It was supposed to be a message board for people who felt suicidal to find others who understood, others who could offer support. You didn't post much, however. Everyone seemed to have troubles that drove them to these feelings of wanting to die, everyone but you. There's no family trouble, no drama among friends, nothing. It's just you, waking up each morning and wishing that you hadn't. If you weren't such a coward, you think, you would have gone ahead and died already. So you lurked, giving the occasional word of encouragement to someone in a rough spot.
But one day you see a post that piques your interest. It's short and most of the responses seem to be treating it as a troll. You're not so certain, though. I'm looking for someone to commit suicide with, anyone want to join me? It takes some time to work up the courage to message them but you keep thinking that maybe if you were with another person, it would be easier.
So you message them. It's nerve-wracking waiting for a response and when it finally comes it takes you at least ten minutes before you open it.
I need to know you're serious. Are you just one of those people looking to make fun of me~?
No. I'm not, I promise.
Oh good. I'm looking forward to getting to know you.
That was two weeks ago.
They gave you a name - Nakura - and you talk, though you never go into detail about how you feel. It's too hard to explain. You don't know what to say. Then they give you a place to meet and for some reason, you're not nervous then. This could finally be it, it could finally be over.
When you get to the cafe, for a moment you think you've been stood up. No one inside looks as though they'd be the type to want to die. (Ironic, considering the fake smile you wear but you shake that thought off.) The only person alone is a man in a black coat with a strange smile on his face. You're about to leave when he raises a hand and waves you over.
"Are-are you Nakura?"
He smiles and pushes a cup of tea towards you.
"I am but you can call me Izaya. Nakura is a screen name," he says.
You sit across from him. Your heart is pounding and you put your hand on the cup but don't drink it, not yet. Nervousness has suddenly taken you by storm.
"Thank you for the tea." It's lame but that's the first thing you think to say.
"Don't mention it." He leans forward. "I'm curious. You said you wanted to die but you never said why. You must have a reason, don't you?"
You blink. This was a subject you knew would come up but you still didn't have a good answer. You look at the tea and start to pick it up then stop.
He looks surprised and you think that the expression doesn't really suit his face for some reason. As if surprise isn't something Izaya's features are used to.
"Come on now, I thought you said you were serious."
"I am, it's just-- I don't have a reason, not like other people do. I have friends. Bad things have happened but it could be worse. I don't have it as rough as others but I still wish I was dead all the time. I'm even scared of what might happen when I do die but I still want to." You pause. "Sorry, I know it's irrational."
"Interesting. You know, most people have a reason. They're suffering and want to end it, thinking that the afterlife will offer some kind of reprieve. But you're not like that, are you?"
"I guess not. I just want to stop feeling like this. Whatever happens after that--"
"And what if it's worse? What if the afterlife is just darkness and loneliness?"
"Then it wouldn't really be any different. It wouldn't really matter."
"That's an interesting take on it, I won't lie."
His tone is strange and you don't know how to feel.
"I'm sorry if it's disappointing," you say.
"Disappointing? Oh, you misunderstand. This might be the most honest answer I've ever gotten."
Izaya laughs and it's both discomforting and soothing. You shift awkwardly, not sure how to respond. He sounds pleased, in a way, but why is a mystery. To mask the confusion, you reach for the tea again. He puts his hand over yours then slips the cup from your fingers.
"Let me get you a fresh cup. That one has undoubtedly gone cold."
It felt warm when you had touched it but you don't argue. It seems like such a small thing to worry about, after all. When a new cup is placed in front of you, you finally work up the courage to ask the question that's been on your mind since you got here.
"What about you? Why, uh, why do you want to die?"
"Oh, I don't want to die."
He says it so casually and you feel stupid for even thinking that someone like him would want to die. You look down at the fresh tea.
But then you smile.
"That's good. I'm glad."
"You're not going to yell at me for deceiving you? How about tossing that tea in my face and saying something like, 'how dare you, you scum'?" When you shake your head, he raises an eyebrow. "No? Well then, that is a surprise."
"I feel stupid for falling for it but I wouldn't want someone else to feel this way."
"Humans really are fascinating. I've done this before and it's almost always so disappointing."
You think about the tea that was waiting for you and how he insisted on switching it for a fresh cup and you think you're close to understanding but Izaya is getting to his feet. Whatever you almost had a grip on flees. You stand.
"Well, it's been fun, honestly."
"I'm glad you had a good time," you say and it's genuine. It might have been at your expense but at least no one else is going to die tonight. That has to count for something, you have to find a positive in this. If you don't--
There's something wet on your cheek and you realize you're crying. You lift a hand to wipe away the tears but Izaya's fingers catch your wrist, dragging you from the cafe.
"Now tell me," he says, still holding onto your arm. "When you leave here, are you going to kill yourself?"
"I-I don't know. Maybe. I want to." You look at him, at the intense look in his eyes and his smile. Then you look at the people on the street, so many looking happy. "But I keep looking for reasons not to. I'm a coward."
You choke on the last word, squeezing your eyes shut to try to stop the tears. When Izaya tugs on your arm, you stumble into him. You're about to apologize when you feel him put his arms around you.
"There, there. You might be a coward but then again maybe you're not. After all, you're owning up to it when most people just look for excuses for their pathetic existence. I have a feeling you'll be just fine."
It's an odd way to try to comfort someone and you're not even sure that's his intention but it helps. Not a lot because there is no quick fix for the way you feel but it helps and that's what matters. You nod, the fur on his coat tickling your forehead, hugging him back.
"Thanks for that."
He laughs and lets go of you.
"You're welcome. Maybe next time, if you're still alive, we can grab a drink. I won't even drug it this time," he says, waving as he takes off down the street. "See ya!"
It only takes seconds to lose sight of him but you know you'll remember this night for a long time to come.