"It's today, isn't it?" Rem asked gently as she approached where Gelus was, as usual, moping by the viewing pool, watching the Human World. "That human's last day alive..."
As Gelus watched how the human laughed and chatted politely with some others as he went to school Gelus sighed dejectedly "He seems so happy, so full of life... I wonder... Why today?"
The human in question, one Light Yagami, had just been walking home from cram school that night when he was accosted by a strange, knife-wielding man.
"I'm always watching you! I want to protect you forever!"
Light did the sensible thing and ran for his life...
His assailant was much bigger and faster than him and soon had him trapped against the alley wall.
"If I can't have you... NO ONE CAN!"
The knife came down.
"He's going to get stabbed to death? Woah! What a way to go!" Rem exclaimed as she watched as the human in question sustained deep cuts on his arms as he attempted to block the assault, trying desperately to stay alive. Then she looked over and noticed that Gelus had his Death Note out and he was writing in it frantically.
"Hey, stop it! What are you doing?"
Light's entire form shook as he wheezed for breath where he was slumped, bleeding, against the alley wall. He struggled to remain standing as he looked warily over to where his attacker had collapsed. He had just stopped mid-slash and Light was still expected his eyes to snap back open and for him to come at him again like something out of a horror movie.
There was a flash of lightning and the sky began to weep. The rain mixed with his already weeping wounds. Light watched stupidly for a moment with detached fascination as his blood flowed down into the gutter before his survival instinct kicked in. He tore a scrap from his already ruined dress shirt and worked to stem the bleeding from the defensive wounds he had sustained on his arms and cautiously began to creep away from the scene.
Light had almost managed to calm himself when there was a sudden thump next to him. It wasn't a very loud thump but in his current state that alone nearly caused Light to have a heart attack. Light whipped around to see the source of the sound—and that didn't make sense! A notebook just fell out of the sky? But there it was—black, bound in leather, with a series of odd glyphs on the cover. The book just lay there innocently on the ground… untouched by the pouring rain and... was it slightly smoldering on the concrete? Light felt drawn to the book by an odd compulsion almost as if the book was... calling to him.
Light picked it up with a trembling hand... and screamed, tripped, and fell backwards when suddenly a large white monster was there looming over him having just appeared out of nowhere. Light desperately scuttled away even as he knew he was cornered here.
"Please! I'm not going to hurt you!" entreated the creature.
Well, Light thought cheerily to himself. Maybe I've finally gone off the deep end... or maybe my stalker poisoned the blade... because Light didn't really believe what he was seeing with his own eyes as he continued to stare, appraising the large white thing before him. It looked monstrous but intelligent... well it walked like a human, and it could speak, obviously. But it was NOT HUMAN. That much was apparent what with the scales and bony spines, Medusa-like purple-white hair and golden cat-like eyes... but mixed in were a few anthropomorphic traits. it looked like it was wearing... lipstick? And were those tattoos on its face? And golden hoop earrings dangled down from his? ...her? pointed-ears.
"I'm not going to hurt you," Rem insisted as she crouched down next to the terrified boy. "You're safe now."
Light just blinked slowly and repeated "Safe...?"
The monster seemed to reach out to him with a clawed hand, a worried expression on its face, but then seemed to think better of it.
"Light Yagami. I am the Shinigami Rem… and that notebook is my gift to you."
A Shinigami? A God of Death? And it says it's not going to hurt me? Why would it give me a notebook? When it slowly became clear he wasn't going to get attacked a second time that evening Light slowly got to his feet, with as much dignity as he could muster.
"Why? W-what is this?"
Other than the decorative cover it looked like nothing more than a normal college bound notebook.
"That's a Death Note. The human whose name is written in it shall die."
A... weapon? He was holding a murder weapon?
"But... why give this to me? What...?"
Light cracked it open to see a number of names written inside. Rem pointed with her claw, tapped at the last name written, and then glanced over to the cooling corpse of Light's stalker.
Light put two and two together and held the Death Note to his chest with trembling hands...
This is the thing that killed his attacker? The monster... it saved him?
"Later," Rem insisted. She was worried that she was only further traumatizing this young man. "For now let's just get you home."
"Home?" Light stumbled and the monster caught him. Light looked away, humiliated.
Up until tonight Light had been working under the assumption that he could take care of himself. If he just stuck with his life plans and endured the tedium nothing bad would ever happen—nothing that he couldn't overcome anyway... This night had shattered his sense of safety and trampled his pride... and now the creature had its arms around him and captured him in a protective hug.
This was really awkward. Light really wanted to push it away because dammit! He could take care of himself! He could! He didn't need... (You almost died. You would have been stabbed to death by a knife wielding maniac and there was nothing you could have done. If not for... you would have...)
Light's survival instinct was still on high at the moment–somehow mouthing off to a God of Death, even a seemingly benevolent one, didn't seem like a very good idea. However the creature seemed to sense his discomfort and broke away. It looked him right in the eye.
"I will not hurt you, but I am bound to follow you."
Well just because the monster was being polite and not killing him at the moment didn't necessarily mean Light wanted it to... It followed me home, mom, can I keep it?
Light sighed. He knew he had no way of stopping it from following him...
"You're the only one who can see me, unless they touch the notebook…"
Well... that was a relief...
Without really even thinking about it Light slid the notebook under his shirt, and tucked it into the waistband of his jeans out of sight—well it was a murder weapon after all and he didn't want anyone touching it now...
Light stood up straight and began to purposely make his way away from the scene... he absolutely refused to acknowledge that he was now jumping at every shadow.
Rem sighed. Such a prideful human. Still, it's what Gelus would have wanted... "I will protect you."
Light hated to admit it but he did feel a little better about that. In fact it might just make this whole "bond" thing worth his while—he could always sic his new monster friend on anyone else who tried to kill him.
"Do you want anything to eat?" Light asked the Shinigami in a low voice as they walked by some store fronts. It was probably the least he could do since it saved his life and all...
"I do not require sustenance."
Well, that was another plus, the Shinigami would cause him absolutely no trouble and... another thing occurred to Light.
"I don't think it's safe to talk to you in my house."
The Shinigami said nothing and just continued to watch over him; though it nodded in understanding.
Out of a slight feeling of guilt for having to snub the one that saved his life, Light felt the need to elaborate... "Because I know someone has been in my room..."
It all started when Light was an impressionable six year old and had gotten into his father's case files and read all about them... thieves, kidnappers, rapists, murderers...
It made for calming bedtime reading at the time but overall the collective effect was—it scared the shit out of him. That's when he began setting up the test on his door with the handle, the paper, and the pencil lead...
Intellectually he knew he was being paranoid. It's not like he kept anything of great value in his room and besides, who would be stupid enough to try anything against the son of the Chief of Police? But still going through that ritual made him feel better.
Or it did...
But then about a week ago Light found the door handle up, the pencil lead broken, and the paper stuck back in the door. At the time Light had just hoped that it was something like his little sister (or maybe one of her friends) had figured out what he was doing and was just trying to mess with him because the alternative meant that someone had been in his room… But now that he had been attacked by an actual stalker that was all the confirmation he needed that he wasn't just being paranoid—They really were out to get him.
The only question left—was it the same stalker that was currently taking a dirt nap in some unnamed Tokyo alley or did he have another stalker?
Rem was looking at him questioningly.
Light wondered if he should explain... well it's not like the Shinigami could tell anyone and he couldn't exactly tell anyone else about it. If he brought up his concerns with anyone else they would want to know why he had all those tests on his door and his paranoia would come under question and...
Light had learned at an early age—he was expected to act a certain way and any... abnormalities were bad and meant a trip to the psychologist with his parents and other adults glowering at him in disapproval. So from an early age Light learned how to play normal, all the while resenting the fact he was surrounded by absolute morons who couldn't behave themselves—really was it so hard? He made a conscious effort to behave himself, to achieve perfection every day of his life! Would it kill them to do the same? And he had to dumb down EVERYTHING just to communicate with these idiots—students and teachers alike.
Some days he wished they would all just die.
But now Light had that power—and it scared him...
"They didn't take anything so... they might have installed cameras and wiretaps..." Light explained to Rem why he thought he had another stalker...
"I can check… if you want?"
"Thank you," Light whispered grudgingly, awkwardly, and looked away. He was again in the Shinigami's debt and he still didn't even know why it was helping him.
Light stopped at a department store to buy some medical supplies (making up a story about how he was attacked by a large dog to tell the clerks) and replace his ruined shirt. He then stopped at a public restroom to properly clean and bandage his wounds. There was no question. He would hide it. He would wear long-sleeve shirts until those wounds healed and he would never tell anyone about what actually happened tonight. The way Rem was looking at him was bad enough—he didn't want pity! He was going to be a detective one day, just like his father!
He couldn't afford to let them think he was so... weak that he couldn't even defend himself against...
What have I really done with my life up to this point? Nothing! I've done nothing! I've achieved nothing! I'm just wasting away here! And if not for Rem I would have died today!
Light laughed brokenly. Here lies Light Yagami. He did nothing with his life. He was killed by a piece of cutlery.
Light saw the Shinigami looking at him with some concern reflected in the bathroom mirror.
"Rem... I am not ungrateful, but why? Why did you save me?" There must be some... reason, some purpose he was given this second chance?
"I didn't. It was Gelus."
"Promise, NEVER to repeat this to anyone."
Light promised. He could keep a secret.
Light felt sick with guilt as Rem related her tale. Rem's friend had died for him. He never knew the guy, he never asked him to... and still...
I am literally living on borrowed time...
Light felt even guiltier for somehow expecting something more, he was seriously hoping for a moment there that he'd get a message like "you're the Chosen One, here's your purpose for living, you were meant to protect the weak and rid the world of evil—here have a magic sword."
Nope, his being alive followed no greater Plan. It was all arbitrary—in fact he was meant to die tonight.
And, nope no magic sword either. Just a notebook that kills people... (well that's what a sword is used for too but anyway...)
No. He was only still alive because for some unfathomable reason a Shinigami had taken a liking to him; loved him enough to die for him.
Wait, Rem knows this and is still offering to protect me!
Light revised that former idea of 'sic Rem on any knife wielding maniac that came along'—that would kill Rem! Here was another Shinigami that was offering to...
I just... don't understand?
Well that was another new experience for Light, another one that he did not like at all.
Light removed the notebook from his ruined shirt and simply stared at it.
"I think Gelus would have wanted you to have it…"
"How... how do you use it?"
Light had no intentions of becoming a murderer but the fact remained he was carrying a weapon. He needed to know the specs so that he knew of any potential dangers. Was there any danger of it "misfiring"? Was there any other price to holding it?
Rem explained the rules...
"If you don't specify the cause of death the victim just dies of a heart attack..."
Kira used a Death Note to commit his murders!
Light hadn't really thought about it before because he was preoccupied with the little fact that he had nearly been stabbed to death while walking home from school but...
"Is there another Shinigami and another Notebook in the Human World?"
"Yes. The Shinigami Ryuk. I don't know how or why but he somehow tricked the Shinigami King into letting him carry a second book and then he gave that notebook to a human."
"Do you know who that human is?" This! This is exactly what I've been looking for! Now I have a purpose—maybe with this information... I can help catch Kira!
"I don't and even if I knew I couldn't tell you, it's forbidden."
Upon seeing Light's scheming look Rem elaborated "If I knew and I even tried to tell you, I'd die."
Light sighed, "Fair enough."
Rem looked conflicted as she informed Light "There is a way for a Notebook owner to instantly tell if another human has a notebook…"
Light listened as Rem explained the Shinigami eye deal.
Yeah, my magic eyes "Detect Kira" like that would ever hold up in court. And for half my lifespan? I'm living on borrowed time as it is! Just how much did Gelus have? Would it be considered rude to ask? Does Rem even know? In any case I've been given this second chance. I shouldn't squander it.
"It's out of the question."
Rem looked relieved.
Meanwhile Light had finished bandaging himself up, returned his Death Note to its hiding place in the waistband of his jeans, and dressed himself in the new shirt having disposed of the bloody one. He checked himself in the mirror making sure there wasn't a hair out of line and he didn't look at all like a traumatized teenage boy who just survived a brush with death. Speaking of which...
Light smiled cheerily at the Shinigami.
"Well, Rem, let's go home."
Rem spread her leathery wings and lazily flapped along behind him.