tallulahgs: Emotional Matsuda (Emotional Matsuda)
[personal profile] tallulahgs
my true love gave to me

five punishments

[Title] Bad Karma
[Fandom] Death Note
[Rating] PG-13, maybe mild R, for mention of violence, injury, language
[Notes/Summary] Following the explosion, Mello wonders if he should be regretting his choices.

They've caught up with him at last.

Mello's not quite clear on who they are but something must've got him because you couldn't hurt this much and it not be someone wanting it.

Sweaty, tangled sheets. He can see. He can see a grimy ceiling. A fan, not turning. He's too hot but that's because when he closes his eyes he sees the blast coming towards him. He always tries to run and he can't and he thinks this is it, he'll end up a charred skeleton toppling slowly over, but then he opens his eyes and he's not dead, he's still covered in skin because oh god he can feel it.

He can see with one eye, 'cause in the brief moments when he manages to forget the pain hammering itself through his nerves he's tested it. Close one eye. Close the other. One of his eyelids is sticky and crusted and moving it stirs up all the pain around it. So this has to be a punishment, why else would fucking blinking be agony?

Okay, he says to the ceiling and the fan. Okay. I get it. He tries to run through a litany of his sins but the pain is too strong to keep a thought going. So it's a haze of photos instead: doors kicked in and blood on concrete and fingers on the trigger and the girl crying. And staring into a man’s eyes while knowing the corpse on the floor is pulling a gun on him as you speak. Oh, come on, he was gunning for me just as much, but that doesn’t wash when the idiot is trying to get you to surrender even as he starts spelling out your name in a murder notebook.

So maybe that’s the last straw. The universe could take any number of Mafia hits and drug deals and shoplifting incidents but taking out Soichiro Yagami, that’s something God will not stand for. Except that’s bollocks. If God were going to start getting involved this directly, L’s the one who should have tipped the scales, and Kira’s the one who should be burning in Hell.

So maybe it’s not like that at all.

When it’s a punishment and they’re just trying to hurt you so you won’t do it again, that’s fine. Mello can deal with that, from smacks round the head to staying in at breaktime to mock executions. He could deal with this if that was all it was. It’s when you start asking yourself if there isn’t a they at all. If this is just happening ‘cause you fucked up. He thinks like that, the pain’s a lot worse.

[Title] Him and Her and Their Reunion
[Fandom] Death Note
[Rating] PG
[Notes/Summary] Sequel to the first flood of tears. Matsuda tries to clarify what's been driving his actions in the last year.

You can’t cry forever. Ayako goes home in a taxi and cries some more and the next day distracts herself with work until her eyes ache and then spends the next few evenings shouting at inanimate objects in her apartment How dare he or Oh, I’m so sorry I was getting too serious and Yes, of course, it's fine, go around just pretending to be happy and then have a complete breakdown when I don't notice –

Her friends are furious on her behalf and they all say he must be commitment-phobic or a cheater and she had a lucky escape. For a while that’s the story she tells.

She still has his number in her phone. She keeps forgetting to delete it.

So she knows who it is when a text shows up asking if they can meet.

It’s February now but it’s still winter. She huddles in a café and sips hot chocolate. He shows up at the door ten minutes later, heavy coat, thick scarf. She sees his eyes widen.

She hasn’t exactly been thinking of him every minute but she has sometimes wondered. Hiromi said Does it matter? He was a jerk and it didn’t matter, but she wondered anyway. Sometimes she thought, he was hurting, and he just didn't know what to do, and she wondered why he thought he had to keep all of it back for so long.

He wanders over to sit opposite her. “I can… oh, okay, you already have… I can get you another drink?”

“It’s fine. Get yourself something,” she says. It comes out with a smile. Good; she seems like she’s fine, like he hardly touched her.

“Thanks for meeting me,” he says when he’s got himself a coffee. “I know it’s… I know you probably didn’t want to.”

Ayako shrugs. He’s not the only one who can keep things back, not now.

“Uh... I wanted to talk to you because... okay, so I was kind of… crazy this last year,” he carries on. Staring at the coffee now. “I was trying to pretend like I was fine and everything was fine and it… crashed and burned a bit. So I – I’m not asking you for anything, this isn’t a… a thing like that… I just wanted to tell you I was sorry? Because I was really mean to you and… and I didn’t think how it would feel and…”

He still does that thing – talks and looks at her to see if she likes what he’s saying. Plus she's remembering that she just really enjoyed hanging out with him.

“Hey,” she says, trying to keep her voice cool, “If you didn’t want to carry on, that was your choice. And I… probably should’ve reacted better. You know. Less yelling and crying.”

She meant it to sound like a joke, but it doesn't, and he bites his lip.

“No,” he says, “see, I… you were right. Because I was pretending.”

He takes a deep breath. Then a sip of the coffee. Still not looking at her.

“See, last year… like almost exactly a year ago, someone… there was a friend and – and they really… they lied to me. Like, a lot of lies. Not a girlfriend,” he says, quickly. “Just a… a friend. But I thought they were different.” A sour edge to his voice now, one she hasn’t heard before. “I believed everything they told me and I thought we were friends and… we never were. They were just using me.”

“You’re sure it wasn’t a girlfriend?” His voice is making her think of coffee, unsweetened, black, left to stew. She’s had some spats with friends but nothing that’s left real marks.

He shakes his head. “I know it sounds like I’m making a big deal out of nothing. I mean, sometimes it feels like I am? Like it all never happened and I just… made it up because nothing’s changed, but he’s gone and it was my –”

He stops, quickly.

“You cut ties?” she says. “It was that bad?”

“I… acted really… like I completely lost it when I found out. Trust me, you crying and yelling a bit was nothing.” He kind of looks nervously at her. She makes herself not smile – she’s not going to walk straight back into whatever this is – but she doesn’t give him the icy stare either.

“So I, so I didn’t want to deal with all that stuff. I met you and you seemed really nice and really… like, together, you know? But you didn’t think I was an idiot. Well, you probably do, now, but… I mean, then, you… it seemed like we liked the same stuff and… you didn’t seem bored and… and you’re really cute.” Turning red. Drumming his fingers against the coffee cup. “I was trying to be normal. Like pretend nothing had… like I didn’t have all this… crazy stuff. ‘Cause, you know, you’d run a mile if you knew. You deserve way better.”

“But… you broke up with me.”

Matsuda nods – or maybe just ducks his head to blow on his coffee. “Mm.”

Silence for a moment. Is he going to start explaining why? That probably isn't a good idea. It'll be excuses, or it'll be a list of how she wasn't supportive enough, or something else she doesn't need to hear.

“You can stick to the it’s not you, it’s me line if you want,” she says, when it seems like he's not going to speak. “Perhaps that’s…”

“It wasn’t you, though,” he says, very quietly.

She should cut this conversation off.

But he's telling her something, and even if it's not real then it's a different kind of lie from before, right?

He runs his hands over his face and mutters to them, “So I really liked you and partly it was, it’s harder to pretend with someone when you start really liking them. I didn’t want to tell you all this stuff and, and the pretending was getting really difficult. So I was freaking out about that. And… and partly it…” He stops, swallows. She can see his hands are shaking.

“Oh, just say it,” she says. “It’s not going to make things worse.”

“You were really nice. I really liked being with you. And, you know, being with you. What we did, that last night, it… it felt so… like we were really close? And I don’t deserve stuff like that.” The last part is said completely matter-of-fact, as if it's obvious. If he were counting on her leaping in to say no, you do, you do then wouldn't he sound more self-pitying?

“Like what?” she says. “Uh – having...”

“Not – not that. I mean I don't, but I meant... feeling that... having someone care about you that... I thought, god, I love her so much and then I realised what I was doing. I was just going along like... like all the things I'd done hadn't happened.”

“That...” She's going kind of red. Love her so much, huh? Just a line? This is stupid. She should be running a mile. “That doesn't make sense. I don't have anything to do with – with these things that happened before.”

“Yeah, but if you knew...”

Ayako stares down at the dregs of hot chocolate. The china mug is cool. She could just go. Not leaving anything behind here.

“All right,” she says, making herself look back at him, meet his eyes. He looks as nervous as she feels. “Why don't you tell me?”

He's shaking his head before she's even finished, and she has to say, “Not now. Maybe not for a long time. But... whatever it was, you seem like you're sorry. That's a... that's a good start, right? I just mean... maybe we can try and... and be friends. I'm over the whole yelling and crying thing, and you... it'd be nice to talk to the real you.”

He laughs, nervously: “I don't know, the real me's pretty dumb and annoying. You'd get bored.”

“I'll decide when I'm bored, thank you,” she says. “In the meantime, why don't you buy me a coffee?”

[Title] Survival Skills
[Fandom] Akira
[Rating] PG-13 for language and (brief, non-graphic) mention of violence
[Notes/Summary] Yamagata and Kai talk about school.

Yamagata's not sure about the new kid in class – guy is four foot tall and wearing a tie, like, why would you choose to do that – but then they run into each other in the bathrooms because they've both snuck out for a smoke break, and that's cool, that's the kind of thing a normal person does.

“You just got transferred here, right?” Yamagata says, even though he knows the answer, 'cause he wants this guy to know he knows a bunch of stuff already. Some people, they think they can make you out to be the kind of idiot they can prank. Yamagata's working on stamping that shit right out.

The kid nods and takes a drag: “This is my first week here.”

“Welcome to the hellhole.”

He meant it as a joke but the kid gives him this half-incredulous look and says, “What, it's that bad?”

“I don't mean like it's giving me a breakdown or something,” Yamagata says. “I meant it's school, and school's shit, right? And you know, this place they basically smack you around if they get too pissed off with you 'cause they can't do much else without calling the cops in. But it's no big deal. Like it's no worse than...” He's gonna say what I get from my dad, but then he stops, 'cause it's not like he knows this kid at all. Also the kid's kind of looking really like oh god it really is a hellhole and Yamagata's not in the mood to freak someone out on purpose, it's too hot and it's no fun when it's just you.

“I mean,” he carries on, “like maybe it's not as bad as some places 'cause you don't have to wear a stupid-ass uniform and basically they don't give a shit about your grades 'cause they reckon you're gonna end up in jail by the time you graduate. So it's cool really.”

The other boy stares round the bathroom, which is layered with almost as much graffiti as the Harukiya or something, and smells like what it is, a bathroom with no windows that backs up half the time. Yamagata got used to the smell months ago, but he knows it's there.

“I mean... they reckon I'm gonna end up in jail,” he says, wondering if the kid's taken offence. “Like, I do what I wanna and I don't take shit from anyone so they figure I'm, whatever, JD scum. I dunno what your deal is, but if you've got sent here you basically fucked up everywhere else, right?”

The kid takes a deep drag on the cigarette – he doesn't start choking on it, though, which proves Yamagata's earlier figuring that he wasn't just ducking out to smoke to look cool. So you smoke because you wanna smoke and you rock up to school wearing a tie because... why the fuck not? Perhaps he likes wearing it.

“Pretty much,” he says, trying to sound like he doesn't give a shit. “Did some dumb stuff, you know?”

“Oh, hell, yeah, I know.” Yamagata grins, and the guy grins back, after a few moments, like he isn't sure what the conversation is but doesn't want to be an asshole about it.

“Just, like, don't take shit from anyone. 'Less you have to. And don't get so off your face you can't talk, 'cause they really come down on you for that. But it's cool. I got mates here, they've got my back. Hey, stick around when we go back to class, I'll make sure they know who you are.” He's eyeing the kid, thinking like if the guy rolls his eyes or acts sarcastic then he'll deserve anything he gets after that. But the kid just nods, and after a moment kind of smiles like maybe things aren't so bad as he thought. “Right,” he says. “That'd be cool. Thanks.”

[Title] Infestation
[Fandom] Death Note
[Rating] PG
[Notes/Summary] Gevanni and Mikami exchange small talk.

Gevanni is sensible and methodical and organised ninety-nine per cent of the time and the remaining one per cent he finds himself doing something incredibly stupid and dangerous. Testing himself. Seeing how much he can get away with. Staying with the Kira case once everyone else had died and the President had formally disbanded the team was probably the last such act of stupidity, and it was pretty dumb, but at least it had ethical considerations behind it.

This one – regular meet-ups in the gym cafe with the person you are tailing – is bordering on suicidal.

Mikami talks and Gevanni listens. Mikami will know who Gevanni is, or at least that he is not all he seems, because Mikami will know the name he gave is fake. Gevanni is counting on the fact that Kira doesn't want to jeopardise the plan any more than Near does and that his, Gevanni's, death will just about count as jeopardy. Mikami talks and Gevanni listens. On their first meeting, it was desultory small talk about exercise, about the weather, and it was still Mikami who said to him, the next time, I enjoyed our conversation the other day and had a yearning look in his eyes as if small talk was something precious to him.

Which, if Gevanni's observation skills are correct, it is, because the man barely talks to anyone.

Now their conversation has moved on to current affairs. Politics. Kira lurks as a shadow behind it all. Gevanni can hardly start voicing his opposition to Kira at this point, and he suspects Mikami doesn't want him to, that that would destroy the plausible deniability that he too isn't doing something stupid.

In mid-January, Mikami begins to let Kira into the discussion. Gevanni hears his voice shake, just a little, on the being's name. Apart from that, there's no indication that the quiet, neatly-dressed man sipping juice has anything to do with the endless deaths.

It seems a harsh punishment, Gevanni ventures, once, when Mikami mentions a shoplifter found dead of a heart attack in her apartment.

Mikami blinks and says, absently, I suppose it is. But the important thing, he carries on, is the cleansing. Even if an individual's acts do not, on their own, warrant death, the cumulative nature... one must stop the rot somehow. An individual mould spore spreads... and even by itself it offers no value, does it? You wouldn't seek to preserve it.

Of course
, he says, it is punishment in the sense that it deters others. That, too, is important.

If you know you are at risk of death
, he says, meeting Gevanni's eyes, perhaps you will pull back from your sin. Even at the last minute.

Gevanni had almost forgotten that these conversations were him risking his life. He supposes he should welcome the reminder.

[Title] Holding Cell
[Fandom] Blake's 7 (still haven't seen all of this series and haven't watched it in a while, so apologies for any egregious canon errors)
[Rating] PG
[Notes/Summary] Vila can usually find something to be grateful for, even if he'd rather not be here.

It’s a holding cell. But it’s big enough he won’t end up with his face shoved into someone’s armpit – or worse – unless they’re really packing them in. And these days they don’t bother to arrest the guilty if it’s a protest or a covert meeting; the majority are shot down on sight. Which is unfortunate for them, but does mean you have room to stretch your legs. On one prisoner transport, he remembers (he must have been young still) he was short enough he was scared he was going to get trampled to death without there being any malice behind the act. And the smell and the noise. No. Value your own space while you have it.

Of course, when they ship you off-planet, lack of space tends not to be the problem. More lack of anything to keep you alive in said space.

Still. He’s got experience in getting hold of things necessary to keep him alive. Most places, you can find food and water and maybe even something to ease the realisation that you’re stuck in the Federation prison system. There are always options, and he’s willing to use pretty much all of them.

The waiting’s – well, all right, no, the waiting is not the worst part, because the worst part is if someone’s trying to kill you – but the waiting isn’t his favourite part. Alone here, it’s easy to start running too many possibles in your head, and there’s not much you can do about turning any of them into actuals. Walls. Bars. Lock sealed off to stop people like him getting their hands on it. Nothing to pinch except some thin government-issue blankets, and no one offering any deals.

But. Room enough to stretch his legs and they feed you every so often. Value what you have while you have it. Everything disappears sooner or later. A lot of thieves about.


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