Chapter 1: Prelude
It was five years since the Kira case came to an end and Shuichi Aizawa, Chief of the N.P.A. was just out taking a stroll with his daughter in the park. It was a rarity these days what with his job and her school schedule they barely saw each other. She was a college student now—Aizawa reminded himself—though to him she was still his little girl, he just wanted to protect her. All the more so after what happened...
Kazuki would have been starting high school this year...
Aizawa was brought out of his morbid thoughts when he heard his daughter comment "Eh? What's this? A notebook? It... just fell from the sky..."
Aizawa blanched. No... It couldn't be!
Yes, there it was a black notebook lying on the ground. Aizawa saw his daughter reaching for it...
"Yumi, DON'T TOUCH IT!"
Yumi was only puzzled as her father dove for it and snatched it away before his daughter could take hold of the notebook.
"Jeez, dad. Chill!"
It looked like one, it felt like one. But there was no label, no instructions... (But then they didn't typically come with instructions...)
His daughter was still looking at him worriedly.
"I'm sorry, Yumi. It was probably nothin—"
Aizawa stopped when he suddenly heard the sound of fluttering wings behind him.
"Man, what a pain..." someone grumbled. They had been all alone here a moment before.
No! It just can't... He's DEAD!
Aizawa turned around slowly... and confirmed it.
His former boss—Light Yagami.
A.k.a. Kira the mass-murderer.
"Hello there," the dead boy smiled cheerily and gave a little wave.
Aizawa nearly had a heart attack.
He was easily recognizable. He hadn't aged a day... no if anything it appeared he had gotten younger... like he had somehow regressed to his teens...
Seventeen. Aizawa had realized upon going over and over the facts of the Kira case knowing what they did now. He would have been seventeen when he started killing as Kira.
But that wasn't the oddest thing. The Light Yagami he knew would never let himself look so disheveled. He was wearing a ragged, torn black dress shirt and pants (were those the clothes he died in?), a nice red jacket and a red tie which he wore wrapped around his head like a headband. He had a bookbag slung over his shoulder and a bone scythe chained to his back between his fluffy white wings (you've got to be kidding me!) and flowing red-brown hair and etheral, porcelain skin, Light looked positively angelic... but for his eyes, which permanently glowed a malevolent shade of red.
Light's new look was finished off with just a hint of cute little fangs and claws. The slight Shinigami features only made him look prettier.
Aizawa felt a flash of envy. (Yes, even as an undead, inhuman monster he looks nicer than you could ever be.)
"You..." Aizawa growled in a low voice. To Aizawa's further frustration Light seemed bewildered by his hostile tone. As scary and inhuman as he looked, Light could still manage the "why are you yelling at me" puppy dog eyes just fine.
"Dad?" Yumi asked with some concern as her father seemed to be glaring at the empty air. "Who are you talking to?"
"She can't see or hear me unless she touches the notebook," Light explained helpfully.
I know that! And you KNOW I know that.
Aizawa rubbed his temples along his prematurely graying hair. "It's nothing sweetie, I'm just... tired. Let's go home..."
Light curiously observed the exchange between father and daughter. "She's worried about you."
"Keep her out of this!" Aizawa hissed under his breath.
Aizawa was again baffled by Light's response or lack thereof. There was no mocking, taunts, or threats. Light simply shrugged and said "Okay," spread his wings and floated silently along behind them.
Aizawa walked his daughter back to her dorm room and again assured her that everything was fine before leaving for the night.
Leaving him to walk home alone...
All alone with Light Yagami.
As he walked along the empty street Aizawa demanded of the silent specter floating at his shoulder.
"Are you here to kill me?"
"Well... yes. Eventually..."
Aizawa chuckled bitterly. No, of course the sadistic bastard would want him to suffer first.
"It's just the rules, nothing personal. Unless you give up the notebook, of course..."
Aizawa was floored. "What?"
"If you don't want the Death Note just give it to another human or give it back to me and you'll forget I was ever here... or burn it or whatever. You're the owner. That notebook is yours to do with as you please."
What the hell? "Wouldn't you... wouldn't you be upset if I did that?"
"Yeah, but it's no big deal..." Light shrugged and readjusted the strap of his bookbag. "I've won plenty of others playing at the Throwing Stones. I'll just drop another one and find someone else to hang out with..." Then Aizawa heard Light mutter something along the lines of "...Maybe someone who isn't so old..." and felt a vein pop in his forehead.
So if he forfeited Light would just toss another one for some poor schmuck to pick up? Aizawa thought to his horror how it was almost Yumi… Was that his revenge then? Was he going to force him to kill as Kira?
"No, I am not doing this!" Aizawa shouted, not caring if anyone heard. "I don't care what sick plan you've come up with now! I'm through playing your games, Light Yagami!"
"Who's Light?" the Shinigami blinked, looking genuinely puzzled. "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm being rude..." Light fluttered to the ground, wrapped his wings cape-like around his back, and bowed deeply and politely. "I'm Kira," Light said with a charming smile on his face—as if that name didn't still strike the fear of God into the heart of humanity. "I'm a Shinigami, you know, a God of Death, it's a pleasure to meet you!"
Chapter 2: Bound
"What's your problem?" the young Shinigami yelped as he phased out of the enraged human's grip as he grabbed him by his shirt front.
Kira sighed. It was just his luck he was stuck with some psycho...
"You... you don't..." He doesn't remember anything?!
Kira watched as the human began shaking.
No... he's just... afraid...
Dammit, I guess I should have thought of that! I'm a Shinigami! Of course humans should fear me! It's only natural...
The human was glaring at him—some attitude he had there! And he was stuck with this guy for the rest of his life? Sure it was well within the rules for him to just kill Shuichi Aizawa (that name floated in red kanji above his head, the numbers ticking down) but that seemed rather harsh.
Kira had his own set of standards that were vastly different from other Shinigami, a strict set of personal guidelines on who was and who wasn't proper prey. He wasn't sure why but that was just his way.
It was too deeply engrained—it felt wrong to break it.
Whatever the reason, for Kira 'he looked at me funny' wasn't a valid reason for... punishment.
Besides, it was hardly Shuichi Aizawa's fault he was having a bad day.
Things were going just great for Kira in the Shinigami realm but then he had to go run into him...
They hit it off instantly—mostly because Ryuk was one of the few Shinigami who would talk to him. It was not his fault they were all so lazy and stupid. If they got off their collective asses they could be just as successful as he was. The rules were child's play to Kira—as were the loopholes.
There was no challenge to any of the games.
He had built an Empire for himself by the end of the week.
Then Ryuk had come along. He was very interested in Kira and his works and had wanted to chat. Kira permitted it out of sheer boredom even though he now outranked that Elder, overly-familiar Shinigami...
Kira finally admitted he had kind of been stuck in a rut lately; things were kind of boring around here...
Ryuk had promised it would be very entertaining if he were to drop one of his notebooks through that particular porthole to the human world...
But Kira didn't see how traumatizing this human was supposed to be funny—he now had a nagging suspicion he was being made a fool of.
Ryuk would pay for this.
"Look, I didn't mean to cause you any trouble," Kira insisted. "Just give back the notebook and I'll be on my way..."
"I can't do that!" The human shouted frantically, "You said you'd just drop another one, right?"
"Well... I don't know... maybe? Probably... But... why should that matter? Any Shinigami can drop a notebook whenever the mood strikes. It's not like any human could ever hope to stop it," Kira pointed out reasonably.
"But I can stop YOU from dropping another one."
Kira rolled his eyes. 'Whatever." It hardly matters to me which human I'm attached to.
The human resumed walking but instead of going into one of those houses they soon arrived at the police station. The Shinigami watched this with keen interest.
Kira loved the police station. There was always something interesting happening there. He often visited it when hunting in the human world, preferring to select his prey from among the humans that were brought there, bound in chains. It just felt right to Kira to pick his prey from among these humans that hurt other humans… No one would miss them, it was a totally guilt-free "meal" not to mention poetic justice. The humans should thank him—he was doing their world a favor.
The human led him into one of those stark, bright, mirrored rooms that the bound humans were often brought to.
"Just wait in here for a minute, okay?"
Aizawa sweat-dropped as he watched Light alight on the chair, perching in an all-too-familiar type of crouch, his angelic wings curled protectively around him. They itched oddly when he retracted them so he found he preferred to just leave them out. Besides he was a God—shouldn't he flaunt it? However, that meant it hurt his wings to sit normally so he had taken to sitting like that. Besides, he heard somewhere (he couldn't recall where or from whom) that sitting that way was supposed to help boost one's thinking power...
Kira nodded and the human all but ran out the door.
Aizawa slumped tiredly into his office chair when he began to page the others...
Kira did as the human asked... for a while... but he got bored.
If he wanted to sit around and be bored he would have stayed in the Shinigami world, thank you very much. So eventually he went off to see what the human was doing, lazily floating on in, phasing through the wall.
Chief Aizawa was just talking on the phone, affirming to Ide that yes he did just page him in the middle of the night when he gave a strangled cry.
"I'll call you back," Aizawa said quickly and hung up the phone.
"I told you to wait!" Aizawa hissed.
"But it's boring in there!" The Shinigami whined. "And you're doing something interesting!"
"Look this important, the adults are talking..."
Aizawa was shocked at his own words. He couldn't believe he just said that to Light... said that to Kira!
Well he's acting like a kid...
To his greater surprise the Shinigami sighed "Fine, whatever." Kira sulked, but moved to obey.
Aizawa couldn't believe that actually worked.
He really had regressed...
Aizawa noticed how Light paused on his way out and was eying the bookshelf like a kid in a candy store. Particularly the complete "Sherlock Holmes" collection he had received as a gag gift.
Human World books? Kira reached out to touch them. They seem... familiar somehow...
Inspiration struck for Aizawa. "If I give you a book to read will you stay put?"
"Really? I mean, sure!"
He settled on The Valley of Fear and then moped when Aizawa snatched it away.
"I'll give it to you when you go back to the room, okay?"
He didn't want any reports of floating books...
"Just... stay there and stay out of trouble, okay?"
"Yeah, okay." His attention was focused entirely on the book Aizawa was holding.
Light eagerly grabbed the book, resumed his perch on the chair, and began reading it with a comically intense look on his face. Aizawa just watched in bemusement until Ide, Mogi, Matsuda, and Yamamoto met him outside the interrogation room.
"Yamamoto, what are you doing here?" Aizawa began gruffly. "I didn't page you."
"Oh, I'm sorry," said the bespeckled man "when I saw Matsuda got the page I just assumed... "
"No, it's fine... just... This doesn't leave this room." Aizawa retrieved the notebook from his coat and set it on the table.
The others stared wide-eyed.
"Is that...?" Matsuda stammered.
"Yes. It seems we have another bored Shinigami on our hands... my daughter almost picked it up."
"What the problem? Just burn it..." Ide began reaching for his cigarette lighter.
"I'm afraid it's a bit more complicated than that... You see the Shinigami attached..."
But before Aizawa could finish that warning Matusda grabbed the book... and then dropped it again in shock as he saw through the one-way mirror into the interrogation room...
"L-Light-kun..." Matsuda gasped.
Matsuda rushed out. The sound of retching could be heard from the hallway.
The others each took hold of the notebook with a trembling hand.
"It is him..." Light's return had even taken the stoical Mogi off-guard.
After an initial flash of terrified disbelief Ide was the first to demand to know "What does he want?"
"And why the hell is he sitting like that?" Mogi whispered in shocked disbelief.
"Wait... Light Yagami?" Yamamoto asked his hand lingering on the notebook's cover.
They all rounded on the rookie officer.
"You know him?" Aizawa demanded.
"I went to school with him! We kind of lost touch... I heard he passed away... It was very sad. But... but he's not dead?"
"He IS dead."
Matsuda had just returned from being sick in the hall when he heard that little exchange... and made a mad dash for the trashcan again.
"He's a Shinigami," Aizawa clarified.
Yamamoto was naturally confused.
"Didn't you notice the wings?"
"You mean that's not Cosplay?"
The others shot him furious glares.
"B-But... how can Light-kun be a Shinigami?"
"Once again, this never leaves this room. Light was Kira. The Original Kira."
Aizawa began to talk about magic killer notebooks and Shinigami and that Light must have somehow become a Shinigami...
Yamamoto just stared at his former classmate who was happily, obliviously, reading his book...
"I'm sorry; you lost me at Kira used to help me with my math homework."
"I know it's a lot to take in..."
"I mean, I knew him! He was a great guy! He was quiet, he kept to himself..."
"Please, just... stop," Matsuda ground out, his hands clenched into fists.
The others weren't fairing much better upon seeing the return of Kira, Light, the Chief's son, their boss of five years, who was as Yamamoto put it "a great guy"...until he tried to kill them, that is...
"Do you think Misa-Misa is a Shinigami too?" Mogi asked quietly.
That was a very good question. Would all of the Kiras return as Shinigami? (If not, then what made Light so damn special?)
"I'm sure if Light is then Misa-Misa must be..."
"Do you think she's happy?" the big man looked like he was about to break down in tears. "I hope she's happy."
They didn't say it but they all thought it. The Misa they knew wouldn't be happy unless she was at Light's side.
"He doesn't seem to remember anything about his life..." Aizawa began quietly.
Well if she didn't remember either, then Mogi supposed she had a chance to be happy, he hoped it was so.
"He could be faking it you know..." Ide ground out.
"True, but what purpose would that serve?" said Mogi.
"To screw with us? In any case I still don't see why burning the notebook is out of the question," said Ide.
"Because he has more than one, I think he has a whole bag full of them..."
"So he'll just drop another one?"
"What are we going to do?"
"We'll just lock it away like we did before and we won't show Light where we're keeping it..."
"I meant with him!" Ide jerked his thumb in the direction of the interrogation room. "Just look at that little bastard! After everything he's done! To so many people! To us! And not a care in the world! I'm going in there and giving him a piece of my mind!"
"Ide, we can't act too familiar with him! If he remembers—there's nothing to stop him from killing us!"
"What do you mean act too familiar? I just want to introduce him to my fist."
Aizawa scowled. "You're out of line."
"I'm not out of line! That's not even a fraction of what that asshole deserves!"
"You don't typically start fights with 'complete strangers,' now do you?"
Ide hated to admit it, but he had a point.
"LEAVE HIM ALONE! HE DIED ALREADY!" Matsuda shouted, surprising them all as he choked out "Haven't I... Haven't we... done enough?"
The silence dragged out uncomfortably long.
Aizawa cleared his throat. "He's a Shinigami! You can't hurt him anyway. However as long as one of us has ownership of the notebook he's bound here. We can keep watch over him and the way he is now—I'm sure we can limit the damage he can do."
The team grimaced. It was bad enough that they were going to have Kira hanging around them until they died but they would have to act civil and pretend nothing was going on?
Aizawa waited until the team had composed themselves before asking "Well then shall we go in and say 'hello'?"
Chapter 3: Secrets
"Er... Can I help you?" Kira looked up from his reading to see he was surrounded by humans, all of them glowering at him with barely suppressed hostility.
"We've decide what we're going to do with the notebook. We're locking it away," Aizawa began, again testing his reactions.
The Shinigami just rolled his eyes. "How boring. If you don't want to use it then why not just give it back?"
"We've been over this. You said you'd just drop another murder notebook. We can't let you go."
Kira chuckled "I told you, you shouldn't worry about it so much. There are lots of Shinigami. They can "lose" their notebook in the human world whenever they feel like it. It's not like there's anything you humans can do about it. If you don't want the notebook then there's no purpose to this... There's no purpose to me being here."
"Yes there is... Because... it's you," murmured one of the younger humans.
"Shut up, Matsuda!" hissed Aizawa. Interesting—his human was apparently the leader of these other humans—but that little exchange peaked Kira's interest in more ways than one. Why were they so interested in him? Surely this went beyond the initial shock of seeing an otherworldly creature. They're just humans they couldn't have possibly found out...
"Frankly, we don't care about the notebook we were just discussing what to do with you," said Hideki Ide. At the other's glowering the phrase "good cop bad cop" came to mind—Kira wasn't sure why.
"What? It's not like I'll cause you any trouble. I don't need to eat or sleep. No one else can see me. You can just forget I'm even here..."
The former taskforce members exchanged looks. That was impossible. Even in death Light's presence just demanded attention. "I'm just a Shinigami," Light insisted turning his attention back to the book "Nothing special..."
This was not their Light. The officers were met with feelings of confusion and irrational rage that Light (Kira) had to go change on them like this—this was even more fundamentally wrong then sprouting claws and angel wings. The Kira they knew was never so modest, could never completely fade into the background even if he tried.
But the worst thing about this modesty, false or not, it unknowingly downplayed everything they worked for (what was it all for?) Here was Light... Kira... the big bad, the great enemy they had been fighting an ideological war against with their very existences on the line and he was so... passive.
Light really was dead.
Kira didn't know what they were getting so worked up about but he was finally able to put a claw on it—just what was going on here. These humans were trying to pick a fight with him and his blasé attitude was driving them crazy. (How amusing—there was no incentive for him to stop then.) As if these mortals could ever hope to harm him. Still even if they were just humans Kira didn't trust easily. Sure he was going to kill them one day but their bond also meant a limited degree of loyalty and if these humans learned just what he was they would probably be even less inclined to letting him go...
Not that it seemed to matter.
"We're keeping the notebook... and we're keeping you," Aizawa informed him, matching Kira's bored tone.
Ryuk was so going to pay for this when he got home!
The Shinigami shrugged. "Whatever. It's yours. Do as you please."
The officers exchanged confused and nervous glances—again with the passive attitude. The silence stretched on uncomfortably for everyone but the clueless Shinigami. Aizawa was the first to break it when he announced "Okay, first order of business... We're calling you Light."
The Shinigami glanced up from his reading "My name is Kira."
It was just a statement of fact. So why did they look so angry? Several of the humans winced as if struck.
"We know... but..." Touta Matsuda began.
"Look, I don't know who this Light-person is but you obviously don't like him so I'd appreciate it if..."
He got it so backwards. They... liked Light-kun. It was Kira that they didn't like.
"You just said you wouldn't cause us any trouble... well it would make us more comfortable..." Aizawa began.
The Shinigami shrugged; the picture of a moody teenager. "Whatever. I don't really care what you call me." He was about to resume reading that damn book when Aizawa took it away. The nerve of this human!
They had Light's full attention now, his arms crossed across his chest and he leveled them an angry glare finally giving them a reaction—more like the Light they used to know.
"Pay attention! Because that's not all" Aizawa scolded.
"Light-kun..." Matsuda asked tentatively "why did you drop your notebook? Why are you here?"
Light shrugged apathetically. "I just wanted a break. What do you humans call it? A vacation? I've never been to the human world before. It looked interesting."
"Really? That's it? You were bored?" Ide hissed.
Really after what Aizawa told them—were they expecting anything different?
"Well, it was kind of on a dare. Ryuk... this other Shinigami, he suggested it would lead to something funny..." Light sighed. "He tricked me. I don't see how scaring you humans is supposed to be funny..."
So then this really wasn't Light messing with them. It was Ryuk messing with them. Somehow that just added insult to injury.
"We're not scared of you!" Ide ground out.
Matsuda cringed, Light sounded so hopeful.
"We just hate y—"
"Ide!" Aizawa barked out a warning tone before he could finish that sentence. Again, they were supposed to be acting like "polite strangers." They couldn't let him know that they knew him.
"Why didn't you write the rules of the Notebook inside?" Aizawa demanded, effectively changing the subject.
Kira scoffed "There's not enough room to write all the rules!" his wings stretched and fluttered as he wrapped them around him in an attempt to make himself more comfortable. "I thought you weren't interested in the notebook anyway."
"There's just an... old case involving a Death Note and there are several loose ends," Matsuda began before the others could stop him. "Any information would be very helpful, Light-kun."
A case huh? The Shinigami smirked. Of course they would want his help on it—that just felt RIGHT, as did instructing these humans...
The other's shot Matsuda angry looks for saying so much but were further baffled when Light asked them "So... what did you want to know?"
"I figured if a human wanted to know the rules I'd explain it to them. I know the rules better than any of my people" Kira said with pride. Well he'd tell them everything but the one about "If a Shinigami kills a human with their notebook to protect another human from certain death the Shinigami will die" That wasn't technically a rule of the notebook and considering the somewhat hostile vibes he was getting from these guys Kira decided to forgo mentioning that little detail out of self-preservation. (Not that he would ever lift a finger to help any of them...)
"Why?" Ide sputtered out the question they were all thinking.
"It's not like I have anything better to do..."
"He could be lying..." Mogi audibly whispered.
"Really?" Light quirked an eyebrow. "Why would I lie about this? What purpose would it serve?"
Aizawa crossed his arms and mirrored Light's glare. "Alright, let's hear it then."
Yamamoto would later note how Light patiently went over all the Rules of Death with the same insufferable air of smug superiority as when he was tutoring him in high school math.
He started with confirming what they already knew but began to give them plenty of new surprises...
"Oh yeah, it can do a lot more than just heart attacks. There are plenty of loopholes to be abused. Like if you write two names in concert it's possible to make two people kill each other or create a murder-suicide scenario..."
But it was when Light began describing the rules of ownership that things began to get really interesting...
"Forfeit ownership and all memories relating to the notebook will be erased from your memories. Touch the notebook again to regain your memories..."
"He screamed..." Mogi cut in a little while later.
"I remember," the big man continued in a distant tone of voice. "He screamed louder than anyone when he touched the notebook. That's why... it wasn't just seeing the Shinigami..."
"Hey, I have a question," Matsuda demanded. "How the hell could it even be possible that someone who has the Shinigami eyes sees the lifespan of someone who owns a notebook?"
All of the former taskforce members nodded. That was a question they all wanted to know. Before he passed away the Chief had seen the numbers above Light's head, at the time proving his innocence...
Light frowned. "It wouldn't... He would have had to forfeit ownership."
"But then his memories would disappear, right?" Aizawa prodded. "Is there a way to forfeit ownership AND keep your memories?"
"Well as long as you keep hold of the notebook—as long as you're touching it the memories won't disappear..."
"But... it's not like he was carrying a notebook around," Ide muttered. "We would have noticed..."
"But "touch" means any skin contact," Light provided helpfully. "He probably just kept it hidden under his clothes."
They were all startled when Mogi punched a hole in the wall. "We never thought to search him!"
Of course they didn't—they all trusted him.
"Er... Did that help with your case?" The young Shinigami asked nervously.
Aizawa turned to him, expression unreadable. "Yes, yes it did."
Aizawa sighed. "We have no choice. As long as we keep the notebook we can keep watch over him... And if something happens to me..." he hesitated, "One of you has to take up ownership of the notebook and make sure it's never used. We can just keep him... here and out of trouble..."
"Are you insane? You're talking about this as if it was just babysitting! This is Light we're talking about! He lied to us for six straight years while murdering millions!"
"Will you keep it down?" Aizawa hissed and spared a glance at the other room where Yamamoto was running distraction duty, playing Mario Kart with the young Shinigami who was blissfully unaware that the other humans were discussing his sordid past.
"I'm open to suggestions if you have a better idea?"
Mogi cleared his throat. "I hate to bring it up but... should we contact Near and the former SPK about this?"
Sure Near was "L" now but the four taskforce survivors still resented him. When they were alone like this they absolutely refused to call him L. Matsuda was the only one who voiced it but they were all thinking it—at the very least Near must have used the notebook...
And Near... he had said something about wanting to keep Light like some kind of trophy. What the hell would he do to (their) Light, mentally helpless like this?
Despite everything Light, Kira, had done...
"NO!" Matsuda shouted. "I mean, he's our responsibility! He's bound to us now, right?"
Ide agreed. "Yes, this is our jurisdiction. He's OUR prisoner!"
Mogi nodded in ascent.
"We're in agreement then, we'll keep this between the five of us."
"But... what about his family?" Matsuda pressed. "They deserve to know!"
"Idiot!" Aizawa hissed. "Do you really want to put them through that? Haven't they suffered enough? He's dead! That hasn't changed!"
Mogi looked at his hands. "He wouldn't remember them anyway, right?"
The awkward silence was interrupted by the sounds of Light giggling happily from the other room as he and Yamamoto bested another level of their game.
The contrast was staggering. It was nothing like their last memory of him alive... laughing maniacally before going into a total mental meltdown.
"You know... 'babysitting' isn't a bad word for it actually," Aizawa said thoughtfully.
Matsuda scratched his head. "But... Why? Why is he acting like that?"
Aizawa tiredly rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Maybe it was from the trauma of dying, maybe because he began using the notebook when he was a teenager and through some magic hoodoo he's kind of stuck there, or maybe since he died five years ago he's only at the mental age of five, or he's just plain crazy... Take your pick."
"But... He at least he won't be able to manipulate us now, right?" Matsuda suggested.
Aizawa rolled his eyes "You've obviously never raised kids."
"It's not like this hasn't happened before..." Mogi wondered aloud. "Remember during his confinement? We observed a sudden drastic personality change... Maybe... that's when he gave up his memories?"
"Hey yeah? Maybe this is like a reverse of the memory wipe? Light said if you give up ownership you remember everything about your past BUT the Death Note... but now he only remembers the Death Note!" Matsuda pouted as the others shushed him again as he began to get loud and enthusiastic.
"That's assuming that this is Light at all... I mean do we have any proof other than it looks like Light? What if it's just some monster wearing his face to screw with us?" Ide clutched at an unlit cigarette between his index and forefinger with obvious irritability.
Meanwhile in the background Yamamoto and Light had paused in their game. Yamamoto tentatively offered his former classmate a bag of potato chips which Light dove for with outstretched claws.
"I take it back," Ide sighed and put his cigarette away. He knew wouldn't be getting to smoke it for some time. "Let's just agree that it's Light post-supernatural-lobotomy."
Chapter 4: Loyalty
Exhausted, Aizawa returned home to his apartment, the Shinigami floating along innocently behind him. The blinking on his phone indicated he was again inundated with messages from his ex-wife.
"I'm going to bed... There's some books here... So don't bother me. Just... be quiet and stay out of trouble."
Light nodded, "No problem."
Aizawa watched uncomfortably as the mass murderer made himself at home on his sofa, already snatching up another detective novel. Aizawa sighed. He had better get used to it.
Kira curled up on the couch, but he didn't sleep-Shinigami don't need to. Only lazy Shinigami sleep and that wasn't Kira—Kira was always a very driven individual. He waited until after he finished the book (and made sure Aizawa was asleep) before getting up to silently explore the apartment looking for something to see or do. He peered around curiously at the rather Spartan living quarters. The place was kind of messy and didn't really look "lived in." What with the dust and piles of paper that littered his desk. Kira looked but didn't touch. On the desk he spied some photographs. One was of Yumi Aizawa, the daughter he met, or rather saw, earlier and there was also one of a young curly-haired boy... but Kira saw no name or numbers above his head.
That meant he was dead.
Did Aizawa-san lose a family member?
That went a long way to explain why Aizawa seemed so angry—humans seemed to care about each other and when they died much more than Shinigami did. If another Shinigami crumbled to dust his companions barely noticed. But for humans…especially if it was a family member...
Was that really all there was to it? But then there were the others... Well, Aizawa was their boss, and they would have known the boss's kid, right? So that meant they all lost someone they cared about.
Kira resolved to not take it personally—he was an interloper after all and they were just grieving...
That conclusion made Kira feel... uncomfortable. He wasn't sure why but he itched to do something about it. Sure he was going to kill Aizawa one day but there was nothing in the rules against making things easier for the human in the time beforehand...
Kira began to pick up some crumpled papers that obviously missed the trashcan without even thinking about it. Cleaning up after a human—if the others could see him now… (Come to think of it, they probably could. It's not like they had anything better to do...) Well, titles aside Kira had long ago decided (he couldn't remember when) that no task was beneath him if it meant achieving his objective and right now his main task was to just alleviate his boredom for a while...
Aizawa yawned as he emerged from his bedroom. He didn't get much sleep last night—he suspected that keeping an amnesiac serial killer / immortal monster in his living room might have had something to do with it. Speaking of which, Aizawa realized with a jolt that Light was no longer on the couch, he began to look around, panicked... not only was Light gone there was something different about the room...
Aizawa nearly jumped when he heard a noise in the kitchen.
Aizawa didn't know what he was expecting when he rushed into the kitchen but the self-styled God doing his dishes wasn't it. Admittedly, he had been putting off doing them again and they had kind of stacked up but... come to think of it Light always was excessively tidy.
That's what it was... the surfaces of his living room were now dust free. Perhaps Light was obsessive-compulsive or something? How do you go about diagnosing a ghost-thing anyway? In any case an aversion to dust was the least of his problems...Aizawa would have never thought to ascribe a psychological disorder to the Yagami golden boy before... well... funny how learning your coworker is Kira changes your perspective.
Aizawa cleared his throat, making his presence known. Light whirled around, dish still in hand to see his human standing in the doorway, arms folded across his chest.
Amusingly Light looked so incredibly guilty... like a kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar.
"Er... I hope you don't mind..."
"That depends. What did you do?"
"Just the dishes... and dusted... and picked up those crumpled papers and bottles on the floor... that's it, really..."
Aizawa visibly sagged in relief that he didn't mess with any of the documents on his desk.
But that relief didn't last too long…
"Oh, did you guys decide where to hide your notebook yet?"
I haven't had my morning coffee yet and he's already fishing for clues?
"You know you could make a fake bottom drawer in your desk?" Light began excitedly "Or bury it in the woods? Or maybe just keep it in a safe deposit box..."
Aizawa felt that vein popping in his forehead again—more so because that was probably exactly how Light managed to evade them for six years.
"No! No... we don't need help hiding it..."
"Hey, what you do with it is your business. I'm just here."
The older man gave a resigned sigh. "Yes, you are..."
"You can't talk to us when other people are around," Aizawa ordered Light as he continued to be uncharacteristically chatty as they waited around the office with Ide and Mogi for the day to begin.
"Not at all?" Light looked stricken. "But... what if it's an emergency! Like if the building is on fire or something..."
"Well, I suppose..." Aizawa began. Wait, would Light warn them if they were in danger? As far as Aizawa could tell there was no gain for Light in doing so and Shinigami didn't particularly care about human affairs... Admittedly their knowledge of Shinigami was limited to Rem, Ryuk, and Sidoh—mostly Ryuk who Kira, Light, had sent as a package to the Taskforce headquarters. Ryuk was like a friendly (if freaky-looking) pet to them—well up until the day he killed Light. Perhaps the bond ensured some degree of loyalty? Still Aizawa had a hunch that Ryuk wouldn't warn them...
Ide glanced up from his steaming cup of Styrofoam and dirty water which someone had given the misnomer of "coffee" to add the caveat. "Don't set the building on fire just to get our attention."
Light looked scandalized. "I'd never—!"
"Don't give him any ideas," Mogi muttered as he stacked piles of papers.
"So... the Director of the National Police Agency, huh?" Light commented as he floated idly above Aizawa's desk. "That's so cool! I wish I could do that."
You no doubt could have...
What the hell am I thinking? Feeling sorry for him! He chose his path.
Memory loss or no, if Light was still alive he would no doubt get the needle or at the very least be rotting in prison but since he was dead... he got to mooch off of him and distract him from his work instead.
"Do you mind?" Aizawa barked out.
Light grumbled but exiled himself to "out-of-the-way" so that Aizawa could work. Aizawa sighed. Finally he could focus on his work and wouldn't have to think about his new roommate the mass murderer...
Just then an odd case came across Aizawa's desk that immediately captured his attention: A petty theft at a designer brands clothing store. The thief apparently only stole one leather jacket (red) and left a number of odd looking skulls near the cash register.
Aizawa eyed the moping Shinigami suspiciously—the Shinigami that wore a nice new red jacket over his tattered and worn suit... "Light, come over here for a minute..."
Light was indignant when confronted with Aizawa's accusation, "Foolish human. I'm no thief! I paid for this! I left the money on the counter!"
"You mean the skulls?"
"Five deathheads should more than cover it. I threw in a little extra to cover sales tax and the inconvenience of having to do currency exchange..."
Aizawa rubbed the bridge of his nose. "There is no currency exchange with the Shinigami world."
"Oh... " Light suddenly became very interested in the floor. "I guess I have to give it back then..."
Aizawa sighed and called up the store's owner. "I saw your story in the news about those weird skull-things and well... I want to buy them from you..."
"Get in line," said the store's owner. "Check my page on E-bay. Last I checked bidding is up to two hundred thousand yen."
Aizawa hung up, stunned.
"See? More than covers it," Light smirked.
Aizawa felt that vein popping again. He had forgotten how absolutely insufferable Light could be when he proved to be right...
Aizawa was just settling back into his work routine when FBI agent Stephen Loud, formerly known as Gevanni entered his office unannounced... wearing an obvious earpiece... "I take it you're working for HIM again?"
"The Zero case," Gevanni affirmed.
"You mean case number 34872," Aizawa said as he offered him a seat, "We don't espouse media sensationalism here."
"He's targeted criminals in the U.S. as well, you know."
"I'm well aware…"
"You must realize I'm here on his behalf. He wants to offer his help again, I mean, the way this guy just… vanishes I'm almost tempted to say he's a Shinigami," Stephen chuckled.
Aizawa looked nervous.
"Close the door," Aizawa hissed.
Another human that knows about Shinigami? Light peered curiously at Stephen Loud from between his claws as he rested his chin in his hand. He appeared to lapse into deep thought... (And Aizawa noted irritably he was sitting in that L-crouch again...)
This was bad. Aizawa was now wishing there was some socially appropriate way to make Gevanni go away or get Light to leave without appearing rude or crazy or tipping off Gevanni and therefore Near to what was going on.
Meanwhile Gevanni was listening to his earpiece, looking quite uncomfortable. "L wants me to relay you a message... He says he 'commends you for being able to keep your job this long when the prevailing sentiment in Japan is that if you can't manage your marriage then you can't handle your organization and that he'd hate to see you making a career-ending decision.'"
Aizawa quirked an eyebrow at that; he knew he was well-known to have a short-temper but did Near really expect him to rise to such an obvious taunt?
"Well you can tell him 'I appreciate his concern but I am confident in the abilities of our department to solve this case.'"
"Look," Gevanni confided, "I know he can be... difficult but if it saves lives..."
"I'm sure we can handle this."
Still, the way Near was hounding them for this case made Aizawa suspect that this wasn't just another case. Maybe it was yet another deranged former member of Wammy's House? Just what did they do to those kids? It seemed it either made L—or churned out the supervillain of the week—Mello the mob boss, B the serial killer, K the terrorist, P the master thief...
But then again, Aizawa mused as he looked askance at his "feathered friend" brooding in the corner, maybe it wasn't something unique to Wammy's. Maybe it was for the freakishly intelligent in general—that when things went wrong they went really wrong.
"Personally... I think it might be a Kira copycat, a deranged follower..." Gevanni added. Well that much seemed obvious in the way the perpetrator was targeting criminals but Aizawa knew they weren't really talking about the CASE at the moment. It was blatantly obvious ploy to shame them into letting Near take the case. But interdepartmental politics aside, there was another matter to worry about. Aizawa's eyes nervously wandered to where Light, Kira himself, startled, looking quite confused upon hearing his name...
This was dangerous; this conversation had to end now.
"You can tell him that I will consider his request," Aizawa assured.
Gevanni nodded and took his leave... only to pause in the hallway.
"Say, what's this?" He asked as he held up a large white feather that he found on the ground.
"I don't know... it's big," Aizawa said affecting a confused tone as he attempted to stifle his rising panic. People could see the feathers when they weren't attached to Light? Well if the jacket became invisible while Light was wearing it…
"Hey you'd better watch out, you might have a Shinigami haunting you."
Aizawa forced a nervous laugh but then sternly added "You really shouldn't joke about stuff like that."
"Yeah," Gevanni chuckled, "I suppose you're right."
"Er, Light? You're molting."
The Shinigami teen blushed. "Sorry..."
Chapter 5: The Game
"I'm bored," Light whined again having already finished off all the books in the office. The officers attempted to ignore him. "You guys are boring. Isn't there anything to do around here?"
The original Taskforce plus Yamamoto had all remained late that night working on the newest case and were getting nowhere.
"You could make yourself useful and get me coffee?" Matsuda suggested gruffly.
"Sure, no problem!"
The taskforce gaped open-mouthed as the former God of the New World dashed off to do just that.
"Matsuda!" Aizawa scolded.
"That's just… wrong!" said Ide.
"Revenge is sweet." The others shared nervous looks as Matsuda cackled evilly.
"Actually, it was Ryuuzaki that made you the coffee boy." Mogi pointed out reasonably.
Aizawa sighed and resumed staring, zombie-like, at the computer screen on which were displayed the photos of the crime scene. Case number 34872 a.k.a. the Zero case was proving to be very difficult. Especially considering how short-handed and underfunded the investigation was. This was made all the worse by the cavalier attitude many officials still had left over from the Kira-era: "The victims are criminals so why bother investigating?"
"The victims were all criminals that were already sentenced to die by lethal injection and killed on the same day, at the very time they were scheduled to be executed." Yamamoto scratched his head as the team poured over the case documents. "Really, what's the point in killing them if they were going to be executed anyway?"
"It's inhumane. Cruel and unusual and…" Aizawa's gaze drifted to where Light was floating in the corner "…And I think it's obvious why."
Their suspect, the one named Zero by the media, just replaced the chemicals of those that were about to be killed by lethal injection with something a little nastier—something that would ensure that the criminals' deaths would be slow and agonizing before going into cardiac arrest. At every crime scene they had found a "Z" marked somewhere in the victim's blood, like the freakin' mark of Zorro or something. This Z character always left his mark on prison walls, storerooms, and one time even on the prisoner himself. There were no obvious wounds on the victims either, so Z somehow procured their blood without their knowledge, and then marked his victims beforehand.
A, B, C, D, E, F, G…
It was looking like Aizawa's earlier suspicions that this was another renegade from Wammy's House were on the right track—which meant that catching him would be all the more difficult…
Aizawa secretly despaired as he continued going over Z's code. About a week ago the police had received a message from Z via e-mail in the form of several brain teaser games. Aizawa had a team of analysts searching for where the e-mail had originated from but so far had come up with nothing. This guy was very good at covering his tracks—like how this guy managed to break into prisons, replace the chemicals, leave his Z graffiti, and then sneak out again without anyone noticing a thing or leaving a trace behind. Aizawa had more analysts trying to decipher this code but so far they had come up with nothing. In fact it appeared to be just psychotic gibberish.
"Dammit, I swear, this guy's mocking us!" Ide voiced Aizawa's thoughts exactly when he cursed under his breath.
The silence stretched out when Light suddenly returned with a tray of coffee for everyone and set it on the table.
Matsuda took a sip and nearly gagged.
"What's the matter?" Aizawa demanded, and frowned. Trying to poison them didn't really seem to be Light's style…
Matsuda coughed and sputtered. "S'too much sugar!" Matsuda glared at the Shinigami.
Aizawa arched an eyebrow as he too sipped the sugar with a bit of coffee in it. "Care to explain?"
Light cringed as if struck, an absolutely stricken look upon his face. "I'm sorry! I-I don't know why I… It just… seemed right. Don't detectives… Wouldn't… someone want to use a lot of sugar?"
"Not that much sugar!" Matsuda roared.
"Sorry." Light murmured with downcast eyes.
Looks of dawning comprehension and horrified understanding spread across the faces of the original Kira taskforce.
The officers exchanged nervous glances, all thinking the same thing: Are his memories starting to return? Just how much does he remember?
"It's fine, Light," Aizawa assured him "we like some sugar, just bring it out in a separate bowl next time, alright?"
The Chief stretched, his thought process now thoroughly derailed from the difficult task in front of him. "I think… I think we all could use a break. I'm going to go out and get some coffee."
Thoroughly frustrated by their lack of progress and not wanting to be left alone with ghosts from the past the others quickly followed suit.
Light winced again as the door swung shut. "Sorry." He whispered to an empty room. The Shinigami got an odd feeling in the pit of his stomach. It felt like he was missing something… or maybe someone…
Light tried to clean up after them but one of the spoons escaped his clumsy claws. Light watched, transfixed as the spoon fell to the floor. There was an unexplainable tightness in his throat as he was again hit with a profound and inexplicable sense of loss. The God of Death slumped where he stood next to the coffee table; his pristine white feathers trailing on the dirty floor.
Aizawa sighed again as he returned with his coffee. From the look of things if they wanted to catch this guy he would have to swallow his pride and call Near (and of course the bastard had known, and was no doubt waiting for their call.) Because it would take a genius to solve this—
Aizawa made his way over to his desk … and dropped his coffee on the floor. In his haste to leave the room, Aizawa had accidentally left the window open. The code was solved.
"Hey Light… come over here for a minute."
"What is it?"
The teenaged monster looked absolutely miserable. "I screwed up again, didn't I? Sorry. I just… I was bored and that game looked fun and… sorry."
A couple of things were currently running through Aizawa's mind. On the one hand he was irritated that the creature saw it as such. It was certainly not a game to him or any of the investigators.
All this… it always seemed to just be a game to them. Why should that have changed now that they're dead?
On the other hand…
I have an entire floor of analysts trying to crack this. Light solved it in less than ten minutes! Aizawa stared at the Shinigami in a mix of awe and fear. His genius mind IS still intact…
Aizawa had already concluded he needed a genius to solve this case. It seemed a perfectly practical solution.
Light winced as the others returned and all shared Aizawa's look of shock and incredulity upon realizing what had happened. The Shinigami fidgeted "Sorry."
"No Light, you did nothing wrong. In fact you did a very good job on this."
"I… won?" Kira asked hopefully.
Aizawa forced a smile and patted the monster on the back. "Yes Light, you won."
Light could barely contain his glee. He cracked a smile that exposed more than a hint of fangs, his demonic eyes looked large and crazed. Aizawa gazed into the eyes of madness and it almost seemed like a warning: tread carefully—this was still Kira, no matter how innocent he currently seemed.
"…This round. You see it's a team game… Say would you like to play with us?"
"Oh, would I!" Light nodded enthusiastically. It sure as hell beat floating around being bored. And a team game? That sounded really exciting…
Aizawa could see the others weren't too happy about this but since they had this… resource at their disposal it would be foolish not to use it.
"Okay, Light. So here are the rules…"
"Huh." The Shinigami stared at the cipher. "This looks like a name. Keiichi Inoue?"
"I got it!" Yamamoto announced as he clicked with his mouse furiously. "Keiichi Inoue—sentenced to death for crimes against humanity. He's scheduled to be executed at 4 p.m. today."
After Aizawa made a quick call to the prison, it was quickly discovered that the chemicals in store room had indeed been replaced, the execution chamber tampered with. Z had been there.
(Meanwhile the officials were quick to order in a new batch of chemicals so that Keiichi Inoue could still be executed on schedule.)
Meanwhile Light helped the team decipher the rest. Oddly enough one of them appeared to be an address. Aizawa sent Mogi and Matsuda to go check it out.
The officers hadn't known what they'd expected to find there but it probably wasn't that they'd catch their culprit sleeping off an evening of espionage on his crappy futon surrounded by week-old laundry and old pizza boxes.
It would appear that "Zero" was just that, a loser of the highest order.
Apparently he had been so confident that the police wouldn't be able to crack his code that he had even sent his home address to them as a taunt and all the evidence was right there-blueprints of each of the prisons, how to bypass security, all the equipment necessary to do so.
Z struggled but it seemed he was much better at infiltration then he was at fighting. Mogi effortlessly held him down as Matsuda gave him a lovely set of matching bracelets. Mogi kept Z in a chokehold and once they reached the cruiser and Matsuda secured him using some techniques they had learned from Ryuuzaki—this guy was so good at escapology—they couldn't afford to take any chances. Aizawa had a special cell ready just for him.
The taskforce celebrated their victory with the time-honored tradition of doughnuts.
"It's like a blast from the past. He's definitely one of the Alphabet gang."
"Got the whole look, you know? Pale, slumped posture, bags under the eyes…"
"He kind of reminds me of Mello."
"Yeah… except he's like… an albino."
"So like… if Mello and Near had a kid…"
Ide turned slightly green as he chewed his bearclaw. "Not while I'm eating, please."
"Aw, the whole thing is completely ridiculous. I mean, they're supposed to be geniuses right?"
"Genii." Light muttered from the corner. He had abstained from eating and the party—even though he helped them win the game, Light could sense he was less then welcome. He didn't take it personally. After all, he was an interloper and a God of Death, their reactions to him were only natural…
The Shinigami simply floated in an out-of-the-way corner while re-reading another one of Aizawa's Sherlock Holmes novels.
"The plural form of genius."
"Whatever. They're supposed to be so smart, but you'd think they'd have more… originality..."
After the party, Aizawa slumped exhaustedly in his chair. No doubt they'd catch Hell later with Near for locking up his old classmate or whatever but he was sure they were ready for it. The Chief looked askance when he felt the chill prickling at the back of his neck of someone staring at him, or rather a Shinigami staring at him. Aizawa turned in his seat and regarded Light—the Shinigami's gleaming crimson eyes were wide and adorable as he asked excitedly "So… Did we win?"
Despite himself, Aizawa found himself smiling back. "Yeah… we won." He just stopped short of ruffling his hair. The Chief of police does not ruffle Kira's hair.
"So Light… would you be interested in playing again sometime?"
"That case has been solved already. Thank you for offering but we don't need your assistance at this time." A potential client cheerfully informed him over the phone. Near crushed an autobot in his grip. His case volume had shrunk significantly in the last two weeks.
It all began with the capture of Zero…
Zenith, Near mentally corrected himself, His codename is Zenith, not Zero. Near shifted uncomfortably with something almost akin to guilt; no matter how he threatened, pleaded, or cajoled the NPA would not hand over the prisoner to his custody. Sure Z was a loser but he didn't deserve this. Near was sure he was just playing a game with him…
(As per usual Near kept track of the current situation using his toys. The Lego policemen represented the NPA who held Z, represented by the X-men's Gambit (Apocalypse variant) prisoner.)
What Near found most surprising was that the police managed to crack Z's codes. Z was an idiot, the loser, the zero, last place at Wammy's but there was one field in which Z excelled and that was cryptology. Even Near had trouble cracking Z's codes. That the police managed it on their own was unthinkable—they must have had help and Near was determined to find out who…
(Near, represented by Optimus Prime, stood on his tall Lego tower but another figure had begun to make a tower of his own, hovering over the police station. Near represented this unknown rival with a Skeletor figurine and then used his variant model of Optimus to fire some missiles made of cheap plastic—they hit Skeletor square in the chest.)
Yes, Near had a rival to crush because as things stood now he had a genuine Detective War on his hands.