MORE IMPORTANT AUTHOR'S NOTE: This will be forever incomplete. Read and enjoy, please, but expect to remain forever unsatisfied (not to mention really really confused).
Author's Note: Why hello. This is the prologue to Wid or, alternately, Whispers. Don't expect to understand it immediately, because you won't. Sorry.
Co-writer's Note: It happens to be a crossover of a good number of tales, but Death Note and The Darkangel Trilogy, by Meredith Ann Pierce, formulate the majority of the plot.
A/N: Thank the Grammar Nazi for saving the day, everyone; without her, my spelling would be the death of all who read this. It'd look like a Mary-Sue centric fic if I left the words alone.
Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note or The Darkangel Trilogy and am not going to waste my time copying and pasting this into further chapters. If you're that finicky, come back and reread it a few times.
The blackened apple falls from his hand,
arcing through the air,
and he can not help but follow its blurring,
even as it falls silently to the floor
It rolls until it brushes against pale fingers, glowing crimson in the lightless room
Cold eyes watched as the flames rose. Everything, everything burned, wasting away to ash in the heat of the inferno as bodies disintegrated and foundations crumbled. By morning, nothing would remain but splintered bones and charred stone. The wanderer sneered in contempt as the hell-sent blaze tore through all that remained of his humanity, spiraling through houses and trees in graceful, undulating arcs of light and color; crackling in a rushing, overpowering deluge of sound and force.
Closing his eyes and shutting off his thoughts, he turned his mind away from the memories that engulfed him, for they too were screaming with the pain of death.
Someone had once told him that he had a heart of snow—something so cold and icy that it tore away the flesh of all who tried to touch it. They were wrong, though. His heart was fire, a skillful dancer who changed tempo on accordance to the fuel given; it fed off of fear and anguish and turned them into little more than another step in its elegant waltz. Those who touched it didn't freeze—they burned.
He continued to watch the world below him as its ashes fell away into the night. He could hear the tolling of church bells calling out to him from across the abyss, shrieking with shattered memories and brittle promises even as the walls of his long-ago home collapsed piece by piece and shard by shard, enshrouded by a veil of smoke and fire. Those bells never could drown out the howling; they had merely accompanied it in a hellish cacophony. Nothing had changed—each sonorous ring vibrated throughout the night, clanging against the devouring fire. The first time he heard the peals, he had thought them beautiful, but perhaps… perhaps even that had been a lie, another broken promise.
They had promised him that one day he would be normal, sworn to him he would be able to feel, to love, to be… happy. They had promised to take him away from the shadows in the nightmares and draw him into their own personal Eden, but the light had not been bright enough to blind him from what he was meant to be; nor had the darkness been deep enough to swallow the shards of hope that still clung to his heart, cutting the dancer's feet with its hollow words and empty offerings.
The young wanderer with the aged eyes shifted his gaze to the sky, watching as white flakes began to fall. He breathed deeply. Seven years ago, he had stood on this very hill, back when his heart had been as cold and pure as the ice that fell from the stars. How long had it been since his heart had melted away inside his chest, freeing the dancer from its frozen chains? Tedium, ignorance, innocence; all had fallen away with the death of each bride and the pealing of every bell to be gradually replaced with horror—the horror of a naïve child confronted with (at that time, to him) a monster worse than death.
It had kept him locked in that place. A dark shadow had haunted him for the past seven years—the fear that one day the thin, bony fingers would wrap around his own neck and steal his soul. He still feared it, during the night, in the absence of the stars; he could practically hear the angel scribbling away, hunched over his work in concentration… he could still feel that cold, dead gaze linger upon him as it pondered whether or not he was too bothersome to keep.
"Is Raito-kun afraid of the dark?"
Yes, he was afraid—of course he was. Who wouldn't be afraid of him, the angel of death with skin empty as snow and eyes of colorless crystal; the pale angel with shadows of wings whose smile chilled him to the core and hands destroyed everything they touched; an otherworldly being from a world where color no longer existed? In the darkened realms only black and white remained, and like the angel, he was expected to see the world in that way. He needed to be completely color blind, but he didn't want it—not anymore.
He would see the rainbow spectrum again.
He doesn't breathe
He doesn't think
He doesn't feel,
but around him the world collapses
He stared at the candelabras and their waxen crowns lit with small flames that shimmered slowly, illuminating the vast cavern impartially, leaving gaping vacuums of darkness among the shuddering, sickly light. Some rose like cat tails from the misting lake, playing tricks on his perceptions and dangling a veil behind his eyes. For the first time in three years, Light experienced a vague sense of homecoming—shuddering images of crusted stone walls, rainbow-hued windows and flickering candles pushed through his concentration, but he stalled his thoughts and continued to wade through the waist-deep water, keeping his eyes firmly fixed on the dimly-lit path before him. A chorus of voices drifted down into the labyrinth, swelling and floating around him; he tuned each of them out as he crept along with a silence born of need.
All he needed was a name, a simple name, and it would be done.
He knew that—just like humans—these demons could die and—just like humans—they feared it. They feared and they fought, those that could, goading him into failure with vulgar expletives and carefully directed blows… but in the end, none could save themselves. He didn't make mistakes, the dead darkangels had discovered as their names were uttered and their bodies torn apart, because every weakness he had would be used against him.
As he drew nearer to the source of light, the drifting tempest of the gasping clangs of an organ assaulted his ears. Again, there was the odd sense of being home—there had been an organ there, too, for as long as he could remember. That organ had often made the same incoherent noises of rage and pain; he never had been able to make it sing.
This, though… this wasn't like the stumbling mass of fingers and discordant notes he remembered playing with; no, this was horrifying; this was beautiful. It was everything that the world was made of written into a simple melody of deliberate dissonance that wove through the air with a complexity that, despite his intelligence, he could not follow.
He stopped. It was beautiful, it was terrifying—it was like looking in a mirror.
He saw himself crouching at the organ, sloppily throwing chords together, jamming down on the keys; anything. Anything to drown out the screaming. He saw himself crying, weeping, and betrayed by his naïve faith in justice and righteousness and innocence. There was no such thing as true evil—only accidents—in this world, they had said—it was a remote concept, irrelevant and incomprehensible to all, he had thought. There was no wrong and, by default, no right, they had said, but it had all been little more than a fabrication composed by ignorance and inexperience.
Finally, he had learned, and had tried to bury the knowledge in a progression of angry, stumbling chords from a child's small hands. They hadn't had the capacity to contain it all.
He didn't want to move nearer, but he had to; he had to see that small weeping child. He had to make him see the jagged world built of broken shards of truth, and so he stepped closer again, inching his way towards the source of the music and the light.
When he stood on the stone steps of the music's lair, he was a part of the music—the crying, pounding music so heavenly and earthly that the mere act of listening made his heart break again and again, cracking, fracturing, crumbling into emotionless dust. When he reached the organ, the music stopped; the fingers came to a halt and rested upon the graying keys, curved elegantly in pose of a practiced musician.
They were not the fingers of a child but the fingers of a skeleton—pale, jagged, bony fingers. Nor was the being that owned them a child; he was tall and lean and like a starving man as he hunched over his music in search of life. His clothes hung limply from his bone-white skin in a sickly manner; twelve dark wings sprang from his back, deforming the shadow cast by the candle's softly steady glow. Before him, papers filled with empty lines and crossed-out stanzas sat in calculated disarray, balanced between the use-worn ivories and glimmering pipes.
Slowly, he began to laugh a hoarse, dark chuckle that even in its beauty sounded pained and tortured. The melodious sound filled the silence, sharpening and refining it into a razor point.
He didn't turn when he began to speak, but simply sat with a stillness mirroring that of a wind-worn, twisted gargoyle. "Erik wondered when you would come," were his words, spoken with the weary patience of a man who had seen too much and lived too long.
"You remember your name." Light didn't speak with anger or aggression as he had intended; the words emerged from his lips as an emotionless statement of fact.
The vampyre laughed again with a cold, demeaning chuckle that bordered on hysterical giggles. "Oh, yes, Erik remembers many things, now. He remembers everything; everything he had ever forgotten…." The darkangel trailed off slowly. His shoulders straightened and his head tilted to the side, shifting the few remaining wisps of hair that hung limply from his pale skull. "That is what Erik does now. He remembers… he remembers what others have forgotten in their haste. After all, what does he have left but memories? Memories and dust. One day, those will abandon him, too.
"She was very beautiful—so beautiful—when he first saw her. What a wondrous voice—it was beautiful, yes… all it needed was someone to help it grow, and Erik knew that he was the only one who could teach her. That's why—that is why he took her." The great wings rose, concealing his waifish profile from Light's view, and shuddered as sobbing laughter filled the room.
"You killed her, Manasseh," said Light slowly, remembering the wasted bodies, the broken and withered, mindless creatures. It was from those days that he had learned what hatred truly was—betrayal, abandonment.
"No, Erik never… he never touched her. Not once." The angel continued to snigger at whatever promise those words were supposed to represent. He seemed to almost be choking on the giggles as they rose from his lungs, gasping on them as a dying man struggles for breath.
"Do you really believe that?" Light asked, the hatred boiling inside him, inflaming his senses and lighting his world on fire.
The darkangel turned, but where clear eyes devoid of life should have rested, twin pits of molten gold glowered. "Don't you know, Boy? She is the reason the music died."
He wants to die
He wants to lie down and die, shove a stake into his still heart and force it into oblivion, to stop his pale hands from touching, from destroying another life
To halt the artist's betraying hands
To stop himself from taking her life
"'What am I?' I am an Icarus, a member of the proud race of Darkangels, black gods from the deepest pits of hell come to enact divine judgment on the human race; a monstrous beast who steals the souls of maidens and drinks their blood as a toast to mortality. As for 'Who am I?'…. The world calls me Judah, but to those few who know me I am known as L." The pale figure smiled, his face beaming in childish delight at his speech.
Once again, he was struck by how pale the creature was—his skin seemed to be almost carved from marble and looked jagged to the touch; his bones seemed to jut out from his skin in exaggeration, like those of a starving child; his bony shoulders were constantly rolled forward, decreasing the creature's height by several inches; and his back was cloaked by a dozen dusky wings. Oddest of all was the creature's colorless, thin face—vacant eyes framed by a mop of chaotic silver hair that made him wonder if the angel spent his time hanging from the ceiling.
"L?" The boy's tongue tripped over the foreign syllable as he watched the Icarus's wings twitch in irritation.
"You may call me Ryuzaki, because frankly, your mispronunciation of my name will drive me mad. We cannot have that, can we?" The darkangel shook his head and began to pace in front of the boy, looking him up and down with shrewd, blank eyes.
"You are certainly not a muscle man, but then again, you are not needed for heavy lifting." He tugged on the boy's thin shirt sleeve, lifting up his arm and clicking his tongue softly, with a mocking tinge that carried from his voice. The icy chill of the creature's skin seeped through the cloth with ease, freezing the boy to the core. "Still, you should probably attempt to build muscle. Your arms look like candlesticks! What do they feed you children these days?" The Icarus breathed out and dropped the child's arm, then stepped back. "Ah, well," came a sigh of self-pitying mourning. "We have our work cut out for us."
He sees them, all the faces of his past
gathered around him,
each face masked with a trail of flowing tears…
all crying over him,
She was so pale—so deathly pale and thin, like a glass doll on the verge of breaking into pieces, with cracks that were all too obvious in her transparent state, as she hunched over in the corner, her arms clutching her legs desperately as she tried to control her shivering. A thin trail of dried blood trekked its way from her forehead down to her cheek and her ebony hair had been pulled back into a hastily-made ponytail, leaving several strands to frizz across her face. Surrounding her were the writhing dark shadows that even candlelight could not wash away, embracing her in their relentlessly lifeless grip.
A poor girl whose life had been torn apart by his own lifeless hands—that's all she was.
He did not try to speak even as he set down the tray of carefully-prepared food in front of her bare feet. She shifted away from his gloved hand and farther into the corner as if the mere proximity burned. He paused before taking his hands away and standing up, and she did not relax, instead remaining tightly curled into a ball in an attempt to protect herself from the wrath she was certain he would inflict upon her. She did not look up at him when he stood, preferring to keep her eyes on the stony floor rather than see her death—eyes empty as death—staring down at her.
"It hurts, doesn't it?" he said softly, the words leaving a bitter taste on his lips. The dark-haired girl looked up, betrayal etched into the black depths of her eyes. Her arms tightened around her knees and her mouth set into in a frown. "To know that everything you have ever been told… everything you believe in is a lie?"
Still, she remained stubbornly silent, refusing to so much as twitch in his presence. It was only when he left that she would steal a moment to scream and curse the day he had stolen her from the family that she no doubt believed missed her and to damn her gods to hell, all the while unaware exactly what it was that had spirited her away. But deep down, she must have realized that she would never leave this place again—that after sunset it would no longer matter which relatives missed her or what dreams she had left waiting at home. Eventually, they would forget her or mourn her passing, all-the-while blissfully ignorant of the curse placed upon her.
Ignorant, just as his own family had been when he had returned home. Even then, they had refused to accept the truth.
With that, he turned from the human and proceeded to walk down the stairs, ignoring the sound of breaking dishes behind him and the wretched sobbing that would haunt his past and present… the sobbing of a dying human whose fate was inescapable.
All he can see is the pain etched out before him
He cries out but hears only silence
he watches the world with eyes tightly closed
he hears the voices that do not speak
They whisper to him of things he cannot understand,
of things he will not understand
"Wait one moment." The darkangel turned from his drawings and strode towards an overfilled closet, pulling out an assortment of clothing and obscure items whose purposes the prisoner could only guess. Finally, he lifted a long over-coat, shook out a layer of dust and handed her the garment. She felt the worn cloth in her hands and looked up at him in confusion.
Her nose twitched. "What's this supposed to be?" She turned the coat over and traced the back's silver insignia—an intricate coil of interweaving and overlapping thorns, crowned in the center with a crimson flower's bud.
"It's a gift, for you." The darkangel came and sat down beside her, climbing over a stack of large multi-lingual dictionaries. Despite the gift, the prisoner could not help but feel a small sense of foreboding.
"But, I don't understand…." She held up the jacket in front of her once more, noting the ludicrous array of straps and buckles lining the sleeves, then looked towards him in confusion before placing the gift on the floor.
"Humans generally do not; you don't have to understand it. In fact, it would be better if you did not—I would prefer if you did not." He clasped his black gloved hands together and stared at the floor, obviously in deep thought.
"What are you talking about?" She fixed the darkangel with an inquiring glare, demanding an answer, but all he did was turn away from her with a small twitch of his lips and jump off the stack of books in a single leap. Her next question came quickly, with a shake of her head: "Are you just going to lie to me again and keep me in the dark like you always do?" Clambering off her seat of books, she ran after the retreating vampyre.
He stopped and turned to watch her pursuit and a moment's silence waited. "No," he began, his eyes following a mark on the ceiling, "it is I who am kept in the never-ending darkness. Not you. Never you."
He turned and walked from the room, retreating to the dark from which he claimed to deliver her.
Beside him is the girl, the broken girl who's covered in blood
So much blood, so much blood
It stains the ground, it flows down the walls
He can't take it,
he doesn't want to see it there but
he can smell it
He can feel it
on his hands
soaking them to the core
He can taste it on his lips,
taste it on his breath
One last trace of her before she collapsed into dust
The onslaught of images continues to trample him,
forcing him into that bleeding floor
She blinked slowly before turning towards him, eyes clouded from the strain of her desperate attempt at escape. He wondered how long it had taken her to collapse against the pavement, how many steps it had taken before her legs refused to move—how many miles it took for her to realize exactly where her current predicament had placed her.
"There really is no escape from this place, is there?"
Outside the rain patted against the tin roof; he looked up, once again reminding himself that he would have to replace the rusting sheets. The prisoner grabbed her dark hair and began wringing out the excess water, not removing her questioning eyes from the darkangel.
"You can't have expected to get far in this weather; you should've waited until the rain cleared up," he said slowly, without a hint of admonition in a tone that bordered on advisory—it nearly sounded as if he were giving her tips on how to successfully pull off her next attempt at flight. The vampyre looked through the make-shift window and watched as the bombardment of rain steadily thickened.
"It doesn't matter what the weather is, though. If I had kept walking, I wouldn't have found anything. You picked a very nice location for your prison—a place where no one but you can escape." She laughed slightly before coughing into her hand; he waited for her to cease the hacking before beginning his explanation.
"A prison?" His humorless words would have been mistaken for emotionless, were a tinge of bitter anger not apparent. "I am glad you still have the naïvety to think of me like this—" and he paused, clinging to his calm, "as the demon whose only purpose in life is to tear out the hearts of innocent girls like yourself." He sighed, reaching to his side and handing her a glass of steaming tea.
"How do I know this isn't poisoned?" Her voice was cold, but her eyes flamed with the rebellious, fear-ridden anger of a cornered beast. She set down the glass on the floor beside the darkangel's black-clad feet.
"If I had wanted you killed, I would have left you to freeze to death instead of hauling your soaked carcass through the pouring rain." His eyes met hers and the fires clashed—each flared equally as he dared her to grasp at the words left unspoken.
The silence around them froze as her eyes narrowed, boring into his with savage defiance.
"Or you could have touched me," finished the prisoner in a soft tone that completely contradicted her granite expression, staring down at her captor's carefully gloved hands.
His eyes widened and the ashes swirled.
"There are too many ways in which a human can die; for me, there is only one."
He knows that the blood isn't real,
that the stone angels weeping over his shoulders aren't real
The faces, the tears, the pain
He knows it's not there
and yet he feels it all the same,
he's drowning all the same
The immortal god drowns in a pool of forgotten dreams, while alongside him
tears fall from a dead girl's eyes
The new man stood hunched over in a deranged manner, his long, coarse hair pulled back into a messy pony-tail. Like the angel, he seemed almost sickly to the boy; pale skin clung to his bones in a starved manner—and yet his bright, crimson eyes seem to blaze under the practically non-existent black brows with a fervor so different from the dull haze or feverish spark he had recognized in the starving men lurking at the edge of his childhood home.
He spoke with a rushed tone and a foreign accent, but with more familiarity than any disoriented traveler: "Greetings, L. I bring news of the outside world, because—believe me, L—prior to what I had thought, there is a world outside of this dismal corner you've claimed as your own, and it is vast and wondrous and so ready for the picking." The traveler laughed, leaning back and closing his eyes before reforming into the slouch. All at once, the child was struck by the similarities between this man—this stranger—and his own captor. The familiar hunch in the shoulders, the bare, pale feet, the wild, chaotic hair—his man seemed to almost be a colored, human version of the Icarus.
"Are people fruit, B?" The darkangel smiled at some personal, inside joke, and stuck one pale thumb between his lips, indicating that the wheels in his head were in motion once more. The boy could not help but slink farther back into the shadows, inching his way over towards the stairs; this man had not come to see him and would not be inclined to sympathy.
"No, of course not! They are cattle—dumb, mangy beasts! It is we, the Icari, who are meant to rule them—not be trapped by our own genius! L, we could be gods. We are gods; we've only to take our throne." Here, he held out his hands towards the darkangel, red eyes gleaming with possibility.
The vampyre merely cocked his head, expression remaining neutral. "B has a god complex," stated the Icarus in finality, turning around, walking casually past Light and hopping up the stairs leading to the bell tower with his dark wings falling off his shoulders like a poorly tailored cape. Even after he had passed, the child could smell the icy chill of death that wrapped around the vampyre's hands.
The foreigner rushed to follow the vampyre up the stairs and caught sight of the boy for the first time. He stopped. His back straightened and with an insect-like movement, he reached forward and grabbed the boy out from the shadows and back into the light.
"And who the hell is this runt supposed to be?" shouted the stranger; in an almost imperceptible split of time, he had been transformed from an idealistic dreamer to the furious monster who held the boy in a choking grasp. "Is he my replacement, L? Is this little bastard my replacement?"
The darkangel's ascent slowed to a halt as the boy struggled in the man's grip, his lungs aching for breath. Finally, the being turned and glared at the young man below him in accusation, his crystal eyes boiling in rage.
"You dare to call him an illegitimate son? You dare to look at his human features and call them counterfeit? Look in a mirror, B—what do you see? You are the ultimate disgrace, a child that is neither human nor demon—a monster without a definition to place it in the world. I may be a monster, but at least I do not doubt that I am one. But you! What can you possibly know of what it means to understand what you truly are?" The vampyre jumped down from his position on the spiraling stairs to right before of the stranger's face, his clear-cut eyes driving deep into the man's skull. Startled, the man dropped the brunette child and stared back at the darkangel. "You think you are a god," he spat.
"Isn't that what we are though? Isn't it? Gods! We are gods! The fourteen dark gods from Hell—that's what they call us! And you—it's you who can't see correctly! You've disillusioned yourself to believe that you are a monster… exactly what they want you to think! I used to think you were different—smarter, stronger. But now I see….. You are just as pathetic as the rest of them—just as pathetic as the rest of the humans. You're no better than they are." The red-eyed man sneered before spitting on the carpet, "You weren't worth my time." He bowed and stalked from the room stiff-backed.
The stranger never again returned to the stone sanctuary; it was not until years later that the boy would set eyes on the half-blood god again, and by that time he would have grown accustomed to the blood-thirsty smile on his face.
"Why did you let her near me? Why did you give me something to hope for?"
He wants to hear an answer,
to find someone to blame but as always there is no one
No one to answer him
No one to hear him
No one to pity him
He is alone.
Beta/Co-Writer/Grammar Nazi/Researcher's Note: Review it.
Yes, I am a Jedi and no, I do not need eye contact to use my skills. Why, you ask? I'm a Mary Sue.
—IGC t DM+ and Carni