Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note. Lyrics are 'Your Ex-Lover Is Dead' by Stars. The theme of this pairing, I swear. Title quote is Wilde. 'His style is chaos illuminated by flashes of lightning'. How's THAT for pseudo-academic.
Note: I…don't even know. I started off trying to write Mello/Sayu. Then I started writing first person, which I hate and never use. Then, it spiralled, and it's not a one-shot anymore. Nor is it what I wanted or intended it to be. Instead, it is this. And to be frank with you, I have no idea how it has turned out.
By Flashes Of Lightning
One: Grace Under Pressure
There's one thing I want to say
So I'll be brave
Sayu Yagami didn't know why she wasn't speaking.
Perhaps it would be more accurate (and I wish to transcribe these events accurately, because if nothing else, this should be preserved, pressed between the pages of a history much larger than both of them) to say that Sayu Yagami did not know at first. As events progressed, and I have gleaned this knowledge from third-party reports and her own sad scribbling, I believe she came to realise precisely why she had not been speaking, and that she made a conscious decision to continue in silence. If my reasoning is correct, it is quite possible he will remain silent for months, perhaps year. There is a possibility that she will remain silent forever; however, this is only a slender chance, and I would ask my reader to pay it little heed.
I am being needlessly mysterious, and to the aforementioned reader, I would like to apologise. It was not my intention, and I would have been more than content to start this in a more clinical fashion, or file it away as an official document. My reasons for not doing so, despite this being so out of character for me, are based in idle thought and useless sentiment. They centre around two envelopes, each containing papers. One contained drawings, scratchings on paper barely worth a second glance. The other contained notes on a series of murders that occurred several years ago, prefaced by a boy I believe I would never heard from again.
My name is not something of any real relevance, but my identity, for those to whom it means something still, is Near. This preface is relatively meaningless - as I have stated, it may have been better, and certainly more my 'style' (if I can be said to possess such a thing) to prepare this more as a report; impersonal, concise, relevant. Upon reflection I decided that not one of the adjectives fits, even loosely, the people whose story it has fallen on me to transcribe. The revelation led me to adopt this more difficult, even irritating method of writing. It has led me to include this pointless preface, out of some compulsion to emulate my almost-partner and self-styled runner-up's efforts in documenting the LABB killings.
I have no concept of how long a piece like this should run on for, nor where or if there is an accepted cut-off point. This being said, I will select this point to begin the acting 'telling of the tale', perhaps leaving this prematurely and perhaps too late. I neither know, nor, if I am honest, care.
Because I am not writing this for you.
I am writing it for them.
I met Sayu Yagami when she was twenty-three years old. The fact that it was at this age her brother perished did not escape my notice, but I saw little relevance in it. A string of events involving incompetence on a grand scale and a string of coincidences left us in the same building at the same time. We did not speak to each other. I am taciturn by nature, and she, I later found out, was effectively a mute. She was, and remains to this day, the brown haired girl sitting next to me, with the pretty face and the vacant, trusting eyes.
I met Mello many years before. Our first meeting essentially consisted of vicious remarks and plaintive stares, on his side and mine respectively. The remainder of our time in each other's presence progressed in much the same way. Our parting shot (we did not think of it as such at the time, though we both had our suspicions) was our final challenge to each other, before he blazed into oblivion and I slipped into obscurity. In my more idealistic moments, there are many things I wonder about what could have been, out in the edges of 'maybe's and 'what if's, but now is neither the time nor the place to discuss them.
What I am trying to convey, in this uncharacteristically awkward fumbling of mine, is a background to how it is I came to be writing these events. Shortly after my 'meeting' with Sayu Yagami, I inquired as to who she had been. I ran a background check, out of curiosity more than anything else, I told myself. Though, perhaps buried deep in my rationale, there was a spark of desire to find something, someone, connected to Mello, a being still living that remembered him with something other than hatred and anger). I discovered the radical shift on her personality that had occurred after she had been kidnapped by Mello's gang, and told myself that it would be an opportunity for information-gathering, filling blanks in my knowledge. Of course, the truth was, that I had found my link to Mello, and I wished to exploit it.
The reader must accept as givens, at this point, my sentiments towards Mello. For reference, these were respect, wariness, and a strange, undeniable affection. It might be possible, if I were of a different demeanour, to say that I viewed him as an older brother. Granted, the type of older brother that pushed you down stairs and broke your toys, and resented you for being the favoured child, but a brother nonetheless. I am hesitant to discuss the history between myself and Mello at the best of times, and this is no different: this is as far as I will go and as much as I will say. For its relevance here, it is to explain my interest in Sayu Yagami.
I tracked her down with little difficulty. I learnt her routine, I made my introductions through the Japanese taskforce. Her mother allowed me access to her, believing the story she was given that I was some kind of child-prodigy psychiatrist, who could try to relate to her daughter and pull her out of the shell she had encased herself in.
My second meeting with Sayu, then, occurred across a kitchen table, as May sunlight filtered through lazily-closed blinds and flowers swayed in a light breeze outside, in an altogether picturesque and ridiculous setting. I did not drink the glass of milk in front of me, and rolled a dice, and she folded her hands in her lap and studied the embroidered table cloth. After thirty five minutes I informed her mother that I had not made progress, but had opened an avenue to do so, and would be returning within the week.
After my third such visit, Mr Aizawa of the taskforce presented me with a bulky manila envelope. Upon opening it, I found a series of drawings. Doorways, guns, a rotating room…and Mello. Badly drawn, barely recognisable, but the same live, coiled fire that resided in everything he did shone through the pencil and biro lines.
The drawings were from Sayu. There was no note.
It is my assumption that this was her first clumsy attempt at communicating with me. I do not know why, particularly, she decided I was worth trusting with her story; if it was some trace element left on me from my years spent in Mello's presence, or some intuition I was not aware of. Regardless, once I had received those drawings, I made my decision. I returned to her home, and took my seat opposite her. I did not try to catch her gaze. I opened my mouth, closed my eyes, and began to talk about Mello.
Neither Mello nor I are 'glass at half capacity' (be it full or empty) kind of people. My urge is to either empty or fill the glass, having no preference as to which, to resolve the ridiculous quandary people have managed to set for themselves for centuries. Mello's approach is to smash the glass.
Both achieve the same end - the removal of the question, the solution to a problem - both tackle it in an unorthodox way. One makes the person involved look mildly obsessive-compulsive, and the other displays traces of psychosis. It is a simple analogy, but one that I believe accurately sums up both myself and Mello, and our relation to each other. Two people - two boys, we were then - the same in all the essentials, but with radically different approaches, vastly different solutions to the same problem.
In the end, that makes more difference than one thinks.
The next time I visited Sayu, she presented me with another drawing. They reminded me vaguely of a child's scribbles, as he tries to replicate what he has seen or been told to see by his parents. They served a similar purpose - to convey an intention or image the artist was too ineloquent to convey through words. In Sayu's case, it was the self-imposed muteness that led to her ineloquence.
The drawing was, again, of Mello. Something was conspicuously absent, though - I identified the missing object as the rosary he had worn, his parody of a religion he had privately redefined. I looked up at Sayu, in case she intended to offer a reason for this discrepancy with her other drawings.
She brought her hand to her neck and moved her cloth robe aside. Hanging around her neck was a rosary. Its beads were white - obviously not the same rosary Mello wore - but the implication was clear. The beads were absent in the picture in order to make me look for them. The beads were shown to be present around her neck. A link.
I inclined my head, demonstrating my understanding. There were several other sheets of paper around Sayu; she seemed to have been seated at the table for a while before I had arrived. I asked if I could look at them, and she slid them over.
This girl was far from catatonic. She responded, created puzzles, remembered him from one meeting to the next…she was clearly not right, but it was equally clearly not some stupor to be woken from. She was…broken? To use an unnecessarily artistic turn of phrase, it was as if something inside her had slipped out of place, and so many things were colliding within her that it was easier, more convenient, to stop talking, and let the things inside her flow along their paths.
Inspection of the pictures revealed the same thing I had found in the batch she had sent me. All were of the same bare, inelegant style, but the effort spent on the ones depicting Mello shone through. The lines were darker, deeper, had been corrected to try to make it more life-like. And the same energy flickered along those lines, the same energy that crackled under Sayu's skin, fizzling out before it reached the surface.
Coupled with the rosary, I was willing to jump to conclusions and draw the obvious inference.
"You cared for him." The words sounded clichéd and a little demeaning, but they were true. Sayu blinked up at me.
"He cared for you."
She tilted her head to the side. A human being cannot be expected to know precisely what another human being was feeling at a given point in time, but I required her to make an assumption.
Slowly, she nodded.
I am not one for physical gestures of affection or understanding. In most circumstances, words are sufficient, and in those where they are not, my input is generally not required. That day, I placed my hand on Sayu's. A meaningless gesture, overused and overvalued, but…I meant it.
She turned her hand over beneath mine, and brushed her fingers against mine. It was not tender; more, it was a link of understanding. Shared acknowledgement that in Mello, we had both found the same thing - the same brilliance, drawing one in like moths to a flame. The same arrogance, getting under the skin in ways nothing else could. The same inexorable, desperate sadness when, after mere hours in his company, you realise that he is doomed to disintegrate, disappear, burn up on the face of his own radiant sun.
It occurred to me, at last, why Sayu's silence had gone beyond the periods of shock and sadness, and pervaded these times of peace and support. I finally saw it for what it was: a tribute, a framed memory, an acknowledgement that the last true conversation she held - and would ever hold, given the choice - was with a blond boy made of fire and leather, somewhere underground in America.
I realise that this sounds theatrical. I also realise that the excuse I offer up is meaningless: that you did not know Mello, and therefore, you cannot understand what I mean. It is a trite and bothersome explanation that presupposes lack of imagination and narrow-mindedness, but nevertheless, it is all I can put forward. In your life, you may encounter a person like this - the one who lights things up, ignites an atmosphere, blazes forward with no regard for consequences or failure until they stop landing on their feet, and crash into flames and glass.
I can promise you this: you will not be the same, ever after.