Disclaimer: I still don't own Death Note. I don't even, really, own the OCs here - as explained at the bottom. Making no profit, just mangling a fandom.
Note: So this chapter is where the plot really starts to pick up and I lose all my readers who came in for the promise of Sayu/Near. There still will BE some but it's going to be part of a larger (crazier) plot. Now, I'm not good at actually constructing story lines, but when I do it, I do it in a big way. More explanation at the end for this one, so see you there.
Louder Than Words
It was the first anger Sayu had felt in months. It had been the first gut-dropping horror, too – she hadn't felt anything, not for a long time, not after her dad and her brother had died. Feeling hadn't rushed back all at once and nor had it returned gradually – it had come in fits and starts. First, there had been a dull feeling of contentment, out of place of everything, and feeling understood – this was Near. Then there had been a sudden burst of things: excitement, feeling cold, feeling warm, feeling tired, laughter. That had been Matsuda, taking her out to a funfair, a park, a movie theatre. Then the same feelings had looped, over and over, and though a part of her knew that she should be sad, she just couldn't feel it. She hadn't re-learnt how to yet.
And then there was Misa. Seeing Misa's face fall, seeing the sudden horror in her eyes, had made the pit of Sayu's stomach fall out, a horrible, cold emptiness that made her sick all the way up her throat. Then, she'd remembered how much she'd loved Light, how often her daddy used to play games with her when she was little – how desperately, suffocatingly sad everything was these days...
Near. Near had been there with his blank face and his superiority and his casual demeanour, and she'd hated him. This was an emotion she had only felt once before: directed, full force, at Kira – Kira, for taking her father, Kira, for taking her brother, Kira, for taking Mello and for making her mother sad – It was strange, then, that the second time she hated someone, after rising from her waking sleep, it hadn't been for action and destruction, but an absence. An absence of caring, an absence of colour, an absence of...everything.
She had wanted Near to be like Mello. And now, bit by bit, she was finding that nothing could be further from the truth.
He had left an hour ago, she noted, tilting her head back to look at the click on her bedroom wall. She had sunk to the kitchen floor and cried, a sudden horrific loneliness washing over her. Sobs had racked her for a good five minutes before, suddenly, she stopped. She got to her feet. She smoothed back her hair. It wouldn't do for her mother to find her here, this upset. She took the stairs one at a time, carefully, peering down through swollen eyes. Inside her room, slumped against the door she closed weakly behind her, she hadn't been able to cry. She had just felt very tired...and very sad.
All her fury had left her. She could barely raise her arm – some kind of strange lethargy had started seeping into her limbs. And for an hour, she simply sat there.
Now, some feeling was returning to her extremities. She was still tired, but she had presence enough to bring a hand up to cover her eyes. She pressed her temples, and let out a slow, measured breath.
Logic was coming back. Linear thinking. Organisation. Not something Sayu had ever really been good at, but...she closed her eyes, tried to pull her thoughts into order.
Misa knew about Light. Misa was devastated. Misa might do something dangerous.
Sayu fumbled for her phone, and missed the digits three times before remembering she had the number on speed dial. A heavy press on the "3" key and then the phone is ringing, and after a few rings too many, a voice says, "Hello?"
"Matsuda, hey." Sayu knew she sounded like she'd been crying. Her voice was low and a little hoarse, and touched with heartbreak around the edges.
"Sayu? Are you okay?" Immediately, Matsuda sounded anxious. Despite herself, something glowed in Sayu's chest at his concern. It was nice to feel like she hadn't been forgotten, hadn't been abandoned – that someone cared.
"No," she answered truthfully. "I'm really upset. I jsut saw Near and –"
"Near? You saw Near? Is that why you're upset, because of something Near did? I can go after him, Sayu, just say the world –"
"No, no," she cut across him. "No, it's – before I saw Near, I saw Misa, and I didn't realise she didn't know about Light, and I told her..."
For a moment, Matsuda didn't answer. Then he said very quietly, "Oh, Sayu."
Her heart, if it could, would have broken again. Matsuda didn't, for a second, sound like he blamed her. He didn't sound like he was judging what had happened, didn't sound like he cared why – it was as if, she thought, it was as if he just realised how much this would destroy Misa, and was feeling just as destroyed himself.
It was so different to Near's objective, callous approach. Matsuda didn't question it. He just...cared.
"You – um – I think someone should be with her," she found herself saying, while she twisted a finger in the hem of her top.
"In case she – um – in case-" she left the sentence hanging, and after a few seconds of baffled silence, Matusda caught on.
"Oh...Oh! Oh, you're right! Um, I gotta go Sayu, I gotta talk to Aizawa –"
A fumbled goodbye later, the line went dead, and Sayu was left, phone pressed to her ear, unsettled and alone.
The girl standing by the railway station was slender, and not particularly tall. Her hair was long and cut evenly at the ends, and hung, pale and heavy, around her face. She was pretty, in an unassuming, inoffensive way, and her eyes were clear and glazed. She was blind.
She wore, over delicate hands, thin black gloves, and had a dark purple hood pulled up over her head. The wind ruffled her long skirt, and she shivered as her shawl shifted from her shoulder. Next to her, a burly man with dark hair and a thin line of beard extended his arm. He pulled the shawl back over her shoulder, resting his fingers briefly against her skin.
"Mei? Are you alright? We can go back..."
The girl shook her head, her hair swaying in the wind. "No. I want to stay here."
The man let out a sigh. "Mei...we've been here for ages. It's cold. It's January. There's snow been predicted –" He spoke Japanese with an American accent, and wore a heavy leather jacket over jeans and a shirt that, once upon a time, had been smart. "We should go. We've been waiting for hours, and nothing's going to –"
"Quiet!" Mei cut across him suddenly, raising her head. "Thomas, did you hear that?"
"No? Hear what? Nothing happened. There wasn't any..." He trailed off, watching her, his brow furrowed.
"I heard something fall," she said quietly, then raised an arm, and pointed. "Over there."
With a sigh, Thomas turned his gaze towards where she was pointing. "There's a couple of bushes, a tree, an old sign that's falling apart...want me to go check?" Without waiting for an answer, he added, "Stay put," and moved towards the place Mei had pointed to.
Mei pulled her shawl closer around herself. She knew she had heard something – something very distinct; the fluttering of paper in a breeze, and the gentle thud of a light object falling to the ground. It was the same noise she had heard in her dream, the same noise that had brought her to the abandoned station today.
Thomas' footsteps crunched back toward her over semi-frozen ground, echoing in her over-sensitive ears.
"It was a notebook." He pressed it into her hand, and she ran her fingers across it, making out markings on the front, a number of pages inside, and thin, flexible covers.
"What's on the front?"
Thomas took it back from her. "What do you know – it's in English. My speciality. It says 'Death Note'." Mei heard the sound of pages being ruffled, and assumed Thomas was flicking through it. "Something written in kanji underneath it too, think it might be the same thing. Oh, hang on. There's stuff on the inside cover. Um – oh, it's English too. No Japanese this time."
"What does it say?"
"Rules or something," he said dismissively. "Looks like a lot of nonsense." He began to read in an affected tone – "The human whose name is written in this note –"
Mei waited for him to continue, but when he did not, she frowned. "Thomas? What is it?"
"What?" she said, sharpness creeping into her tone. Her heart sped up, and in her gut, she knew this was it – knew she hadn't interpreted the dream wrong – and that this would be – "Thomas, read it out!"
"The human whose name is written in this note," he said, very quietly, "shall die."
And Mei smiled, and pressed her palms together, interlocking her fingers. She fell to her knees, dry mud flaking against her skirt. She laughed.
"Mei." Thomas sounded a little choked. "Mei – do you think – is this – what you said before, about –"
"Yes! Yes, Thomas, it is – it is! This is – Lord Kira – he's back...he has gifted us with his mission! Thomas, our saviour is returned to us!"
Misa was sitting, still and silent as a statue, her neck bent, her eyelids lowered, and her hands clasped in her lap. She was dressed demurely and sombrely.
"Misa." Aizawa placed a hand on her shoulder, squeezing it reassuringly. "I'm glad you're hear."
"Matsuda told me to come," she said in a very small voice. Then she added, "He drove me here."
"I know." Aizawa's tone was all business. "I apologise for not telling you before now about Light. We were worried about you."
"How could you think – " Misa started, and then stopped. "You must have know I would find out eventually."
"I thought maybe you would forget. Start getting over him. Then when you found out...it wouldn't hurt so much."
"Misa could never forget Light."
Aizawa's face clouded. The statement had been deliberately provocative – and she hadn't reacted. Misa was always, always ready to leap up and challenge anyway who said her love for Light had not been absolute, and now here she was, quiet and solemn, expressing herself in murmurs and whispers.
"Of course not. But we hoped anyway."
"How did he die?" she asked.
"Kira," he answered. It was all the information he was willing to give her. "A year ago now."
She nodded, once. She swallowed. Her eyes welled up, she turned her head quickly to the side. She drew a deep, shuddering breath, released it, and then, finally, raised her head to look at Aizawa.
"There's grief counselling," he began, launching into a pre-prepared speech. "And all of us are here for you – Sachiko Yagami has offered to look after you, and Matsuda's said he's willing to visit you as often as you need. We're going to look after you, don't worry. And maybe in time –"
"No," she cut across him, in the same, small voice. "I mean...what am I going to do now?"
The plaintive, empty note in her voice struck a chord in Aizawa. He thought of his wife. He thought of his daughters. And he thought of how he would feel if they had been ripped away from him, if he'd been kept in the dark about it for a year...
"I don't know," he said. "I'm sorry. I don't know."
Misa started to cry.
It wasn't possible.
What Near was doing – what this sudden, erratic, impossible train of thought meant – was simply ridiculous. It wasn't possible and he knew it. It was simply...simply a similar phenomenon. It was not Kira. It was simply a pseudo-Kira.
But when the first criminals had started dying, he hadn't been able to suppress it: a momentary upsurge of panic, a terrible sense of futility and a second of blank terror.
And then he had been back in possession of his senses, and ashamed of himself. It was perfectly ridiculous. He couldn't help but analyse his reaction, though, and concluded that it was a result of the devastation Kira had caused. He had robbed Near of what was left of his childhood, stolen Near and Matt away – and bested L through cheats and lies. The panic, he supposed, came from an irrational idea that Yagami had come back to somehow 'finish the job' and kill Near, too. A clean sweep, so to speak.
But no. No, no, no. That wasn't it. He had spoken to a shinigami. Ryuk had been very clear on one thing, despite his apparent stupidity: once dead, a human can never come back. And Light Yagami was dead.
But there would have been other Death Notes. Other shinigami. It was possible – entirely possible – that another shinigami had initiated a similar series of events, and some Kira-supporter had got hold of a Death Note and taken it upon himself to carry on the murderer's work.
Yes. That had to be it.
In fact – it could even have been Misa Amane. He had never understood the task force's decision to let her go – though he did understand, now, that her memory was gone – thanks, again, to Ryuk, and their conversation about what happened when you relinquished control of a Death Note.
L's headquarters had been abandoned since his death. Now, a single light was on, on the third floor, and Near sat at a lone monitor tucked far away from the main computers downstairs. He was entirely alone. Roger, the only other person in the building, was preparing food three rooms away. Near was safe.
He opened a file. No one touched Near's files – not even Roger. From between leafs of paper, he withdrew a slender volume, running his fingers over the cover. He flicked through the pages.
"Ah. Getting worried, then?"
"Why so abrupt? I thought we were getting to be buddies."
"We're not buddies."
"What you going to do about Kira then?"
"It's not Kira."
"Guy killing criminals with a Death Note. Sounds like Kira to me."
Near rubbed his temples. "You know what I mean. It's not Light Yagami. Not the real Kira."
"Oh, well, sure it's not Light. I wrote his name in my book, remember?"
"I remember, Ryuk. I was there, if you don't recall."
"Yeah, you were the funny kid with the mask." Ryuk grinned, and turned upside down in mid-air, floating behind Near. "Good thing you kept the Note, right? Didn't burn it? Useful to have me around now, right? Any questions you need answered, you got me here."
Near cast the grinning shinigami a scathing look. "Because you're just dying to volunteer your help."
"Hey, you're not nearly as nice to me as Light was. He used to let me have apples. You're just mean. I could kill you anytime, you know."
"If you were going to, you would have by now, surely?" Near barely changed his expression, but one eyebrow quirked ever so slightly upwards.
"Well yeah, maybe. But you're clever – you give me enough apples and interesting things to watch, and I know that if you really felt threatened, you'd just burn the book and be done with me."
"So...is it a deal? My help in exchange for some bountiful human fruits?"
Near shrugged. "If it turns out I need your help, then yes. If not – just stop hiding Roger's things. He believes he is going senile."
Ryuk snickered. "So you're gonna go after this new guy, huh?"
"Good for you. This sounds like it could be fun." Ryuk floated in front of Near, who glanced up at him, looking disinterested. "One thing, though. Why didn't you burn my Note?"
"Having a Death Note around could prove useful. Especially – as happened – a new one arrived here."
"Yeah, yeah, I get that. So did you want to keep me around or something? Lonely?"
"You underestimate yourself, Ryuk. As you said earlier, you are a veritable mine of information on shinigami, the Death Notes, and Kira."
"I never said that..."
"You implied it. Forgive me for giving you more credit than you have, as yet, earned."
"Hyuk. I've earned it. The thing I don't get is...why did you keep them both?"
Near replaced the Death Note in the file.
"You never know what might come in handy."
Sayu's phone was ringing. Blearily, she opened her eyes, and fumbled around on her bedside cabinet. She answered it, and murmured, "Hello?"
"Hey, Sayu." It was Matsuda, sounding depressed, and tired. "I'm outside. Can I come in? I didn't want to knock to wake up your mother."
"And it's alright to wake me up?"
He laughed sheepishly, half-heartedly. "Sorry. I'll go...I just, um, it's about Misa..."
Sayu closed her eyes, feeling her heart sink. "I'll be right down." She closed her phone. It clicked gently.
Matsuda looked as run-down as he had sounded on the phone, and when Sayu opened the door to him, she was greeted by the sight of him hunched over and sorrowful.
"She tried to kill herself," he said.
"Come in. I'll get you a drink."
While the kettle boiled, and Sayu carefully went through the unpractised, near-forgotten motions of making coffee, Matsuda hovered by the microwave.
"She tried to overdose," he was saying, eyes fixed on a tile of the kitchen floor. "Sleeping pills, paracetemol...everything she could get her hands on. I went there because...well, if I'm honest, because it's Valentine's Day tomorrow and I thought she would be missing Light more than ever and –" He broke off, laughed dryly. "I was going over to make sure she didn't do anything to herself. And it turned out that's exactly what she was in the middle of...she didn't open the door. I got in pretty easy...stopped her before she did anything. It doesn't even count as attempted suicide because she only swallowed two pills. She was pretty sleepy, that's about it."
"Where is she now?" Sayu asked, pouring hot water.
"She's...in my car. She's asleep. I...Sayu, is it okay if she stays here tonight? I just – I didn't think it would be appropriate to take her home with me, and I didn't want to wake anyone else up, and I thought maybe you might be able to..."
Sayu looked up. Matsuda was still focusing on the floor tile, and his cheeks were red. She handed him a mug of coffee.
"Of course." She put a hand on his arm, a little uncertain of how to comfort him, fighting down the feeling of desperation rising in her stomach.
"I think it's the new Kira," he murmured, avoiding her eyes.
Sayu felt a shiver run through her. She knew – no, she'd been told, one evening when Matsuda had had a few glasses of wine – that Kira had been defeated, not long after Light had died. But she'd never really been sure, never really been convinced...and now, it was either Kira coming back, and her brother and father dying for nothing, or a new Kira, and the whole damn thing being for nothing, because what was the point of fighting Kira if new ones just kept coming?
"Because Light was...well, because it was Kira who..." Matsuda waved a hand inefficaciously, still noticeably avoiding looking at her. Sayu ignored it.
"I know," she said. "She can stay here. We'll look after her, but on one condition."
"I want you to stay here tonight too. You're not in any condition to be driving home, even if the roads are empty. And it'd be better if you were here – when she wakes up – to take care of things, and help explain to my mum..."
Matsuda swallowed, and nodded. "Okay then. I'll – um- wait, where will we both sleep?"
"Put Misa in my bed," Sayu told him, hand still resting on his arm. "I'll bring out some pillows and a blanket for the couch."
"What about you?"
"I'm going to stay up." She took a mouthful of her own coffee, savouring the simple warmth of it. "So when Misa wakes up I can explain why she's ended up here and what's going on. And make sure she doesn't..."
"I'll stay up too," Matsuda said immediately. "You shouldn't have to – I mean, I've just come here and dumped this on you, and you're still recovering, and – I know it was an awful thing to do, but I – I just couldn't think of anything else –"
He turned away from her, guilt-ridden and embarrassed. Sayu put down her coffee and stretched her arms around him in a hug.
"Don't worry," she whispered. "Just for tonight, don't worry. Tomorrow...tomorrow we'll work it all out." Sayu glanced up at the clock. "Well, later today. Happy Valentine's," she added, with a sad smile.
He laughed bitterly. "Happy Valentine's day, Sayu."
They were very close. Sayu rested her head against his shoulder, listening to his breath and his heartbeat.
"It'll be okay," she said, suddenly, irrationally.
"It probably won't."
"Yeah," she murmured, into Matsuda's shoulder and the cold darkness of the night. "It probably won't."
Note: And with that fluffy ending, it's back to me yapping.
So first off: the OCs. When I see OCs in a story my gut reaction is usually to avoid avoid avoid, so I understand if you're dropping this story here. But if you're staying, pick up your copy of the twelfth manga, if you have it, and flick on over to the back pages. See all those Kira supporters? See the double page spread? The guy looking sad with a big nose and a beard - that's who i'm basing Thomas off. And the girl with the candle who goes "Kira our saviour" - that there's my Mei. I assure you - their role in this story is purely plot based, and will diminish as soon as I get the real characters in there to take over from them. There will be no OC/character romances - this I promise you.
For me this chapter seems to twist and turn more than a twisty turny thing. I know where I'm going but I feel like I'm getting there in a roundabout and overly-sensational way. Still, this is, pretty much, my first attempt at DN plot beyond short short things - so I hope you enjoyed, and if you have a few moments spare, please let me know what you think.