He didn’t notice him at first.
The young man stood on the very edge of the bridge—the London Bridge, on the wrong side of the safety rail—watching the crash of the waves below with an unrivaled intensity, uncaring of the rain that plastered once-perfect hair in his eyes. For a brief moment he spared a thought for his family, or at least his mother and sister. He pondered leaving them a message. He knew it would be atypical—most suicides don’t leave a death note of any kind… The young man froze at the thought. For some reason that word triggered something in his memories, but it was like a half-forgotten dream and it slipped from his thoughts before he could fully grasp it.
Whatever it was, it didn’t matter. He was set in his course.
He leaned into the wind and rain, gazing down at the sheer drop below one last time. So transfixed was he with listening to the Siren call of the crashing waves that he didn’t even notice the feather-like touch—paper against skin.
“You’ll survive this.” It was said with conviction.
He was so shocked by the sound of the gruff male voice speaking behind him that he almost lost his balance and teetered off the edge—not that that would’ve been a problem, really. Curiously, the stranger’s voice seemed familiar, somehow, in a way he just couldn’t place. Ultimately it didn’t matter.
“What the hell are you talking about?” The young man chuckled brokenly and without any trace of humor. “Don't you see? It’s over.”
The other recognized that voice—that was the voice of a man who had been pushed past the brink of all reason. It was not the first time he had heard such zealous madness in the boy’s voice but it was the first time he’d seen the other's destructive tendencies turn in upon itself. It would be fascinating had he not become somewhat… attached to the young man in question.
“It’s not your time,” he insisted. He actually had that on good authority. There was a number that sat unseen above the young man's head. It was not yet up.
When the gruff stranger spoke again a spike of emotion he hadn’t thought himself still capable of feeling ripped through the chill numbness that had once been the “promising young man.”
That feeling was rage.
How dare he interfere?
For some reason this familiar stranger reminded him of him. (He interfered too, didn’t he? No, that didn't do it justice, in the end he did far more than "interfere." And look how that turned out.)
No, he’d had enough.
No more. No more accusations, no more manipulations, no more empty promises and sugar-coated lies.
Without even bothering to turn around and look at this interloper he retreated back to where he had removed his tennis shoes. He was going to do it, he would, he was serious. Despite what he thought, this wasn't just some pathetic cry for attention, he wanted to die and he would, but it would be on his own terms and having a stranger watching him, judging him, was just… ruining the mood. He supposed he was just trying to achieve some sort of inner peace within his screaming mind when he stepped off the ledge—as if that was even possible. His mind was never quiet. Even before he filled it with traumas. He’d be back tomorrow, he was sure. Or… perhaps not here. If the stranger was persistent in his attempts to “save” him he might call the police. He’d just have to find another place to die. A pity really, he kind of liked the wind and the rain and the waves—it actually seemed kind of peaceful…at least when compared to his disturbed racing thoughts.
Perhaps he was just making excuses.
His eyes hardened with resolve as he moved again getting closer to the edge.
“Tch! Always so dramatic, aren’t you? No, I’m saying you’ll survive this attempt though I have no idea how. You’ll probably be a brain-dead vegetable fed through a tube for the rest of your life. Now isn’t that boring?”
The teen shivered and it had nothing to do with the foul weather.
The rain blew his bangs in his face again, making it difficult to see but he knew the edge was there somewhere.
“I could kill you myself if that’s what you really want, Light—I could make it quick and painless.”
“How did you know that name?” he demanded, suddenly very alarmed. Not so much for himself seeing as in a couple of minutes he wouldn't be caring about anything at all, (and certainly not for him), but for others that information could put at risk.
No one was supposed to know him here.
He was very security conscious after all, one might even say paranoid, and thanks to him his true name, his very identity had become one of his most closely guarded secrets—all for his "protection" of course.
“Easily—we know each other very well, Light-o. Don’t get me wrong. I-it’s not like I care or anything, it’s just… you’re the most interesting person I’ve ever met and I would be… disappointed if you stepped off that ledge. Just think about it—you know if you step off that ledge you won’t be able to eat your barbequed potato chips anymore,” the stranger persuaded, enticing him back from the edge.
Light found that the real shitty part was that it was actually working. Dammit, of all the things to cling to his pathetic life for... why did he have to mention potato chips?
Just who is this guy?
“Don’t act like you know me you… you stalker!”
“No, that would be L.”
“How…” Light gave a choked cry and spun around to confront the man who somehow knew everything … only to find what stood behind him wasn’t exactly a man. Well, while the being was undoubtedly male, he was not a male human. Upon turning around he was met by that large, monstrous visage, that pale face full of grinning fangs—Light was so shocked at the sight that he nearly stumbled backwards off the ledge.
The boy gasped when black talons reached out and clasped hold of his hand, forcefully pulling him back from the edge. Light’s knees gave out and he fell at the feet of the monster.
“Now this brings back memories,” the Shinigami cackled humorlessly, his grotesque parody of a grin stretching from ear to ear. “It’s just like that night when we first met. You fell on your ass too. But back then at least you had the drive to get back up again. What changed, Light? Where did that fearless young man go? This is not like you at all!”
The brunet gaped up at the strange hulking creature. “You… who are you? How do you know me?” Light demanded, desperate for answers. Though the question he really wanted to ask was "What are you?" but that didn't seem very polite.
There was no question now. Somehow this creature knew him. He knew him from before. He knew that before he would never have allowed himself to be seen like this, so… weak but then that was then—before he... no, before L happened to him—before it all fell apart.
Light was startled out of his melancholy thoughts when he noted how the monster’s odd red-gold eyes gazed down at him with a peculiar expression that might just be concern.
“I am the Shinigami Ryuk,” said the creature “…And you used to know me too.”
“S-shinigami? A God of Death?! And you… saved me?”
“I didn’t save you. It wasn’t your time,” the Shinigami insisted. He hadn’t saved him; not really, he had merely grasped his hand. It wasn’t Light’s time to go, that’s all. He hadn’t “saved him”—that much was obvious seeing he hadn’t crumbled to dust-saving a human was bad, not to mention lethal for Shinigami. Of course “saving” generally meant using the Death Note to interfere with a human’s fate—such as killing a human’s would-be murderer and stopping their death from occurring. So Ryuk hadn’t saved Light. He had just… held his hand for a moment, that’s all, and there was nothing wrong with just holding the hand of his favorite provider of apples…
“Ryuk… are you… are you Kira?” Light breathed, emboldened enough to ask the question when the monster didn't seem inclined to hurt him.
Light became further agitated as the creature began laughing—it was a harsh, cackling sound like a crow celebrating over freshly killed carrion.
“Oh, right. I forgot… “ Ryuk snickered as he peeked down at the human huddling at his feet.
“Are you….” Light asked, sounding slightly scared. That set Ryuk off laughing even more.
“No,” the monster continued to giggle. “No Light, I’m not Kira.”
“What’s so damned funny?” the brunet demanded and the Shinigami snickered harder.
“It’s just… I forgot that you forgot.”
“’I forgot…?’ What did I forget?”
“You don’t remember any of it. That’s just hilarious.”
“Well it’s not for me!” snapped Light.
“Yeah…" Ryuk murmured, sobering at the young man's obvious distress. "I suppose not.”
“Dammit Ryuk, this is my life we’re talking about!”
“You didn’t seem that interested in it before.”
“Don’t you see, Ryuk? This changes everything! If I’ve been stripped of pieces of my memories… It all makes sense now! This gaping hole in my life! It wasn’t just… I’m not complete. I might even have something worth living for! Do you know how it happened? Who did this to me?”
“Are you sure you want to know, Light? You probably won't like the answer."
“Please Ryuk," Light pleaded as he got shakily to his feet. "I need to know!”
“Alright then. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…”
“I did it…”
“…On your orders.”
“W-what? What are you saying? Why would I do that to myself? Why would you…?”
Light was hit by another sudden chill that had nothing to do with the wind.
“Are you saying that I’m…? That I was…?”
Ryuk rolled his eyes. “Yeah, Light. You’re Kira,” he said simply, as if they were simply discussing the weather.
“I… He… he was right about me all along? No! This can’t… DON’T LIE TO ME!” Light snapped and in a burst of adrenaline rushed at the monster.
Ryuk easily caught his wrists when the distraught man began ineffectually punching at his chest.
“I’m not Kira! I’m not…”
Ryuk was further surprised that when he drew him close the young human leaned in, pressing his suspiciously wet face against his chest. Ryuk’s first instinct was to phase out and let the human fall to the ground but something twisted in his gut at the thought of hurting him further. This thought thoroughly confused Ryuk—he was usually one to laugh at human misery. But for some reason this... this wasn't funny. He truly had missed Light's company—that's why he'd returned to the human world—to find out what happened to his favorite toy.
Ryuk had wondered how the kid had fared being L's prisoner for so long but he never expected to find this.
He never thought he'd ever see Light, of all humans, crying.
It unsettled him.
“It’s true, Light,” the Shinigami asserted gently. “You’re Kira.”
He’d meant it as a complement. A gentle reminder of who he really was—Kira who was strong and confidant, who had a plan for everything, who Ryuk could easily see taking over the human world.
It was obviously the wrong thing to say.
Ryuk winced when he was met with only an unintelligible scream of misery.
“H-hey. It’s okay, Light. Um… there, there? Shit, I’m no good at this sort of thing!” Ryuk grumbled but it didn’t seem to matter anyway. His human had gone all glassy eyed and unresponsive as Light’s world went black around the edges.
Ryuk looked on with some concern as his human’s breaths came in harsh rattling pants, and counted it as fortunate that he already had hold of him when Light’s knees abruptly gave out again—this time as the young man fell into a dead faint.