[starry starry night] @cchinita
[Ogura Hyakkunin Isshu] TW: MENTIONS OF SUICIDE, BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF A CORPSE

Starry, starry night

Paint your palette blue and grey

It was raining when he arrived at the flower shop. Grey and heavy clouds gathering together, not unlike the crowds of people in the warm embrace of the café next door. He closes his umbrella, coat, and shoes damp from the rains’ onslaught. With the delicate chime of the bell above the door, a willowy lady with hair spun from moonlight greeted her with an ethereal smile. He glances at the lady’s nametag, Alice, it read.

He points a finger at the flowers he wishes for his bouquet, pointedly avoiding the display of hellebores proudly set up near the front.

Look out on a summer's day

With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

The hellebores were absolutely divine, don’t get him wrong. They even resembled her eyes, a dark and mysterious black—its meaning suited her too, serenity and tranquility. Eyes that bore into you and strips you of any and all masks, leaving you bared to her and her only.

Shadows on the hills

Sketch the trees and the daffodils

He chooses a myriad of blooms; agrimony, for all that she’s done for him. Almond, the flashes of her smile as she lifts a pinky calloused with years’ worth of strife and labor and entwines them with his own just as calloused one. Anemone, for the times she worries him sick with her stupidly reckless heart filled with empathy, a heart that controlled her more than she controlled it. Asphodels, it was more for him than it was for her, days filled with a heavy heart and heavier mind that naysaying voice whispering to him, it’s all your fault—

Bluebells, to the pledge made under the bridge, the full moon their only witness. Chrysanthemums, a return gift and a thank you for the light she shone on him, the lightness she brought everywhere she went. Cypress, for both of them, one who wears black, always mourning and one who could not afford to mourn. Daffodil, for the respect that only grew and grew each day he stayed. A single eglantine rose, dead center is the focus of the bouquet, delicate pink petals shining in the shop’s bright light.

He thanks the lady, Alice, with a somber smile. Her eyes are soft and laden with concern, a query hiding in its cerulean depths, will you be fine? her eyes ask.

He smiles once more, this time more sincere. I will be, don’t worry. His umber eyes warm like the coffee he had from that café next door.

A nod and the whirr of the door ends the interaction of the customer and employee.

He heads off, umbrella open in one hand the other gripping the stem of the bouquet almost reverently.

Like the chime of the bell and a huff of wind, like the chatter of strangers and the warmth of fresh coffee, he was gone.

Catch the breeze and the winter chills

In colors on the snowy linen land

The rain has stopped.

He arrives sooner than he wishes too, maybe it was because he was absorbed in his mind, but the walk did not feel as agonizingly long as the times he and her would rush there, barely making it due to the city’s horrid traffic. Rain splattered all over them, hair wet and clothes sopping, his coat did little to shield them from the torrent of rain.

He reaches his destination fairly quickly, seeing the very familiar hill he quickens his brisk pace into a sprint, reaching the very top with naught a bead of sweat, he sits down on the ground. Laying the bouquet next to him, careful not to ruin the immaculate arrangement.

He sighs fondly at the sight from the hill, a familiar matchbox being taken from his coat, right above his heart. And he talks and talks.

He talks about a lot of things, mostly mundane things about his latest swimming endeavors or his mentee’s budding relationship with his partner but he peppers in small tidbits about more serious issues, tone laced with an underlying longing, longing to hear her voice reply with that same bright tone or that amusing deadpan.

He laughs a bitter laugh and hangs his head low, eyes covered by the curtain of his dark bangs.

I miss you is visible in every action from the delicate way he brushes off the fallen blossoms from her tombstone to the reverent way he places the bouquet on the slab of marble, re-lighting the flameless candle with a match.

Now I understand

What you tried to say to me

The flashes of memory from that week bubbling in the back of his mind reach to the surface and they pop.

He closes his eyes and lets himself crack and break and shatter.

Her words echo around in his head as he curls up next to the slate of marble, the candle on the other side, the flame flickering as the breeze picks up and scatters cherry blossoms around the hill.

May you discover that the void in you is something not necessarily needed to be filled with deeds and words of atonement, I hope that you find acceptance lest you shatter under the weight of your atonement. She said those words so gently, murmuring them softly as they lay in a meadow of spider lilies, hand running through his own dark locks, humming a lullaby. Eyelashes fluttering on rosy cheeks as moonlight dapples on her face, a halo on her honey strands.

He was too deep into his slumber, the embrace of slumber wrapping around him, to realize what she meant by that.

No, he knew, he knew what she meant because that’s exactly what someone said to him once. Except this time, it was he who lay in the other’s arms, eyes closed and body still with sleep, instead of the other way around.

Protect the orphaned (his light-haired mentee flashes in his mind, as well as the man he failed as a mentor; he is glad he is out of that man’s life, for he naught, deserves the pedestal on which he set him upon) you may not care for the shades of evil and good in this blackened world but, saving people…

Is at least a little more wonderful.

And how you suffered for your sanity

And how you tried to set them free

Her quickened heartbeat was always one of her most obvious tells, as well as her habit of playing with her hair when she feels cornered. He’s always advised her to hide her tells a little better, she smiles in reply with an I have you with me, don’t I? So, I trust you to have my back with matters in which my tells would be detrimental, my dearest friend.

And she would give such a blinding smile and he would sigh and do as she said, protect her from the dogs loitering around, waiting for a chance to cull the light that was her.

Although, she would always argue that she was far from a beacon of light. Always using her episodes and attacks from a past rivaling his own as evidence for her argument. He smiles and shakes his head with mirth.

The fact that you went through the darkest parts of this world and came back out as the person that you are, do you really not see how bright you shine?

I imagine not, for the way your eyes darken and the way your thin shoulders (too thin, in his opinion, to carry such weight at the ripe age of 20) droop down when the watchful eyes of our colleagues leave you.

Not with the way you still check behind your shoulder and the small ways you would reach for your favorite pistol when those barbaric men in black (he refuses to call them his city’s wardens) would encounter us during patrols.

Not with the ways you hide those ‘scratches’ of yours under layers of soft clothing and long sleeves.

He throws his head back and smiles a sad smile, the one that used to make her flick him on his forehead, chastising him before letting him open up about what was bothering him.

Eyes fluttering closed he lets a tear drop.

Truly, were you so blind as to not see how you’ve affected us in every way?

You are not so cruel, you never were.

Somehow, that makes it worse, doesn’t it?

They would not listen, they did not know how

Perhaps they'll listen now

Screams and sobs and choked cries echo around him as he stares blankly at the corpse in front of him.

He blinks and a beat passes.

He blinks again.

But the corpse is still there and rigor mortis has settled in and her fingers and neck are blue, her lips pale as his mentee’s hair.

And he runs out of the apartment, heart pounding, and eyes burning.

Atsushi’s shouts of Dazai-san fade as he runs and runs. Feet pounding on the cement—he carries himself to the meadow. Their meadow filled with spider lilies, red like the blood she spilled.

She was supposed to be fine—to be alive.

But the vision of her cold, dead corpse hanging by a rope on the ceiling was all too real, he’s been responsible for more than enough slaughter to tell what is a dead body and what is not.

And she was undoubtedly dead.

Dead. Lifeless. Deceased. Gone.

Like Odasaku—

Except this time, he wasn’t close enough to even reach her. Not even close enough to comfort her in her last moments like he once did for Oda.

Wasn’t enough to make her stay.

Starry, starry night

Flaming flowers that brightly blaze

The funeral was a humble happening. As was stated in her will.

What took him off guard was the presence of the Port Mafia and the Special Division. But all he could do was look ahead, and continue with the proceedings and send her off.

Her casket was lined with spider lilies and black roses. A morbid chuckle unfurled itself from his mouth.

Truly…

How blind you were, dearest lilac.

There he stood. At a pedestal, facing people he did not wish to see much less give a speech to. But the memory of Ango reading out her will reared its head and so he trudged on, trying not to let his voice choke.

Swirling clouds in violet haze

Reflect in (Vincent's) Kiyohara’s eyes of (china blue) onyx black

Colors changing hue

She, she was a firework, so to say. Beautiful and dazzling and so much more but only lasting a moment before dying out and disappearing. Much like most of humanity but not so quite in the way she shone and sparked much, much brighter than any firework could. Her eyes black as night with whole galaxies shining in them. A star so blinding you are left to wonder how could such a person exist in this world of ours so blackened with strife and deceit—she always did despise lying.

And should I continue on with this rambling of mine we would be here naught for two days but three.

So, I leave you all this, my first and last hope for the star that burnt out too soon.

She was loved and adored and all I hope for her is that she knows that. 

Morning fields of amber grain

Weathered faces lined in pain

Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand

Her, being the person that she is, left behind letters for everyone.

He looks at the letter she writ with her hand and pen and carefully opens the wax seal. Unfolding the paper tucked neatly inside.

The rest of them are solemn as her last words resonated through all of their hearts. His partner, his mentees, even the people who did not know her well…

He looks around at the people she left behind and smiles a despairing smile.

Lilac, my star, my brightest firework, truly, you are not a cruel mistress but a blind one.

And that hurts more, I hazard.

Now I understand

What you tried to say to me

And how you suffered for your sanity

And how you tried to set them free

TO DAZAI OSAMU OF THE ARMED DETECTIVE AGENCY

Dearest Osamu, my friend, my partner, my closest person,

                This letter would’ve reached your bandaged hands should I have given in to myself and my darkest desires, and for that, I am so, so sorry that I have given you more to grieve.

Despite this, please do not stop living at the expense of mine. That is something I could never wish upon you my friend, never in my years of life.

This is a most selfish request unbefitting of a last will but my hand moves across this paper with a ferocity I cannot halt. I request that you take care of the Agency after I depart from this world. I am very much aware of Kunikida’s imminent placement as the next president so I wish that you aid him and everyone else in their endeavors, and let them aid you with yours.

Enclosed in my last will and testament are the last of my material possessions, I have in there, things that I wish distributed to you lot and I hope it gives all of you more comfort than it does tears.

 

Osamu.

This whole thing isn’t and never will be your doing. My friend, you were always enough for me and you always will be in my eyes, but the circumstances of my untimely death was something even you could not have shielded me from as you do with the horrors of Yokohama (and, yes, I did notice and I am forever grateful for your care and adoration) after all, it was a matter of the myriad of ghosts always lurking behind me, waiting for the moment to strike.

And, I may not be so poetic as to writ words that impacted you as much as that man of rusted hair did, so I will not attempt to do that.

Instead, please treat this letter as any other one you would’ve been sent.

Ah—I have only realized that it is getting late, and if I don’t stop now, I will lose time to write my letters for the others.

I leave you with these words and I hope you take them to heart.

To the Takeichi to my Ōba. The one who saw through the curtain of lies I hide behind.

I have battled against various hazards. In moments, when I saw my body blacker than soot, feelings of shame for my cowardice have been aroused in me. To put an end to this black body of mine I have jumped into fire and even fought with a wolf. Yet, strangely, whatsoever the odds, my life was not taken. Even death has fled from me when I have looked it in the face. At last, full of bitterness, I have decided to take my own life. 

And for finally committing the act that you so wish upon yourself (do not deny it my friend. For I have seen the blackness of your body seeping through those white bandages of yours.) I am sorry yet somehow thankful. The heart of one who wishes to die is enigmatic even to me as I draw closer to my own death.

And Osamu.

You have the Agency to lean on in times that I will, inevitably, not be there (one of my few regrets is that I cannot see the day your eyes hold the warmth you so desperately cling to.) Be sure to remember that (I doubt you would forget for I have naught remembered an instance that you have truly forgotten something you deem important. And I am sure that this is important, what little pride I have cannot say otherwise.)

I am plagued with mirages of events and people long gone. And, it has drained me of my spark, my light, if you will. Visions of happenings and hundreds of what-ifs. (sometimes I muse about what my life would look like had I not chanced upon you and Kunikida that day. It was a grim sight and I am once again reminded of my luck and gratitude for all of you.) What if I died that day I was attacked in the slums, what if I die on the field, what if—Ah, if I list them all we would be here for quite some time, no? So I digress.

You of all people would understand my fatigue and inability to communicate this past week. (For I see the horrors laying in the depth of those umber seas, I only wish that you let someone swim in them and hold you close as you let me.) I apologize for not being mentally present. (and please let me feel sorry, for if I feel anything other, this letter would be tearstained and illegible as my handwriting when I first started learning. And you would know how bad it was, even Ranpo-san had a hard time.)

They were beautiful and pathetic dreams that none could dream without the agony of years, yet they were dreams that forgot the agony of mankind. All evils were dispelled. But the sadness of human loneliness was the moonlight filling the window, the extent of human grief still more lonely and solemn, was left behind…

Ah—this letter has gone on and on for some time so I shall try my best to end it here and end it swiftly.

One lies to seek a bit of relief from a ponderous, suffocating reality, but the liar, like the drinker, gradually comes to need larger and larger doses. The lies become blacker and more complex…

So do not lose yourself in that web of yours my Takeichi, that is my first and last wish for you.

 

 

With all my being, and all of my soul,

Kiyohara Sei

 

 

 

PS: I wish only the best for you, my dearest person. And I understand should you hold me in contempt for what I’ve done and what you will find by the morrow. If it is what will help you live on then hate me all you want, my Takeichi. Should you find yourself hating me then use it as fuel to forsake me and live on. I can do at least that much for you.

 

They would not listen, they did not know how

Perhaps they'll listen now

Sei was always a reserved person, her bright disposition (mask) stemming from years of acting like all was right as rain.

No one listened and that is why she listens now, so even if it was a single person, she had helped someone during her pitiful existence.

For they could not love you

But still, your love was true

Sei has faced countless battles, many won, and many lost. She’s lost people and parts of her to the waves of time, and she is not quite sure what or who she is anymore.

The last battle she remembered so fondly of losing was, her fateful battle with a certain pair of detectives, she remembers musing about how such polar opposites could’ve fought so well together and she gathered that maybe their opposites were exactly why they complemented each other so completely.

And when no hope was left in sight

On that starry, starry night

The man in bandages, Dazai Osamu, as he introduced himself. He was quite peculiar, although she cannot forsake what he says without being a hypocrite. She too, after all, wished for death just as fervently as the man, albeit not so openly does she show such desire.

Before she knew it, she had been employed for her ability; Ogura Hyakunin Isshu and was assigned to Dazai as a rookie.

You took your life, as lovers often do

Those were memories from far gone days filled with such hope and happiness, Sei remembers with a smile.

She finishes her letters and soon finishes the knots of the noose.

Ah—Osamu only if I could spare you and the others the grief and sorrow, truly, I do not think I deserve such emotions from you but, I digress. That would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? I am sorry my Takeichi, that I shall add more to that heavy burden on your shoulders.

With a deep breath and drawn-out exhale she loops the noose around her neck.

And she steps off the mortal coil and steps into nothingness.

She greets her last battle with a smile and a sound soul.

And she wins.

But I could have told you, Kiyohara

This world was never meant for one

As beautiful as you

Teardrops, raindrops, Dazai is not quite sure what they are anymore really.

But the rain has started again and the candle flame has died, the bouquet wet from the torrent.

And Dazai is soaked to the bone and he can hear her shouting O-SA-MU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF MORE OFTEN, I WON’T ALWAYS BE HERE YEAH? With that pout of hers and Dazai laughs and replies with a drawled ok and I promise.

And Dazai laughs a strained laugh, drowned out in the pitter-patter of the rain against her tombstone.

Because if he doesn’t, he’s sure sobs would come out instead.

And he always keeps his word. So, he’s going to keep his promise. Even if it meant living on and meeting her much later than he wishes.

For her and Odasaku and everyone else.

Because that’s all he can do for a dead person.

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