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18 January 2010 @ 04:24 pm
Cytokine Storm  
Title: Cytokine Storm
Pairing: Light x Sayu, Light x Mikami (maybe?)
Fandom: Death Note
Genre: Drama, Tragedy, Suspense, Supernatural
Rating: R
Word Count:  2,764


A/N: An old fic written for dn_contest

Cytokine Storm

I.

 

“Because cytokine inhibition does not protect against death, therapies that target the virus rather than cytokines may be preferable.”

Addendum: It’s all a matter of preference and simplification: in the end, someone must die. This was law.

It had happened before, some time (the way humans counted years was quite tedious) some decades ago. In a quaint city called San Francisco, a neurotic bastard spread the philosophy of Lucifer, delivering it to the core of everyone’s cell. “This was the era of tragedy.” This was the era to be wept, the era of lies and the scorching scent of rotted—deathened—flesh and mucus plagued over black like photographic film.

He held the air trapped tight in his dust striated lungs (no need to breathe) and imagined the worst of humanity (and the worst to come). Below the city-skies and tiered buildings heaving and panicking, rising from the ground, he saw his human dying. Lost and afraid, the perpetrator laid down to die, beaten and raw with blood all coughed dry. The boy looked up at Ryuk and smiled; even teetering on the edge of collapse he could look beautiful.

And they both knew the story to come. So long, goodbye, Ryuk waved farewell.

In the year of 1918, by the chalky sidewalk of Saint Francis’ alleyway, a madman slumped knee-down into a trash chute and swore he’d reemerge a hundred years later.

Septicemia was no curse.

(It was your own body you had to fear.)

“I’m studying to be a doctor.”

“Good. Then you should know all about medical ethics.”

“This eraser you say…it can resurrect the dead?”

“And this is the book to kill.”

“So I don’t make mistakes?”

“Either way, both sides, however you want to see it.”

II.

Somehow, he survived.

No, it was under control, manageable, all calculated accordingly since the beginning…
—Bullshit. “I called you out.”

And one day, he had an idea.

“What are the premises for bringing people back to life?”

“What was that?”

“Ryuk, I said ‘what are the premises for bringing people back to life’.”

“Easy. Nothing to it! You take that eraser and you erase their names. Are you always this stupid?”

“Are there any consequences to the user?”

“He gets spiked through the heart each time.”

“I will take that as a no. Suppose I were to kill and resurrect…that would make me God wouldn’t it?”

“But are you really creating something, Dear God?”

“Creation is a fabrication. All things created were already in existence. What you see is stagnant, multi-faceted, like a prism. At each time interval—a second in continuous flow—you only see one side of the prism. “

“Pardon me, Great Lord, I do think that is heresy.”

Light swiveled the chair around and faced Ryuk directly, smiling kindly with hands open (veins bluing like Krishna—called mortal anemia). For once, he wasn’t being sarcastic. For once, he actually meant to teach (the disciple).

That samsara and sinning were absolutely absurd. This was the era of hedonism. This was the era of nihilistic devolution. To hell with the world, with heaven, to hell with hell.

“Why don’t we start with Mikami Teru?”

(There’s a prick if there ever was one.)

--

Mikami Teru was a simple man, had few desires and fewer pleasures in mind.

He had a lovely wife (plain and tender) and a humble apartment in one of the wealthier districts. As a practicing lawyer, he could spot out affluence a mile away. And this was no joking matter. Suits were crucial, but watches were the epitome of flaunting attire (not that he ever did).

One morning, Mikami Teru was found dead in his bed.

The wife screamed, cheeks elongated and ghastly gaunt (she’d make even Munch proud) and an eerie howl escaped her throat. Quickly she dialed for the ambulance, for the police, and paced restlessly until help (help! choke and crash) arrived. An hour passed, then two. The coroner turned the corner, wrote up a succinct, lackadaisical, squiggly report declaring it as ecumenical, incontestable suicide (it’s all the rage, all the club).

“Ma’am, your husband died of auto-asphyxiation. See the marks around his neck? They indicate that they were pulled by him.”

(Fetish gone wrong.)

“Impossible! My husband was not depressed or insane or whatever the hell you need to be to suicide. He was a good, decent, honest man!”

(Me thinks the not-hot wife doth protest too much.)

“I know this must be hard for you, but it’s the truth.”

“You don’t know anything about Teru!”

“Lady, I don’t need to know your husband on a personal level to tell you how he died medically.”

(A clichéd line would demand for sexual tension right about now.)

--

With agile fingers and a tumorous mind, Light pricked him awake with a needle. Cleaved heart, torn open skin, exposed were the organs and entrails and everything gorgeously ugly. Blood dried out (check) heart stopped completely (double check—Light did a double turn) and arms and legs strapped down to the gurney (absolutely).

Almost gentle and infinitely sweet, Light lifted him, shifting stance, and propped him neat and deft against the pillow. Then, with meticulous stability and dedication, he made small incisions along every ten centimeters or so of Mikami Teru’s chest. He examined the lacerations and detailed the stopper-nature of blood clots (wondered how dead men bled) as each character of Mikami Teru’s name was gradually erased.

“Who said you can’t bring a man back from death?”

“Only if you knew how to cheat.”

“Isn’t this what life is about? Cheating the system and winning the stakes?”

Catastrophe is the ending result of pacifism. (Well, I just don’t give a damn.)

Ryuk shrugged.

“How are you feeling?”

Mikami Teru was reborn like a phoenix peeping out from calcified shell breaks.

--

The theory of morality is based on relativity.

“Some coffee or tea?”

“God?”

“Please, call me Light. God is so…formal.”

“Light, why did you…kill…me? I was—am—your most devoted follower. I have followed every instruction you gave me perfectly. We share the same vision, the same idea of what Utopia should be. I don’t understand why I was—”

“Why you were chosen?”

“Chosen to be killed.”

“No hard feelings between us, I hope.”

“No, not at all! I was simply wondering why I was selected.”

“Because you are trustworthy, Mikami Teru. The only one I can rely on from this swamp of filth and squalor. This is why I bestowed the Death Note upon you.”

“Thank you. Yes, I can see why you chose me. There was no other choice was there?”

“No, there wasn’t.”

God, have you ever been afraid?
God paused before answering.
No.

III.

 

Dear God, it’s been a while. I want to tell you that I still think of you every day, love you every hour, every minute—every second I think of you, it goes by and by and by. Incidentally, I will be in Tokyo next Saturday. Maybe I will see you then? Much love, Sayu.

“Sayu? Are you listening to me?”

Sayu peered up from the paper, eyes glistening with pseudo crocodilian tears, and sighed dramatically. She picked up the pen, circled the headline in crimson (Chanel lipstick in Fatale, berry red and bursting with poison), and pushed out the chair and leapt into her mother’s arms.

“Sorry mommy, what did you say?” she asked.

“I asked if you’re still set on visiting Light this weekend.”

“Of course. It’s okay right?”

“Don’t forget to call once you get there. And your father will pick you up Monday morning for school.”

“Don’t worry. I know.”

Sayu grinned and dashed outside.

In her head, she dreamed of the real God and how they’ll be reunited again soon—very soon (she hoped). He must be missing her terribly too, with only that vile man for company (and Ryuk, lovely, lovely lonely Ryuk).  

--

It’s so tragic, the news these days. Nothing but war and the we-swear-to-be upcoming nuclear holocaust. The ocean waves are rising, volcanoes unstable (whoever heard such a ludicrous thing), and viruses and diseases.

Sayu flipped on the screen, frowned at the newsy-news channel and clicked for another station.

We are live-broadcasting this from the Sorbonne…an outbreak has occurred yet again. The origin of the virus is as of late unknown, but medical specialists believe immediate death is caused by uncontrolled cytokine storms.

Sayu laughed, bewildered and feverish.

(She knew it then, now, knew it well.)

This was the end of the world: when your own body betrays you.

Sayu picked up the phone, dialed.

“Hello Sayu,” said the receiver, “I take it that you’ve been watching the news?”

“What do you want me to do next?”

Sayu nodded deliriously.

--

In the event of contagious distrust and dishonesty, he had to pick a back-up. Someone docile and absolutely smitten (with him, with them, the cause and brigade against flawed laws). It was a spontaneous decision, something like the bubble formation of a random thought coming to life. But it was a good choice—he knew that all along—and under no circumstances would she accuse him of cheating her life.

And so, Light called his sister and designated a time and place Saturday at 4.00? to meet. She was practically gushing by the time he hung up, oh Light (oh God) I miss you so much! It’s been so boring here without you… —I miss you too, Sayu. That always shut her up nice and prompt (properly, like a decent lady should). And he did, a little part of him, miss her a lot. Honest.

On the fourth of November, a girl dressed in red and plaid, hair slicked and tied back in a bun, walked down the avenue (sidewalks studded with Gucci and Prada and de la Renta) with a smile on her lips and rosary swinging from her neck. Left she turned, on the corner street, and in she entered a café with nondescript  arabesque script and the odor of acrid coffee fermenting.

“I’d like a nonfat, soy latte please.”

“Sure, that’ll be three-fifty.”

Sayu took out change, quarters jingling, and planted the bills into a warm, sweaty palm (disgusting).

“Did you happen to see…a man coming by earlier? He was wearing—“ pause and stop “Oh. Never mind. Thank you.”

A conversation over cereal, over tea, over damning the weather (and the whethers).

“It’s been months since I’ve last seen you. So how’ve you been, Nii-san?”

“Sayu, do you know what the first step to eradicating an entire race is?”

“Umm…what?”

“You pick one person and inject him with death.”

Hello, I’ll take sugar with that please. And cream, lots and lots of cream.

That night, they fuck with torsos entwined like snakes in spring. Spontaneous and dirtied, so unlike him and thoughtless.

He pushes her down, back arching, and enters her. For a moment, his head is high and masked with the feverish onslaught of sex (the smell is overwhelming). Sayu moans. Elbows aching, support shaking. It’s surreal.

Her eyes are glassed over (on an acid trip). Sayu coughs, blood spotting on white lace.

Don’t think, don’t stop. It’ll be all right.

“I love you, Nii-san.”

I know, God. It’ll be okay.

In his peculiar way, he says goodbye to her.

IV.

 

I hear your voice on the radio
It’s hypnotic, it’s (sycophantic) mythic
Tell me how it goes, in Slavic tunes
(In slavish cryptic hieroglyphics)

She gets pinned like a mannequin, painted like a Kahlo distortion, and off and away she is whisked to be displayed. They hit the nightclub, blood surging with alcohol. She’s past her limit. He’s wrongly amused.

Sayu waltzed down the hallway (runway highway, red carpet velvet ropes and jazz): upbeat music, bright silks, flashing lights, these flushed nights. In beat, in grace, she twirls ‘round and ‘round on the dance floor. Snap, snap, let us take your picture, pose—halt—turn back time.

He dips her low, she laughs. They spin endlessly to the record on high.

A cough and a sneeze, a hack and a wheeze.

“Are you all right?”

“I think I’m having a fever.”

Sayu falls down, head-over-heels, legs straight into the air and neck twisted.

--

He visits her in the hospital exactly as a concerned brother should.

He brings her flowers and sits by her bed and waits and waits in his half-buttoned shirt and pale green tie. Sometimes, he holds her hand and smiles to himself.

It’s sick.

It’s fucked (he’s fucked in the head).

“Is she going to live?”

Light turns around. “Of course.”

--

This morning, Amane Misa died from the mysterious disease plaguing our cities.
Unfortunately, she was just nominated for her newly released film.
Coincidentally, the sister of her alleged fiancé also died from the same virus infection.
As of today, there have been some breakthroughs in manufacturing a vaccine.
Optimistic medical professionals predict that the vaccine will be available in a few weeks.
More information will be disclosed after this so stay tuned!

Mikami rubs out Sayu’s name while Light dictates.

Five hundred miles away, secluded in a mortuary’s basement, Sayu kicks against the hard coffin cover (muffled screams).

“Help! Someone let me out of here!”

I’m trapped, I’m dead, no I’m not dead.

"Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?"

--

“It’s the eleventh case seen this month alone. We’re live here with Yagami-san who was clinically declared dead for three days until this morning when the mortician—”

--

Humans never valued life. It’s a given therefore it’s expendable. And when they’re thrashing for breath, six-feet under (the water) then they’re shit-scared and crying for an oxygen tank.

He’s given this lecture countless times already, in grand auditorium halls, Victorian classrooms, and al fresco (in vitro) like Jesus did. He quotes the laureates perfectly, every lilt and nuance memorized. Light is a master, an inventor and contortionist.

Truth incarnates in a myriad of ways.

“Thank you.”

And goodnight.

Tonight is the night.
He takes her out to dinner.
And instructs the other.
Erase the names, scour the filth.

No one will die (except the sinners).
This is the test of faith.

Incidentally, she happened to see them fuck.

… turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes…

Walking by his bedroom (unlocked, slightly ajar) one night, Sayu dropped her glass of water and stifled a shriek of disbelief and terror.

(She’s always hated that Mikami.)

He’s psychotic—he must be. This is insane. They’re all insane.

Light finds her passed out in the morning with vodka dripping out of the bottle (Molotov cocktail in the making). He dumps her onto the bed, plopped down like a ragdoll, and lifts the hem of her dress.

He fucks her hard. She doesn’t wake up.

It’ll be fine.

I’m going mad. I’m choking on my own bile.

Let’s have a chat all right, now, this night: Light, what are you getting at?

V.

 

Sayu attends school piously just like she’s been doing every day and pretends that she doesn’t know, evades the questions with sweet smiles and quickened shakes. She’ll hold his secret down (to the grave) forever, sitting in her stomach ready to be digested.

Nothing is wrong. It’s only a cough, only the flu.

“Sensei, are you feeling well?”

Sensei dies the next day from a fever of a hundred and six. Rigor mortis lasts for seventy-two hours. Spreadeagle like a pentagramic exhibition or the Vitruvian Man (the first man). As the ambulance hauls his body away, he springs awake and demands for a brandy.

--

One evening, arriving home from prep classes, Sayu sees an old acquaintance sitting by himself in her parlor.

She greets him, “I didn’t think he’d actually do it. Bring you back, you know.”

L takes the slice of cake from her and appraises it astutely before taking a bite. Wonderful. Marvelous. It’s been years.

--

“It’s still a relatively new form of psychiatric therapy so there are a few kinks to be worked out.”

“Dr. Chiba, my daughter…she’s been through a very traumatic experience. Our entire family, well, I’m sure you’ve read and seen the news.”

“Yagami-san, my job is to help the patients. I know that the DC Mini is not a conventional form of therapy but considering the state your daughter is in, it’s the best shot we have at a full recovery.”

Mrs. Yagami sighs contently. At least she’ll have saved one child, if the treatment works.

—end of sequence one—