the good outweigh them. She knows she was just being a bitch, but after a few days with Misa, the worst parts of them both are really starting to press to the surface. She wonders if Misa thinks she can buy her happiness back. Her mouth starts to open, intending to apologize for both her words and thoughts, but Misa has already recoiled, staring at Sayu with a little bit of bewilderment.

"Misa is… I'm sorry, Sayu-chan. I guess it's a bad habit."

Honestly, Sayu didn't expect her to react in such a way as this – her surprise only doubles as, Misa reaches out and covers Sayu's with her own, fingers on fingers.

"But, Mi– I do know a thing or two about bad memories. It's hard, I know… to accept them and let go. To stop blaming yourself."

(He's dead, he's gone, he's not coming back.)


That night is the same as the one previous. They get a room with two beds, but soon they're both buried beneath the sheets of one. There are no words this time. It feels like an old movie, silent, with hazy black and grey frames flickering through Sayu's eyelashes. Misa's eyes are closed as Sayu's fingers dart up her neck, her jawbone…

Their lips meet for an instant, one electric instant before one of them (strangely, Sayu isn't sure which) pulls away, Misa whispering "Light…" and fumbling for Sayu's hands in the dark.

Sayu keeps her eyes wide open the entire time, even if she can barely see a thing.


The next day goes the same, as does the day after that and the day after that. The starting point of where it all starts to break down is hard to pinpoint. It's the fifth day of their getaway – or is it? Sayu's not quite sure, since they have just let time carry them along without paying much attention to it at all. The days blur together in her mind, images of sunlight and inside of hotel rooms that all look the same, Misa's pale reflection in the windows of the train… – but it already feels like months have passed them by.

Sayu only starts to notice it when Misa brings up theatre tickets.

"About what we should do today," the faux-blonde says as they drop their bags onto a new set of hotel beds. "Remember the advertisement on the train, for the play – 'My Fair Lady'? Well, Misa – I haven't been to the theatre in such a long time and–"

"Misa," Sayu cuts in, not sure whether to laugh or not. "We already saw that, yesterday."


"There's no point in seeing it again."

Misa makes a face, shrugging. "Well, if you don't want to go, you could just say so."

"No, no, I really liked that play. But we just saw it, remember?" Misa just stares at her now, and Sayu puts on a worried smile. "Don't you remember?"

"We went on a ferry yesterday," Misa says apologetically. "Then we went out to dinner, and I had to drag you out of your chair to get you to dance. That's what we did yesterday, Sayu-chan."

It takes a few dragging seconds for Sayu to realize that Misa is right. Here are all the memories of the day before rolling back in (or at least she thinks they are). The songs they danced to, what they ordered, seagulls off in the distance, crying, the smell of saltwater…

She tells Misa to go get the tickets – she has a headache and needs to lay down for a bit. But it's nothing to worry about. She's fine.


Tickets to 'My Fair Lady' end up being sold out so Misa buys tickets to another show instead. They have fun dressing each other up in the hotel room beforehand. Sayu feels like a doll as Misa pins up her hair, picks out a skirt and blouse for her, paints her lips (carefully constructing beauty). They get glances on the street, and Sayu think she knows why Misa dresses like she does. Feeling beautiful is addictive.

The play is good, she admits, but she can hardly concentrate on what is going on during it. Her mind has been scattered, and she can't keep track of it all at once. It's only that evening, sitting on the deck of the hotel pool that she remembers. She had been lazily watching Misa float around on her back, hair spread out around her and eyes on the ceiling, chlorinated water tinting her body a light blue where she was submerged, then…

It was Light she had seen 'My Fair Lady' with, at his high school. Wasn't it? It's a strange time to recall such a thing, but memory can be funny like that sometimes…

She watches Misa swim over to the edge of the pool, surfacing with a gasp and pushing her hair back from her face. Looking down at her, Sayu can see where Misa's roots are growing in, a dark stain against the peroxide blonde.

"Aren't you going to come in?" Misa asks. Beyond her there are children screaming – no, laughing, playing together. Families on vacation, lovers on vacation, business people taking a break – are they happy? Sayu doesn't know. Too many people; too much noise. She watches light reflected off the water dance over Misa's face. Illumination.

"Sayu-chan? Are you okay?"


That night she presses Misa to her as tight as she can, forcing herself to feel Misa's flesh against hers, her fingers in Misa's hair, her lips and Misa's, together. One of them speaks, she doesn't know who, but she listens…

"Maybe we should stop this."


From that point, the vertigo gets worse. Misa is still pretending that those nights never happen, and Sayu is too afraid to bring them up. She lets herself be led around in a daze. They visit tourist attractions, they shop, they eat at nice restaurants – she wonders how long they can go on like this, or when Misa will run out of money. She thinks they've been gone a bit more than a week but she doesn't know for sure.

She's getting a little sick of it. Of everything. Sure, the trip has been fun but things are starting to get to her, like the way Misa takes things for granted. Her looks got her money and money is buying her a world full of beautiful and useless things. It's a fun place to visit, but looking at it now, Sayu knows it's only ephemeral (though she admits, she wishes it wasn't). There's no way this can last. They're going to have to come out of it soon…

(He's dead, he's gone, he's not coming back, and we can't do anything about it!)

They keep spinning.

It's easiest just to stop paying attention. Her memories are running rampant – she doesn't care. The world in front of her blurs and the abstraction is glorious. She could stare at it for hours. She catches her own eye in a store mirror and starts laughing, unable to stop until Misa starts shaking her, hard and desperate and violent. The look on Misa's face then isn't very pretty at all.

Does any of this mean anything?

Misa brings her into a café and orders them both coffee, and then turns to the window. She doesn't speak, but by the look on her face, Sayu knows she got things to say. Lots of them. Raindrops dribble down the window, distorting the street outside. Sayu traces them with her fingertips. She wants to be fourteen again, and she wants her brother back, but she just watches Misa's reflection and knows that can't happen. That doesn't mean she can't want it to happen, and that doesn't mean it's not fun to pretend.

She thinks Misa knows that too.

Still, all she's got is a brownish ring in the bottom of her coffee cup and memories. Time keeps going and won't stop.


"What the hell is this?"

Misa looks up from the magazine she was skimming, still in her gauzy nightgown as she had only woken up a half hour ago. At first she looks confused, but then she glances down at what Sayu has tossed down onto her bed and her eyes grow wide, her strawberry lips opening in a misshapen 'o'.

"Misa's diary! I mean, my… I thought I lost this!" she grabs it eagerly, running her hands over the cover as if she doesn't believe it's real. "Where did you–"

"You left it on the counter in the washroom last night, I guess," Sayu answers curtly.

Misa shakes her muss-haired head. "But that's impossible; I haven't had it since before the… the funeral."

"Then how could you have been writing it in all this time?"

"I– You read it?" Misa's features change into a blatant distress. "Sayu-chan!"

Sayu remains quiet while Misa opens the book up (it's a heavy, leather-bound thing with a blood red ribbon for a place-marker) and flips until she comes to a certain page crowded with ink. She points.

"See? I wrote this before I went, and I was crying. Misa remembers…"

"Turn the page," Sayu tells her, and though she doesn't believe there will be anything there, Misa obeys. Her hand trembles when she finds the next page has been written on, the date marked for the day after the funeral, and after that another, and another, and…

"'We took the train down. Misa so excited, she and Light haven't been on vacation in…'," she reads from the first page, quickly changing another. "'…so far, so good! Light took Misa out for dinner tonight, and it was lovely, even though she had to drag him up to get him to…'"

Something catches in her throat and she chokes loudly, unable to continue. She gathers one of the hotel's bed-sheets and holds it to her face, fearing tears will start. Sayu watches her, trying her best to be apathetic. She doesn't want to be, no, she wants to hold Misa and tell her things can be okay, they're just not right now – she wants to know for once she's the one who's okay and watch Misa cry, to watch that beauty fall apart.

"Is that what you've been doing this whole time?" she asks. "You've been pretending I'm him?"


"You took me on this trip because you couldn't let go. You wanted to keep pretending things were just perfect. Well, guess what Misa, they're not! You've been living in you're fucking beautiful little world for your whole life, but you can't anymore, so just–"

"I didn't write that!" shrieks Misa, throwing the book at Sayu. It hits her in the arm (she winces) and falls to the ground, pages fluttering like butterfly wings. "Look at it, Sayu-chan, that's not my writing!"

"Don't lie."

"Look at it." Misa hisses. "That's your writing. You wrote those things." She eyes Sayu, face alive with disgust and fear. "Well, aren't you going to look at it?"

"I already did."

"Look again. It's not Misa's writing."

Sayu bends down and picks up the book, but instead of opening it, she walks into the bathroom and drops it into the wastebasket, satisfied with the loud 'thud' it makes when it lands.

"Is there something wrong with you?" she hears Misa whimper, not knowing whom it was directed at. The mattress creaks beneath her as Misa crawls up to the headboard and collapses on top of her pillows. "And Misa was trying so hard to let him go…"

Sighing, Sayu makes her way out of the bathroom and into the main room again. She feels sick, and the stale air is just making is worse and the stale morning light, falling over the beds where it peaks through the curtains, giving the room a dull glow.

"Let's catch the next train home," says Misa without looking up. "Misa doesn't want to be here anymore. And give her back his shirts."


"You must've taken them from Misa's bags," she tells her. "You've been sleeping in his shirts for the last five days, Sayu-chan."

Sayu is about to accuse her of lying, but a quick glance at her bed reveals a light blue dress shirt sitting on her pillow, wrinkled from wear, and she shuts her mouth. Funny, she thinks. She hadn't even noticed, but now that she thinks about it, she remembers. She remembers. She remembers…

(There's a collection of dreams and memories in her head, and she can't tell them apart anymore.

What does 'real' mean anyways? Does it matter?)

Misa just smiles at her sadly.


On the train ride back, they barely speak. The scenery is just streaks of colour as it whirls by outside. Despite the painkillers she took earlier, Sayu's head is still pounding, aching. She's slept well for the past week they've away and she still feels exhausted.

"I kept having dreams about him," Misa explains quietly. "And before when I woke up, I just wanted to go back to sleep. Even if it wasn't real, I wanted to be with him. But I figured it out, Sayu-chan. I'll always have the memories of him, if nothing else. I can hang onto those memories, but I don't think it's right to obsess over them. I was just distracting myself before, but I don't think I need to anymore."

Sayu can't answer.

"It'll be okay, Sayu-chan. You see? Everything is okay now."

(You're lying.)

"I think I'm going to start modeling again. It's been a while since I've done anything, and I miss it. I know I'm going to wake up and live, and I know he'd want me to. I know he loved me. And I'll keep loving him."

(Stop lying. Stop being so beautiful. Stop pretending it didn't happen. I know it happened.)

"Thank you, Sayu-chan," Misa whispers. "And I'm sorry about all this… we'll stay friends, right?"

Sayu nods out of obligation.

(I'm okay… I'm okay… is this even–)

The last thing she sees before the train goes into a tunnel is her own translucent reflection in the window, giving an amused smile back as if to say 'I know something you don't'.

And then darkness.

xfinis x