My Own Way - Furious Angels
by MRS Jeevas and Saigocage

The Context

"You gave Aimee the right answer. 'If you go, furious angels will bring you back to me.'" His grin hardened. He had intended just to let Matt know that he had heard his music, which had been left on Mello's server, but the redhead's eyes widened. Unaccountably, there was a film of tears in them, but they never fell. Mello had never seen Matt cry in his life and there had certainly been cause for it in their past. That his friend was close now shocked Mello to the core. "Wha...?" But Matt leaned up, kissing him fiercely, taking the initiative, forcing the blond to react swiftly to re-establish his own domination. He pushed Matt back and slapped him hard across the face. "Never touch me without my saying so again."

My Own Way, chapter 25, An Ordinary Christmas

"Maybe the sentiment only happened in my head then, but Matty, if you leave me, furious angels will run to defend me." Matt sagged a little. Still crying, but slightly less desperately, like it was more of a release than a raging against hopelessness. Mello was quoting from a song, from an album, Rob Dougan's 'Furious Angels', which he was sure had more resonance for Matt than Mello could ever know. It dated from their time apart, between Wammy's House and the Mafia. Mello didn't know what that album said to Matt and, in truth, that irked him, because it was not something that they had shared. Matt should have no powerful influences on his mind or emotions that Mello had not been part of too, but this music was proof that such things existed and that that was Mello's fault for leaving him in the first place. When he'd discerned that there was meaning, and feeling, then Mello had taken the album and listened to it over and over again, with an obsessive probing demand for it to yield its secrets. "'And if you go, furious angels will bring you back to me.'"

Watari Part 2: Wammy's House, chapter 7, The Tower

Matt and Furious Angels

The lovely Saigocage asked me to talk about 'Furious Angels' and its meaning within my stories. She even created the playlist as an extra incentive to do it. Who am I to refuse?

It's not surprising that 'Furious Angels' came into Matt's orbit. He is a cyberpunk and one of the great classic cyberpunk films is 'The Matrix'. Rob Dougan composed a lot of the music in that trilogy. However, Matt discovered the album during one of his darkest times and it became the soundtrack of his life.

Many of the songs on the album refer to someone leaving or having been left behind. This was Matt's situation too. When Mello left to begin his hunt for Kira, he could not have grasped the devastation that he wrought in Matt's psyche. Matt is not a person who bonds easily. He is simply not chemically or psychologically equipped to form relationships. Mello managed it through a combination of having the same hair colour as Big Bird; being constantly in Matt's proximity, due to them sharing a room; defending Matt against bullies; a long, shared history; and finally a sexual attraction facilitated by Matt's homosexuality. Matt's other relationships are skin-deep at best. He only stood the company of Aimee and her gang because there were a lot of drugs involved. Mello made it past the wall of Matt's defences. He is the only one who ever did that.

Matt has abandonment issues. He was severely neglected in infancy and suffers from a permanent chemical imbalance because of this. When Mello left, it was not an ordinary hurt, that stings like Hell and then eventually recedes with time. He confirmed all of Matt's fears. Matt will never fully believe that he won't be left. Emotions that others find so easy, like trust and love, Matt struggles to grasp. He went as far as he could, then Mello left him. This is why Matt imploded and this was the backdrop against which he discovered the 'Furious Angels' album.

I'm always reminded of The Smiths' song, Rubber Ring, at times like this:

The passing of time
And all of its sickening crimes
Is making me sad again;
But don't forget the songs
That made you cry
And the songs that saved your life.
Yes, you're older now
And you're a clever swine,
But they were the only ones who ever stood by you

We all have our redemption songs. The songs that got you through that moment, when all the world came crashing down. Songs which, ten years later, will still transport you in your mind's eye to that time and place. The hour when there was no-one there and, if it hadn't been for that chord, or those lyrics, or that voice singing, you don't know what you would have done. So it was for Matt and the 'Furious Angels' album.

Some of the hooks are obvious. In his bitterest moments, 'Left Me For Dead' encapsulated the deep fury inside Matt. It is this song which, later on, he really doesn't want Mello hearing. It's blatant. It's angry. It would fuel all Mello's worst guilt complex. But Mello would get over it. What Matt really fears is that Mello will deduce the other thoughts in Matt's head. This song represents an alternate path, where Matt was so furious over Mello leaving him that he sought him out only to avenge himself. It was a distinct possibility some nights. Sometimes Matt only made it through the night plotting the capture and murder of Mello. This was not ultimately the route that he took.

A casual listener, one who didn't know Matt, might hear the wrong message from the actual song, 'Furious Angels'. It sounds straight forward. Matt is trying to say that if Mello leaves him, then furious angels will drag him back. But this situation had already happened. Lying on his bed in Wammy's House, Matt already knew that he had no angels at all, let alone upset ones. He had nothing and no-one to sent after Mello, only himself. The overt message had no logic in Matt's reasoning. No empirical evidence. Nothing.

In such situations, Matt inverts things. He is aloof with the rest of the world, because he doesn't think that they want to get close to him. By keeping them at arm's reach, then Matt can tell himself that this neglect is under his own control. It's easier to bear than his perceived reality. In his head, Matt inverted the message of 'Furious Angels'. Mello had angels. He was Catholic. In Matt's fantasies, Mello had not left. Matt had left Mello. Any moment now, those furious angels would turn up and drag Matt back to Mello. He was living on borrowed time. It was Mello singing, not Matt. Mello was going to get him.

Suicidal, drug-addicted and subject to occasional cold turkey, Matt needed these fantasies to keep going. His fantasy eventually became reality and that left an indelible seam of wonder in Matt's mind. Hence his tears, when Mello speaks the lines that Matt imagined him speaking so long ago. Mello could not have put a collar on Matt when they were fourteen. It took this time of near collapse and survival through fantasising that he belonged to Mello to create this need. It tapped into emotions that already existed, but it also focused them. If Mello appears nonplussed at what is happening in Matt's head here, it doesn't matter, because Mello is speaking his lines anyway and Matt is redeemed.