Anecdotes from the Story of the Century

Will (Part 2)

The nightmares don't affect her the way they used to, anymore. In the beginning, they used to jolt her upright, electrocuting her back into mundane reality (not that reality was much different from the dreams she awoke from). Sometimes she would scream, to compensate for the fact that she couldn't within her dream and to lighten the weight crushing her chest.

Oftentimes, her shriek would not be met with an answer. No one would come to her room to ask her what was wrong, to wrap her up in their arms as she settled back down in a soft burst of tears. No one has since her parents died.

Or have they? Misa can't remember, and what would it matter if she did? They aren't here now.

Nowadays, she doesn't bother to scream when a nightmare comes on. She doesn't even spring up in bed. They come so frequently now that it's almost silly to react so melodramatically to them. Waking up from a nightmare is like coming up to the water's surface gasping for air, staring wide-eyed up at the ceiling as her vision tries to accommodate to the darkness. Matted gold tresses cling to her face and the nape of her neck; she's so wet and smelly with sweat, she may as well have been underwater, this whole time.

Being the award-winning (or at least nominated) actress that she is, she's gotten good at hiding her night frights. She could lay there under the covers in the throes of visions of blood and disembodied squeals of agony, and no one would know the difference. She'd turn to face the window, to watch the dark blue of the night turn purple and pink with dawn through the crack in the blinds as she caught her breath.

Another day. Another day like the one before, and the one that will follow. She's still warm and pink with life, but can feel her insides rotting slowly, slowly, just a little more each morning, each evening.

Misa always hated monotony.

This room is not her own, hasn't been for the past two, three weeks? Misa has lost track of the days since they dropped her here, after catching her trying to drop herself off the top floor of a building.

It feels as though bits of her mind have been bleached out, the colors, the images underneath the white forever hidden from her. Things that she can't help but feel she's supposed to remember, but can't and won't. This used to scare her. Kimiko did that to herself all the time with booze, so she could forget about being depressed. She hasn't seen her since who knows when.

Light. He still hasn't come to see her, hold her, tell her that everything will be okay. He never will, either. He can't because he's gone. Collapsed in front of everyone, in front of her, clutching at his chest and howling in agony. Mr. and Mrs. Yagami no longer have a son, and for Sayu, no big brother. Kira had killed him. Somehow he had tracked him down and out of everyone in their group, he'd picked him out for his next sacrifice. Watari, too. Before Light's death, she had had the chance to see him collapse as soon as he had stepped out of the elevator. He had brought her back to headquarters to see Light and company.

But how could that be? Higuchi was Kira, and he had died several days before then. Could it have been Ryuzaki's…or rather, L's doing? Being L and Kira at the same time, hired to hunt yourself and having someone else take the rap for it…what could be better?

No. As creepy and shady as he was, he didn't seem like the type to just go out and kill people. People, especially criminals, were too useful to him to want to take on what Kira had tried to do. He was not the crazy vigilante type that blindly shot people he considered bad; he wanted to catch them in the act, first. And anyway, he's dead, too. For all of his audacity, even L was a mortal, after all. A mortal whose heart could be broken as easily as anyone else's, whose life could be stolen from him just as swiftly as anyone's.

It's amazing, how quick life can just slip out of her hands. To think that every time she blinks, someone in the world somewhere is drawing their last breath. Doesn't matter who they were, what they did, who loved them, whether they deserved it. It's terrifying. It's fascinating. It's motivating.

Why had she tried to jump? She's not sure. The urge had come to her as effortlessly as the urge to scratch an itch. A bad itch. It's a bad itch. It's wrong to want to die, she's been told all her life, despite the fact that death will come for everyone one day. It's like voluntarily holding your breath when sooner or later you will have to start breathing again.

She sits up in bed with a pillow in her arms, her chin resting on top of it. The only scenario that makes a gram of sense to her is—

Maybe L had been right all along? That Light really was Kira, and she the Second Kira? She doesn't know where they could've gotten the power to kill all of those people, nor does she know why she can't remember ever using this power, why she no longer has this power (she knows this much because criminals have stopped dying since that day, no matter how much she wants otherwise), or what could have possibly gone wrong to have had things end up like they are now, but of all the dim, broken thoughts floating around in her head, this one seems to glow the brightest.

She reaches deep inside herself, but can find no guilt over her imagined crimes. Is this a good or bad thing? Well, it wasn't as though her victims hadn't deserved what had come to them. Yet…

The plain and simple truth was, no one could feel guilt's sting when they couldn't remember doing what they were guilty of. This was what motivated people, like Kimiko or Tamura, to get drunk or high at any cost. So they could forget about how rotten they were and how ugly life was.

What if Erin and the task force were right? Maybe the two Kiras really had been no different than the criminals they slew? Misa had thought Tamura a monster for killing her parents and displaying nary a sliver of remorse over it, yet now here she sat with blood on her own hands (she can almost smell the warm metallic aroma on her fingers), no idea how it had gotten there and no guilt over its presence.

But it was different when it came to Kira, she reasoned. Kira killed to protect those who could not protect themselves. He guaranteed justice that the legal system failed to bring her and so many others. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the greater good, and those "sacrifices" were barely worth tears to shed for, anyway, in her humble opinion.

She used to think that that would be a dream come true, to be working side by side with the one who'd avenged her mother and father, who doubled as her lover, in creating a better world, ruling together as god and goddess. But now…

Where had their work gotten them? Her god had left her, in spite of her best efforts to make him stay, and the world at large. Society is rotting again, like a once beautiful cake left to the open air to spoil and fester. And she is just as rotten as the rest of it, no matter how much she dresses herself up, no matter how peppy and colorful of a front she puts up. L had spared her. Why would he? Why would they let her live, the one who'd killed Ukita, one of them, one of Aizawa's closest friends? They should've let her die with Light, let her be with her parents.

She trembles with a paralyzing cocktail of fear, shame, rage, grief and loneliness. To feel the way she does is the only way she knows she's still alive, but now there's no use for them. She never wants to feel again. She wants to be somewhere else, where her loved ones are. Somewhere where there is peace; she won't get that here.

Stop. As long as they think I'm gonna kill myself, I'll never get out of here. Misa rubs at her eyes, this time without worry of ruining her mascara. I'm an actress. It shouldn't take that much effort to trick these idiots into thinking I'm normal again. It might take a while, but it'll be worth it when they let me go. Then, when that happens—

The creak of the door's hinges breaks her train of thought.

Instinct prompts her to shield her face, immediately putting up a pleasant, coy front that feels oh so fake to her. "Hey there, haven't you heard of knocking? Hold on, Misa hasn't put on her face, yet!"

The door quickly swings back until it's ajar. A tired voice mutters from behind it, "Ah. Sorry. I really should have knocked. I can wait."

Recognition jolts up her spine. That voice…is that…?

No. It can't be…

Misa curls in tighter around herself as she wiggles on her bottom so she faces the door. Her breath hitches in her throat. It can't be. It just can't be. What would ever bring her back here to her? Maybe she's still asleep, and this is another dream? Another nightmare?

Her name rolls off her tongue, weak and thick. It leaves a strong, bitter aftertaste in her mouth like wasabi. She never liked wasabi, though she had always loved it. "K-Kimi?"

The door creaks open a little, revealing a woman's eye, dull and hazel and almond-shaped. It looks like her sister's. It blinks at her, adjusting to the light, or lack thereof, in the room. "Hi, Misa. M—may I come in?"

Misa doesn't know what to say. The little girl in her had expected Kimiko to come barging into the room, tipsy as a drinking bird with a hair-trigger temper. This Kimiko is asking if she can come in, completely sober. At least, so far she sounds sober.

Before she can think over her words, they escape her lips, half-timid, half-hostile. "I don't know. Can you?" Her fists clench against her breast, white and tingling with the lack of circulation.

There is a long, an unbearably long pause, before the door swings open, and somehow the woman who steps in looks like her dear big sister, and at the same time doesn't. This Kimiko's face looks washed out, her gaze distant. What's up with her right eye? It's still and non-reactive. Eyes aren't supposed to look like that. Her clothes are slightly wrinkled but clean, and they seem to hang off of her. This Kimiko has a white scarf tied around her head, her hair, dark and short and choppy, springing out from under the hem in feathery tufts. In her hand, a cane supports her weight. A soft, somewhat sheepish, somewhat hurt smile is woven into her thin lips.

This Kimiko doesn't look like she can, or wants to, cut up her face like she had their father's, or otherwise hurt her.

The woman looks about the room, too absentmindedly for Misa to believe that this is in fact the sister she used to know. When she had been sober, anyway. "There's a lot of colorful stuff in your room…"

She must be talking about the balloon and plushies and flowers and cards tacked to the bulletin board by the sink. Couldn't she see that for herself? "Y-yeah. They're get-well presents, mostly from fans of mine."

"Wow. You got all this from your fans? They must really miss you."

Maybe they do. But who do they really miss: their darling Misa-Misa, or the real Misa Amane?

"Couldn't you tell that by just looking? Is something wrong with your eyes, or what?" she asks, half out of sarcasm, half out of apprehension.

Kimiko hobbles in across the threshold by a few feet, and Misa can't help but notice the limp in her left leg. What's happened to this woman? The sister she remembers had never looked as humble or repentant as the sister standing in front of her. "You could say that. I can see light and color okay, but not much else. In my left eye, at least. Can't see a thing in my right. Funny thing: even though we're given two eyes, we only lose a fifth of our field of vision if we lose one of them. Did you know that?" Her chuckle is pained and awkward.

Misa can feel worms crawling in her gut. She feels sick, all of a sudden. "Wait. So, y-you're telling me that you're—"

Kimiko nods. "Yeah. I'm now legally blind."

"H…how did that happen? You weren't blind before."

"Got behind the wheel one night after coming out of a bar. Fucked up my leg, managed to cut open the back of my head," Kimiko says flatly. "I still have the scar. You don't have to see it if you don't want to, though. You never were crazy about that sort of thing."

Misa's emotions are boiling, sizzling over, like a pot left unattended. "Driving drunk, huh? Why am I not surprised?"

Kimiko cringes at the sharpness of Misa's words. Misa herself doesn't like the venom dripping from them, but can't find it in her to stop. How dare she show up in her face like nothing has happened?

"Kimi, why are you really here?" She uncurls herself and plants her bare feet on the cold linoleum, but still clutches the pillow tightly to her chest. To keep her already broken heart from going out to her sister and letting her break it again. "I don't see or hear from you in almost six years, and now you have the gall to pop in from out of the blue like everything's fine?"

"Misa, I—your friends got a hold of me, told me what's been going on with you. They said that you tried to kill yourself. I had to come back—"

Misa's laugh is too bitter for them both. "Come back? It takes you hearing about me attempting suicide for you to come back after all this time? I'm shocked that you were sober enough to even listen. Who are these friends who told you this anyway, huh?"

"Touta and Kanzo."

Misa freezes. Matsu and Mochi? Why…?

She snarls. "Where were you for all those other times I needed you? Where were you when Mom and Dad were getting cut up to shreds? Where were you during the trial? Where were you when I was getting tied up and tortured for something I didn't even do?" Tears singe the lining of her eyelids, as acidic as the blood in her veins.

Did do, a voice from a dark corner in her mind whispers. But Kimiko doesn't need to know that. She'd never believe her, anyway.

Kimiko hangs her head. "I'm not here to make excuses. And I'm not going to pretend that anything I do from this point on will take back everything I've done in the past. But…you're my sister, Misa. I just think it's time that I start being a sister to you again."

"You abandoned us, Kimi. You abandoned me. The only two people who've been there for me are Light and Kira. And now…"

She almost chokes at the image of Light's dead face flashing through her mind. "And now they're gone, too. Kira betrayed me, like you betrayed me. He took Light from me. We were going to be so happy together, and then he just took him from me."

After everything I did for him…

To her dismay, Kimiko starts to limp across the room, closing in on her, her hand stretched out to her. Her fingernails are icky and yellowed. "Please, Misa…I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything. Let me see you," she pleads, her own eyes becoming shiny with tears. "I need to see you. I want to see you…"

For a moment, Misa almost wants to let her do just that. But another swell of anger surges through her, from the chest outward, and she lunges to her feet.

"Get away from me!" For the first time in forever, the little sister is stronger than the older, and she knocks her to the ground, kicking the cane out of reach. The way Kimiko cries out cuts her deep down, and yet satisfies her in a sick, sick way.

"Misa," Kimiko chides her, her voice thick with unshed tears as she feels the ground for her cane, "stop this nonsense. I know you're angry, but you have to let go of it. I don't want you to end up like me."

It might be too late for that.

Misa glares at the scarf on her sister's head, burning a hole through it. "You should have died," she hisses, unsure as to whether she really means this or not. "Y-you should have died all mangled and covered in blood, just like Mom and Dad did." She feels like attacking her again, but something won't let her. Kimiko already looks so helpless on the ground.

The older Amane sighs. "You know, Misa? Sometimes I would think the same way. I made my parents and little sister suffer and left them to clean up the mess I made. I couldn't keep my marriage together. I couldn't even carry my first child to term. For whatever reason, I refused to get my act together. I should've died in that crash.

"But I lived, instead. It's sad, how these days it takes people dying or almost dying for us to wake up, to realize what's really important. But it's damn effective. Or at least it has been for me. I've paid for my mistakes, and now it's time for me to…"

Misa doesn't see it coming. Before she knows it, Kimiko wraps her arms around her waist and pulls her squealing onto her knees at her level. She wraps her into a hug, her hand cradling her head against her lean shoulder.

"Stop it, let go of me!" Misa screams, her tiny fists beating at any part of her sister that she can get at. She hits her, bites her, wriggles around in her arms to break free, but they seem to tighten around her, the more resistance she puts up. "You don't understand! I don't want a reason to keep living, anymore! I'd rather be dead!" In the throes of her tantrum, she yanks off the scarf, revealing patchy clumps of hair between areas of bare scalp. She can see the corner of a thin, white scar creeping up from behind her ear.

"I love you, Misa. I've never said that as often as I should, I know I've hurt you, and maybe you don't believe me, but I still love you. We can take what's left of us and start over. If only you would just find it in you to—"

"How can things ever go back to the way they were?" Misa demands, her forehead against Kimi's chest, her tears now streaming down her heated, reddened face without restraint. "Can you bring Mom and Dad back? Can I bring Light back?"

Can I bring myself back?

"Shut up, Kimiko! Just shut the fuck up! Stop talking about a better future that may never happen! Stop trying to fool me! Stop trying to—stop trying to…give me a reason to…"

She can't finish. The lump in her throat explodes into a sob, saturated with confusion and stubbornness and despair and a foolish love for the woman stroking her hair that pushes itself to the forefront, no matter how bad she has been to her, and vise versa. It saps whatever fighting spirit she still has in her, and she buries her face in the warm fabric of Kimiko's shirt to cry.

She no longer smells of booze. She smells like her sister.

Matsuda bites his lip. He pulls away from the crack in the door, his stomach in knots over the scene that's just erupted behind it. "Mogi, things are starting to get hairy in there," he whispers. "Maybe this was a bad idea? We'd better get in there and—"

A large, meaty hand claps over his shoulder. Matsuda turns to look at Mogi through wide, worried eyes. His partner shakes his head.

"I think they're working through it, already."

The two of them are there only for damage control, something that cannot be done until after the storm passes. Until then, storms must be left to rage themselves out.

Still in doubt, Matsuda turns his gaze back towards the inside of the room. Misa's still crying. Kimiko starts to rock her, quietly. There's no need for words, right now.

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