Scattering Ashes

BY : Gloria B
Category: Death Note > General
Dragon prints: 3074
Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Title: Scattering Ashes
Chapter Title: Dead Man Walking
Summary: Three years after the fall of Kira, Near continues his role as the successor of L with dutiful indifference. Even so, he is haunted by ghosts of the past—indeed, one comes back from the dead hell-bent on teaching Near how to live.
Disclaimer: Death Note is the property of its creators. I do not own this franchise and no infringement is intended or profit gained by the writing of this fanfiction. I also do not own T.S. Eliot or his works; my quoting of his poems is to enrich the fanfiction but not to profit by it.
Pairing: MattxNear, past MelloxMatt
Spoiler Warning: Reveals events during the end of the third arch of the original anime series. Also reveals Matt's true name.
Alternate Warnings: Rating M is for violence, swearing and adult sexual situations (which will occur later in the fic, please be patient) which include, but are not limited to, homosexuality. Also contains characters dealing with serious subjects like death and grief, so standard angst warnings apply.
Spoiler Warning: Reveals events during the end of the third arch of the original anime series. Also reveals Matt's true name.

Author’s Note: Hiya! This came to me during the final stages of writing New Disease for Doumi’s fabulous fanfiction Thanks for the Memories and it just wouldn’t quit. So! Here it is. I am attempting an all out post-canon fic (except, of course, the one element of Matt’s presence...even though I believe it is completely plausible) so please alert me if I mix up facts or anything. Also, I have never tried writing Near and I’m going to put him into situations he’s never been in before; he is also twenty-two years of age. So I may be taking quite a bit of creative license on his matured personality in this fic and am prepared to label him OOC for all you lovely nitpickers. In any case, I very much hope you enjoy this and thank you ever so much for reading.

Yours,
Gloria

Scattering Ashes



Chapter One



Dead Man Walking


“My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.
“Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.
“What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
“I never know what you are thinking. Think.”

I think we are in rats’ alley
Where the dead men lost their bones.

“What is that noise?”

The wind under the door.

“What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?”

Nothing again nothing.

“Do You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember Nothing?"

I remember
Those are pearls that were his eyes.

“Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?”


~115-126 “A Game of Chess”; Part II of The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot



June 3rd, 2013
~*~

It had been at least a year since the last Kira copy-cat. This one was even less dangerous in Near’s mind—and that wasn’t really saying much as the last one was barely a foot-note in the analogues. This killer didn’t even have a Death Note. The only real link to Kira that this minor case held was that the victims had been Kira supporters and officers of the Japanese police force during the final days of Light Yagami’s reign of terror and megalomania.

Also, a decent percentage of them were former bodyguards of Kiyomi Takada, one of the several sub-Kiras manipulated by the late Light Yagami.

There were two things to note about this—aside, of course, from the obvious. One, Halle had brought this file in to him herself. Halle, during those tumultuous weeks, had been a member of the SPK he’d formed, and a decent one at that. She had also acted as a bodyguard to Takada and had become quite popular with Takada’s fans. Simultaneously, Halle had used her position to relay information to Mello about Takada’s connection to Kira—a theory they had both apparently guessed and guessed correctly.

Two, Takada had died on the same day as Mello and Matt. Indeed, Takada had somehow managed to kill Mello during his brash abduction of her and Matt was shot down by her bodyguards during the incident. Later, Mikami—another sub-Kira—would use the Death Note to kill Takada, alerting him to the fact that one Note was fake and the other, quite real. Thus, he had been able to prove Light Yagami was Kira.

Consequently, as it turns out, Mello and Matt’s actions that day had saved his life, and the lives of a dozen other men, the day he confronted Kira and forced him to confess. Whether it was on purpose, a nicely-timed coincidence, or just another attempt by Mello to shake things up like he did when he had kidnapped Sayu, Near was never certain.

It had been three years, and still Near was bothered by the events of January 26th, 2010.

Near sat up, watching passively as his sudden movement disturbed his complex castle of matches and scattered across the floor. Behind him, Rester stood and came around his desk, steady and silent as ever, ready to answer Near’s request.

“I would like the photos from the murder scenes on screens four through seventeen.”

Rester immediately returned to his desk. After a short moment, the surrounding computer screens switched from surveillance of the interior of Wammy's House to photos taken at the crime scene where this new murderer killed his eleven victims.

Near reached for a deck of cards and unfolded the flap. “No call sign. Clean work. No apparent opposition to do things within high-security buildings. Seven of the officers were shot inside their precinct at various times. Nothing on their surveillance cameras...” Near shuffled the cards aimlessly, long slender fingers moving quickly over the deck. “This has personal written all over it. I would like the Japanese to discontinue calling this killer a copy-cat. While his style is not technically new, his method is. And he is not claiming to be Kira. In fact, he is not claiming to be anything.”

“His method?” The question was expected.

“The killer is not disregarding the security of the building, he is manipulating it.” Near placed the deck in front of him and selected a card from the top. A jack of hearts. “Obviously he is technologically...inclined.”

“But who could break into a police precinct, kill multiple officers, and then leave again like he was never there?”

“That,” Near said, gazing thoughtfully at the jack, “is why they call it a mystery.”

Rester laughed, the sound low and rumbling.

Abruptly, the alarm system for the entire mansion went off. Lights flashed red as Halle ran into the room, un-holstered weapon in hand. “Lock it down!”

“We have a breach,” Rester confirmed, switching the screens back to surveillance. “Not sure where. Cameras are shifting in and out.”

Near tucked the jack of hearts into his shirt pocket and looked up, searching the screens with dark eyes. “Call in Code 9 for the faculty and the student body. Make sure they understand this is not a drill.”

“Roger,” Halle responded.

The cameras were indeed shifting—but there was a pattern. “Intruder has rigged the cameras to black out when he passes them,” Near murmured, his voice barely audible over the shrill alarm. Near pointed. “Hall fourteen...now he’s turning left. Now he going up the stairs to the Eastern Wing...he knows his way around this place.”

“Former student?” Rester asked, fingers flying over his keyboard.

“None that were advanced enough to do this...unless...”

“We’ve locked down all the doors, but they’re opening for him!” Halle called.

“Status of the student body?” Near asked calmly, eyes following the invisible intruder’s progress through the mansion. The intruder was on the third floor now. He was headed here.

“Faculty has entered confirmation codes. Student body is locked down.”

“He’s headed this way!” Rester announced, wrenching his gun from its holster.

“Yes, I know.” Something felt wrong about this. Near had updated the security measures on the mansion himself when they had returned to Wammy’s and taken over L’s office. Who could know this place so well?

Halle and Rester took up a protective position between Near and the door, weapons at the ready, safeties off. Near’s eyes searched the screens frantically. He grabbed a toy robot and clenched it tightly. The intruder would be here in four seconds. Three. Two.

The door slid open and Rester fired—but his aim was knocked off-course by Near’s robot, which had been flung from where he sat on the floor. The bullet didn’t stray far. Expensive plastic shattered on the right side of his face and the intruder swore, ripping off his goggles and flicking sharp fragments away from his eyes.

Near stared dumbly, his mouth slack, as the intruder straightened, wiping blood off his cheek irritably with a flick of his gloved fingers. “Yeah, hi to you too.” He swore again, holding up his ruined goggles for closer inspection.

“M-Matt?”

Rester kept his weapon trained on the intruder as Halle took a step forward, her arm wavering.

Behind them, Near stood, dark eyes wide with shock. “Matt?” It definitely looked like him. Cornflower blue eyes, dark auburn hair, slender build, sloping, generous mouth, the undeniable odor of cigarette smoke that hung around the former Wammy's student like an invisible cloud. He looked strange though, haggard and thin in his close fitting leather riding outfit. Dark circles smudged the skin under his eyes, his hair was longer, the ends frayed and messy, and there was a strange tremor slightly shaking his left hand.

“The one and only.” Matt ran a hand through his hair and tossed a jacket to Near over Rester and Halle’s heads. His voice was deeper than Near remembered it, gruffer—slightly strained. “Let’s go.”

Near caught the jacket and held it up in front of him.

Halle continued to stare at Matt, but Rester took action. “Hands behind your head,” he demanded, taking a step forward, his gun still raised. “Turn around and spread your legs.” Halle shook her head, shattering whatever spell had frozen her and raised her gun again.

“You heard him. That was an order not a suggestion.”

Matt ignored them and made to side-step them in Near’s direction. Rester shoved him back with one heavy hand, but Matt grabbed the man’s thumb and quickly twisted his arm behind him, jabbing one booted foot into the flesh behind Rester’s knee. With a shout, Rester's knees buckled and he staggered under Matt's weight, dropping his gun. Then, it got rather chaotic and Near watched, frozen in shock, as a gunfight shook his office.

Halle fired her weapon, but Matt dodged it this time, sweeping his leg out and catching her by the ankles. Rester managed to wrestle free and grabbed Matt by the throat. As Halle toppled backwards, Matt jabbed three quick punches into Rester’s kidney, causing the larger man to double over. Matt’s elbow came crashing down onto the back of Rester’s neck as Halle twisted on the floor. Matt lunged for Rester’s gun as Halle fired a second shot. The bullet caught one of the massive screens and it shattered, sparking electricity and hot smoke. Matt tumbled and swung his arm around, but when Near saw the firearm in his hand he rushed forward.

“That’s quite enough,” Near said, raising his voice only slightly to make sure they heard him over their own adrenaline, raising his hands between them.

“Near, get behind me,” Halle ordered.

Instead, Near donned the jacket. Matt kept his stolen weapon trained on the female bodyguard as Near quietly went to one side of the office and procured a pair of white sneakers and slipped them on. Then, he walked passed Matt and entered the code sequence to open the door.

"Near!"

"I have often debated the logic of using an orphanage as a shield," Near told her softly. "Tonight, thanks to your incompetence, three bullets have been fired on an unarmed man. Whatever happens next, will happen away from this orphanage."

Rester groaned and tried to roll over. Matt glanced at him once before looking back at Halle. Something stony had stolen over Matt’s features. “He’ll return in due time. Do not follow me, or I might renege.”

~*~


Frankly, Matt didn’t think they’d listen. So he made sure to quicken the pace the moment they reached the stairwell. Matt grabbed Near’s wrist and dragged him along as he maneuvered through the twisting halls of his youth, past stained-glass windows and stonework and ornate wood engravings, past dodgy security cameras and libraries and classrooms, past it all; none of it meant much to him anymore.

They exited through a side door. It had been used as a servant’s entrance generations ago, so it was lower and less conspicuous. Not to say that Matt was really trying to hide. A brand new, cherry red Corvette was parked just outside the door, waiting for them. The early summer air was cool, the smell of rain thick as invisible storm clouds gathered in the night sky.

"Get in."

Near hesitated and Matt sent him a dark look. "Get in."

Near walked around the vehicle and opened the passenger side door, glancing up at the mansion towering above them. The alarm was still going off and the entire estate was lit with bright white search lights. Near ducked into the car and pulled the door shut. Matt slid in behind the wheel and started the engine. Then, Matt unhurriedly lit a cigarette, pocketed his lighter and adjusted the review mirror. Matt shifted the clutch and the car began to pull forward. With his left hand on the steering wheel and his cigarette clenched between his teeth, Matt reached over Near and opened the glove box. He retrieved a small black device with multiple, odd-shaped buttons. As he accelerated and pulled out onto the main drive, he pressed a red one and all the search lights went out and the alarm abruptly silenced. Matt pressed another button on the device and the front gate opened. After they had cleared the estate, Matt returned the device to the glove box, looking side-long at Near who stared back at him with black eyes.

Matt looked away first and promptly ignored Near for nearly twenty minutes as he drove through the sleeping town outside the estate and merged onto a vacant freeway. Near was equally quiet, trying to figure out why his multi-layered thoughts seemed to have shuddered to a dormant pause while only one flashed garishly in the forefront: Matt is alive.

They were well into the country-side when the shock began to sub-side and Near's thoughts began to reboot. Immediately, suspicion slammed into him like a blow to the gut. He looked like Matt, he had Matt's skill with electronics, but he definitely did not act like the Matt he remembered. Furthermore, Matt was dead. "What's your name?"

"Mail Jeevas," Matt answered readily, his voice low and distracted. "You know that. Please be quiet." Matt turned on his blinker and abruptly swerved across the highway to make the next exit, his eyes on the review mirror.

Near twisted in his seat and saw through the back window that a black Lincoln was pursuing them. Halle and Rester had caught up. "Lying to me isn't going to change anything."

"Quiet please."

"They will not stop their pursuit. It would be unwise to--"

"Put on your seat belt and be quiet."

"Are you planning to ransom me? I will tell you now--"

"Please shut up," Matt said through clenched teeth. "And fasten your seatbelt." Matt leaned forward and searched the sky. Distantly, he heard a helicopter coming in from the east. He checked his watch. Four-thirty, right on time.

The car lurched as Matt pulled a hard right, turning the wheel with one hand and popping the clutch with the other. Then he gunned it. Tires squealed behind them as their pursuers followed, the brights of the Lincoln flooding the interior of Matt’s Corvette as they closed in.

Near recoiled in his seat as another light flashed and a loud, trumpeting sound shook the windows. Directly in front of them, a red and white striped bar was blocking the street to allow passage of a speeding train. “Train,” he whispered, his voice failing him.
“I see it. Seat belt. Now.”

“Likelihood of crossing the tracks before the train is less than one percent—“

Matt had no intention of stopping. He pressed the gas pedal all the way down to the floor with one foot and gritted his teeth, glancing at Near out of the corner of his eye. “Goddammit, Near! Put on your—“

“We won’t make it! Brake!”

Matt swore, unclipped his own safety device and flung himself sideways, grabbing Near’s seatbelt. Too late.

Behind them, the Lincoln hydroplaned as the vehicle skidded on its braking wheels. The train came barreling down on them, the horn blaring, the light glaring white. Matt held onto Near’s seat belt for dear life, using his body to protect the top-rated detective in the world from the impact as the Corvette smashed into the wooden bar, the windshield splintering with a deafening cracking sound. Then the car jumped over the tracks, the front fender breaking off as the speed-propelled vehicle bounced over the metal rails. The horn was deafening, all Matt could see was white—and then the horn faded to a shrill whine. They had made it. Matt quickly calculated the risk of leaving the detective unprotected for control of the wheel, his thoughts flying faster than light in his mind. He decided against it, shifted his foot to the brake pedal and braced himself, pressing Near against the seat with the weight of his entire body.

The Corvette swerved once, twice, and then lost its balance and tilted sharply onto two wheels. They were airborne for only a split second before the roof of the vehicle slammed into to something hard and quite solid, denting the metal severely inward. Luckily, the backseat of the Corvette embraced most of the impact, leaving the front relatively unharmed.

Matt had landed on the back of his neck, his legs twisted and trapped under crunching metal. They only had a few minutes before the train passed and Near’s bodyguards would be able to continue their pursuit. Matt could hear the thunderous whipping sound of the helicopter landing a few yards away.

He twisted, swearing as a bit of shrapnel sliced into his cheek. He used every muscle in his stomach and left side to lift his torso up so he could turn off the ignition. Blowing themselves up at this point would be a very bad idea. Beneath him, Near was very still.

Matt checked his pulse. The detective was unconscious, but there were no broken bones that he could see from his vantage point, so he assumed he would make it to the helicopter. Matt fell back again and braced himself with his hands, working to free his legs. At last he had them straightened out and began kicking at the driver’s side door. It took four direct hits before it gave, but it was enough. Matt curled in on himself and maneuvered so that he could lift himself out of the door torso first, careful not to step on the sleeping Near. Quickly, he pulled himself up and out and then immediately adjusted on his belly so that he could reach down and grab Near. He was heavier than he looked.

Finally, as the last of the cars of the train were rounding the bend, Matt had Near’s arm around his shoulder and was stumbling toward the waiting bird.

~*~


“Fuck!” Halle screamed, running at full speed towards the smoking wreck of the red Corvette as the helicopter flew away, Rester hot on her heels. “Fuck!”

Rester slowed as he squinted up into the inky black sky. “That looks like a military bird,” he shouted to his partner.

Halle looked up and swore again. “Which goddamned one? Can you see--?”

“No, it’s too dark.”

“This is bad, Rester. That was not Matt.”

Rester ran a hand through his hair. “Are you certain?”

“I saw the body, in Japan, three years ago. Riddled with bullets. Very, very dead, Rester. That was not Matt.”

To be continued...


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