A/N: Everyone in the MM fandom knows what today is. I've been in the fandom for about a year and a half now, and I have to say it's been one of the most enjoyable rides I've ever had. I know I had a poll up about this chapter and that I NEVER got to it. Consider this my apology, you guys. Thank you so much to all of you and everyone who's stuck with this fic from the very beginning or who stumbled across it by sheer luck. Beyond has reached 9,448 hits thanks to all of you!
A special thanks to my reviewers, who are Saigocage, SyberiaWinx, Melissa, twentyfiveraven, thinlimitation, tabby-chan, Shikirou, parasitic, rayrayluver, Trinny Dream, Elvye, Kermitfries, CallMeClandestine, xLolitaHolocaust MOVED, Nusura Miku., Ravens Bane, bloodmuffins, NoirFoxy, Zilander Kat, AngelWhoIsNotASerialKiller, BrittMarie, darkrose821, 17629578269, pontchar-train (who was awesome and put Beyond on one of her rec lists!), Lily and Shadow, Maddasahatter, vegetaworshipper92, FanFictionFangirl, Josephine Falnor, Nicha The Purple Ghost, and jrenee07.
In the week or so leading up to today, I had no idea what to do. I had already made peace with Matt and Mello's death through this fic and I found myself more reflective than sad that the end of their lives was fast approaching. My first thought was Hal, the woman closest to Mello still left on Earth. I wrote about three or four versions of this chapter before I finally settled on this idea, and I was glad that I let it come to me naturally than trying to plan it all out.
I hope this final chapter will help you all get through today and see it as a very happy time as well as a very solemn one. As always, enjoy and please read and review.
RIP Matt and Mello
Disclaimer: I still don't own Death Note. I know, crazy, right?
Part Memorial Bonus - What Is Unseen
On the morning of January 26th, 2011, Hal Lidner woke up, went out to her kitchen, and sat down to write a letter.
She had debated writing it last night, but decided that she would end up thinking on it all night and inevitably going back to correct it later.
That wasn't what she was writing the letter for anyway. It had to be spontaneous, uncensored, each thought written as it came.
She wanted it to be honesty in it's purest form.
She used a pen, and she didn't use more than one page. She started the coffee maker just before sitting down and by the time she was finished, the pot was full. After she had signed her name at the bottom she walked out into the living room, plucked a single, well-worn novel from the bookshelf (from between The Art of War and The Republic), and then returned to the kitchen.
The book was a special one, but she didn't mind giving it up. Not today. And maybe it was time. Time to let go.
It had been a year now since Mello died. A year since the path he had carved out into her life had been left empty and vacant. And each day she woke up, that emptiness drifted just a little further away.
The first few weeks she'd cried once or twice, but she wasn't much for tears. Near had been able to tell what was going on in her head though.
Sometimes, she thought he was more aware of other people's feelings than he let on. Or maybe it was just more of his logic, that he had been able to deduce her emotions using the five stages of grief, or her body language, or simply her behavioral patterns.
Or maybe it was because Near missed him too.
She had heard him talking to himself once or twice lately, but she had been working for "L" long enough to know that he just wasn't the type to think aloud.
Hal set the book down on top of her letter and folded the paper over each of the four sides. She used a small bit of tape to secure it and a length of twine to hold it all together.
It was actually snowing today, she noticed when she looked outside.
It might last longer that way, she thought as she held the book in her hands. The forecast had called for freezing rain.
Satisfied with the package in her hands, she went about her morning as usual before leaving the apartment with the book and letter tucked under her arm.
Hal had never been very religious and was completely of the opinion that death was the ultimate end. She didn't believe there was really a Heaven or a Hell, but after what she had seen that day...
Well, she wasn't entirely sure what she had seen.
She thought she'd seen them, Mello and his accomplice - his lover, she finally realized - standing together at their own graves, arms wound around each other and heads tilted together. But then they had flitted away like leaves on the wind, leaving nothing but a vague smell of leather and smoke behind.
It could have all been in her head, it could have been part of the stages of grief. Bargaining or denial or...something.
Of course, it was always likely that she was a touch insane. Dealing with two Wammy's kids at once seemed likely to have that effect.
Mello had mentioned the redhead only once in the time they knew each other, and it was only in passing. She wouldn't have even recognized him if she hadn't seen his body when they'd been handed over by the NPA. She hadn't expected that he was the one driving the car that night.
She felt her stomach give a slight lurch of guilt as she rolled to a stop at a red light. The package sitting on the passenger's seat seemed to be giving her a reproving look.
She had been unable to stop Mello from the start, that much she knew. He was like an asteroid hurtling through space. Unstoppable, undeterred, flaring brilliantly in the sky, but ultimately burning up and disintegrating in the atmosphere.
The light turned green, but for a moment, she let the car sit.
She had never really thought about it before. Meteor showers were nothing more than bits of space rocks burning up into nothing hundreds of miles above the Earth. People sat out on their porches and wished with all their might on each streak of light, and as they did, each one disappeared forever, never to return to the sky, never to fly again.
Of course, they were only flying from her perspective. To them, they were drifting, neither forwards nor backwards, up nor down. They only time they were honestly flying was just as they began to burn up.
They couldn't fly unless they burned up.
A car honked it's horn impatiently and Hal zipped through the intersection. Her tires sent up a wave of brown slush onto the sidewalk as she passed. It was still snowing lightly, but it was getting warmer. It would probably rain tonight.
Matt...Matt didn't have to die. There was no reason for it. But she hadn't known. Everyone in Mello's plots had been pawns, everyone had always been expendable.
Except for Matt. And she had sent him straight into an ambush.
He had died alone that night, in the middle of the street. Mello had died alone too.
But, then again, everyone dies alone, right?
The cemetery was empty and most of the graves were covered in thick mounds of half-melted snow. The blank stone marking Mello and Matt's grave had been cleared off, though, and a bar of chocolate, an old Super Nintendo game cartridge, and a little Lego Mello had been placed on top.
Hal smiled warmly. Near and Rester had already stopped by.
She didn't stay long and she didn't say anything while she was there. She didn't need to say anything. Everything that needed to be said had been written in her letter. All that was left was to send it off and get on with her life.
She left the parcel at the foot of the grave stone and drove off.
As night fell, the rain turned to sleet and snow, and soon the package was completely hidden by the heavy mix.
When the maintenance crew came through a few days later, there was nothing but a grave marker underneath the snow.
Another wave of cool water swept up the beach, immersing Mello's feet and calves before being pulled back out into the ocean again.
The blond sighed and wiggled his fingers a little in the warm sand. If he moved his right index finger enough, he could almost brush against the soft skin of Matt's thigh. The music from his DS rang cheerfully in the air.
Contrary to popular belief, they did have video games in Heaven.
Though, the best part was that if Mello didn't want to listen to Matt's stupid game music, he didn't have to. He just simply had to...think about it, and then poof! No more music, and Matt was free to enjoy himself.
It was still a difficult concept to grasp, that just thinking about something could make it happen. But you had to really want it to happen. You had to be willing and unafraid.
You had to trust.
He opened his eyes and found the sun shining down on him. The blond raised his hand to shield his eyes and turned his head to look over at his lover.
The redhead kept his eyes locked onto his game, the tip of his tongue sticking just slightly out of the corner of his mouth. He'd been getting a lot more sun lately; his skin was finally starting to take on a gentle peachy hue.
"Can't you put that away?" he asked, raising himself up on his elbow. "I thought this was our 'us' time."
Matt clicked his tongue and grinned, never once looking away from the screen of his DS. "You're such a girl." Mello gave him a sharp poke in the arm and the gamer laughed at him, as bright as the sun, as warm as the sand. "Hey, you were the one who ran away to work during our 'us' time."
Mello scowled. "Well, what did you expect me to do? Just sit around?"
"I expected you not to play Ghost Whisperer with Near."
The blond fell back onto the sand again, pouting. "You know he can't solve that case without my help. He said it himself, he and I can't surpass L by ourselves. If I can go, why not?"
Matt let out a groan of frustration, switched off his game, and gathered Mello up into his arms, all in one smooth and fluid motion. "There, are you happy now?"
Mello blushed a little and ducked his head to hide it. "Yes," he muttered quietly, burying his face against the redhead's neck. He could smell the salt air and the sweat in his hair, and the lingering aroma of cigarettes.
"Good, because you totally owe me for yesterday. I had to spend the day cooking with Naomi and that Kenwood lady."
Mello snorted against the curve of his neck.
"Those two can work miracles with pastries, but it's just weird listening to two women talk about the best move to disarm a guy instead of makeup tips and-" Matt suddenly cut off, stiffening against him.
Mello looked up at his lover. Those rich brown eyes were narrowed and staring intently out at the unending ocean. "What is it?"
"There's something else out there," the redhead muttered.
Mello sat up and turned to look and just as his lover had said, there was another large bottle floating through the water towards the beach.
A small wave gently washed it onto the shore at Mello's feet. He looked a little guiltily over at Matt. "There's nothing for you," he said softly.
The younger man scoffed, leaning over to get a better look at the new arrival. "So what? I already got what I wanted." He waved his DS by his head. He still wasn't sure how he'd managed to make the original Super Mario Bros. work on that system, but one moment it had been a large cartridge and the next it had been a tiny card. "Come on and open it already! I want to see what it is."
The blond frowned and picked up the bottle from the wet sand. It was a large bottle this time, with a rectangular, paper-wrapped parcel inside. The last one had been small, containing only a bar of chocolate, and it had been made of sea green glass. This bottle was a pale blue, thicker, with a large cork in the top.
He used a nearby rock to crack the bottle open. The glass shards fell to the ground and sparked amidst the sand, until the tide swept in and carried it away, back into the ocean.
He held the package curiously for a moment, feeling its weight, wondering what it might be. Then, he pulled shyly at the twine until it came undone.
The wrapping fell open and Mello blanched.
"Broccoli Love: A Steamy Affair?!" Matt read the title of the novel aloud before bursting out in a fit of laughter. The cover of the book was even funnier than the title: some buff, oiled Fabio look-alike in a chef's hat moving in to kiss the fuck out of some scantily clad woman with erect nipples. As if that weren't bad enough, a pot of broccoli sat steaming on a stovetop behind them. "What the hell is that?!"
"Hal..." he muttered embarrassedly, clapping a hand over his bright red face. "She must have sent this." Mello tried to shove it away, but Matt was faster and snatched up the book before he could object.
The redhead was already flipping through the pages when Mello noticed that there was writing on the inside of the wrapping.
He unfolded it and flattened it out against his thighs and began to read.
Today marks a year since the day you died. It seems neither happy nor sad, but that's to be expected, isn't it? The world will keep on its way today, because it will never know what happened a year ago.
Near told me to focus on what I liked about you rather than the fact that you're gone.
I'll be honest: there is very little I liked about you.
Thankfully, liking and respecting don't have to go hand in hand. I did respect you, Mello.
The only time I ever liked you was when Mello fell away and Mihael came shining through. This book is the one thing I have of that person.
I don't need that memory where I am, but I thought you might enjoy it wherever you are.
I found this quote written on an ad stuck under my windshield one morning. Maybe it's fate or maybe it's a stupid coincidence. But the point is, it means something specifically because of you.
"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
P.S. - Tell Matt I'm sorry for what happened. I really would have liked to have met him.
Mello was on the verge of showing a very emotional and weepy side of himself when Matt started to snicker beside him.
"This book is great," he declared as he thumbed through the chapters. "Listen to this-" The redhead cleared his throat and began to read. "And as he stirred the hollandaise sauce sensually, she felt a longing growing deep in her bosom." Matt screwed his face up and began talking in a grotesque falsetto. "'Oh, Marcello, I'm growing so hot! And I don't believe it is from the oven!' And as Marcello swept her into his arms, he kissed her deeply, running his hands over her voluptuous curves." He lowered his voice and grabbed Mello around the waist, speaking hotly against the blond's ear. "'Oh, my darling Giselle, you are sweeter than even the richest chocolate sauce.'"
Mello made to snatch the book away and Matt fell onto his back, arm stretched far over his head to keep the book out of his lover's reach. "Give it, Matt! It's mine!"
"Why do you want it so badly, hmm?" The gamer grinned lecherously and his arm snaked around Mello's hips to grope at his ass. "Admit it, you imagine yourself as Giselle, don't you?"
"I do not!" Mello lunged to try and get at the novel and ended up with a mouthful of sand.
"How the hell do you stir something sensuously anyway?!"
It wasn't the book that was particularly important, it was the feeling. The letter had left a warm tingling at the tips of Mello's fingers, a distinctly Hal-like feeling, and he just wanted to hold the book for a moment, feel that energy finally reach the end of the circuit.
Hal was...Hal. It was difficult for Mello to imagine her as anything else. She was one of the few people she could call a true friend, though it was a different sort of friendship from the one he had with Matt.
He could trust Hal because she was a woman. Not because she was feminine, but because she was not masculine. Hal's femininity and her being a woman didn't seem to connect in Mello's mind when he looked at her. But she was the softness in his harsh surroundings, the yin to his yang, the opposite side of the coin. She was the bridge between Near and himself, the only one that hadn't truly taken sides.
She was not quite a mother and not quite a sister.
She was just Hal.
Mello finally managed to grab the book from Matt's hands and he scrambled back up, hugging it greedily to his chest. Matt was still laying on the sand, clutching his sides as he slowly recovered from his bout of laughter. "Why would she give that to you?"
The blond gave a little smile and traced over the edges of the cover with his fingers. He felt the warmth connect and thrum and then drift away on a sea breeze.
He remembered plucking the book off of her bookshelf once and teasing her for it. Not the sort of teasing that he used against his mafia thugs or the other Wammy's children. It was more intimate than that and less malicious. He recalled how free he felt, to be able to converse with her about something other than Kira, other than plans and schemes and notebooks of death.
It was like having a glimpse into a world that might have been.
The sun was beginning to set and Matt leaned over to rest his chin against the blond's shoulder. "You want to go back now." It was a statement, not a question. He knew what a sunset meant for Mello.
Mello nodded and got to his feet, taking Matt's hand to help him up. They smiled at each other and Mello leaned over to kiss him softly.
He felt the redhead's lips turn up into a grin against his and then the book was plucked from his grasp again.
"Chase me, Giselle!" he exclaimed before dashing up the beach and towards the dunes.
He stopped just a few steps up the incline and turned back and Mello was looking at seven-year-old Mail Jeevas sticking his tongue out at him, clad in his worn-out black and white striped shirt and his patched up jeans.
Little Mihael ran after him, nearly tripping on his pants that were two sizes too big but never giving up.
The letter sat on the vacant shore until the tide, deciding it was finally time, came in and swept it out to sea and carried it off to some unseen place where all undying memories go.