Fandom: Death Note
Characters: Mello, Matt
Warnings: Death, language
Summary: After leaving Wammy's House, Mello and Matt wander, killing for a living and never really connecting with the outside world....
Disclaimer: I wish I owned DN. Alas, I do not.
A/N: In the dreaded first person. Sorry. This has been on my computer forever, and I'm still not entirely happy with it, but figured I ought to post it eventually.
Kick your feet up on the dashboard in this parking lot in Florida, watching as sunbeams slant over a few spare coins, a pack of gum, your black-clad legs. This is the best place to float, here in the sun at the shallow end of humanity. Does it confuse you, the description of my life as being only shallow? Then let me explain.
Normal people, the ones that never do anything but still protest how meaningful and significant and full of love their lives are, swim in the deep end. There are currents and deeps in the heart of a family, and the water is cold there, so the people have to rely on their own internal warmth to keep them alive.
Me... I damn well have fire and brilliance, but no warmth; we all know that. L was warmth, L was meaning; now that pale bastard sits in his place, there is no meaning. By extension, there is no life. Me and Matt, we need the sun to keep us warm, to keep the shells of ourselves from cooling too fast. Up here we float, at ease, untouched by the deeper currents. There is no love, loss, attachment here; those are the currents that can sweep people away against their wills.
Matt’s cigarette smoke floats lazily through the interior of the car, eventually drifting out a window and into oblivion. Sunlight smells like this: smoke and cloying perfume of a cologne it had probably been a bad idea to lift in the first place, all mixed in with the ripeness and sweetness of summer and the stale smell of car exhaust off the freeway.
A car pulls up and parks on the opposite side of the lot. I look up, but it’s not the one we’re looking for. I let it be. A paunch, middle-aged man wanders out, almost forgets to lock up, and eventually strolls into the apartment complex. He is gone, forever and always, nameless and faceless as me and everybody else.
The sun beats down, and we wait.
Eventually, another car comes, the right one this time. The woman parks, steps out, fumbles with her keys. She pulls her brown hair away from her face into a ponytail, and adjusts the straps of her tank top. I get out grudgingly. I had hoped she would park near us, but no luck. Nobody’s come near us lately; maybe it’s a function of Matt’s inclination to wear sweaters and gloves even in ninety degree heat, or maybe it’s something to do with me. Either way, it doesn’t matter.
I walk over to the woman, and shoot her. Once, twice, in the head but not in the face so she’ll still photograph well. Cameraphone, take picture, send picture, get reply. I wonder if they thought ahead and bought a disposable phone so they won’t be traced. Doesn’t really matter, we already got the money.
Matt pauses the video game he’s been playing, and shifts the car into drive. We’re long gone. And I was daring and careless to do this in broad daylight, and still we are gone.
We board a plane, and eat peanuts and drink ginger ale. We’re in coach, and a pair of noisy kids argue in the row behind us, their mother interrupting occasionally to try and quiet them, always unsuccessfully. I only see her once, when she stands up to go to the bathroom. She’s young and black and dressed in all vivid sky blue, and she looks tired after sitting between her kids for hours on end. She obviously swims in the deep end too, because I know there’s no way I could put up with that sort of shit for hours and still manage the weak, watery smile that she has.
I fall asleep about halfway through the flight with my head resting on Matt’s shoulder, not because it’s warm or wonderful or sweet, but simply because his sweater is thick and soft enough to make a good head rest. Oddly enough, not just does he not seem to mind the heat, he apparently doesn’t even sweat, either. It certainly is a puzzle, and had we been back at Wammy’s House, some well-meaning teacher with a patronizing smile would be encourging me to think long and hard on it. Well, guess what, bitch? I, with all my genius and my talent ( no, it’s Talent, with a capital T ), am dropping out. Bye, everyone. So long. I won’t, I don’t, miss you.
Wammy’s House was deep too. Maybe I once thought that I belonged there, but now I know so much better than that. And when I came to float in the sun, I dragged pieces of Wammy’s up along with me. They drift along next to me, bits of flotsam and jetsam knowledge that here are out of place but oh-so-useful.
It’s a good life, or at least, not a bad one. We coast along, Matt and I. Flotsam comes our way, with a pack of cigarettes for him and a bar of chocolate for me. We make money quickly and lose it with the same speed, because where’s the point in saving for some theoretical future you may never live to see?
When we arrive in Maui, the street outside the airport is thronged with tourists. Some guy in a loud shirt is selling souvenirs from a little booth. He calls to Matt, “Hey, your girlfriend want a lei?”
We walk past, and the maybe-insult falls back into the past. I have better things to do than deal with this idiot. I kind of want to sleep.
At the hotel, Matt stays ensconced in the room the entire time. He picked the bed closest to the tv, dismantled whatever bizarre controls had been put on it, and was now racing a sleek digital car across the screen, running over a whole graveyard full of zombies with cartoonish splatters of tomato-red blood.
There is an open-air pool attached to the hotel, and now I really am floating in the sunshine. Even the deep end here is shallow, only seven feet. Still, I stay lying on one of those inflatable pool floats, not even trying to touch bottom. A group of middle school-age kids are playing Marco Polo; they seem a bit old to be playing such a childish game, but like I’ve said, I no longer analyze things not necessary for my survival.
Old folks sit in plastic lounge chairs in a semicircle around the pool. Maybe they’re the tweens grandparents, maybe not. Apparently What’s-Her-Face in Florida made the news, because a wrinkled prune of a lady in a blindingly blue bathing suit that shows far more of her body than I ever wanted to see mentions it to the man sitting next to her.
“Murdered in a parking lot,” she says with concern that borders on excitement (because everybody’s a little bit shallow ) “In broad daylight! Did you hear about it, George?”
“You mark my words, Trish, it was her boyfriend that did it.”
“You’re being ridiculous, you don’t even know if she had a boyfriend.”
The old man snorted. “Well, if she did then, Miss Trish, you can bet it was him. All these violent young fellows these days. Like Katie’s boyfriend, you remember what happened with that rat bastard?”
“Of course I do; I’ve been meaning to send her a Get Well Soon card. D’you think a post card’ll do? They’ve got some really nice ones for sale down in the lobby.... I suppose you’re probably right, though. Marty loves watching all those crime shows on tv, and he says it’s always the boyfriend that done it.”
Wrong. Totally, completely, utterly wrong. Angry coworker, mad enough to kill but not happy at the thought of doing to dirty work herself....
Another woman cuts in. “You know, every time I hear about something like this, I just feel so scared for my grandkids. I mean, I know that was all the way over in Florida, but who knows. Something could happen at home, or even here on vacation. I always worry about Cathy, too, she’s just so careless... oh, she forgot her drops for swimmer’s ear again. See, she’s always forgetting something. I really do worry about what could happen if I weren’t here watching over her. Cathy! Cathy, come over here!”
A girl breaks away from the pack, her long dark hair trailing behind her in the water. Grandma is back to talking about how unsafe it is nowadays, gesturing with her sunglasses.
Lightly enough to go unnoticed, I run my fingers through the girl’s trailing hair as she passes me by, simply because I can.