It was not a lively coffee shop.
No, it was not at all. In fact for the most part it was rather empty. One would wonder how it would stay in business, being one of those shops that always seemed quiet and yet it never went out of business. The kind of coffee shop you peered into just once maybe drove past, noting to yourself that it looked cute. But the notion was lost in the jumble of day-to-day life. There was nothing particularly wrong with the little shop, per say, it wasn't dirty, the coffee wasn't particularly bitter, and the pastries weren't all that bad. Maybe it was the fact that most everyone drove past it once, smiling a little and making one small promise that they would go back. However the shop waited and waited, the promise never fulfilled.
There could only be a small group of people that could be identified as regulars. Even these were mostly stuffy old men that entered for their morning coffee crossing back out over the welcome mat just as soon as they had trod upon it to enter. However, every day at a precise time a man would enter. He was unlike the regular faceless folk that ambled in. He was young and handsome, always sporting a shirt, occasionally with a tie, occasionally not. You could tell by the way he walked and the way he spoke he took great pride in his appearance. And to the casual observer, he deserved every ounce of vanity he hid so well, for he was indeed a striking man.
So he entered this coffee shop. He ordered the same thing, and sat down to stare pensively out into nothingness, occasionally breaking his statue-like manner in order to take a sip of his steaming beverage. Always a decaf coffee, always black, and he always seated himself at the same rickety table on the same wobbling stool. How this schedule arose, the bland girl whom worked at the shop wondered, could not be determined. Only that he pushed through the doorway each and every day, the bells dangling upon the entryway jingling to signal his gallant entrance. Then he ordered his bitter liquid and complacently sat until he was done.
One thing he always had with him was a bag slung over his shoulder. The contents of this bag were unknown, as it always stayed firmly shut as he went through his daily ritual of sipping coffee at the lonely little coffee shop. It was until one particular Tuesday that he removed something from the mysterious container. The bag seemed a vital part of his person and yet never once was touched, until now. Clever fingers pulled out a camera. It was a high-end kind of camera, heavy and top of the line. The girl at the counter raised an eyebrow, but went back to flipping through her magazine. He fiddled with it, eyebrows knitting together in mute puzzlement as he fingered the intricate piece of technology. He held the camera to a brown eye, taking an experimental view at the atmosphere about him. He paused, letting the camera lower, revealing his blank face. He gently placed the camera back in the bag.
He left with his coffee still half full.
The street was nearly lively, close to thriving but not quite there. On the brink of busy but falling short of bustling. Light enjoyed it when it was like this. There was an atmosphere, a feeling, but it was not so crowded that this feeling was lost in throngs of people. It hung in the air like the thick, rich smell of a nearby bakery. Or the wafting odor of cigarette smoke, making the lungs tingle but not so potent it stung.
It was perfect.
And yet as Light Yagami took a seat upon the edge of a water fountain, he could find no inspiration. His senses hummed insistently with energy but his brain promptly hit a dull, deadened stop. Pursing his lips, Light withdrew the camera from his knapsack, weighing the object in his deft hands. It felt like a led weight upon his palms, becoming a cold, unfeeling machine as his inspiration dwindled to a pathetically low level. Utilizing his peripherals, he caught sight of an obese old man sitting on a bench in the shade, a woman in her mid-twenties with a young daughter in tow, a group of teenage girls huddled together in a small semi-circle, and a man lighting up a smoke as leaned against a thin, miserable tree that looked oddly out of place in the world of concrete adjacent to it.
Raising the camera to a brown eye, the lens keenly locked upon the quirky, everyday populous that lined the streets. Light was paying a small amount of attention to what his lens had fixated upon; he snapped photographs in a rhythmic fashion, implementing little mental effort as he clicked the button marked "TAKE PHOTO."
iClick, click, click./i
Light's mouth too the shape of a gaping hole, jaw hanging slightly loose from its hinges as he glanced at the glowing monitor. After his daily excursion, he had decided to sift through the pictures he had taken. Most of it had been mediocre, shots that had been taken in rapid succession, and this had showed in the quality. But there was one…one single shot that now claimed the entirety of the screen. Light had blown it up to get a better look.
There was a man sitting on a park bench, half of him bathed in sunlight and the other covered by the sparse, dotted shade of the trees. Like little holes had been punched in the shadows for the light to glance cunningly through. His hair was a dark nest that sat atop his head in a great, black, knotted mass. Unruly pieces hung down, haphazardly lying across his pallid face. Wide, bulging eyes glared out, one in the light and the other in the dark. His pose was anything but usual, knees drawn across his chest and toes peering over the edge of the park bench. A pair of ratty old sneakers were strewn with little affection at his feet.
The shot was…stunning. And Light caught himself wondering how he hadn't taken any real notice of such a striking and distinctive subject.
Light needed to shoot him again.
iHe/i was perfect.
Light glanced over his shoulder as he walked slowly through the streets. The camera hung around his neck by a black band, swaying lightly with each step. It was more crowded, Fridays always tended to be the busier of the days. There were several families, men strolling with hands in their pockets, a group of average adolescents, and a man that looked conspicuously shabby as he leaned against the wall of a building. There was no sight of a the man.
"Damn it…" Light murmured, twisting and turning fluidly through the diverse crowd. It was at that moment that Light caught sight of something. He saw that familiar mass of black. With his eyes locked onto his target, Light pushed more urgently through the sea of white, black, and everything in between. There were several offended cries as Light pushed through a little harder than necessary. Finally he caught up to the figure with the nest of black hair. His outfit was slightly different…baggy jeans and what looked like a sweat shirt. At least that was what Light could tell from his view. All he could see was his back.
A hand clamped down upon the shoulder of the black-haired youth. Light waited anxiously.
However instead of the pale-faced enigmatic-looking man, he saw a sallow youth with his face pierced in several places. No, no…the man's face had not been marred by metal, he was alabaster and untouched.
"Uh…Who're you?" the boy asked, his shoulder stiffening, his gaze puzzled.
It took Light a moment to come back to reality and snatch back his hand. "I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else," he replied tersely, his tone very frustrated.
"Whatever," the kid said, eyeing him apprehensively.
Turning around, Light's feet trodden heavily upon the concrete. He was genuinely disappointed, and angrier than anything that it hadn't been that mysterious man he had captured upon film.
In the weeks that followed, chances of catching sight of the ever-elusive man seemed slim. Light's frustration became nearly palpable. He was everywhere and nowhere at the same time, strings of baffling occurrences coming in constant flow. Small flashes of his face, his hair, and his clothes slipped conspicuously across Light's peripherals, only to disappear a moment later, almost as if it were mocking him. Several times he had approached an unwitting stranger, finding just moments later that it had been someone else entirely. Light had grown resentful of his constant failure to find the man. Perhaps he had moved on, taken an airplane to a different country, moved to a different town, or was merely even utilizing a different street. The possibilities were limitless, and once more he became a face lost in the crowd of billions.
Light pushed the door in violently, the bells jangling out a manic sound of entry, His voice was evidently moody, and his countenance was irritable. The slouching girl at the counter jumped with his loud arrival, and went to make his usual, almost fearful of his wrath. He paid little attention to his surroundings as he sat in his usual chair, which rocked uneasily as a greeting. The legs of the stool screeched as he yanked it forward. The girl hurried from behind the counter, carefully toting a steaming cup of coffee.
"Your coffee, sir," she said politely, a hint of puzzlement in her tone. He took it wordlessly. With a slightly offended look at his silence, the girl trod back to her place behind the counter, shooting Light another quizzical glare.
Light breathed, watching the smoke billow up and disappear. It was easy to see how things disappeared, how people disappeared…Light's eyes halted.
In the corner of the little coffee shop was the man, sitting with his feet drawn across his chest. In one hand, he delicately clutched a fork. Upon the utensil sat a very generous piece of cake which hovered inches from his open, and awaiting mouth.
"You," Light said loudly, feeling his nerves tingle with a sense of triumph, though it was pure chance he had once more stumbled upon the man.
This statement caused the pale man to jump, the piece of cake tumbling from his silverware and landing upon the groin of his jeans. Bug-like black eyes glanced with much solemnity at the fallen cake, then up to the young male who had addressed him so clearly.
"I believe," he said, his voice filled with remorse, "that you have caused me to drop my cake."
Light had quickly moved from his table, leaving the coffee behind. "Sorry," he said brusquely, it was clear he hadn't nearly as much regret for the wasted morsel. "I'm Light Yagami," Light stated, moving to shake the man's hand.
"Yes, you are Light Yagami," the man observed dryly, watching the hand with little interest. The polite smile faltered upon Light's face but did not fall away entirely. His hand dropped to his side. "I've seen you around before."
The man dug his fork into the generous slice of cake before him. "You haff?" he asked, his mouth slightly full. Small bits of crumbs fell from his lips. Light pursed his lips. It was almost as if he was finding every way he could to irritate the man who had just claimed the seat across from him. "I'm afraid I haven't seen you."
Light frowned. "I happened to take a picture of you."
"Oh," he replied simply, looking rather cross-eyed as he stared down at the quickly-disappearing confection.
"I was wondering," Light said, now becoming quite irate, "if I could have your name and I could take a few more photos of you."
"I must decline," the man replied, "I've been very busy lately."
"Busy?" Light asked incredulously, staring down as he continued to eat his cake.
"Terribly," the man replied through a mouthful of food. Light hid his scoff. "And you may call me…" he paused, as though he was going through something in his head. "…Ryuuzaki."
"Well, Ryuuzaki, I would make it worth your while."
"Hm…I'm afraid I don't swing that way, Mr. Yagami," Ryuuzaki proffered after a moment. Light's cheeks reddened.
"I meant money."
"Oh," Ryuuzaki uttered that single exasperating syllable, sounding innocent, as though it was a simple misinterpretation. "Forgive me, I'm a bit dull." But something about him told Light that he was the polar opposite of that.
"No problem," Light said, "but there is something interesting about your face and your mannerisms and your dress…you still have cake on…" he inclined his head.
"Ah, thank you for reminding me." Light watched in horror as he used the fork to scrape it from his denim trousers. His etiquette, which Light had previously found interesting, was now nearly appalling. Once the novelty of it had worn off, Light could only ponder where he had learned it from.
It was then that Ryuuzaki got up from his crouching position and moved into an equally peculiar stance. His back was hunched as though his spine had been curved. His ratty old sneakers dragged their weary laces along as he trudged out, leaving Light in his wake, trying to digest the brief meeting. And as Ryuuzaki's back was to Light, the youth drew out his camera and quickly began to snap shots. There was something completely bothersome about him, something about him that prodded the wrong thing in Light. But the young photographer was completely besotted with his pictures.
Over the weeks that followed, Ryuuzaki had shown to the little coffee shop several times. Sometimes Light would dare approach him, only to have all of his comments replied to with something so furtively witty, it would take a genius to detect all the connotations. He hardly got farther than that, and Light's offer for taking pictures in a more private and chosen setting had not been met. Only the constant murder of all his sly attempts to get the man to comply.
After a while, Light had resorted to buying Ryuuzaki baked goods, and the photographer had discovered that the man had quite the sweet tooth. Even this bribery could not sway Ryuuzaki. Light wondered how much more income the shop was accumulating now just from his exorbitant spending. From cakes to cookies, tea to smoothies, brownies to cupcakes. He had bought just about every sweet on the face of the planet for Ryuuzaki, and the man still hadn't moved from his resolve.
The only thing it did was encourage Ryuuzaki to come everyday. He couldn't resist the temptation of being treated to different sugary concoctions. This could only further Light's growing impatience. How much more would he have to push to get what he wanted? Just one photo shoot…for all this trouble, just one would sate him. But the bastard refused him at every turn.
"Why do you come here every day" Ryuuzaki had asked one day, picking up a chocolate-dipped cherry by its stem, gripping it between his thumb and forefinger, "when you know as well as I do that I will not waver for you?"
Light paused, glancing through the plumes of steam from his coffee. Black, bitter as always. "Because, you will eventually."
"The world does not always bend your way, Light Yagami."
"I didn't say that," Light said, tapping his finger upon the table.
"Yes, you did," Ryuuzaki argued. Light sighed, but did not argue further. It was impossible when the man across from his was as obstinate as a small child, stubborn as anything.
"I don't need to explain myself to you."
"Then the photos aren't very important," Ryuuzaki countered. Light gritted his teeth.
"What, are you giving me a psychoanalysis?" Light asked this statement filled with cold humor. Ryuuzaki placed his thumb to his lips and replied matter-of-factly.
"I don't need to explain myself to you," Light repeated curtly.
Ryuuzaki slid the cherry stem between his lips and into his cavernous mouth. "I was just curious why you insist on seeing my everyday. You're not unintelligent, just foolish and arrogant—" Light's frown deepened at this "—it makes no sense for you to continue to meet me here everyday, when you know the answer doesn't change. There's no logic, no deductions in that."
"I was here first," Light said pompously, once more dodging the question. He got to his feet, snatching up his leather jacket and throwing crumpled bills onto the table to cover the bill. Ryuuzaki watched him with orbicular black eyes, drawing out the knotted cherry stem from his mouth, and placing it upon the table
There honestly was no logic to it. And Light stormed out, because he hated the answer.