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A Charmed Life

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The new God’s tennis shoes scuffed the pavement as he was exiled from the hospital. Light Yagami, the vigilante mass murderer known as Kira, zipped up his sports jacket against the chill as he gazed out at the beautiful moonlit night.

“Your father is right. If Kira is just an ordinary human who just happened to come by this awful power, I’d say he’s cursed.”

“How ridiculous,” hissed the teen, whiskey-colored eyes flashing in what his unseen, ever-present shadow recognized as a rare display of vulnerability; Light reflected on the words of his father and his nemesis and decided they were stupid. Not only were they stupid but they were most likely given not out of any genuine concern for his well-being but, in fact, out of a rather transparent attempt to manipulate him into confessing.

Light sneered, losing a bit more of the grudging respect he still held for both of them for even entertaining the idea that he would fall for it. In any case he’d come too far to stop now—even if he was cursed… Light decided that Ryuuzaki was also kind of a jerk for not offering to give him a ride and instead making him walk home in the dark. True, he hadn’t asked for a ride, but that was only because he knew that doing so would put him in a position of weakness and L would no doubt use it as another opportunity to accuse him of being Kira.

“You know, it’s said that humans who are followed by Shinigami have known nothing but misfortune,” Ryuk began conversationally, a positively evil look in his eye.

Light glared back, steely-eyed, and stoically ignored the sleight tremor racing down his spine. It seemed that now even his Shinigami was trying to get a rise out of him—well that wasn’t going to happen! But what was that about, really? Why was Ryuk even trying to scare… no, mess with him like that? Especially when Ryuk knew he didn’t scare that easily.

Huh? Ryuk must be really bored…

The teen was then struck by the sudden epiphany that perhaps Ryuk was feeling a bit left out of everything now that they were forced to spend so much time with L and the investigation team. Light couldn’t exactly stop to chat with the Shinigami now that he was being watched by a team of police detectives whereas before they had done pretty much everything together and it had been mostly just the two of them—just out of necessity of circumstance and not out of any personal choice, of course.

Ryuk had explained when they first met that they shared a bond which meant that the Shinigami would be sticking around for the rest of his life or at least until Ryuk got bored—which was pretty much the same thing when it came down to it. So Light supposed it would not be wise to let Ryuk get too bored or feel unappreciated—even if all the Shinigami ever did was crash in his room and eat his food like the annoying douche that he was.

Light prided himself that he (unlike L, that poor, pathetic loser) actually understood that other people’s feelings were very important. After all, people’s feelings made them easier to manipulate. Light knew it was the feelings of the taskforce that were shielding him from being seriously considered as a suspect. The teen had been feeling smugly superior about that—that L’s own disregard for the feelings of the police who were, in theory, supposed to be working with him was sewing distrust and resentment far easier than anything he could’ve done himself.

It was almost too easy.

Light decided that L’s problem was he was too arrogant. Because he was so much more brilliant than the other detectives he’d been forced to work with he merely tolerated them rather than utilizing them to their full potential. Light knew you couldn’t always choose your allies—given a choice he probably wouldn’t have counted a Shinigami as his roommate. Hell, Ryuk wasn’t even on Kira’s side but Light could still at times make use of him if given the proper incentive. In any case, it was foolish to waste resources as the detective seemed want to do—blowing through potential allies with the speed he consumed candy. In the beginning there must have been like hundreds of investigators working the Kira case and now he was down to like… four? Maybe five or six if he counted L’s “shield,” that computer voice that may or may not actually exist… oh, and that guy tailing him. So ultimately Ls’ tactics and secrecy had actually been pretty helpful for Kira—once he had secured his reign perhaps he should send the detective a thank you note on his own special “stationary.”

Of course it was okay to be brilliant but Light knew the trick was to be brilliant without stepping on anyone else’s toes and always being mindful of the feelings of others—he’d learned that lesson again and again during his school years. L, quite obviously, hadn’t. Light was sure that the detective’s casual disregard for the feelings of his alleged “allies” would ultimately be his downfall.

But now, to his chagrin, Light realized he had been making the exact same error with Ryuk. He was, even now, alienating the one… being who could actually put an end to Kira’s reign. Light had a sudden vision of Ryuk going “I’m not going to take your shit anymore” and writing his name down, negating all he had hoped to achieve with a single flick of a pen. He wanted to scream, he wanted to punch something, but outwardly he kept his calm veneer, his current mood kept well concealed but for maybe a slight flash of his eyes.

This isn’t good. It’s not good at all. But how to fix this?

Ryuk knew him better than anyone—he would expect manipulation. Ryuk was unlikely to accept anything he had to say unless he put his own real feelings behind it. Perhaps this is one of those extremely rare cases where honesty really was the best policy. Of course it might not work even then but he had to try—his future as Kira, his life depended on it. But it would be alright, he could be very persuasive and even if he failed to persuade the Shinigami this time well, he’d just have to keep trying to reach out to him, subtly of course, until he did. Because he couldn’t leave things as they were—it would be a fatal error.

The teenaged killer allowed a sharp, natural grin to slowly spread across his face as he stared up at the Shinigami. He even gave him a slight chuckle—a real one, not the fake, strained cheer he would share with other humans when trying to look normal.

“Well, Ryuk, I’ll just have to show you a break in that pattern,” the brunet assured the Shinigami with a cocky smirk.

The Shinigami scoffed at that. “Yeah, we’ll see about that….”

Yeah, that’s not good at all. Has the good-will between us degraded even worse than I thought? Dammit, Ryuk. I thought we were cool! What about all those times playing Mario Kart together? Did that mean nothing to you? Light ruminated as he began to make his journey home through the park, the Shinigami bobbing along in the air behind him like a balloon, or rather like an evil Gothic clown balloon from Hell.

“You know, Ryuk. I don’t exactly feel cursed. Honestly, I don’t mind you following me at all,” the teen said, smiling wistfully. He made sure to look disarming and completely natural even though every move was calculated—he was masterfully switching roles letting his body language and the inflection of his voice tell a story that he knew Ryuk would never believe if it came out of his mouth. He was projecting an image of innocence and naiveté that Light himself never believed he actually possessed: “See? I am just a naïve little boy playing with things he doesn’t fully understand. I appreciate your company and I didn’t mean you any offense for all these months when I may or may not have been thinking of and treating you like my pet.”

After he’d held the monster’s gaze for what he believed would be long enough to form an emotional connection after committing an error of this magnitude he turned away to stare up at the full moon above. He then spoke again—always calculating how and what to say before it became too awkward or too late—he also took care to add slight nervous gestures, biting his lip and sending his “friend” little demure glances—his desire to reaffirm their friendship had to look natural and spontaneous, after all.

“In fact, I’m happier than I’ve ever been…” the teen insisted with sparkling eyes and even a breathtaking genuine smile. “…and it’s all thanks to you.”

Light secretly smirked after he’d turned away again when he sensed that the Shinigami had frozen behind him.

“What… Me?!

Light casually turned around to regard his companion’s reaction. The Shinigami appeared so befuddled that he had to hold in a laugh.

“What? Light-o? Ryuk demanded as he chased after him, his usual guttural voice becoming an almost-whine when he butchered his name in that adorable way and Light really did let loose a giggle then.

“I hope you understand, Ryuk—that even if I don’t always show it that I will always be grateful to you. Even if this was all just an accident you allowed me to make a real difference. So, thank you. With this power I’m going to create a perfect world.” Light said, smiling at him. Always one to trust his gut instinct, Light reached out on impulse and boldly grasped the monster’s hand in his.

Ryuk just stared at him in stunned silence. Light worried that perhaps he had overdone it a bit but he really wanted to secure the monster’s friendship so he didn’t die and, shockingly enough, everything he said was true. Maybe that was the problem—maybe Ryuk didn’t believe him, maybe by acting so out of sorts he’d just succeeded in making things awkward, maybe he was making it worse even now by being silent for too long.

Come on. Say something, dammit! Anything! Light thought, desperately to himself as he stared into the night. The clouds cleared above them so that the full, round moon shined at its brightest.

“Oh wow, would you look at that, Ryuk? It’s such a lovely night,” the teen said with a small, breathy sigh. Light looked back again to find Ryuk outright gaping at him. Then he mentally played back what he’d just said.

Oh.

Well, crap. He hadn’t exactly meant to say that. That wasn’t in the script he had initially devised. Though, Light supposed, blurting something like that out matched the “naïve little boy” persona he had adopted for this purpose so it would be alright. He was trying to make this whole stupid “you’re my bestest friend” speech appear spontaneous, after all.

It was indeed a pretty night, but why did he feel the need to point that out? Light usually didn’t allow himself to be affected by such… sentimentalities. The beauty of the moon shouldn’t matter at all to Kira—well other than the statistics that more violent crimes tended to occur during full moon nights…

Just then a gentle squeeze on his hand alerted Light to the fact that it was still intertwined with the Shinigami’s and that Ryuk was now tentatively squeezing back. Light figured that was probably a good sign and so, unconsciously, smiled wider. He had been trying to forge a deeper connection with Ryuk and it appeared he had achieved that—though he was slightly alarmed that he had forgotten that little detail. It just felt so very nice… er, natural to walk hand in hand with the Shinigami. The teen glanced down at their joined hands again and he was amazed at how oddly small and fragile his own human hand looked when entwined in the monster’s talons. Ryuk gave him another careful squeeze and Light felt an odd heat rising up in his face.

Strange—I hope I’m not coming down with something.

When Ryuk squeezed his hand yet again it dawned on the teen that they’d been holding hands way too long to really be socially acceptable between male friends. Not that it really mattered since no one could see Ryuk but Light was all about following societal rules. With a surprising amount of reluctance he dropped it, awkwardly, and he felt even more of that strange heat rising in his face.

Wait, am I… blushing? What? It… it must be out of humiliation. Dammit, I hate it when I get too much into character!

Light glanced up again to find Ryuk regarding him with the strangest look in his eyes. That look could almost be described as… hungry. The teen found it a bit odd that Ryuk hadn’t taken this opportunity to pester him for apples. He also found it strange how Ryuk had continued to hold his hand a moment or two after he’d stopped—only very reluctantly letting him go after he broke contact. For some reason the sensation of Ryuk’s talons trapping his wrist coupled with that look the Shinigami pierced him with was making his heart race. But then, even after they broke contact, the Shinigami’s ravenous staring did not abate. If anything it intensified and the hairs rose on the back of Light’s neck. The killer shivered slightly.

Just… what is this? What is this strange feeling? Why is he…?

The rest of the way home every time he chanced to look behind him he would get caught up in the Shinigami’s stare—that red-gold inferno of his eyes that seemed intent on burning him to ash.

Just what did I do to evoke such a reaction?

Light wasn’t sure what it was about the Shinigami’s stare just then that unsettled him, just a bit of course—he wasn’t afraid, not really, because Ryuk stared at him all the time, maybe not this intently but he was just… he was always just kind of... there. Light usually didn’t mind. He liked the attention and having an audience to his brilliant scheming.

The novelty of his genius had seemingly worn off for everyone around him sometime during grade school and now it was just expected that he perform miracles everyday and stay at the top of his classes. But even when he performed at the top level becoming the number one student in all of Japan his achievements never really felt like his own. It was always “look at what my son did” or “look at what we taught him.” Kira was the first project that he could truly call his own. Sure, he’d had a bit of rocky start with it but he was proud of the work he’d done nonetheless.

Light liked to think he could’ve kept up the judgments alone but the truth was he probably would have broken down from the stress if Ryuk hadn’t appeared in his life to clarify a few things. Then the Shinigami was so very impressed and amazed with everything he did—that had been a pretty amazing feeling, to know that a literal God was impressed with him, even if it was a God of Death. Of course then Light got to know him better and found the Shinigami seemed to be rather easily impressed with everything, but in any case just having Ryuk there at that difficult time had given Light a sense of validation and meaning he didn’t even realize he was lacking. The Shinigami always, gleefully, listened to whatever he had to say. Sometimes Light almost imagined it was kind of like having a friend.

Oh, Light made lots of “friends” at school—he wasn’t some fucking loser like Ryuuzaki sitting alone in his room—but it didn’t mean he related to any of the stupider children around him. They just didn’t understand him, so instead of trying to form genuine connections he had learned to manipulate them. Ryuk, though… Ryuk understood exactly how humans really were so no masks had ever been necessary. All and all his relationship with the Shinigami was refreshingly honest—even if the monster could never fully understand the glory of his vision or the scope of his self-sacrifice, the Shinigami was the only one to ever get to know the real Light Yagami and accepted him just the way he was. He even liked him the way he was. Perhaps that was why Light’s “act” of gratitude had been all-too real and why he put up with Ryuk’s staring even when it sometimes (privately) disturbed him. Besides, to complain would be the same as admitting weakness which he wasn’t about to do.

Light frowned, Ryuk would’ve usually had something snide to say by now but instead the silence stretched on and it was becoming unbearable again. He dared to glance back again and, yes, Ryuk was still staring. The killer suppressed a giggle upon first noticing the look on Ryuk’s face and how the usual frozen grin of his fangs parted in shock. The Shinigami appeared to be stunned speechless. Well, Light knew he could be charming but maybe he overdid his “friendship speech” just a bit. Sure he laid it on a bit thick but every word he had said was true. He was indeed grateful to Ryuk—without the Shinigami none of his plans would be possible and he probably would’ve killed himself out of sheer boredom before he even graduated high school.