It took a while before Matsuda could look at Sayu and not think of her brother's face as the bullets pierced through him. There were times when the whole thing seemed like a nightmare, but Sachiko always reminded him.
The first time he came by their house after the funeral, she slammed the door in his face after quite eloquently telling him how completely she blamed him for surviving when her son had not. Backing away from the house, he looked up to the second story and he could see Sayu's pale face in the window, looking out like a princess trapped in a tower.
He came back with flowers.
"Please," he begged. "Miss Yagami, just let me see her?"
"She won't talk to you," said Sachiko coldly. "She won't talk to anyone."
But apparently his begging and pleading were pathetic enough that she relented, and told him to take the flowers to Sayu.
He found her sitting there quietly, staring out the window, and sat down on the only other chair in the room. "Um, hi," he said, "I don't know if you remember me. I'm Touta Matsuda."
"I brought you some flowers. I'm going to put them in that vase, over there. Is that okay?"
No answer. Matsuda got up and put the flowers in the vase, sighed. "Your mom said you don't talk to anyway. No one's talking to me, so maybe that makes us a perfect match, eh?"
She said nothing, just stared blankly out the window. Matsuda wilted. "Sorry. I know…I guess I can only guess what you're thinking. But I'm sorry. About everything."
Nothing. Matsuda lowered his head and stood there for another ten minutes, then went downstairs and left without saying goodbye.
He came back the next day. This time, Sachiko didn't say a word to him, just let him upstairs. Sayu didn't seem to have moved, but the flowers had water now. "Hi," he said again, to her immovable back. "I brought you some CDs this time. I don't know what kind of music you listen to, so I just picked some stuff that I like. Maybe you'll like it too, I dunno."
He set the CDs down by her elbow and took his place in the chair. Silence.
"What are you thinking about, Sayu? I bet you're thinking about something important, and you just have to work it out before you can talk. I bet I'm probably just distracting you and you wish I'd go away, but I'm lonely, and I like you. I really like you."
He thought he saw Sayu blink, slowly, but she didn't turn her head, even a little. Matsuda chewed his lip.
"Do you blame me for being alive too?"
No answer. Matsuda tried not to take that as a yes. He stood up and went downstairs. Sachiko was waiting with the door open. "Are you seeing Aizawa these days?" She asked, abruptly, as Matsuda was about to slink out.
"Sometimes," he managed, finally. Sachiko nodded. Behind her, Matsuda could see the table set for four, and his eyes hurt.
"Tell him to give my love to his wife," she said, and then closed the door. Matsuda stared at it for long moments, then turned and trudged away.
It was almost three days before he could come back. This time, Sachiko offered him tea as he came in the front door. With his first foot on the step, Matsuda looked at her. He remembered a happy, lively woman as the Chief's wife. This woman looked tired and old. He managed a smile and said that yes, he would love some tea.
Several times, Sachiko almost brought up Light and barely caught herself. Matsuda winced every time.
Sayu's silence was almost a relief.
"Ide took me to a bar," Matsuda said. "He said I needed to get out, that I needed to – re-engage, whatever that means. He tried to make me do karaoke. I can't sing at all. I bet you have a beautiful voice, though. You should be the one down at a bar singing karaoke, Sayu, not me."
"Everyone thinks I'm going to go crazy," Matsuda found himself saying. "I'm not going to go crazy. I'm fine. I'm totally fine."
He felt a small weight on his hand, and looked up. Sayu had turned her chair slightly, just enough that she could reach his hand and lay her own on it. Her eyes were still lowered, but her hand was warm.
"You're right," Matsuda said, after his heart had finished racing. "You and me, we'll be okay."
He came back every day after that. He told her about Ide and Aizawa and the others. He told her about his apartment and how empty and lonely it felt sometimes. He told her about her mother and how Sachiko was always waiting with tea, now. Sayu didn't talk back, ever, but she looked at him, sometimes, just a little, and when he said something that she agreed with she reached out and touched his hand.
Once, he almost told her about the warehouse, but he choked on the words and just asked, "Do you miss your brother?"
Sayu nodded, barely. Matsuda looked away. "Sometimes I do too. Maybe that does make me crazy."
Eventually, when he came Sayu was always waiting, her chair turned from the window, looking toward the door when he entered. She almost smiled, sometimes, and nodded and shook her head in answer to direct questions. One day he came and she shoved a stack of CDs at him.
He took them home and listened to every one.
Three months after everything happened, Sachiko broke down crying as they were having tea. It was her and the Chief's anniversary, he learned between her hacking sobs; it should have been their twenty-fifth. He held her awkwardly until the fit passed, and when he went upstairs his heart was heavy and his shoulder was damp.
Sayu was waiting for him.
"I'm sorry," Matsuda said quietly. "I'm not really…in a good place tonight. I shouldn't have come."
Sayu shook her head and Matsuda sat down, tiredly, dropped his face into his hands. "Sometimes I just…everything looks so bleak, and I get so tired…"
He heard a soft noise on the carpet and looked up. Sayu was standing – standing. She reached out and held his hands together as she knelt, carefully, and then leaned up and kissed the corner of his lips.
It was hardly even a kiss, but it was enough; and it was what happened next that mattered more.
Sayu opened her mouth and in a voice hoarse with disuse, she said, "I don't blame you."
"For what?" Matsuda asked, stupidly. Sayu squeezed his hands.
"For being alive," she said.
He reached out, tentatively, and touched her hair. They sat there, just like that, quiet for a while. Understanding. Survivors.