It happens when Edo is least expecting it. Writhing around and moaning like a cheap whore for some guy. Can't even remember his name, just that he promised to help Edo's career, and it's not like Edo's not slept around for his career before. Except that this time, when he's wishing for it to stop it does. The hand between his legs freezes, the breath on his ear stops, and everything around goes silent.

He freezes himself for a moment, and then glowing white tendrils start to wrap around him. At first he thinks they're coming from the guy and flings himself away, except that when he looks back there's nothing on the guy, and yet the tendrils are still wrapping around him. He flinches and stares down at his hands, watching as one floats up from his finger like smoke.

Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you, a voice purrs in his head. He recognises it, even though the last time he heard it it was different, mixed with Saiou's voice.

"The Light," he hisses, "What the hell? Juudai got rid of you!"

The Light laughs, because both of them know that really, Edo's scared out of his wits. You really think the Fool could get rid of me? it asks, and Edo flinches.

"Just leave me alone," he spits, and the Light laughs again, a few tendrils coiling around his legs and making him shudder violently.

You should leave, it advises, pausing to stroke Edo's cheek with a tendril before adding, You can't keep things frozen forever.

Edo doesn't question it. Too busy scrabbling for his clothes, ignoring the tendrils of light rubbing at his skin. He yelps as one of them flicks against the inside of his thigh, slaps it away and ignores the way the Light laughs at that.

"Stop it," he spits, before biting out, "Please."

It laughs again, but retracts itself, letting Edo dress in peace. He can hear the guy he's left unfreezing as he runs out of the room, but Edo's so used to running from everything that this is nothing.


It's three days before he admits to himself that he needs help. Holed up in some cheap motel room, alternating between ignoring the Light and babbling to it in near-panicked tones, before he eventually admits that he can't stay this way. Once he admits though, it's minutes until he realises who he has to go to. He'd go to Juudai, but as the Light said – he doesn't expect the Fool to be able to get rid of it completely.

He knows he surprises Saiou when he turns up at the door. Doesn't bother fixing himself up before he goes, and he knows he's a wreck. Hair alternately sticking up and falling into his face, eyes bloodshot, clothes rumpled and jacket half-hanging off his shoulders.

He pushes past Saiou into the apartment and starts babbling about the Light, so fast that he can barely understand it himself, and he can tell Saiou isn't getting anything. Doesn't stop though, too caught up on getting everything out before the Light makes its appearance to care whether he's being understood.

He doesn't manage it. Halfway through a sentence Saiou tenses visibly, and when Edo looks down the Light is coiling off him like smoke. He pulls back, pressing himself against the door.

"I'm sorry," he whimpers, because he knows what the Light is going to do. Can't stop it, can't even look away as the Light flares up around him, one tendril coiling like a spring and shooting towards Saiou. He manages to clamp his eyes shut, because he can't see this.

By the time he opens them again, the coiled tendril is buried in Saiou's chest. He can see the end of it moving behind Saiou's back, all covered in blood and he can't look at Saiou and he can't breathe and he's going to throw up and why didn't he realise this was going to happen?

The tendril pulls out of Saiou, and as Edo falls to his knees he can hear Saiou hit the floor. Blood drips onto Edo as the tendril coils and waves above him, and he throws up, hacking and retching violently even after he's emptied his stomach. He remains there for almost half an hour before finally pulling himself up and running out the door. Still can't look at Saiou because it's his fault and Saiou's dead and if there was anything left in his stomach, that thought alone would make him vomit again.


Edo spends another week holed up in the cheap motel room. Curled up on the bed, staring into space, barely eating enough to keep himself alive. Vomiting up most of what he does eat, and by the end of the week he's a total wreck. Passing out from time to time, and wishing for it when he's conscious. Because when he's awake all he can think about is Saiou, and when he's asleep every dream is reliving that moment.

Eventually he snaps. Scrabbling at his arms and pulling his hair, trying not to scream because the walls in this place are so thin that the whole motel would probably hear him. Doesn't manage to keep up the movement for long, but his nails are jagged from biting over the past week, and small rivulets of blood run down his arms from some of the scratches.

"Make it stop," he hisses into the silent room, and his voice is hoarse and weak from disuse. "You did this, make it go away!"

The Light laughs, and it's the first he's heard from it since he went to see Saiou. I can make it stop, but you won't agree with my methods, it responds.

"I don't care!" he snaps back, "Just make it go away. Make it all go away!"

The Light laughs again, and then everything goes white.


A few minutes later, Edo stands up, and for the first time in days he's standing straight. The Light has him laugh, has him twirl around, has him fix his hair, has him smile sweetly into the cracked mirror in the corner. Brushes Edo's hands over his clothes, because it can't have its host looking bad, right? And all the while, on the inside it's laughing at its little rag doll, its little puppet on strings.