Title: Photophobia

By: Dr. Kim-chan

Author's Note: Hey, all! I wanted to write this for a number of reasons (boredom being among them), but I also wanted to address one of the greatest mysteries in the Death Note fandom—Matt. He got less than ten frames in the manga, and even less time in the show, yet he's one of the most popular characters, probably right up there with L and Mello. But what do we really know about him? There's been many great theories as to where he came from, and now I would like to throw my hat into the ring.

Oddly enough, the idea for this fic came from just one interesting correlation I made. One of Matt's idiosyncrasies is his tinted goggles, which you probably know he's seen wearing all the time. Then when I got "How to Read", they mentioned that his chief dislike is going outside. So then I was like, "…huh. Maybe he has a disorder or something."

This fic is no more than the product of a Matt fan's wandering mind (and an experiment with first-person narrative). Enjoy.

Disclaimer: Oh, believe me, if I owned Death Note, there would have been a LOT less deaths…in spite of the title.


Photophobia: (noun)

1. an abnormal sensitivity to or intolerance of light, as in iritis.

2. an abnormal fear of light.


I heard the sirens, and then it was nothing but Tokyo's neon lights spinning around me as I stomped on the brakes. The momentum threw me around a bit, but the panic fluttering in my chest wasn't because I was scared the car would overturn. The damn thing's too sturdy to turn over. Hell, I could've driven through a building and I probably wouldn't have got nothing more than a few scratches.

For probably the third time in my life, I was really scared.

I mean, I knew all the kind of shit I put myself into when I decided to help Mello with this Kira case. I knew all that four years ago…probably even longer than that, when we were back in Winchester. When I picked up that gun, left the apartment, climbed into the car, and drove down to where we expected Takada to be…I had a feeling I wouldn't have the luxury of looking back.

I don't expect to be remembered as a hero. They'll probably call me "that weirdo who tried to assassinate Kiyomi Takada", or "the unnamed anti-Kira radical who took a shot at Kira's favored spokesperson" or something like that. The whole world's sitting at Kira's feet now—with the exception of Near and his team, of course. Hm. Nothing against Mello, but if anybody's gonna solve this thing now, it'll probably be Near, unless Mello plays his cards right. Last time I saw him, he was already long gone with Takada.

I hope he knows what he's doing.

The car's screeching to a halt, and I'm still hanging on to the wheel. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a roadblock blocking my only real exit. Huh. Didn't take long for Takada's goons to catch up to me. They're already out of their cars, pointing guns, ready to repay my attempt on their boss's life. They think they got it all figured out. They think they got us cornered. But between Mello and Near, they don't amount to shit.

So, I guess it'll be me alone that'll die for the cause. The one from Wammy's who didn't have anything to offer. Kind of too romantic, if you ask me.

Now I'm just sitting here, looking at them for the longest time. Briefly I glance down at the gun I just used on Takada. I got a few bullets left, but not for all these guys. What can I say? They may be stupid, but they got me outnumbered.

You know, it's not even this whole Kira case that's bothering me. It's not facing death. It's not leaving behind youth or video games or a current lack of escape routes. It's not Mello. It's not Near. It's not L.

It's the lights.

The roadblock in front of me…all the headlights from their black sedans are flashing in my damn face. It's too bright. Even with my goggles on, it's too bright. Everything's a shade of yellowish-orange or brown or a sickly greenish black.

Then it occurs to me.

Most of my life's been this color. I'm a photophobic, always have been, preferring dark places, shading the screens of my video games with goggles or using the contrast knob on the console. Now I'm sitting here, fighting the good fight against Kira (the chief suspect's name being, apparently, Light Yagami). I'm facing death, and the bright light glaring right at me, as if I really should be walking into it right now.

I almost want to laugh at the irony.

I almost want to believe that I'll get out of this, and later tonight, when I get the chance, I'll offhandedly mention this to Mello while I'm playing one of my games, and he'll smirk at me like he always does when I say something at least half-clever. We'll outsmart Near, or Near will outsmart us, and whatever happens, we'll get on with life.

I almost believe this. Almost.

Well, I see nothing but light…and as corny as it sounds, my life replaying itself in my mind. If you want to sit here and listen to a soon-to-be-dead man's last thoughts, be my guest. And hey, I'll have you know that I'm not some crazy person who likes lurking in the dark. There were some pretty bright spots, too. If nothing else, I owe Mello for dragging me out into most of them…


Appropriately, one of my first memories is in the dark.

It's pretty fuzzy, though; I was still kind of young. As I would later discover through my training at Wammy's, this has its genetic reasons. In the early parts of our lives, the neural network of our brains are still in construction, making connection after connection as we come into contact with various other external stimuli. Was I wired for a love of the dark (and conversely, a hatred of light), then? I don't know. I don't have many memories of going into the light. I like to say that I preferred the dark for as long as I remember.

They say that being "in the dark" is also a metaphor for ignorance. That seems proper for this particular memory. I just remember a large, dim-lit house just out of London's reach, a dim-lit room with video games my parents bought for me—not particularly out of love, but out of a desire to stimulate a young boy's insatiable mind. As they should, the memories of my parents are nothing but shadows. Can't say that I loved them, can't say I hated them. I just remember that they were always busy, always curious, always tinkering with various machines. Maybe they were scientists or teachers, prominent figures of society. The only thing I can say with any kind of certainty is that my father loved computers, but really, I don't know.

They were off traveling somewhere when they died. Later on I caught the gist of suspected foul play, the mysterious, legal gray line between accident and murder. But that's not the point. Not really. The point was that I didn't know all this for quite a few days. It didn't really bother me; I had always been a self-sufficient child, a child dead to the world. I mean, I had other interests besides video games. I think I had friends. I think I went to school once. I think I was too smart for the teachers, too curious.

Meanwhile, everything outside had turned completely into chaos. People were being contacted, investigations were being conducted, and everyone, to my surprise, was worried about my welfare.

I vaguely remember a caretaker walking into my room, seeing me, telling me in a quiet, unsteady voice that my parents died. I looked at him and squinted—the light from the hall was creeping into my room, and I was unsure how to react. Something jolted inside, but it wasn't hard enough to send me into hysterics. I think I just sighed, and suddenly I gained enough concentration to move on to the next level in the game I'd been playing at the time.

I don't think I wanted to hear anything else.

The caretaker kept trying to talk to me—I guess he was in disbelief that I wasn't getting all weepy or whatever. I remember growing angry, telling him to leave in the best authoritative voice a six or seven-year-old could muster. After a while he backed off, and the light went away.


I stayed in that room, that safe, dark haven, for a few more weeks.

Every once in a while the caretaker and a couple other adults would pop in to see if I was fine, try to get me something to eat, or check if I was sleeping properly. I'd accept, and I'd go out to use the bathroom or something, but nothing else. I don't know if my subconscious was acting like any other neurotic adult would do and avoiding the grief over my parents' deaths by committing all my time and energy to video games, or if I simply didn't have anything else to do. My parents had been in charge of my life, after all. Without them, my life had no direction, and I could do as I pleased.

And all I wanted to do was play my games.

I remember bright screens flashing, explosions from gun shots or bombs, CG effects…always set against stark darkness. I don't know if this contributed to my eventual problem, or if this had been a genetic disorder simply waiting in the wings, but slowly, gradually, my vision blurred. I wasn't scared, though, just annoyed. I had to force myself to sit further and further from the screen, further away from the only thing giving my life meaning at the time.

I was just about to relent and tell the caretaker about this when someone walked into my room.

Not the caretaker, but a much older man.

He startled me so much, I pressed the "Pause" button—something I rarely did. It must have been winter or something; he had on one of those fancy black trench coats with a matching fedora. He looked like the undertaker.

"Hello, Mr. Jeevas."

One of the last times someone would call me by any part of my real name. His voice was kind, though, but his language was a bit too stuffy to be talking to a guy my age.

I didn't say anything.

"My name is Quillish Wammy, founder and administrator of the Wammy House."

Never heard of it, I thought, so it had no interest to me, but I kept letting him talk.

"I understand that you have no other immediate relatives to take you in, and no one else has come forth to take you in, I'm afraid. Under normal circumstances, this would make you a ward, but I happen to be a friend of your father's. I've also been to your school and seen your standard test scores. You have great potential."

I raised an eyebrow.

"For what?" I asked plainly.

"Allow me to explain. The Wammy House is an orphanage, specially suited for gifted children such as yourself. I have come to take you in, but first, you must take a series of standardized tests. The Wammy House also serves as a boarding school that encourages its students to cultivate their abilities."

Basically, I was going to a special place only other kids in my situation got to go to. Someone else was going to step in and tell me what to do, and as weird as it sounds, this was comforting. It wasn't as if I wanted to stay and play video games for the rest of my life. I didn't know if it was a sad thing or not; it just seemed like yet another adventure to me.

Not long afterward, however, did I find out that the Wammy House held its own kind of dark secrets.