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To Feel Alive

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"And I... I will become the God of this New World!" the insane teenager declared as outside the storm broke and the first rays of dawn's light shown through the window behind him, seemingly giving the self-proclaimed God a halo of holy light; as if the sky itself had decided it was better off going along with Kira's insane plan and had symbolically declared that today was the dawning of a new era! Maybe Light Yagami was the Fisher King of the Kanto region or maybe the teen genius had timed it to the second to deliver his soliloquy. Or, more likely, it was all just another coincidence that helped to make the boy's head grow even bigger.

The teen smiled beatifically, his bright brown eyes were filled with hope, optimism, and determination-to look at him now you would never guess that he was behind the carnage, those multiple bleeding-inked pages that the boy had shown him. Ryuk had never before met anyone like Light Yagami—a living vessel of pure, marvelous death. The Shinigami shook with visible excitement at the young killer's words.

It's just as I thought. Humans are so interesting!

After many false starts Ryuk had finally hit the jackpot. Light had already killed more than all his past humans combined! And unlike any of those lameass whiners he was completely unrepentant and intended to kill many, many more.

Absolutely amazing!

Ryuk didn't believe in stupid and deadly things like love but he seriously wanted to tip him over and bang him right there! He wanted Light more than he'd ever wanted a human—it was already playing out in his mind. He'd just walk on over to where the boy was standing, grab hold of those uniquely-colored russet locks fell to the nape of the young human's neck, and he'd tip him over the bed so his ass was in the air and then… But, Light was different from the others and whenever Ryuk experimented with the forbidden it always destroyed the human in question. There was always the screaming and the crying and then they were never the same after that. They were never fun after that and Ryuk didn't want his fun to end so soon. But he really, really wanted to. The Shinigami hastily masked his frustrated growling with an evil sounding cackle.

Maybe later…

Meanwhile Light (blissfully unaware of his Shinigami's amorous inclinations) came down from his post-megalomaniacal euphoria to recognize the brightening of the sky outside.

Shit. Had he really spent the whole night talking to the Shinigami? Well, there was no chance of him getting any sleep now, in fact it was already time for him to be getting ready for school, which of course presented a new problem—the Shinigami was still staring at him in fascination and wonderment.

Light awkwardly cleared his throat."Er… okay Ryuk, I've got to get changed now."

The monster shut his grinning mouth in thought and scratched his head with his large black talons in obvious confusion "You're going to change into what?"

"I'm going to change clothes..."

"You change your clothes?" The Shinigami asked, faking total ignorance, but really that aspect of humanity had always puzzled him...

Light made a face. "You don't?"

Ryuk shrugged. "I've never needed to. I don't get dirty. I've been using these clothes for… I think for as long as I've existed. I don't take them off very often."

"Seriously? Why don't you reek?"

"I'm a Shinigami—I'm magic. I can just phase out and the dirt falls off."

"That was something about Shinigami I didn't know…" Light stared at the creature in fascination. That had successfully captured the interest of his inner neat freak. "I wish I could do that. It would be very convenient."The teen chuckled good-naturedly as he retrieved a fresh uniform from his closet "Okay, now I'm jealous..."

"No, you're Light."

"What?"

"Oh, right. It's a Shinigami joke. Never mind," Ryuk said quickly and resumed grinning his twisted grin—he had heard and made that same stupid joke at the expense of a certain pathetic Shinigami repeatedly for the past several eons and it really was a novelty that someone didn't get the punch line. "Anyway yeah, I don't get dirty like you humans do. I've never had to change my clothes—even after jacking off!"

"Okay that… that was way too much information…" Light murmured softly. Ryuk heard him of course. Light felt a vein throb in his forehead at the creature's rather infantile snickering. "Anyway I have to get changed… You know, I've got to get ready for school…."

"Oh, sure. Go right ahead," the Shinigami said while it continued to stare at him.

Light sighed. It seemed the Shinigami wasn't going to take the hint. Well this was hardly the first time changing around others—it was just like changing in the locker room when playing tennis or attending a public bathhouse. Yeah it was just like that… except that he was being stared at by a huge (and apparently horny) man, er… monster that kept grinning at him. No, that wasn't awkward at all… Light felt a bead of sweat roll down the side of his face as he stripped down in front of the creature. He didn't turn around either, preferring to keep an eye on the creature. Besides, not looking at him made it worse. So Light challengingly locked eyes with his newest stalker as he as he undid his white dress shirt. The Shinigami didn't say anything but merely watched as the human slowly performed his innocent strip tease in front of him. Ryuk gleefully watched, and grinned, and wondered if the teen even realized just how suggestive the looks he was currently throwing him were.

The teen fought down a blush when he felt the monster's eyes mapping out every contour of his body. The leather-clad creature was being suspiciously silent as Light got dressed. Ryuk had made himself at home, sitting on the edge of his bed and practically drooling at him. Despite his monstrous appearance Light could almost imagine he was…

What the hell, brain! He's a Shinigami! What the hell are you doing thinking of that… like that! Still the teen couldn't blame himself too terribly—after all his late-night visitor was unique and cool-looking, kind of like a Gothic rockstar, and exactly what he... If he was human... Stop that! Light scolded himself. He gave a self-assured smirk and asked the still-staring monster "Like what you see, Ryuk?" in order to break the awkward silence and cover his own rising mortification. He cringed inside almost as soon as the words left his mouth—that came out so much more catty than he'd intended.

"Yes," Ryuk answered bluntly, making an awkward situation even more awkward than Light had previously thought possible. "You're very interesting. I like how your body looks without the clothes on. Do you really need them?" Ryuk whined petulantly and this time Light did blush.

"That is unacceptable in human society, Ryuk. Besides… it would be cold."

"Oh, right. I forget sometimes about how fragile you humans are. Hyuk… You're like a delicate little flower…"

"Excuse me?!"

"You're so pretty…"

Ryuk cackled evilly when he noticed how the human's skin was turning a most fascinating red color—clearly the human enjoyed the flattery even if it was more than a bit demeaning.

"I assure you, I'm not weak, Ryuk." The teen declared in a clearly miffed tone. He wasn't weak! He would be a God after all...

"What?!" Ryuk startled and threw up his claws in a defensive fashion when he noticed the annoyed, homicidal look the human was giving him. "I just like the way you look is all. I mean, you're body's quite different from mine… I mean, I bet you're popular with the girls!"

"Yeah," Light grunted. Unfortunately... "I'm guessing you're not popular?" Light sniffed, turning up his nose in a sufficiently snobby fashion as he finished getting dressed.

"Huh?" Ryuk was dumbstruck.

Did this human just… insult me? He just dared to… Ryuk's ever-present grin widened in shock and awe. He's not the least bit daunted that I'm a Shinigami! He doesn't suck up to me and he has no problem giving me a hard time! Amazing… He's not... he's not scared at all?!

The teen remained unconcerned as Ryuk drew close, looming behind him as he made his way downstairs to the kitchen. After all, it would be… ungodly to admit it but this whole situation was kind of awkward. Light successfully hid the slight nervousness he felt with the creature's eyes upon him. He could feel it—Ryuk just kept staring, like he was trying to bore a hole in the back of his head—but as usual, Light kept to his masks, remained stoically calm. The only outside indicator that the teen was feeling stressed was a small trickle of sweat that slid down his right temple.

Ryuk followed Light into the kitchen and watched how the human immediately poured himself a cup of some sort of steaming hot, nasty-looking, brown liquid and brought the unholy concoction to his lips…

"You're going to drink that?! " Ryuk exclaimed in disbelief. From his previous stalking sessions Ryuk was under the impression that Light was really intelligent but now he was beginning to wonder if he was wrong in his assessment for the teen was about to ingest what looked like to the Shinigami's untrained eye to be some kind of poison or at least something rather unsavory.

"It's just coffee," the sleep-deprived serial killer snapped. But, to his further annoyance, the otherworldly creature was still eyeing his mug warily as if it were a vat of acid. "It helps me stay awake," Light explained belatedly dropping his voice in case his mother or sister came into the kitchen.

Ryuk laughed "You need help just to stay awake? Oh, you humans are even weaker than I thought!"

Ryuk laughed harder as he watched how the teen's eyebrow twitched in an amusing way.

"I was up all night talking with you! I typically sleep during the night," Light hissed.

"Oh, er… sorry. I didn't know. Shinigami don't need to sleep…"

"It's fine. Just don't make a habit of it. But I definitely need to get some sleep tonight."

The Shinigami's rigor mortis smile stretched out impossibly further and his eyes took on a definite red cast. "You know on my world only the really lazy idiots sleep…" The Shinigami teased, giggling at the reaction he was rewarded with—oh Light looked so very annoyed now!

"Well that's not how it works here! Humans need to sleep in order to function properly. It's a basic need. If I let myself get too tired it will start to affect my health and mental performance—"

The Shinigami simply grinned and refrained from commenting on the irony inherent in that statement.

"You can't just drink more coffee?"

"Drinking too much coffee is unhealthy…"

"Unhealthy?" The creature scratched his head again and Light thought, to his secret amusement, that it made the deathly horror look rather like a monkey. "What do you… Ohhhh… you mean that stuff is slowly killing you." Ryuk made a mental note to remember this for when he had a pair of eyes to sell him...

Light paused mid-sip. "It's alright in moderation…"

"No. By all means—drink the coffee, I don't mind—it makes my job easier," said the Shinigami as he casually patted the Death Note that hung from his belt. Light glared defiantly at the reaper and then querulously dumped what remained of his drink in the sink. It was a childish, irrational move. He knew he would regret it later but he would never know how it irreparably altered the course of his life.

Light stared morosely down the drain already regretting his impulsive decision. Of course he could pour himself another cup but then his family might notice he was drinking more coffee than usual and that might tip them off that something had changed. He couldn't afford to make the slightest mistake or allow himself to be even remotely suspected of being Kira! The teen suppressed a growl—no sleep and no caffeine—it was going to be HELL! Well, at least it seemed Ryuk had satisfied his curiosity for the moment…

"Hey, Light-o!" The monster hollered from the pantry where he was studying the breakfast cereals and Light thanked his lucky stars that no one else could hear his voice. "Why are they called Apple Jacks if they don't taste like apples?"

***

Light powered through his classes—staying awake by sheer force of will. Even so, a couple of times he apparently didn't look attentive enough and so got chalk thrown in his face courtesy of his sadist teachers.

"How the hell do you do this every day? It's so boring?!" The Shinigami stretched his overly long limbs and groaned when the last class of the day finally let out.

"Hey, Light! You listening?" Ryuk whined as the teen ignored him.

Undeterred by the apparent cold shoulder he was getting Ryuk doggedly pursued the human, bobbing along behind him as he was mystically bound to do. Though he could admit to himself that his interest was definitely piqued since last night—Light was FUN—he'd want to follow him regardless. Ryuk had never met a mortal so fearless that he had the audacity to actually ignore a God of Death.

The Shinigami glanced around as Light led him into the campus rose garden. The roses were white, the color of skulls, but otherwise the shrubbery was green like most of the plants in the human world. The Shinigami realm didn't have so many colors—no, back home it was all just grey—but here in the world of the living was so cheerful and charming and exotic and so very alive. Ryuk liked it here. The Shinigami was quite enchanted by the garden and he imagined it would be a great place to play. He clearly wasn't the first one to think so either if the notches in the trunks of the shrubs were any indication. Couples' names and initials, encircled in hearts, were carved into the wood. Ryuk found it an odd tradition for humans to give up their names and put themselves in mortal peril just to proclaim their love. Perhaps humans and Shinigami weren't that different after all... Ryuk wondered at Light's choice of hiding place. Clearly this was some kind of human mating ground. Was this an invitation? Could it be that Light also wanted to play the forbidden game?

"Very interesting…" Ryuk murmured when he realized that Light was finally speaking to him. The Shinigami wasn't sure whether to be disappointed or amused to learn that Light brought him out all this way just to scold him.

"Don't talk to me!" Light hissed in irritation as the Shinigami continued to fill the silence with inane chatter in his ear. "Unlike you, people can still hear me when I speak out loud."

"You're no fun," the monster pouted.

The Shinigami watched in amusement as the student turned down an offer to go to the arcade and went straight home to get to work on his project—a perfect, crime-free utopia.

Ryuk lay in Light's bed, propping his head up on one elbow, and munched on the apples Light bought him. There was no rest for the wicked. Light-o had a very busy day. He wrote names in the notebook with enthusiasm until he was interrupted by his little sister wanting help with her math homework.

Disappointingly Light didn't give him a big reaction when he oh-so-casually informed him that if his sister were to touch the notebook she could see him too. Not that he gave no reaction—Ryuk had watched and wondered at the odd twist of young man's lips, the slightest ghost of an expression that seemed torn between irritation and amusement. For the first time since he appeared in his bedroom Light actually looked impressed with him.

I tricked him and he LIKED that. Interesting…

***

Light snuck out after dinner and built a bomb for his desk. Ryuk frowned slightly as Light explained everything. If that went off it would destroy the notebook and his ties to the human world. The Shinigami hoped it didn't come to that but he began to mentally go through a list of his stupid "friends" back in the Shinigami realm who might also be as neglectful as Sidoh so he might steal another one. He wouldn't want his time in the human world with his new toy interrupted just because someone jostled a desk.

Ryuk watched as Light quietly did his homework before enthusiastically going for another round of mass-death. The Shinigami looked on with glee as the teen murdered criminals. He was so passionate about it! He was writing so many names! (Damn, it was making him hard…)

Though it soon became obvious that Light was fighting fatigue; his shoulder's sagged with exhaustion and he seemed unaware that he was stooping closer and closer to the surface of his desk. Those beautiful, brown, almost-golden, eyes became hooded putting his long, feminine lashes on display. To the Shinigami his human seemed almost… delicate. Ryuk wondered if among his own species if Light was ever mistaken for a female.

Ryuk had experimented with both types of humans, he found he preferred the males (the girls kind of weirded him out) but to his disappointment the results were always the same—screaming, crying, struggling, and being forced to write their names. Ryuk very much liked playing with humans but the aftermath wasn't any fun...

Suddenly beside them the TV declared "We interrupt this program to bring a special announcement. This is a worldwide broadcast from the ICPO…"

Ryuk grumbled. He'd liked the animated robodeath show that had been playing in the background. That was fun! But they had interrupted it for this? What? The Lind L. Tailor Show? Now that looked boring. And why bother giving this guy a show? He didn't have long to live anyway...

Light hadn't even flinched when Ryuk drew near though that might have been because the teen had his face pressed into the notebook, drooling. Ryuk laughed, the teen had fallen asleep at his desk. He thought that was a silly thing to do—wasn't that what the bed was for? It was a lot more comfy. The Shinigami snickered again and wished he knew how to use a camera.

"Oh! Light-o! " Ryuk poked at the dozing teen and Light mumbled incoherently about Extinction Level Events. Ryuk recalled that that was the only semi-interesting thing the teachers taught about in class today. Ryuk giggled and poked him again. "Wakey wakey!"

"Wha—?!" The genius inquired intelligently.

"You fell asleep."

"Dammit," Light rationalized that he had been up for 34 hours straight and had skimped on his caffeine intake—he was bound to crash eventually and nothing short of a miracle (Godly) that he hadn't already. "How long?"

"Eh, just a couple minutes. But wow, you weren't kidding about humans needing to sleep. You should really come to bed, Light."

Ryuk watched how the teenager yawned and stretched cutely; fascinated by the way his shirt hiked up, giving the monster another tantalizing glimpse of stomach and navel and hips bones. The Shinigami mapped him out with his eyes wanting to know every contour of his human's lithe body.

"Y-yeah, I guess you're right." Light grunted and forced himself to stand too quickly. The claws that gently wrapped around his shoulder were the only thing that stopped him from falling. As Ryuk steadied him the teen shot him a miffed look that could only be interpreted as "I-meant-to-do-that." Ryuk rolled his eyes and helped him to the bed. "Thanks," the teen whispered grudgingly.

"Hyuk, no problem."

Light absently turned off the TV and immediately felt better. That shouting noise was giving him a whole new headache on top of the migraine he'd been fighting since this morning when he'd begun his caffeine withdrawal.

Light paused as Ryuk flopped back down into his bed as he had for most of the afternoon, again propping his head up on one clawed hand. He showed no inclination of moving.

"Ryuk..." Light's irritation began to bleed through.

"Oh, don't mind me."

Light sighed. He was too tired to argue. Really, it shouldn't be awkward. People sleep with their pets all the time...

Yeah, Ryuk... he's just a big kitty cat. Light snorted to himself. He really needed to get some damned sleep.

Light quickly stripped down to his boxer shorts, for once just throwing his clothes on the floor like a total slob. He felt a pang of guilt as his actions warred against his tidy upbringing and his obsessive tendencies but he'd worry about it tomorrow. He was too tired and it was oddly hot in here tonight.

Ryuk kept staring, unblinkingly, at him the entire time.

Yep, just like a kitty cat.

Light yawned tiredly and sunk down into the bed next to the demonic creature. Exhaustion making him apathetic and unalarmed when Ryuk cozied up next to him and began idly touching and brushing against him with his claws—petting him. Light was annoyed and amused when he thought that perhaps Ryuk thought of him as the pet. Still despite any misgivings he might have had when he was fully awake he found the touch of the monster actually felt pretty nice. He wasn't inclined to stop him and he really was too tired to argue. The boy's eyes fluttered closed as Ryuk kept petting him.

"Good night, Ryuk."

Chapter Text

Ryuk was patient.

The Shinigami wasn't sure how long it had been since the last time he found another schmuck stupid enough to leave his Death Note lying around for him to "liberate" and drop in the human world but the human world had changed considerably since his last visit—for one, that TV thing was new. Of course he'd seen cars and stuff from the viewing pools but such things weren't around the last time he was down here for any length of time. He'd already waited this long for another opportunity to visit the human world. He wasn’t about to squander it. He didn’t want to ruin things for himself so he forced himself to be content with merely studying his prey.

It was hard, though.

Ryuk silently watched the rise and fall of the boy’s chest. Breathing—one of the most basic needs of the living. The Shinigami idly touched the sleeping youth, carefully running his claws through his silky brown hair to where it terminated at the back of his neck to make contact with the soft skin of his back. He could’ve gone deeper—it was well within his power to feel Light’s heart beating in the palm of his hand but he’d learned from past experience with humans that that would probably be too much for him. Ryuk pouted. It seemed the humans always freaked out when he tried to get inside them in any way.

The Shinigami contented himself with gentle petting, his claws gliding over his human’s skin as he got a feel for his companion’s flat stomach and toned muscles. After doing this for a while Ryuk watched with curiosity how the teen shifted and whimpered strangely in his sleep. The Shinigami sucked in an unnecessary breath when his human squirmed slightly and pressed back against him in his sleep, with his head against his chest, Light’s downy soft hair tickling him beneath his chin. Ryuk still had a hard-on from watching the boy kill so beautifully and he was painfully aware of it now that Light had aligned himself perfectly if Ryuk wanted to just plunge into that tight hole...

No. Not yet.

The Shinigami growled in frustration as he sternly reminded himself that humans broke so easily.

But then, Light wasn't like the others.

The other humans broke after just writing a few names but Light, he had no problem filling up pages—just like a Shinigami, though the kid admittedly had much more enthusiasm. Perhaps this time it would be different. But then, how to get Light to play? How did humans typically go about it? Just ask 'I want to put my dick in your hole'? He'd tried that before but it didn’t seem to make the human he was courting more agreeable.

"St-stop. Kenji! That hurts!" the teen suddenly whined in his sleep.

When Ryuk gently brushed away the sweat beading on his human's face with his talons Light moaned softly and shifted around; clinging to and rubbing against the bed's other occupant. Ryuk gaped; lying stock still as the brunette began rubbing against him in his sleep.

Of course it was at this most awkward moment that Light woke up—the teen's eyes snapped open to see Ryuk's grinning fangy face mere inches away from his own.

"Nightmare?" The Shinigami asked innocently.

The teen made an odd high-pitched whine in the back of his throat which Ryuk found oddly reminiscent of a kitten dying and tried to shoot out of the bed. Tried to—one of the Shinigami’s overly-long arms was casually draped over his body, preventing him from moving. Light shivered slightly as the Shinigami cackled evilly and with an idle claw he began gently, lazily, tracing little circles around the teen’s stomach.

"What are you doing?" Light demanded.

Ryuk remained perfectly still next to him but Light could feel some large, hard thing pressed up against his back that felt suspiciously like…

That can't be… He's screwing with me… Light assured himself that he was just sexually frustrated and had his mind in the gutter and that's all there was to it…

"Hmmm? Me? I'm just lying here… but I think I should tell ya' that you're moving strangely in your sleep… I don't mind, really. It feels good… But then you woke up and started freaking out. I was afraid you were going to hurt yourself with all that flailing around… so I held you down."

"Er… That's not necessary, Ryuk."

"It feels good though, doesn't it?"

"I—Ryuk, let go—"

"Who's Kenji?" Ryuk asked in a deceptively innocent tone that was betrayed by the knowing twist to his grin. The Shinigami may perpetually be an outsider to the human world but he’s had plenty of time to study human behavior and since he knew what to look for he could see the exact moment of brain-breakage play out across his human’s face.

The world seemed to stop for Light Yagami.

His concerns about Ryuk’s proximity took a sudden backseat to abject humiliation—he just couldn't believe he'd been dreaming about that loser again! The teen felt his face grow hot in embarrassment. He was clearly more frustrated than he thought…

"Look, I… Wait, what do you mean when you said it… it feels good?"

"Er… well, you were like… rubbing up against my sex organ."

The teen went utterly still and the Shinigami couldn’t help but snicker at the look on his face.

"Oh, don't worry, I don't mind…" Ryuk assured.

The teen opened his mouth, and abruptly shut it. He tried again though he still seemed to be having some sort of difficulty.

The Shinigami took advantage of the teen’s shocked state to resume rubbing small circles into the boy’s hips with the pads of his claws.

"Th-that's…"

"Hmm?" the Shinigami rumbled pleasantly, resting his chin on the boy’s shoulder and playfully licked at the shell of his ear. "Did you know you have a flavor? It's not at all like apples but it's nice."

Light suddenly jerked in his hold and finally managed to squeak out. "That's… that's all… you?"

"Yup!"

Surely he couldn't be imagining how smug the Shinigami sounded at that.

He should be running. He really, really should.

He should not be breathing this heavily. He should not be eying that prominent tent in the man-monster's pants with obvious interest. He should not be squirming in anticipation and he should not have to suppress his desires because, damnit, he shouldn’t be having them! Light tried in vain to shut out the flooding mental images and sternly reminded himself that the man lying next to him wasn’t a man but an inhuman monster with bulging eyes, huge purple lips, and a nightmarish mouth full of shark-like fangs.

That was most definitely not suitable for fucking.

No way.

Never.

Never ever.

Not in a million years…

(No matter how well-endowed…)

Light wondered if he was suffering from some kind of sleep paralysis because it seemed that independent of his wishes his body had decided it was comfortable where he was.

"Did you… did you do anything?"

The creature rested his chin against the teen's shoulder in a far too intimate position. "Why, did you want me to?" The Shinigami rumbled in that stupid, sexy voice of his.

"N-No!"

"If that's true than why are you still rubbing against my sex organ?"

Shit. He really was—even now he was “accidentally” grinding ever so slightly. Light squirmed futilely against the monster’s hold.

The Shinigami laughed again. "Oh, don't worry, Light-o. I'm sure you'd know if I did anything to you."

Light bit back a whine as the monster shifted next to him and tried to ignore the feelings of shame and disgust as his body trembled in obvious excitement.

"Dammit, Ryuk! I was asleep! What the hell are you were doing in my bed anyway! You said Shinigami don't need to sleep!"

"I don't need to, no. I just wanted to sleep with you…"

"Ryuk…" Light's left eye twitched in irritation as he wondered if the creature even understood what it was saying though the physical evidence pointed to yes…

"I like you and I thought it would be more comfortable for both of us than if I just stood in a corner watching you sleep…"

Light had to agree that did make for a disturbing image but then was it really any less disturbing than… this?! The Shinigami was still spooned up against him, idly rubbing his talons over his chest and stomach, and was showing no inclinations of moving. Light's breath hitched as those talons paused in their petting to tweak his left nipple. No, there was no way any of this was unintentional. It seemed that despite how much he wanted to deny it the Shinigami truly did want him that way. Light silently cursed when this revelation failed to kill his own erection.

"Ryuk…"

"Hmmm…?"

"Would you kindly remove your arm?"

The Shinigami pretended to consider it. "You know, Light, I notice you didn't answer the question. Kenji…?"

Damn. Light had been hoping he’d forgotten about that.

Light was far from stupid. It was obvious to him that Ryuk must have an ulterior motive. Of course Ryuk had an ulterior motive—his entertainment. After all, that’s all the Shinigami was here for. And it was becoming increasingly obvious that Ryuk would use him in any way he could. Politeness aside, the monster wasn’t his friend, he wasn’t on Kira’s side, and if Light confided in him, especially with this he would, without a doubt, laugh at him and that would be utterly unacceptable.

No, he definitely could not afford to look week in front of a God of Death.

"I'd rather not talk about him, Ryuk."

Ryuk clutched him tighter and hissed "Who?" in a hot, raspy breath against the boy’s ear.

Light was becoming increasingly unnerved as Ryuk showed no inclination of letting him go. He could feel the creature’s eyes trying to burn holes into the back of his head—as if he could see into his very soul. At the moment the normally goofy monster was actually intimidating.

How the hell did he come into such an awkward situation?

The teen gritted his teeth and idly thought about school in an attempt to stop this from getting weirder. Light just stopped himself from leaning further into the creature's embrace. It did feel kind of… nice. Except for the tiny detail of who was holding him.

"Ryuk, have you ever heard of something called 'personal space?'" the teen quipped caustically.

The Shinigami ignored him in favor of his current interrogation.

"Who is he, Light?"

Was he imagining it? The monster was almost acting like a jealous boyfriend which was ridicu—no, actually now that he thought about it, it wasn’t. Since he had established that Ryuk indeed was interested in him that way…

"…Really, he's no one," Light answered, much too quickly.

"It didn't sound like no one? You dream about no one?"

"Fine… he’s no one of importance. Now let me go."

"Is he your mate or something?" the Shinigami leered.

"Wh—Kenji… mate—EW! Just ew! No!" The brunette shook his head in ardent denial.

"Oh? You mean you didn't have sex with hi—?"

"No, no, no. I don't want to…"

"Oho, so you did have sex with him?"

"…Just… God! Stop talking!"

Ryuk chuckled at the flustered, furiously blushing teen.

"Then doesn't that mean he's your mate? Or was…?"

"Just—I suppose that’s an equivalent concept, Ryuk but… ew. No. I do not want to think about him anymore."

Ryuk laughed sadistically as the teen looked so incredibly flustered—it was adorable, really.

"…So not a mate then?" The Shinigami teased.

The venomous look on the young man’s face would no doubt have been quite terrifying to his fellow humans. Ryuk however just found it funny.

"…Try repulsive ex-boyfriend." Light conceded. It was becoming increasingly clear Ryuk wasn’t letting him go until he satisfied his curiosity.

"Whatever did you see in him?"

"That's a very good question…" Light murmured darkly.

"So… Light-o. What do you look for in a mate?"

The hell! We are not really having this conversation! Light tried to recall just what he ate yesterday and calculated the probability that anything he might have consumed was spiked with hallucinogenic substances.

"…I don't. It’s more trouble than it's worth."

"How sad." Ryuk murmured and fell oddly silent.

Light found that the sound of his own breathing now seemed too loud against the silence of his bedroom. With the silence Light had nothing to distract him from the monster's proximity, or the arms around him. The teen froze at the feeling of as an absurdly gentle claw tucking a strand of his bangs behind his ear.

"I wonder… what did you look for before this Kenji guy broke you?"

"He didn't break me!" the teen hissed and Ryuk concluded that this was obviously a sore point for his… companion. Ryuk decided he needed to take extra care not to break his human since it seemed that this Kenji-guy already hurt him.

"If you're not broken then why aren't you looking? I mean isn't that what humans of your age do?"

"Damn Shinigami," Light growled out in lieu of more colorful language. He would not let this simple-minded cretin get the better of him.

Light almost startled when his bedmate made a slight rumbling guttural noise which the teen quickly discerned were sounds of amusement when the Shinigami's already nightmarish grin became imperceptibly wider. Ryuk laughed harder when the look in Light’s eyes told him that he would murder him if he could.

Light turned away, doing his damnedest to ignore the monster lying next to him and for several minutes just stared into the dark.

Ryuk wasn't about to be ignored and so began oh-so-innocently stroking the pad of his thumb up and down the boy's stomach.

"Ryuk…"

"Yes?" Ryuk asked in a mocking tone, ignoring the warning note in the teen’s speech and the way the boy squirmed in his hold. The Shinigami bit back a growl—if Light kept squirming like that he wouldn’t be able to control himself. The Shinigami's voice then dropped to a near whisper as he again asked a simple question. "What do you want?"

"I want you to let me go." The human demanded in an impressively steady voice given the circumstances. Ryuk held back another guttural giggle.

"Sure—in a minute. Just tell me what you want. What do you want, Light-o? That’s all I want to know."

Light stifled a groan. It was becoming increasingly obvious he wasn’t getting out of here until he gave Ryuk an answer he found satisfactory and since the creature would be stalking him as long as he owned the notebook he was bound to find out sooner or later. But then it wasn’t like Ryuk could tell anyone…

“You know I told you about human needs, Ryuk?” Normally this wasn’t the sort of thing Light would admit aloud to anyone. It was a testament to just how flustered he really was.

"I like…"

"What do you want, Light?"

The teen closed his eyes and groaned softly in frustration. "God, I can't believe I'm talking to you about this!"

"You know I won't tell anyone about this. Whatever you want to tell me—I'm your secret, Light-o."

Light considered. Yes, as long as he let no one touch the notebook no one would ever know. It might be psychologically healthy to rant to someone but would it really be wise to mention…

The teen tried and failed to suppress a shiver as something warm and wet ghosted against the shell of his ear.

"Hng Ryuk…" Light's stomach churned with both shame and desire. Light reminded himself just how very wrong this was. If he let the (ugly, monstrous, huge, leather clad) Shinigami have his way would that be bestiality or necrophilia? Or both? Ryuk licked him again and Light tried and failed to suppress another shudder of excitement. Just how depraved did it make him than that he was so very much turned on by this? It was at that moment that the teen made the snap decision to talk—or rather mutter incoherently while unconsciously snuggling up against the monster's chest. He needed to do something before he did something he’d regret in the morning…

"What was that, Light-o?"

Light groaned again. Ryuk didn’t seem to understand many human euphemisms so Light decided he needed to word it as bluntly as possible seeing as he didn’t want to waste anymore time talking about this. Hell, he didn’t want to talk about this at all.

"I said it's stupid! I have er… very specific needs… I mean… uh, I-I like getting fucked. In the ass. I like big guys, alright? I like big guys with big cocks. Preferably big sexy guys in leather. That's just so… fucking… hot… If it's not just a little bit dangerous, a little bit rough it's boring. That is… I like it to be a little bit dangerous but I have to retain control. When I say stop he’ll stop. An ideal… mate would be discreet! He’d understand it’s just a game and that I'm not their bitch! I only like it like that but getting any idiot to understand that…” The teen stopped speaking just as abruptly and shifted slightly to glare at the smugly grinning Shinigami. "Does that satisfy your curiosity, Ryuk? Now go on and laugh," the young killer hissed dangerously. "You know you want to."

But Ryuk did not laugh. In fact the creature was oddly silent.

"Are you not entertained, Ryuk?" The teen asked bitterly.

"Why would I want to laugh? If you like it what's the problem?"

Light was completely thrown by the question and the look in the creature's eyes—it was dangerously approaching concern.

"Er… It's not exactly considered… normal? In society's eyes… people say these things aren't supposed to matter… but it does." Light began hitting his stride by going into lecture mode. The teen prodigy found that somewhat helped overcome the inherent awkwardness of the situation. Light found that hearing the sound of his own voice helped him rediscover his comfort zone. "It's just more human hypocrisy, Ryuk. Like when they say 'be yourself' they don’t really mean it. They mean be 'how we think you should be' and that's a big difference. It's like be brilliant… but don't outshine everyone else. Crime doesn't pay… except when it does. Justice prevails… except when the defendant is wealthy and powerful. Killing people is a crime… except when it's people we want dead. And rules only apply to those who get caught..."

(Kira only ever followed society's laws.)

"So in society’s eyes… liking that… they’d see me as deviant… perverted… and… and weak! And even if they don’t care or even approve in private people will condemn deviancy in public. That’s just the way it is.”

"Humans are strange." An idle claw brushed his bangs out of his eyes. "I don't think any less of you."

After all, all humans were weaklings compared to Shinigami.

At Ryuk's assurance Light’s expression minutely changed. He seemed to relax a bit in Ryuk’s hold and there was something almost akin to warmth in his eyes.

"You know you're the most interesting person I've ever met."

Light sighed slightly and hoped Ryuk didn’t notice how his face was heating up.

This was so weird but not entirely unpleasant. He could feel the larger body pressed solidly behind him, the creature’s shoulder feathers tickled softly against the nape of his neck. As illogical as it was he actually felt safe and protected in the Shinigami’s arms. (Naturally, Ryuk could see very well in the dark and was watching Light’s every reaction with keen interest.)

"If only others were so accepting… you know if anyone knew what I liked to do, it would become difficult to advance once I start work at the NPA with my father. Hell, I'd probably get stuck as the coffee boy for the rest of my life!"

Ryuk chuckled "You'd be the world’s smartest and most interesting coffee boy." The Shinigami ran a fine claw beneath Light's chin as he hissed in his ear. "I’d be happy to satisfy your needs, Light."

At Ryuk's words the teen made a small strangled sound and shuddered beside him and to the boy's utter mortification it wasn’t lost on his bedmate that his boxer shorts had just become conspicuously damp.

"Ryuk, Release me. Now!"

Surprised by the human’s angry tone, Ryuk actually complied.

Light scurried out of the bed like his life depended on it but once free of Ryuk's clutches made a point to move with a quiet dignity and grace as if doing his utmost to pretend the last ten minutes never happened.

"I'm going to take a shower."

"Okay."

Light paled when the Shinigami made like he was going to follow him.

"Don't follow me. Just… don't."

Ryuk snickered when the teenage psychopath's parting words were spoken in a near-snarl and he shut the door with much more force than was entirely necessary.

Chapter Text

“Ryuk, what did I tell you about following me?” Light asked with deadly calm as he finished neatly knotting up the tie of his school uniform.

“Uh… Not to?”

“Then care to explain why you were watching me shower?”

Damn. He didn’t think he’d been seen.

“Er… Well… It’s like a job requirement that I have to watch you. Like, if you slip and break your neck in the shower I need to write your name. Uh… Nothing personal?”

“‘Nothing personal,’ my ass! You just said you like watching me.”

The Shinigami’s Cheshire cat grin stretched out impossibly wider. “Well you know I do prefer to enjoy my work. But if it’s any consolation to you when it’s your time to die I promise I’ll kill you quickly.”

The psychotic teenager let out a bubbling, near-hysterical kind of giggle that would make most people’s guts squirm but Ryuk found it to be oddly adorable. When Light got a hold of himself again he resumed scolding Ryuk, calling him a nasty perv, but if that small smirk tugging at the corner of his lips was any indicator Ryuk figured that Light actually didn’t mind. He was looking far too amused. That and the teen kept eying him speculatively just as he had the night before when that thing happened that they weren’t talking about…

“Then again I might just save you in such a scenario. You never know. I suppose it depends on how nice you are to me. You see, the rules are very strange—there are rules against saving a human with the Death Note. There are rules against murdering humans with ones fangs and claws or letting a human die without writing their name in the notebook. Of course it’s seen as most favorable that the Shinigami just kill the human in such a scenario but there isn’t a rule against saving a human from slipping in the shower so that you can later kill them properly.” The monster elaborated as he stalked closer, laying a possessive claw upon the boy’s shoulder.

Light made a face. “That’s all… uh… very interesting, Ryuk. But you do realize that all this talk about killing me is kind of a turnoff…”

The Shinigami drew back as if kicked. He wasn’t sure what the human’s problem was—he was only trying to share! And shouldn’t he be grateful that he wasn’t planning on giving him a painful, lingering death?

“Uh… Yeah… Well… Anyway… Try not to break your neck in the shower, okay? That would be really… boring.

The teen huffed in annoyance as he ran a comb through his wet bangs and pushed them over to the side, just so; while he took to observing the antics of his odd companion in the reflection of the mirror. The Shinigami was being quite huffy himself, floating around behind him in obvious boredom.

An evil grin slowly spread across the boy’s face before he swiftly grasped hold of the damp towel he’d been using to dry his hair.

Snap!

Ryuk didn’t phase-out fast enough. The Shinigami jumped comically as the towel cracked like a whip against his rear.

“Ah!” It didn’t hurt—well, not really—it just stung enough to be annoying. Ryuk let out a soft growl as the boy cackled evilly and danced away. That's when he realized exactly what was going on here—was he reading this right? Was Light seriously… flirting with him?! Why, that little… minx!

Well two can play at this game—as soon as Light’s back was turned the Shinigami retaliated.

Snap!

In a flash Ryuk spread his wings and slapped him across the ass. Despite their soft, delicate appearance his dark, feathery wings were actually quite strong—they had to be to carry his weight. Ryuk was careful not to put too much power behind the strike—he didn’t want to actually damage Light, just hit him hard enough to get the point across. Ryuk supposed he succeeded if the startled yelp and utterly stunned expression on the boy’s face was anything to go by. The Shinigami prowled on over to where Light seemed to be frozen to the spot, though whether it was due to shock, fear, or mortification Ryuk wasn’t exactly sure—maybe all three. The Shinigami stifled a giggle. The look on his face had to be the funniest thing he’d seen in ages. Light had clearly not been expecting him to retaliate. The Shinigami began laughing wickedly; fixing the teenager with a rather intense look as he slowly advanced on the stunned boy. That’s when Light snapped out of it—he scowled at this humiliation, throwing the wet towel at the monster’s face. Ryuk just laughed harder as he phased out, letting the towel phase right through him to become an inelegant heap on the floor.

Light then tried to escape out the bedroom door but the Shinigami was faster, cornering him by his closet. The teen blanched when he noticed the dangerous gleam in the Shinigami’s eyes. Ryuk had become eerily silent as he stared him up and down—grinning his ever-present grin—and Light had the sneaking suspicion he was undressing him with his eyes. The teen swallowed nervously and backed up until he’d hit the wall.

“You didn’t think you’d get away that easily, did you?”

“Ryuk…” It was meant to be a command and a warning but the boy couldn’t stop the pleading note from entering his voice when the Shinigami gently caressed his face with his large black talons. “Ryuk, cut it out! I’ve got to get to school!”

“Why don’t you tell me what all that was all about, hmm? You know, it’s not every day a human attacks a God of Death.”

“Attack…? You mean… with the towel? That wasn’t an attack, Ryuk. Honest! It was just friendly teasing!”

“Teasing? But isn’t that mean?”

“No, this was friendly teasing. Like… it’s like… It’s what humans do when they… uh…” Light stammered as his eyes widened comically at the unsettling epiphany of what he had done.

“Yes?” the Shinigami prodded.

“…like each other,” the boy muttered, his face flushing the red of apples.

“Oh, I see. This means you want to play now.” It wasn’t a question.

“Uh…” the teen said ever-so-eloquently as the wall dug into his back in his futile attempts to squirm away. Light swallowed hard as the monster continued to stare at him intently, like he fully intended to eat him alive.

“No, not now, Ryuk. Now it’s time for school. Just think of the consequences—people will notice if I’m missing which will lead to questions which could lead to discovery which could lead to them taking you away from me. Is that what you want?”

Ryuk thought about it for a moment. “No,” he conceded.

“Then let me go, Ryuk.”

The Shinigami pouted but reluctantly released the boy. Light quickly retreated to the other side of his room—just to retrieve his book bag, is all. He was not the least bit flustered by a certain idiot Shinigami’s rude and pushy behavior—nope, not at all. The monster cackled again and the teen tried to stop the involuntary shiver that raced up his spine. Light briskly shouldered his book bag and strode past the fallen towel that had caused all this trouble.

Inwardly, Light cringed. His mother would throw a fit if it wasn’t neatly in the hamper or in the laundry room but Light couldn’t be assed to pick it up just now (though part of it might have been the fact that bending over around his new roommate had suddenly become that much more awkward.) But the upside of this action (or, rather, inaction) was that it would allow him to confirm or deny his mother’s assurances that she was respecting his privacy and staying out of his room.

Ryuk let out a frustrated growl after the teen again escaped his clutches. He hated to be left so unsatisfied. Perhaps he could convince Light to reconsider? The Shinigami racked his brains for the little he knew of human mating rituals.

Ryuk fake-coughed to get Light’s attention before asking “Oi! Light-o! If I said you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me?”

The Shinigami watched how the young man’s muscles flexed as his whole body suddenly tensed. He seemed aggravated for some reason. “Get the hell out.”

“I just blew it, didn’t I?” Ryuk grumbled as he morosely followed his human downstairs.

***

At first Light thought that would be the end of it. It happened again after breakfast (in which Light still avoided the coffee—he was now determined to cut back if not kick the habit entirely). He'd been delayed only briefly by Sayu. The killer suppressed a sigh—his little sister had misplaced her homework again.

It was when he was bent over searching for Sayu’s papers behind the sofa and the Shinigami took the opportunity to goose him from behind that Light considered that this just might be a problem.

It seemed that his Shinigami had absolutely no concept of personal boundaries. Light gasped in panic as he felt one clawed hand on his stomach, holding him in place, the other was pressed up against his rear, rubbing and squeezing. Light squirmed in his hold uncomfortably at the pleasurable feelings and yet another involuntary shiver rocketed up his spine.

Stop it!” Light snapped.

“But Light-o, I really wanted to—”

“Well I don’t!” Light declared, his voice betraying a hint of panic.

“But Light-o.

“I said no. No means no! Get your dirty paws off of me!”

“But… I thought you said you liked me?”

Light cringed. The monster sounded so pitiful he couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for it. “Well… er… yeah, sure… but…”

“Then why don’t you want to play with me?”

“I already told you, Ryuk. There isn’t time! Do you really want us to get caught?” The Shinigami just sulked and nuzzled his face in the boy’s hair. “Er… look, I’ll buy you some apples on the way to school, alright? Just… let me go!”

“But, Light-o…”

“No!”

“Oi! Would you just listen! I was just trying to tell you that I see those papers you’re looking for!” said Ryuk, still awkwardly leaning over (and on) Light to point out where Sayu’s papers had wedged in the crack between the sofa and the wall.

“Why, what’s on your mind, Light-o?” The Shinigami cackled.

Light turned to face the monster, absolutely furious. “If you wanted my attention there are better ways to go about it than squeezing my a—”

“None as effective though.” The Shinigami snickered as Light punched at his shoulder. Well, tried to anyway—in actuality it just ghosted right through and Light reflected that Shinigami just don’t play fair…

“Human rules are just so confusing!” Ryuk grumbled “Light, do me a favor, would you, and tell me if you don’t like something or if I’m doing something wrong.”

The intense, murderous look in his eyes softened just a bit at the Shinigami’s voiced contrition.

“I’m not a Death Note, Ryuk. This… this isn’t the sort of thing that comes with simple instructions. So if I tell you not to do something or that you’re going too far you’re just going to have to take my word for it, alright?”

“But really, how was that any worse than getting slapped by a towel?”

Light turned to fully regard the Shinigami, his murderous glare returning, full-force.

“You touched me like you were thinking of screwing me right there!”

“Did you want me to?” Ryuk asked with faux innocence, his voice taking on a low and seedy quality. Light shivered again as he remembered the night before of Ryuk’s voice in the dark and the feel of his hot breath against his ear…

No, don’t even go there! Light scowled at himself. Big, ugly, undead, clown monster, remember? There’s no way…

…his absurdly gentle caresses of wings and talons, the feel of that firm body pressed flush against him, not to mention that rather impressive girth pressed up against his back that made him get all excited just thinking about it…

The teen desperately tried to smother the defeated groan that caught in his throat.

“Th-That’s not the point!” spluttered the angry teen.

The Shinigami struggled to hold back a laugh. It was obvious that the boy was interested, despite his denials. He had never met a human so responsive to his desires to “play.” Perhaps this just wasn’t the time or place for it?

Light had a rather odd look on his face appearing to be torn somewhere between disgust, embarrassment, and longing as he inconspicuously rubbed his sore bottom. Ryuk noted that the boy’s face and neck were again flushed that lovely apple-shade of red.

“Just don’t touch me!” Light hissed. “Not here, not now, and not in public!”

Oniisan? Are you okay in there?”

Ryuk was suddenly on the other side of the room as if he had never been touching him, as if he could get caught. No, naturally no one could see Ryuk so only Light could get caught in these compromising situations.

Light tried to remain calm and reign in his barely-masked frustration and terror when he was confronted by his sister. He had limited success: “Here! Next time, find your own stupid homework!” Light said darkly as he all but shoved the papers at his sister.

“Well, someone’s grouchy this morning. You know, you really need to get laid,” his sister muttered, though plenty loud enough to be heard by the room’s other occupants. Light tripped and fell face-first on the floor while he could hear Ryuk’s cackling reverberating through the house.

Chapter Text

Light stepped out the front door. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and he wasn’t even being jostled by the morning crowds while walking down the street. Or rather, it would have been a wonderful day if his companion wasn’t so damned infuriating. Granted, Ryuk wasn’t actually doing anything at the moment. He simply existed and that was enough.

Every three seconds the teenager’s genius mind had conjured brand new images of what the Shinigami might have done had he not protested. Light wondered just how far he would have taken it—right there on the couch? Where anyone could walk in? …And why the hell was that idea so damned exciting?

Light’s stomach twisted in shame and desire at the thought of letting the Shinigami do as he would. His body hadn’t wanted him to stop. It was gross and horrible. The Shinigami was truly a… a beast! Both in appearance and manners! Unfortunately matters of taste had little to do with it. For some reason he couldn’t even begin to fathom he kind of had a thing for big scary guys and you couldn’t get much bigger or scarier than Ryuk.

As they walked along in silence, Light wondered why no one else he passed by when walking down the street seemed to feel or be bothered by the odd sort of … tension building in the air—probably because no one else could see the Shinigami grinning at them and feel awkward. No, those lecherous looks were for him alone.

It’s oddly flattering. The teen found himself thinking while giving the monster a sideways glance before he caught himself. Er, well… it would be if he wasn’t so damned creepy!

Light was acutely aware of Ryuk’s constant presence at his back, floating or walking just a step behind.

Like a traditional Japanese wife, his traitorous mind added to his own secret amusement and embarrassment because his mind kept going there. Dammit, if this wasn’t awkward before…

Light determined he needed to resolve this soon. It would probably be suspicious, not to mention embarrassing, if he appeared to be flustered all the time.

As he had for years, Light had calculated the exact amount of time each route took to get to school and even had contingency plans in place in case of unexpected delays so he maintained his perfect attendance on top of his perfect grades. He even had time to make a couple of stops provided he didn’t linger too long so that he could go about his morning at a leisurely pace.

So Light stopped by a fruit stand that was quickly becoming a favorite haunt of his (or rather theirs) to buy a bag of apples. Ever since the incident that morning the Shinigami had gone suspiciously silent and Light only hoped to break this unbearable tension that had been steadily building since this morning… no, last night… no since he met the damned monster! Light pointedly refused to look at Ryuk while purchasing the apples. It was while he was not-looking that the killer’s attention was drawn to the headlines plastered all over the neighboring newspaper kiosk… (Though he may or may not have received a tip from a certain Shinigami he was currently ignoring: “Hey, Light. Did you know you’re in the newspaper? Well, Kira is…”)

Light had made sure to pick a secluded spot in the park but even so, he’d made Ryuk fly in a circling pattern to check and make sure that there were no other humans within a thirty kilometer radius before he’d give him any apples. Ryuk supposed that given the kid’s deadly little hobby and the fact that the police were now hunting him that Light's paranoia was probably justified.

Light casually leaned back in the park bench, legs crossed at the knee, and a satisfied smile stretching across his face as he dramatically unfolded and shook out his copy of the Tokyo Shinbun. Ryuk peered over his shoulder to see what had so captured his human’s attention. It was front page news:

“L Challenges Kira In Live TV Broadcast, Wastes Five Hours of Air Time.”

“Does Kira exist?”

“Is This The End of L?”

The boy and his Shinigami shared a smirk upon reading about this so-called great detective who managed to make a fool out of himself in front of the entire Kanto region. Though they were smiling for entirely different reasons: Light was smiling in blind optimism—he could see that the world was already changing and he was sure that soon his vision would be realized. Ryuk was smiling in sadistic glee—reveling in the chaos that his human was creating. Every article seemed to be an analysis of what this L guy did wrong and on how criminals all around the world were still mysteriously dying. More seemed to be speculation on this L’s competence, trustworthiness, and mental health—or lack thereof. And then there were some completely off-the wall theories like L and Kira might be the same person…

“Ha! What an idiot,” Light chuckled softly, the news of this great detective’s failed stunt instantly putting him in a super mood.

Sure, this L’s broadcast had been plenty insulting to Kira. Light thought, to his chagrin, that had he watched it he might have felt compelled to respond. Dammit, he wasn’t “evil!” Yes, he supposed he could concede that he was, technically, a killer but only of evil people—therefore he wasn’t a murderer. He was merely the ultimate judge.

Get it right, people! You don’t go around calling police officers or soldiers murderers unless you want to be exceptionally crass! I’m a God, not a monster!

Light secretly wished he could send out some sort of statement of intent or something to clear up this obvious confusion regarding Kira’s righteous mission but to do so would be confirming his existence and take away from his mystique as an all-powerful, unknowable God (not to mention would be potentially incriminating to him and that would never do!) And Light still had enough faith in people to believe that even the idiot masses would one day figure out the nobility of his goals. Of course he hadn’t expected that everyone would get it right away but he was prepared to wait. After all, these things take time.

So, alright, Light might have found L’s words to be a bit hurtful (not that the haughty teen would ever admit as much out loud) but reading them in the newspaper after the fact and knowing that his challenger now looked like a total idiot kind of took some of the sting out of them.

This L-guy is… pathetic, really. I mean this is the work of the world’s most renowned detective? His tactics are no better than your average Internet troll! And it’s well-established how you deal with trolls—yes, don’t feed the L—you’d just be giving him what he wants and you’ll never be rid of him. Kira did the right thing by not responding.

Light struggled to keep from cackling madly out loud. Ryuk, however, was under no such restraints seeing as he had no image to maintain. Dammit, now he was feeling jealous again.

To be a Shinigami, to be, literally, untouchable, to never have to worry about anything—that would be pretty interesting...

“So, what’cha gonna do about this L-guy, Light-o?” Ryuk snickered while peering at the newspaper from over Light’s shoulder; not nearly as oblivious to the admiring gazes Light kept sending his way as the boy seemed to think he was. The Shinigami watched intently as the boy chuckled softly, almost sweetly in his mad sort of way.

Ryuk tsked to himself. Light was so uptight, even his laughter was restrained, as if he was trying to reign in his madness. The Shinigami supposed that made sense since they were out in public but he really wished the kid would let go once and a while. At this rate the stress would kill him long before he ever did!

“I think… nothing,” said Light, answering Ryuk’s question while idly pushing his bangs out of his eyes with slender fingers. The Shinigami swallowed hard as he watched the boy’s movements and had to remind himself that breaking Light wouldn’t be fun.

Ryuk had decided he liked Light’s hair—it looked so very cute, especially after Ryuk ruffled him up—and it was so very soft to touch and pet, so unlike his own coarse, feathery spikes. And it was such an interesting shade of red-brown. In his own mind, Ryuk likened that particular shade to that of an overripe apple, just ready for the picking. Ryuk was sorely tempted to reach out and touch him again but Light had only just seemed to have forgotten about (or at least was momentarily pretending to have forgotten about) his faux pas this morning and Ryuk feared he was already getting on the boy’s nerves… and not in that strange, good way that Light seemed to enjoy, either.

Clearly if he wanted to play with Light he’d have to be smarter about it. That only made sense, after all, Light was a very smart human. Ryuk was sure that the teenager was smarter than most of the Shinigami he knew. Not that that was a high bar, mind you, given that most of his companions back home were lazy idiots. Hell, Light was probably the smartest person of any species Ryuk had ever met. (Except for maybe Rem. Rem was scary smart—she could recite all the rules of the Death Note off the top of her head without ever having to refer to the scroll! Ryuk wasn’t sure how that would rate against human standards of intelligence but considering how numerous and complicated the rules were Ryuk was suitably impressed and found it to be quite a feat.) Ryuk was sure Light would probably see through most of his ploys but the Shinigami was emboldened by a human idiom he once heard about how “age and treachery beats youth and inexperience every time.” Well, Ryuk figured he had at least a few centuries on the boy and he certainly wasn’t above using treachery—but then neither was Light.

Alright, under normal circumstances this would probably be a doomed endeavor. Ryuk figured his saving grace here was the fact that Light seemed to be very receptive to his overtures. The Shinigami was sure Light wanted to be seduced by him… if only he could just figure out how to do it right!

The Shinigami suppressed a growl, reminding himself that he needed to have patience, and wondered just where his patience had flown off to; after all, he could sit through card games that lasted decades so, conceivably, he should be able to wait for a confused teenaged boy to make up his damned mind!

The Shinigami glanced over to where the boy was sitting on the bench; face flushed and laughing as he continued to read the paper and Ryuk, once again, felt his patience stretching terribly thin.

Oh, how he wanted him…

“Haha! This is great!” the brunet declared gleefully, seemingly oblivious to the effects he was having on his monstrous companion, or, more likely, too caught up in his own gloating to notice. “The only opposition is an utter fool! Oh, this is just sad, Ryuk! This guy… he’s not even worth our attention! I mean, look at this, this Sherlock wannabe can humiliate himself plenty without any of my help! No, it’s better if I do this without ego. Besides, I’m the God of the New World—I have nothing to prove so why should I waste my time getting into a pissing match with some detective! I’m changing the world here! No, the last thing I need is to get involved with L! Besides I have better things to do...” Light declared while sharing a demented grin with his Shinigami. “Yes, it’s better to leave this challenge unanswered. To answer it would make it look like the God Kira could be intimidated by a mere mortal. I must say, I am unimpressed!” Light scoffed, his gaze was once again glued to the newspaper. “Sure, I expected detractors from the beginning. After all, Kira upsets the established order and is no doubt pissing off the entire corrupt justice system but if this L guy was the best the police had to offer than I think we’re safe!”

Oh, the arrogance! That devious pull of his lips—it was all so marvelously evil and it was just so damned attractive to the Shinigami. But, Ryuk reminded himself, Light couldn’t play now and Ryuk didn’t want to break him.

Dammit, this was worse than that time he got trapped in the Old Man’s orchard!

Meanwhile Light continued to talk, still smirking down at the newspaper, “I’m sure this L-guy will either convert or be crushed by my New World in time.”

Ugh! L-this, L-that! Ryuk sincerely hoped they never met this L-guy because he was starting to get jealous and killing a human whose stated objective was to make your human dead was tantamount to Shinigami suicide. Ryuk had never thought it would be that easy to commit suicide before—at least not for him! He never got attached to his humans…

The Shinigami lightly put a claw on the teen’s shoulder squeezing slightly; as if he could physically halt the boy’s growing obsession with a letter of the English alphabet as well as remind him that he was still there.

Meanwhile Light’s evil smirking had widened into a mad grin that almost matched the Shinigami’s and would no doubt have made small children cry had there been any humans around to see it. Ryuk saw that Light was now reading the back of the newspaper, the opinion page, which was taken up in full by a letter to the editor entitled “Are the Works of Kira Divine Judgment?” by someone named Teru Mikami.

“Look at this, Ryuk! You see? It’s so much better to be non-confrontational to… to strike from the shadows! Yes! Soon Kira’s reign will be unquestioned! And… oh wow,” Light paused in his ranting, his face becoming drawn in a moue of distaste as he looked over the opinion piece, or rather, “The Manifesto.” “You know that’s kind of going overboard and… dammit! Why are my followers crazy?!”

“Huh?”

“This guy’s calling for death to schoolyard bullies and discussing building Kira a temple and throne room. I’m not out to be worshipped, really… (Though that would be kind of cool...) ”

Ryuk chuckled while carefully rubbing and squeezing his talons on the boy’s shoulders “You know I could worship you, my pretty.”

Light arched a fine eyebrow and gave the Shinigami a second glance. “Really?”

“Well, I could worship your body...”

“Ryuk, stop saying stupid things,” the boy scolded while his face turned all red again.

“Sorry,” the Shinigami said bashfully even though he noted that once again Light was looking far too amused to have really taken offense.

“I don’t want it like that, Ryuk. I mean that’s just… dumb! I need to keep my identity private because, truth be told, I have to be—if I’m outed, I’m dead! It would be stupid to go public and expose myself like that. I’d be dead faster than you can say ‘sniper.’ I’m not out to be Emperor of the World or any such nonsense—just it’s God! It’s far smarter to manipulate things from behind the scenes.”

It was quickly becoming obvious to the Shinigami that Light enjoyed ranting about his plans to him. Luckily for Light’s continued existence Ryuk didn’t find this annoying and was in fact happy to listen to him, fascinated by the way his human’s twisted mind worked. The Shinigami was also oddly touched that Light would share these, his private thoughts, with him—even though Ryuk was well aware that there was no one else Light could share these moments with.

“…And I’d rather not have to engage in foolish battles with idiots like this L or end up in a situation where I’ll be forced to kill police officers in order to survive—given a choice, I’d rather not have to kill them. I mean, we’re supposed to be on the same side! You know I just want people to live good lives and to live a peaceful life. The longer we can make people believe that Kira’s judgments are just ‘acts of God’ the more secure we’ll be. So I will merely be an invisible, unknowable God that people pass by everyday on the subway, quietly and anonymously cleansing the world from behind the scenes while I continue to lead a perfectly normal life of Japan’s best and brightest! I’ll go to school, attend university, and join the NPA, all the while continuing my Kira project on the side,” the teenaged killer said while smiling most serenely. Yes, today was a brand new day and the beginnings of a bright new world…

Light squinted slightly as the blinding sunlight stabbed at him even through the tree leaves of the surrounding copse of the park; the environment once again reflecting his inner thoughts as if he truly, already was the God of this world.

“Er… I just hope that’s not too boring for you, Ryuk?” the teen verbally stumbled, suddenly coming down from his ego trip to realize the Shinigami’s proximity. Light squirmed slightly against his seat on the wooden park bench as he felt the monster’s possessive talons squeezing his shoulder and a trickle of nervous sweat ran down his temple.

“No worries, Light-o, I find you plenty interesting.”

“Er… yeah,” Light awkwardly cleared his throat but was oddly reassured and galvanized by the monster’s obvious interest and so quickly regained his stride. “But you know that my way means I’ll be earning a steady income which means you’ll have a reliable source of apples for many years to come which reminds me…”

The megalomaniac magnanimously held out and apple for the Shinigami. Ryuk was confused for a moment when he didn’t just toss it at him.

“Wha—? Right out of your hand?”

The boy gave a slight, self-satisfied smirk as he gazed up at the monster. “I trust you, Ryuk.”

Y-you do?” Ryuk was completely taken aback by the teenaged killer’s disarming smile and completely misplaced faith in him. He knew he certainly didn’t deserve Light’s trust. He was a Shinigami—a fiendish personification of Death that would be his death one day. Ryuk wondered if Light had really somehow forgotten that or if this was a rather conniving attempt to control him. Ryuk strongly suspected it was the latter.

“Well, I’d very much like to…” Light amended as Ryuk leaned in to take the apple out of his hand, it was a challenge not to damage his human’s soft skin with his jagged fangs when he munched on the red fruit with much enthusiasm but the Shinigami enjoyed challenges and he was extremely careful not to bite the hand that feeds.

“But I think we need to have a little talk about boundaries…” the boy faltered in his no doubt pre-planned speech.

Ryuk grinned wider when he heard the sudden, sharp intake of breath that he’d caused the boy to make from his actions—slowly, almost demurely, running his rough tongue along the boy’s fingers to capture every drop of the apple’s juice “Hmmmm… that’s nice, Light-o. Very… juicy.

“Er… G-get it out of your system now because you can’t be touching me during class!” Light demanded, his voice suddenly sounding rather strangled.

The Shinigami shot his human a knowing gaze, his strange, fish-like eyes taking on an eerie red cast “I know that, Light-o.”

“A-and if I prove too much of a temptation for you, you may want to hang out somewhere away from me while we’re at school.”

The last of the apple disappeared into the monster’s shark-like maw. “I’ll do as you ask during class, Light-o. But are you sure it’s not you who is tempted by me?”

Light glared at him and abruptly got up, shouldered his pack and resumed his brisk walk to school. The Shinigami pouted as he floated along behind the teenager who seemed to have gone back to ignoring him again. At first Ryuk thought that was the end of it and he’d just been rejected again but then as he flew silently behind the boy he overheard Light’s soft cursing and muttering of “Damn Shinigami!”, fervent denials, and finally: “Well, I suppose he’s a little distracting...”

Ryuk snickered to himself. No, he had not been wrong in his assessment.

Chapter Text

“…And here I thought you only did girls now,” Light chided, crossing his arms when he, and his invisible companion, just happened upon his neighbors and classmates that he usually walked to school with in a rather compromising position—Yamamoto had Taro pressed up against a bus stop and they appeared to be in the process of eating each other’s faces.

“Fuck off, Light!” sneered the taller boy. “Unlike some people Taro isn’t such a prude—! Hell, he lets me do whatever I want!” Yamamoto declared with a harsh, barking laugh and Ryuk realized that this Yamamoto character seemed to be just using the other boy, Taro, to put on a show for them… no, for Light. The Shinigami’s ever-smiling face almost frowned at the thought—that was cold even by Shinigami’s standards.

Ryuk glanced between Light and Yamamoto with growing confusion as the boys continued to “chat” with pseudo politeness, all the while volleying veiled insults, hissing and spitting at each other like angry cats. There was obviously something going on between them—or was between them in the past, or so the Shinigami hoped. Ryuk had managed to pry knowledge about that awful Kenji guy out of Light but he’d never mentioned anyone else! Well… Light did mention he liked guys—guys, plural—suggesting he’d tried more than one. Ryuk quickly stifled the slight growl that welled up from his throat. He didn’t want Light seeing other guys! Especially not this guy! He was being really mean to his Light-o! Only he got to tease his Light-o!

The Shinigami’s ever-present grin slipped ever-so slightly again as he watched how the boy in the glasses kept going on and on with his verbal attack—about how no one could ever want such a pushy and domineering little bitch and how Light was doomed to be forever alone.

Ryuk noticed that Light didn’t seem to be too bothered by it. Well, he didn’t look effected, but then the Shinigami knew firsthand just how good the kid was at hiding things—if Light was affected by the other boy’s taunts then he certainly wasn’t about to show it! No, he would hide it fully beneath his perfect porcelain mask. Light was not about to show weakness, especially in something as stupid and trivial as a schoolyard squabble. Yet since Ryuk knew what to look for he noticed the slightest downcast flicker of Light’s eyes betraying his otherwise excellent poker face to where the secret insecurities festered like maggots right beneath the surface.

The Shinigami knew from lengthy experience that not all humans broke the same. He was just lucky that this time he just happened to find a human that broke in the most entertaining way possible for a Shinigami—this particular teenager masked pain beneath layers of delusions of perfection and godhood. A madness that the Shinigami could see was foretold in the very curves of his name—Light, written in the floating red kanji for the moon. The moon: lunacy and deception, shining so brightly but with borrowed power and always hiding its true face. The results of Light’s madness were beautiful, pristine, and terrible—the resulting arrogant idol the boy was becoming was truly a work of art. It would be an absolute travesty to break him further… or to allow him to break further.

With this in mind Ryuk decided to put in his two apples worth: “Tsk! What a stupid human! Who wouldn’t want you?”

Light gave the Shinigami an aside glance and smiled slightly seeing as he was forced to hold in his giggling given his current company. Of course, everything the Shinigami said Light knew already but it was… nice to be acknowledged on occasion. He also agreed with Ryuk’s assessment—Yamamoto was stupid. Of course, he had no problem getting dates if he wished for them. He was a very popular guy, he could have any girl he wanted—not that he wanted girls but that was beside the point—if he wanted to he could summon up almost any of his classmates on a whim; the thing was that he didn’t want to. He simply chose not to because none of his classmates were appealing to him. That just made Yamamoto’s suggestion that he would "die alone and unloved" beyond ridiculous.

Ryuk scoffed at Yamamoto’s ranting. “He obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about!”

No, not alone… The teen was just beginning to realize that, for better or worse, he would never be alone again…

Light idly wondered what Yamamoto hoped to achieve with this idiocy, especially since he hadn’t been talking to him since last week… That’s when it clicked. Yamamoto wasn’t as over him as he had initially suggested and was now trying to make him jealous. Light, once again, had to stop himself from laughing out loud. They hadn’t even really had a proper “relationship.” It was just a brief fling, a quick rebound sort of thing so why would he ever be jealous of that moron? Besides, he had Ryuk as his own private cheerleader. Light then snorted to himself at the image of Ryuk as a cheerleader. It wasn’t that much of a stretch, really—he even wore that little miniskirt belt-thing… All that was missing were the pom-poms—they’d probably be black pom-poms. Or black and silver with skull handles…

Ugh! Bad images! Bad! Light shuddered slightly as he imagined cheerleader Ryuk doing gymnastics for apples and tried to ignore the confusing twisting feelings squirming around in his gut.

That’s not the least bit attractive! Light insisted but to his shame and disgust his body wasn’t listening. Then Ryuk just had to go and make it worse! What with drawing in close and crooning in that stupid husky voice of his: “You’re perfect, Light-o. Don’t ever change.”

Damn Shinigami!

“Hey, if this guy’s bothering you, you do realize you can kill him, you know?”

Light gradually lost the battle against the grin that kept threatening to take over his face. The boy and his Shinigami shared a secret smile as Light turned to serenely walk away from the blustering red-faced boy.

“Hey! Light! Did you even hear a word I just said?!”

“Of course. I am not deaf, Yamamto, and I am sure that most of Tokyo must have heard your little show... No, you listen, who you choose to fuck is of no concern to me. Nor do your infantile attempts at insults affect me in the least. I was just momentarily overwhelmed by the foul stench of hypocrisy coming from you.”

“Ha! That’s rich! Look who’s talking!”

“The only reason I’m not out already is because I don’t want to embarrass my father. But rest assured I’ll be talking with him about it at the first available opportunity.”

The other boys were stunned. They obviously hadn’t expected him to be so confident, so comfortable about it. Perhaps that might have been true about a week ago but he was God now—no matter what else he might be.

“Er… You’re taking this rather well, Yagami,” Taro finally ventured to speak for himself. “Did you find someone else already?”

“Maybe I did,” Light said while giving them both the most grotesquely smug smirk that they had ever seen.

“Er… congratulations…” Taro began but he was cut off by his obnoxious partner.

“What? Jumped on someone else's cock already? Does he know what a demanding little cunt you are?”

Behind him his Shinigami cackled. “Seriously? What’s with this guy? Does he have a death wish or something? Don’t listen to him, Light-o. I happen to find you very charming just the way you are.” Ryuk assured him while patting the irritated teenager on the head.

Well, at least he had a Shinigami’s ringing endorsement. Alas, he couldn’t exactly use Ryuk as a character witness should he choose to murder his classmates. Well, he could but doing so would not be the least bit helpful to him or conducive to furthering Kira’s cause.

Still Light’s face twisted into that smug, superior smirk that Taro and Yamamoto found more than slightly creepy. “I think he knows me much better than you do and he finds me very charming.”

“There, you see that?” Yamamoto declared while pointing, “He’d pull the creepiest faces when we…”

“And that, Taro, is what you have to look forward to for as long as he keeps up your little charade,” Light casually informed his other childhood friend with a dismissive wave of his fingers. “Good luck with that. You’re going to need it. But just F.Y.I.—he’s an asshole.

“Speak for yourself,” grumbled the taller boy.

“You know he likes to pretend he’s straight and he’ll drop you like a hot potato as soon as he gets tired of you.”

“You were singing a different song when I was impaling you on my cock!” Yamamoto leered.

Light froze, tensing with rage, and had to remind himself that killing his classmates was hardly a genius move.

“Who the hell says that?!”

As Light tensed beside him Ryuk decided that the bespectacled boy was most definitely suicidal because now even if Light refrained from killing him, Ryuk was seriously considering it… The Shinigami growled slightly and drew closer to his human.

Light seemed to draw strength from the Shinigami’s oddly supportive presence and crossed his arms across his chest. “Really? That’s news to me. Well, I suppose it was so small that I didn’t notice.”

“Why you little bitch!”

At that point Yamamoto looked like he wanted to physically assault him but somehow Taro held him back. The chubby boy fidgeted awkwardly at being caught between the two of them and tried desperately to change the subject: “Yeah, uh… congratulations, Light! When do we get to meet him?”

Never! I mean—uh, he’s mine and I won’t share him! Especially with the likes of our mutual… acquaintance,” Light sneered while glaring at Yamamoto like he was something he would shake off his shoe.

“He doesn’t happen to live in Canada, does he?” Yamamoto said nastily while snickering at his own joke.

“Don’t be stupid, Yamamoto—everyone knows Canada doesn’t exist!” declared the chubby boy, “It’s like a fictional utopia like Shangri-la, or White Castle, where unicorns, cheeseburgers, and fake girlfriends come from. Well, and boyfriends too, I reckon.”

Light affected a fake laugh, deciding to pretend that Taro was just joking and that he wasn’t really that brain dead. Light wasn’t sure what Taro got up to after school and frankly, he didn’t want to know. He could guess plenty but he did his best to avoid confirming that Taro was in all probability a drug-using delinquent, a criminal, since Light had already decided it would be most unwise to kill his classmates. Similarly Light tried not to think too hard on the matter of Yamamoto hooking up with Taro… well Light had to wonder just how consensual their relationship was if Taro didn’t have enough brain cells left to function… Whatever. Taro was most likely a criminal and if he decided to be an idiot despite Light’s many warnings, well than it really wasn’t his problem…

Light was honestly surprised at himself. He knew he would have (foolishly) tried to interfere before. Light supposed it was part of growing up and assuming responsibility for the entire world. He’d realized that not everyone could or even wanted to be saved and he’d just have to learn to pick and choose his battles.

“So Yagami, what can you tell us about your fictional boyfriend?”

Light never lost his sickeningly smug smirk, even as Yamamoto laughed at him in a particularly asinine way.

“He’s a lot more fun than you.”

The teenage mass murderer was unaware of how his gaze unconsciously fell on Ryuk when he said this.

Ryuk’s grin widened impossibly further, stretching from ear to ear—because now he was sure that Light wasn’t as averse to playing with him as he so claimed.

“Er… Tell me, why are we all still friends again?” asked Taro as he listened to the caustic comments being spewed by the two bitter, bickering teenagers.

“Because our parents are making us because they’re afraid if we walk to school alone we’ll run afoul of a psycho killer or something,” Yamamoto remarked offhandedly.

The auburn-haired teen arched a fine eyebrow when Ryuk began cackling behind him for absolutely no reason that he could discern. He was so weird sometimes. “And, what? It’s better if we all die at once? Is there a discount rate on group funerals or something?”

“I think they’re more worried about that guy in the black van. Kira needs to hurry up and kill off all the creeps and perverts.”

“Careful, Yamamoto—if I was Kira, you’d be right on top of that list,” Light said archly.

“Ha! Funny. Have you considered a career in stand-up comedy?”

You as Kira?!” Taro snickered. “Right, that’s a good one. And I’m Spider-man at night!”

“That does make for an amusing image,” Yamamoto agreed.

“You don’t think I’d look good in red spandex?” Taro pouted.

Light shuddered in horror at the mental image of the portly boy in a tight spandex costume.

“No, I meant Light? As Kira? The guy who gets alarmed at the sight of blood?”

“I do not.”

“Oh, stop it, Yamamoto I’m bleeding!” the taller boy shouted while in a falsetto tone.

“Jeez, Yamamoto, you are such a jerk! That is… so hot...” Taro moaned and then, abruptly they were making out again.

“Just what the hell is wrong with the human race?” Light muttered as he buried his face in his hand. He resumed his journey to school, leaving a certain pair of face-sucking assholes to fend for themselves.

“I’m afraid I don’t have an answer to that. You gonna kill them?” the Shinigami asked eagerly.

“As tempting as that is it would be a bad idea to kill my classmates. Besides, they’re my friends. Supposedly.”

“I tried to kill all my friends once. But since they were Shinigami too they didn’t die.”

A trickle of sweat trailed down Light’s temple. Come to think of it he was sure that Ryuk had mentioned that particular detail before but he’d been too nervous… er, cautious to ask… “Er… Why?”

“Why, what?”

“Why did you try to kill all your friends?”

Ryuk shrugged. “I was bored, mostly.”

“Were they at least being jerks?”

“Yeah.” Ryuk shrugged again, scratching the back of his neck with huge talons.

“Oh. Alright then,” said Light, though he still looked more than a little concerned.

“Why do you ask?”

“Well, we’re friends, right?”

“Yeah?” The Shinigami questioned not seeing where this was going.

“So are you going to kill me as soon as you get bored?”

“Er… Maybe? …Probably?” Ryuk wondered why Light suddenly looked rather nervous.

Meanwhile Light was considering that he might have to consider pursuing a relationship with Ryuk, just in order to keep the Shinigami’s interest. Light knew that keeping Ryuk happy and entertained was most conductive to a longer life and if the only way to keep Ryuk off his back was to get on his well… Light supposed he’d done worse. But then there were the mechanics of it. While he was no virgin and preferred larger men he still doubted it would be a pleasant experience. Stupid physiological reactions aside, he really wasn’t eager to try it. If… if he decided to do it with Ryuk then he’d definitely have to get the Shinigami to play nice. Light didn’t think he’d survive if Ryuk decided he wanted to play rough.

But if (no, when) he went down this path… realistically, this was going to happen—had to happen, unless he gave up the Death Note and that’s something he could never do—and given how the Shinigami seemed more than a bit obsessed with him, Light doubted that would be the end of it, or if it was that end would also mean the end of him. When he went down this path the pressure would be on to be good… no great… no perfect at it, because while Ryuk obviously wanted him now the teen was worried that Ryuk might grow bored or lose interest once he started having sex with him. That too could be bad if Ryuk decided to break up with him via Dear John letter written in the Death Note…

“Hey, I told you, I’ll be writing your name in my notebook when it’s your time to die.” The Shinigami grumbled defensive of his somewhat ambivalent attitude about offing his human as soon as he got bored. It sounded like that Yamamoto-jerk did the same thing to Light, well, obviously minus the killing part, and it had hurt him. The Shinigami thought that hadn’t been very nice…

Ryuk fidgeted slightly at the look of betrayal on the young man’s face. He didn’t like it. It made him feel all twisty and weird inside though he had no clue why—he’d just eaten apples, so it couldn’t be withdrawal symptoms. That’s when Ryuk realized that he didn’t want Light to be afraid of him… or to not like him. By the King, was he actually becoming attached?!

“That’s what I’m supposed to do!” Ryuk growled in frustration. “Humans have their laws, Shinigami have theirs!”

“Do you have to follow it?” the boy asked with a pointedly shrewd look as he walked on—watching his step for broken glass, chewing gum, dog crap, and other things that didn’t belong in his perfect world. Ryuk bobbed along behind him his feet not having to touching the ground. Light found himself getting slightly jealous again. He wanted wings—that would be so cool.

“Oi! Light-o, are you asking me to become a criminal?

“Following unjust laws is criminal.”

“Well… technically Shinigami aren’t supposed to… er, you know, play with human’s either. But I’ve never got in any trouble for it. Our saving grace is apathy, really. In the Shinigami realm the laws rarely ever get enforced.”

“That sounds like total anarchy.”

“True but then your average Shinigami is generally too lazy to do much of anything.”

Ryuk noticed that Light still looked nervous for some reason.

“Look…” Ryuk said as he laid what he thought would be a calming claw on the boy’s shoulder (for some reason the action didn’t seem to have the desired effect). “Light-o, I don’t like them as much as I like you. Otherwise I wouldn’t be down here. They aren’t as interesting as you. And they weren’t friends I like. They are “friends” like your friends. …And I didn’t really think it would work anyway, what with them being Shinigami and all. In any case you… you probably won’t get boring to me within your lifetime. Human lives… they go by so fast.” The Shinigami muttered; a far-away look in his eyes.

Light waved off the Shinigami’s concern, flashing him the cocky grin of a teenager who thinks he’s invincible. “I’m not going anywhere, Ryuk. I promise I can keep you entertained for a very long time.”

The Shinigami looked pointedly above the teenager’s head.

Light had just started to walk away again when the Shinigami suddenly, awkwardly hugged him.

Chapter Text

“Er… Ryuk? Not in public, remember?” Light chided in a hushed tone as he felt the heat rising in his cheeks. While he could admit it (at least in the secret corners of his own mind) that even though it was annoying, embarrassing, and slightly concerning that the Shinigami would do this in public, Light wasn’t completely averse to the feeling of the strong arms all around him—but he really did need to get to school sometime today. Ryuk, however, didn’t seem too inclined to let him go.

Light didn’t know that Ryuk could see his lifespan and even if it occurred to him later that just wasn’t exactly the sort of thing he would want to ask about. Though just how much time the human had left hardly mattered now—the boy was quickly becoming like a favored pet to the Shinigami and whether he died within a few days or a hundred years it would still be too short in Ryuk’s opinion. Ryuk had never anticipated that he would become this attached to this human… child when he had chosen him.

Contrary to what the Shinigami had told Light he had indeed chosen him—just not in the way that the arrogant boy had presumed. He had indeed chosen carefully, scouting the human world ahead of time in order to find a human of certain specific traits in order to ensure that his stay in the human world would be as entertaining as possible. First and foremost he had been looking for a human with a short lifespan because Ryuk well-knew he had a short attention span and wasn’t planning on getting tied down to a human for decades. That’s how he first zeroed in Light Yagami as a viable match—for the paltry numbers above his head. Another major factor in his decision was that out of all the humans who fit this criterion, Light Yagami was very pleasing to look at. He was just the right age too—not too young, not too old but in that narrow age window where humans were most likely to get interested in something like the Death Note and get passionate about it. After stalking the boy for a few days he quickly discovered that Light Yagami was regarded as freakishly intelligent which made him all the more appealing to the Shinigami—Ryuk had hoped that might mean he would apply that intelligence to using the Death Note and the Shinigami wasn’t disappointed. Light was perfect. Ryuk couldn’t have picked a better human to give his Death Note to.

Perhaps he was too perfect.

Never in a million years would Ryuk have imagined that he would actually grow attached. He just wasn’t that sort of guy to care about anything except for apples—or so he’d thought until now.

Dammit! He didn’t want to turn into one of those whiny, sentimental losers like Gelus or Rem that sat by the viewing pools all day, watching the human world and writing bad poetry about the beauty of death. He could still do it. He could kill him when the time came. He wasn’t about to die for Light Yagami.

Ryuk glared above that oh-so-soft head of auburn-brown hair to where even now his human’s numbers were bleeding away in their mortal, incessant way. To the Shinigami they were far-too-rapidly approaching zero.

Light-o…

The Shinigami unconsciously tightened his grip on the surprised teenager.

But maybe there’s another way? That’s it! Rem. She mentioned that one ancient rule. What was it? It was during some long-winded debate she and those failure types were having on human’s and the nature of love. (I wasn’t really paying attention, of course. It’s just they got so loud about it I couldn’t help but overhear.) But there was that thing about the Bond that a Shinigami shares with the first human to pick up their notebook and ancient human customs and... That rule—it’s no longer on the Books because the ritual fell out of disuse but it’s still in effect…

Yes… YES! That would work!

I’m not on Kira’s side or anything. It’s just it would kind of suck if he died so young… er, if it ended so quickly, that’s all! I mean that kid’s got some big plans and he’s definitely going places—probably not the places he’s planned to go but places in any case and I’m sure it’s gonna be interesting! So I’ll help him, just this once, if he lets me.

Of course I can’t help him at all unless he lets me... It’s all up to him.

“R-Ryuk…”

Just then Ryuk noticed how the boy shivered ever so slightly as Ryuk held him tighter and abruptly remembered that he wasn’t trying to break his human.

“Er… Right… sorry,” the Shinigami said as he abruptly released the teen even though he wasn’t sorry—not in the least. Light shot him an irritated look but otherwise seemed to dismiss the whole incident. He merely brushed off imaginary dirt on his immaculate school uniform and resumed his journey to school and Ryuk fell in, floating along just one step behind him.

…And he’s annoyed with me right now. Dammit.

The Shinigami watched helplessly as more numbers fell away, ticking down to the teen’s impending doom.

I can’t help him unless he agrees!

Ryuk realized that because he’d been so pushy with Light earlier the teen was probably even less inclined to accept his help now. Dammit, he didn’t want to annoy him! He just really liked him! How did humans even express that? He’d thought he was on the right track from watching humans and watching TV but he was obviously missing something. At this rate Light would probably be long dead by the time he figured it out!

I just can’t do anything right! The Shinigami thought miserably and nearly snarled at the sight of a happy couple walking by while Light entered the gates of his high school.

***

Light heaved a barely held in sigh of irritation as he watched how several of his classmates weren’t even pretending to pay attention to the teacher’s lecture in favor of playing cards and video games in the back of the classroom. This review lecture was no doubt meant for them too—apparently they weren’t listening the first time either. Not for the first time Light wondered why he had to suffer on account of these idiots—just where was the justice in that?

Ryuk drifted listlessly through the air as the teacher droned on and on, noticing that Light looked just as bored as he currently felt.

“Do we have to do this, Light? I mean this is practically the same shit as yesterday!” grumbled the Shinigami.

“Welcome to my life,” the teen grumbled in turn before he caught himself. “I told you…”

“Right, don’t talk to you during class. Got it!” The Shinigami declared cheerfully while giving the boy a hard, friendly thump on the back.

“Are you alright there, Yagami?” the teacher asked with concern as his top student was beset with a sudden coughing fit.

“I’m fine. Sorry, sir. It’s just a bit of a scratch.”

“Just the same, you’d better go to the nurse’s office. We don’t want our star pupil coming down with something.”

“Yes, sir,” the teen said, the very picture of obsequeence towards his professor, while inwardly he was seething. While he could admit he had been bored out of his fucking mind and he was relieved to have this reprieve from their constant stupidity he really shouldn’t be cutting classes...

“Woah, awesome!” Ryuk declared as Light unobtrusively shouldered his book bag and slunk out of the classroom.

“Yeah, great. Don’t do it again,” Light muttered under his breath once they were out of hearing range of the brainless cretins.

“Why not? It worked, didn’t it?”

Light sighed. “I can’t get behind in my school work.”

“But… isn’t it kind of pointless? I mean, you know this stuff already, right?”

“Yes and yes. But I still have to do it.”

“Why?”

Light sighed again and met his Shinigami’s innocent questioning look with his own jaded one: “Because people will get upset if I don’t and we definitely don’t want that sort of attention right now.”

“But… it worked though! And what if there’s an emergency or something?”

The teen sighed again. “Fine, don’t do it again unless there’s an emergency. If you do it too many times people will catch on and it will stop working. In fact doing it once might have already been one time too many. They will no doubt be suspicious if you try it again.”

“Oh. So… don’t do it again?”

“Only if there’s an emergency. And I mean a real emergency. Not just if you get hungry for apples.”

“Hey, that is a real emergency!”

“And could you not do it so… hard next time? It’s… uncomfortable.” Light muttered as he entered the nurse’s office.

“Huh? I… hurt you?”

“…a bit.” Light admitted failing to conceal a wince when Ryuk’s talons fell on his shoulder again.

“Oh. Er… Sorry.

“Don’t worry about it,” the teen said, while raising a hand to swat the Shinigami’s hand away but paused half-way through, disguising the motion as pretending to scratch the back of his neck when the nurse came back from her break. Ryuk snickered at the look of annoyance that flashed across Light’s face but obligingly exiled himself to the back of the nurse’s office.

As expected the school nurse found nothing wrong with him but gave him a cough drop and instructions to drink plenty of fluids and sent him on his way. Light blinked in confusion as he emerged from the nurse’s office. It was almost time for lunch. It was as if he’d fallen into some temporal black hole. This might have been in part due to the length of time it took for the nurse to examine him while chatting him up and flirting with him and touching him more than was strictly necessary....

Oh.

That’s right.

The teen steadied himself against the wall, suddenly feeling a bit faint.

She was like twice his age and so not his type it was not even funny. He would’ve been sick… but then getting sick in the nurses office would no doubt mean he’d be confined to her presence. The nurse seemed to be under the mistaken notion that he liked her making him feel uncomfortable and shoving her breasts in his face. Dammit, even Ryuk understood the word “no” better than she did! Light wasn’t sure how far she would’ve gone had his Shinigami not interfered—a flap of Ryuk’s wings caused a sudden and mysterious gust of wind to knock all her papers off her desk providing the distraction that allowed him to extricate himself from the creepy women’s red-painted talons. Light had never so grateful to his Shinigami for being a nuisance. How could someone like that work with students? Kira frowned to himself. He’d already decided he’d try to avoid killing anyone he personally knew but if there was a predator in his own school… yes. He’d make her die in an accident.

“Er, Ryuk… you know that thing we discussed earlier let’s not do that again, okay?”

“Agreed,” came the Shinigami’s jealous growl behind him and for some reason Light caught himself smiling.

The smile abruptly fell again and he dashed (with dignity, of course) around a corner to avoid being seen by Sudou’s gang, obviously cutting class. They hadn’t targeted him ever since that incident in middle school when the Chief of Police abruptly showed up at Sudou’s house and gave him a stern talking to in front of his parents but still they were just too stupid to remember threats of expulsion and prison for long and right now they were like a pack of wolves on the prowl—they might strike if they thought him sick and weak and it wouldn’t be very smart to stick around and present them an easy target. Light soon had to find another hallway to duck into to avoid another confrontation with Yamamoto who was apparently looking for him.

“Dammit, why do I always attract the stalkers?!” Light muttered to himself once he was safely in a vacant hallway. The teen idly adjusted the strap of his book bag as he made his way down the hall.

“Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately?” Ryuk suggested helpfully and the teen shot the monster a glare. “Hey, just sayin’. I mean, look at you. You’re highly attractive,” his Shinigami insisted earnestly and Light felt that odd heat rising in his face once again as Ryuk continued to shower him with compliments. “You look nice, you smell nice, you’re bright, charming, and highly intelligent—frankly I’m surprised you don’t have more stalkers.”

“Well, I suppose it depends on your definition of ‘stalkers,’” Light murmured as he found another corner to slink behind to avoid getting caught by the gang of giggling girls that had spotted him. “I’m cursed.”

“Well, I could’ve told you that.”

Chapter Text

The lunch bell rang and Light made his way to the cafeteria in the company of his invisible friend after retrieving his simple sack lunch from his locker—just a ham sandwich, muffin, and chips. Well, his mom had packed an apple as well but Light knew from the start he wouldn’t be the one eating it.

“You don’t want to sit with them?” Ryuk asked curiously as the teen picked an unoccupied, out of the way table far away from the other students that were filing in.

The teen unconsciously looked down his nose at his chittering classmates as he unwrapped his sandwich. “Just look at them, Ryuk,” the teen hissed annoyed at the idiocy of his classmates. “Does that look like fun to you?”

“Well…”

“All they ever want to do is play those stupid cards.”

“Oh. Oh! I get it. Right. I know how that is. I mean, I know a couple of guys back in the Shinigami realm that have a card game going for the last thousand years.”

“That’s what Shinigami do with eternity?!” the boy crinkled his nose in obvious disgust. Here were these powerful immortal beings, true Gods even if they were Gods of Death, they all had Death Notes, they could be doing something useful like helping to improve their world or striking down the wicked but instead they decided to waste infinite time playing cards?!

“Pretty much, yeah. I mean a card game or two can be fun on occasion but to do it forever? Yeah. I think I’ll pass.”

“Never introduce them to… “ Light stopped mid-sentence and was suddenly sporting that calculating look he always seemed to get when he was planning something particularly nefarious. “…On second thought perhaps we should introduce them to Pokémon—that way they’ll take the stupid cards off of my world and the Shinigami will play something different for a change—see? It’s a win-win for everyone.”

“I’m not so sure about that. I mean, what about the kids who lost their cards? And it doesn’t really address the issue of the Shinigami being boring…”

“PikaCHUUUUUUUU!” hollered Taro from across the room.

“A win-win for everyone.” Light insisted, his right eyebrow twitching slightly at the background chorus of “Pika! Pika! Pika!”

It was beyond annoying to Light that he was regarded as being on the same level as them—those stupid, useless, immature fools. The teen genius recalled reading about how other countries allowed prodigies such as himself to skip a grade… or several, but not Japan. Light had always figured it was just another sacrifice he had to make for the good of everyone. It was grating, though, and oh so boring—before finding the Death Note and Ryuk Light had felt like he was dying inside a slow and lingering death. Though Light supposed it hadn’t bothered him much at the time seeing as he had been so miserable he hadn’t even taken the time to ponder the source of his misery. But really it had all gone downhill since he’d been forced by his parents to quit tennis to “concentrate on his studies.” Whenever he asked for something to challenge himself he was told he was being arrogant or presumptuous, that he was too young, that he wasn’t ready and he started to wonder; what if he really wasn’t good enough? What if there was something wrong with him? What if he truly did belong in this Hell? These thoughts had festered inside like a cancer.

But now things were looking up—ever since finding the Death Note everything had become so clear. He understood now—he wasn’t wrong, it was the world. Before he was powerless but now he had the power—he would change and shape this world and truly make it a better place. Things were looking up for him—despite, no because he’d become Kira his life had a purpose now, and even though his new “roommate” could be a bit… unnerving and embarrassing at times, Ryuk was still amusing to have around. Honestly he’d never felt so alive—the irony was not lost on Light. Nor was it lost on him that now that things were looking up, he could concentrate on the things in his own life that well and truly annoyed him.

As to his classmates… well, they weren’t all bad people, mostly. It’s just… there just wasn’t anyone on his level… but he was fine with that. He’d come to terms with that long ago. He wasn’t looking for an equal playmate because as far as Light was concerned such an intellect did not exist. There was no intelligent life here. If, hypothetically, he ever did find such a nonexistent intellectual equal it would probably only serve to infuriate him now. Light shuddered at the very thought that another like him could exist—it would be a threat to his sense of self, to his identity as Kira, and to his continued existence seeing as anyone who truly was as clever as he was would be intelligent enough to figure out all his secrets and expose him. Maybe when he was younger, around five or six and looking at those laughing, stupid groups of his peers with longing, he would have tolerated another on his intellectual level but now, most certainly now that he was Kira, that was an impossibility. But even before finding the notebook and his destiny he’d already known he was that much further above the rest of humanity.

Only one God could reign over this world.

No, Light Yagami was just fine living without an equal. Light was unique and special and he liked it that way. No, what he wanted was someone with the patience to listen to what he had to say, to admire and acknowledge his brilliance, to tell him just how interesting and wonderful he knew he was, someone he could feel superior to without boring him, someone to affirm and praise his cleverness and give it meaning… someone like Ryuk. Light’s thought process skidded to a screeching halt. Did he truly consider the Shinigami to be his closest… friend?

Yes, actually, and now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense... Light recalled how much more difficult his righteous mission had been before he’d gained Ryuk as his audience and confidant and nearly shuddered at the thought; remembering all those times he’d felt like he couldn’t go on and had seriously considered writing his own name in the notebook. Oh, he could keep killing without Ryuk’s cheerleading, there was no doubt about that—it just would have been that much harder and the stress probably would have driven him mad…

And Light couldn’t help but find the Shinigami interesting, even aside from his (unfortunate) attraction to the Death God (well everything but his face). Really, how could he not be interested? After all, Ryuk was an intellect (however paltry) from a whole other world. Ryuk knew things far beyond human experience. Light was sure that what the Shinigami had told him so far just scratched the surface of the things that he knew. Ryuk obviously didn’t think much of the Shinigami world but Light was still curious about the world that was the source of his power as Kira. Even if it was every bit as boring as Ryuk had described it, it was a different kind of boring from that which the teen was used to. Light mused that it was probably the same for Ryuk and why the Shinigami had so far put up with things like being stuck in Light’s boring classes.

Across the room the noise level of the other students rose again and Light shifted around uncomfortably on the plain metal seat of the lunchroom table. For some reason their tittering was really grating on his nerves today. Perhaps it was due to the fact he still hadn’t yet completely overcome the migraine headaches that periodically accompanied his caffeine withdrawals.

“Some days I hate having to even see these assholes…” Light muttered to himself.

“You know if you don’t want to see them you could always take it under the table,” his Shinigami suggested.

Ryuk had thought his solution was reasonable enough but for some reason his human appeared visibly flustered by his perfectly innocent suggestion, nearly choking on his bite of sandwich.

“Excuse me?!” the teen hissed and Ryuk wondered if he’d somehow managed to find his way into another verbal trap or cultural faux pas.

“What? There’s lots of room under there—you could eat your lunch down there and never have to see them. Problem solved.”

“Yes, I suppose that would be a viable solution to ‘not seeing them’” Light granted his overly literal companion. “Except that that would look too much like running away from them.”

“But isn’t sitting over here kind of like running away from them?” Ryuk pointed out and Light sent him another of his stunning death glares.

“No. This is a matter of personal choice. I could sit with them if I wanted to. I don’t.”

“Then why don’t you? They’re not all playing cards, you know. I bet you could find someone to talk to…”

Light actually looked pained at the Shinigami’s suggestion. “No, Ryuk. I think not. They are all just so stupid and they… annoy me… Also having to forever listen to the puns involving my name gets well and truly tiring,” Light confided to his only confidant. There were enough puns to be made in Japanese, and the fact that the way his name was spelled it resembled the girl’s name Tsuki, but things really took a turn for the worse once his classmates began to learn a bit of English...

Light startled when Ryuk sat down next to him, a bead of sweat trickled down the side of his face as he got several odd looks when the rickety lunchroom table creaked and shifted under the Shinigami’s weight.

“Do you want another hug?”

Light turned to glare daggers at the Shinigami, positioning his hands and the remains of his sandwich to hide the lower half of his face from prying eyes as hissed out a stern answer of “No.”

Across the lunchroom the students laughed again and in his paranoia Light couldn’t help but feel that for some reason, they were all laughing at him.

Criminals first, Light reminded himself, I’ll work my way down…

Light tried not to twinge again at another explosion of raucous laughter. It was probably just from the creaking of the lunchroom table—they were so infantile, the most trivial of things would set them off.

“Those miserable fools,” Kira muttered to himself.

“It sounds like someone needs a hug.”

Light’s eyebrow ticked. “I already told you, Ryuk…”

“Yes, I know you said I shouldn’t touch you in class but we’re not in class.”

“That’s not what I…”

“And this is not exactly public—you’re sitting here all alone…”

“Why the hell would I want to join them anyway? They’re all idiots!” Light hissed.

“Is that the only reason?”

“Okay, they’re all assholes and idiots.”

“Yeah, definitely needs a hug.”

“Ryuk…” Light snapped sharply, his eyes flashing in anger. Regardless of how Ryuk would tell it later, Light would insist he most definitely didn’t squeak when the monster wrapped his long arms all around him again.

“Hug!” The Shinigami declared cheerfully.

“Idiot,” Light muttered, well-aware of the way his cheeks were burning as his Shinigami nuzzled against him.

Ugh! Who would have thought a Shinigami would turn into such a… cuddle-monster!

To his chagrin and against all logic he immediately found himself unconsciously relaxing again as the monster cuddled up against him.

Dammit! Why do I even like this? And with Ryuk of all… people?!

“It’s okay, Light. I understand how it is. How did that human saying go? The wolf does not make easy friends with the sheep?” Ryuk rumbled in his ear; the sound of Ryuk’s voice and his proximity making the boy’s heart racing.

“Ryuk…” Light hissed again, or tried to, his voice cracking so it came out in an almost whine as he was trapped once again in the vice-like grip of the Shinigami’s long, strong arms.

“Shhh. It’s okay, Light. You don’t have to worry. I’ll take care of you.” The God of Death insisted and Light was left blinking in confusion. Wasn’t Ryuk supposed to be a Shinigami?! Why was he being so damned… nice?!

Well that should be obvious, he wants into my pants. But what if…? Could it be that Ryuk genuinely cares? If such an offer is sincere… I really should, no I have to consider it, if only from a tactical point of view.

Light supposed that was all well and good that Ryuk might potentially be willing to help him but that didn’t resolve the more immediate issues… The teen was well-aware of the eyes of his classmates who no doubt saw him sitting there alone, looking so… uncomfortable. They probably saw him cringing and occasionally muttering to himself.

This isn’t good at all! A show of weakness in front of his classmates—he might as well take up cutting while swimming in shark-infested waters.

Speaking of sharks…

Light couldn’t help but eye that smiling mouth of razor sharp fangs most warily as Ryuk again took to resting his chin against Light’s shoulder. An odd noise welled up from the Shinigami’s throat—it was not quite a growl, and as far as Light could tell held no such malicious intent, in fact the brunet found the deep vibrations to be rather soothing as Ryuk continued to press against him.

“Besides, you don’t need them—you’ll always have me!”

“Lucky me,” Light muttered.

“Yep!” Ryuk said cheerfully, missing the sarcasm entirely as he snuggled against his irritated captive human.

Light felt the heat rising in his face once again because he really did like being held by the big, strong monster—even though he knew he shouldn’t. It was nice and unlike his previous… sexual experiences being held by Ryuk… it actually felt safe.

Dammit, he’s a Shinigami! Have I gone utterly insane?! Light’s thoughts raced in horrified confusion.

Fortunately, or rather unfortunately, he finally convinced Ryuk (in hushed, tense, and angry tones that no doubt would only add fuel for the fire ignited by those stupid gossipy morons who had nothing better to do) to let him go when he pointed out that Yamamoto was coming his way. It was unfortunate given the circumstances of their parting. It was also unfortunate because Light really did regret the loss of contact when Ryuk finally let him go. Light pretended not to see the other boy as he threw out his lunch trash and left the cafeteria—all dignity and grace and most definitely not crazy.

Ryuk had understood the pain and regret in his human’s eyes when he let go. The Shinigami could have rejoiced out loud, Light really did want to play with him and he really did like his hugging him even though he pretended not to. Light pretended that he didn’t need anyone but in truth he was alone, just like Ryuk was. It seemed his human was starved for genuine care and understanding and that he wanted what the Shinigami was offering—craved it, needed it. Ryuk resolved to treat Light with care. He wouldn’t break him and he wouldn’t hurt him like the other humans had.

Ryuk also vowed that Light would be getting many more hugs in the future.

Chapter Text

Light couldn’t believe this.

Ryuk was awkward and embarrassing and he had never felt so humiliated… and yet he was already missing the feeling of Ryuk’s strong arms all around him.

Light had yet to really analyze his own (stupid) feelings towards the Shinigami though he already knew, strategically, what he had to do about it.

Light was well-aware that if the Shinigami wanted to hurt him he could do so… easily but most of the time the monster took great care not to hurt him and when he did it was never out of maliciousness. Even when considering all those times Ryuk had scared him… er, made him feel a bit uncomfortable, over the last few days… Light got the feeling that his Shinigami wasn’t exactly sadistic, he had just never been socialized in appropriate behavior—Light very much doubted that the Shinigami realm held classes on ethics and manners. In many ways Ryuk was just like a kid, really, trapped in the body of a seven foot tall monster.

It’s up to me to set an example then….

Just telling Ryuk what was and wasn’t appropriate wouldn’t be enough—he’d also have to teach through his own actions and if Ryuk caught him not living up to those standards then the Shinigami would no doubt view it fair game to break any such rules he saw as pointless or arbitrary or non-applicable to them.

He hated this already. Up until now Light had thought that maybe Ryuk would be the one… person he could be himself around… but then there was that—Ryuk had already seen his true self and wouldn’t accept a “perfect act” even if he tried—it would be suspicious if he suddenly changed his behavior now and Ryuk would no doubt see right through it. It couldn’t be just an act then—he would actually have to live up to his own standards and damn if that didn’t sound horrible when he put it that way. Light wanted to live up to his own standards that he set up for his New World but to do so would be stupid and dangerous and not to his advantage if he wanted to stay alive. Just by being Kira he had inevitably taught the Shinigami some unfortunate lessons such as “lying is okay if you are in mortal peril and bad things will happen otherwise.” He couldn’t exactly demonstrate complete honesty to Ryuk without hurting a lot of people… and getting arrested and executed. Those were outcomes he would rather avoid.

He would have to make a conscious effort to remain as fair and high-minded as his ideals as Kira in order to demonstrate proper behavior to Ryuk. Of course Light always thought of himself as being on his best behavior but, admittedly, this would limit the sort of tactics he could employ. Light had initially been considering working his way down until he’d ultimately eliminated all the evils in the world but perhaps that approach was a bit too idealistic. Light was beginning to realize that perhaps he’d set the standards for the world too high—after all he still observed the everyday evils that occurred within his school. His school—an insignificant microcosm of his New World, and yet so far he still felt so maddeningly powerless to influence. Dammit, just how many people did he have to kill before they realized this bullying behavior was not acceptable? Despite the threat of Kira his classmates weren’t yet showing any signs of correcting their behavior—Light could only watch on as Sudou still stole Ryou’s lunch money and a group of girls viciously ripped another of their number apart.

It’s not enough. It’s still rotten!

But that wasn’t all. It was Ryuk, again, that had brought something to Light’s attention that honestly hadn’t occurred to the teen genius—different places have different rules. For instance, gambling was illegal in Japan but apparently it flourished in the Shinigami world, being the Shinigami’s most favored past-time aside from napping. When he first digested that information Light hadn’t thought anything of it—they were Shinigami, of course, and thus evil creatures. But the more Light got to know Ryuk the more convinced he became that Ryuk wasn’t exactly… evil, just different—unsophisticated, maybe, and rude, definitely, but nevertheless Light found Ryuk to be overall a pretty solid guy and cool to hang around even though he was a Shinigami and even though at times he could be so… frustrating. Though Light was uncertain just how much of Kira’s ire Ryuk truly deserved and how much of it was due to Light’s own awkwardness at finding himself having this rather unfortunate attraction to the monster. The teen decided it wouldn’t exactly be a just, fair, or Godly to blame the Shinigami for his own lack of control over his hormones. There was also the fact that Ryuk seemed to be trying to correct his behavior now, making a conscious effort to be nice to him—proving that the Shinigami could change and learn from his mistakes. He was capable of shame, guilt… contrition, thus proving to Light that he wasn’t pure evil and could be redeemed into a productive member of society—had the Shinigami actually cared about human society. Besides, Light reasoned, how could Ryuk truly be evil when he gave him the means by which he could eradicate evil from the world? Light decided that if Ryuk were to somehow miraculously turn human he would be spared Kira’s wrath and Light would graciously overlook his past as a monster…

If there is a God or higher power than I, that’s your cue to turn Ryuk into a big sexy stud-beast. Come on, just give him a more human face, I’ve been a very good boy and that would be most appreciated…

The seconds ticked by and Ryuk remained an ugly undead monster and Light still found himself, admittedly, being more than a little attracted to him.

Dammit!

Well, it looks like there is no God—other than me, of course... All the more reason to be a just and merciful God.

Back to the point—gambling. Gambling is illegal in Japan but it’s legal in many other countries. In fact I recall that in some places people depended on it for their livelihood—they had no other options. The same is true for other morally questionable professions like, say, prostitution. Should I punish people that have been forced into criminality by circumstances? No. Of course not! A just God would never punish sinners with excusable circumstances. I’m not about to punish the petty criminals that way…

But then, what about thieves that were only trying to feed their families? Perhaps I shouldn’t punish the petty criminals at all—after all, such offenses don’t warrant the death penalty in most just legal systems.

I’ll stick to smiting the worst—murderers, torturers, terrorists, rapists... I must always remember to draw a firm line on who is and who is not a viable target and always explain my reasoning to Ryuk—it’s the only way to teach him about justice. He just doesn’t know any better but he does have the capacity to learn. In fact this morning Ryuk has been very good to me—quiet, polite, sweet, er… I mean he’s gone out of his way to be nice…

Wait a minute, a God of Death is being suddenly, suspiciously nice to me. Perhaps I should be worried…

The teen turned to regard the Shinigami and caught him staring. Light was taken aback—the monster had a look of such profound longing on his face.

“Ryuk?”

“Yeah?”

“Why are you being so nice to me all of sudden?”

The Shinigami seemed to fidget from where he floated behind him, leaning slightly over the boy’s shoulder.

Ryuk wanted to warn Light about the state of his lifespan which seemed dangerously low to the immortal monster but the rules forbade the Shinigami from just telling his human of the danger. There was no telling what a human might do if they knew their own lifespan—especially a human with a Death Note.

He’s doomed. His only hope was that he could seduce the boy in time or, failing that, to make his final days as comfortable as possible.

“I’m always nice.” Ryuk insisted and Light shot him a look. “What, I can’t just do nice things for my favorite human?” The Shinigami once again crooned to him in that stupid seedy voice. Light glanced behind him to once again see the monster staring at him with bedroom eyes.

“Ugh!”

Dammit, it’s worse than I thought. He is completely, totally infatuated with me. Dammit. In order to stay on top of the situation—I’m going to have to let him screw me in the near future.

The teen shivered slightly at the thought, and was embarrassed to discover that his body seemed to think that idea was quite agreeable regardless of the many misgivings as well as the inherent disgust and discomfort the idea held for his rational mind. Light’s breath hitched when suddenly he felt a wing feather tickling softly against the nape of his neck.

“Would you cut it out?” Light hissed.

“What? I’m not even touching you!” His Shinigami said, snickering.

Light spun around and was surprised to discover that Ryuk was actually telling the truth. He really wasn’t touching him with his wing feather as Light had surmised—Light just so happened to be standing close enough that one of Ryuk’s shoulder feathers was tickling against the nape of his neck. The boy flushed in absolute mortification, clutching the brick wall for support because, dammit, just the hint at being touched by Ryuk was making him go weak at the knees.

“Dammit, what the hell are you doing to me?” Light groaned. The teenage swallowed hard and shook his head as in the vain hope of banishing the unwanted sexual images his mind had conjured regarding his Shinigami.

I want… Dammit! I want Ryuk to touch me again.

Ryuk’s staring intensified as he watched how Light’s long pretty bangs fell in his eyes.

“Did you want me to hug you again? I’d be happy to oblige you but I didn’t want to annoy you...”

The heat rose in the boy’s face at the recent memory of Ryuk’s strong arms holding him in that comforting embrace. It might not be so bad...

“You can…” the sociopathic teen stuttered out, blushing furiously as he attempted to actually express himself. Light was unsure quite what he felt about his monstrous companion and as such was quite visibly flustered. His past… relationships, they had never been complicated with such odd… feelings before. Light found, to his mortification, that he really did like Ryuk even though he was an embarrassing idiot and not that pleasing to look at. Maybe it was just gratitude? After all he was extremely grateful to Ryuk for dropping his notebook. It was his Shinigami that made everything possible.

“Hmmm?”

Ryuk prompted the flustered teenager, the monster’s usual fangy smile stretching into a knowing grin.

“I-it’s okay, Ryuk. You can hug me.”

But when Ryuk made no move to embrace him at the invitation, Light’s blush deepened, this time in humiliation.

Just what the hell is he playing at?

Light had been on the receiving end of such emotional manipulations before and had decided it was the absolute worst thing you could do to a person—such an action was unforgivable. He wasn’t about to play this game with the Shinigami!

“Ryuk?!” Light hissed, trying to quell his rapidly rising rage and humiliation at the thought that Ryuk had just played him like that.

Ryuk must have caught his tone—Light was taken aback when the Shinigami actually looked pained.

“I want to but… that asshole from earlier is coming this way and I didn’t think you’d want to be caught by him unawares.”

The teenage mass murderer gave a frustrated snarl before he turned to face his latest annoyance.

Damn, Yamamoto! It’s a crying shame I can’t just kill him! Light thought as Yamamoto attempted to corner him once again. Light had to stop himself from laughing out loud at the schoolboy’s pathetic attempts at being intimidating.

“Hey Light-o. Is it just me or does he kinda look like a bug in those glasses?”

Ryuk remarked behind him and Light had to bite his lip, really struggling to keep it in—well aware that when being confronted by one’s schoolyard nemesis it's really not a good time to break out into insane giggles.

Exactly, who does this pathetic insect think he is challenging Gods of Death?!

The bespectacled boy leered, taking note of the other teen’s flushed face and slightly shaking frame as he cornered him by his locker.

“Does just the thought of me get you going?” Yamamoto snickered at the flustered-looking teen.

“Believe it or not, my worl—the world doesn’t revolve around you.” Light retorted flippantly.

“You know you didn’t have to lie like that just to impress me. I’m sure Taro wouldn’t be opposed to, you know… sharing. Maybe the three of us could…”

Light tried not to startle at the sound of Ryuk’s boots thumping loudly on the pavement, his belt chain jingling as he drew closer behind him, and his Shinigami began growling softly in a dominant display which was utterly lost on his potential rival, seeing as he couldn’t even see or hear Ryuk. While the sight of a jealous Ryuk was more than a bit terrifying, paradoxically the monster looming behind him actually made him feel safe. The whole situation—it was kind of like his desk trap, really. Sure Ryuk was dangerous but it hadn’t escaped Light’s notice that the Shinigami was becoming just a bit… protective of him lately. For some reason Light couldn’t help but find the Shinigami’s possessive, protective display to be very arousing, the sight of Ryuk’s posturing sending another pleasant thrill up his spine. Even though no one else could see or feel the dark aura of a certain God of Death looming behind him Light felt a boost of confidence just knowing he had Ryuk at his back. And yes, he was well aware that, like his desk trap, this could potentially blow up in his face.

“No, Yamamoto. It’s just like I already told you—I’m seeing someone. That hasn’t changed since this morning,” Light stated casually as he tried to push past the infuriated boy.

“Who? You’re imaginary boyfriend? Maybe he can join in.”

Light had to hold in a laugh when Ryuk made a face. “I do have some standards, you know.”

“Just what the hell do you take me for? You and I are long over. You made that abundantly clear. Did it not occur to you that I really did find someone else? Someone better?! And unlike you he’s actually nice. He listens to me! He’s cute and he’s sweet and he gives me nice things!”

The other boy regarded him in shocked disbelief. “Shit. You weren’t making that up?” Yamamoto was aware that Light could be an expert bullshiter—what really sold it for Yamamoto was the slight smiles and the way his eyes lit up when speaking of this mystery dick. “There really is someone else?!” he hissed, managing to somehow simultaneously look both furious and absolutely devastated.

Light could almost feel sorry for him if he wasn’t such an asshole.

“Yes. And he’s all mine,” Light said with a slight smirk as Ryuk’s claws fell onto his shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. Sure Ryuk was crazy about him but that also meant he was crazy about him. The undying loyalty of a Death God wasn’t exactly something to spit at even if the external package was less than appealing. “He’s mine and I’m his. I’m not inclined to share and neither is he.”

“Hyuk, you got that right!”

Light then pushed passed the other boy. Yamamoto tried to stop him again but lost his balance and slammed bodily against the lockers due to a sudden and mysterious gust of wind. Well it almost felt like someone pushed him but there was no one there so that was the only plausible explanation, right?

“Crazy weather we’re having, isn’t it?” Light casually observed as Yamamoto glared at him from the ground. The other boy’s eyes widened in horror—illogically he couldn’t help but wonder if Light had somehow been the cause of his accident. That the scorned, spiteful little bitch had taken up witchcraft or consorting with demons just like in one of those stupid horror stories they regularly told to scare each other. It was a stupid idea, yet it took hold in the back of Yamamoto’s mind nonetheless. There was just something in Light’s expression just now—so smug, so… evil! It was the reason he quickly fled from the other boy he had been attempting to intimidate.

“Thanks,” Light mumbled awkwardly once he and Ryuk were alone again. Ryuk guiltily folded up his wing.

Light knew he probably shouldn’t encourage Ryuk’s worrying trend of interacting with other humans but he hadn’t exactly appreciated Yamamoto’s attempts at manhandling him either and he did indeed feel grateful to the Shinigami for stopping it.

Light felt his face heating up again when Ryuk caught his gaze with his own.

“The feeling’s mutual, you know.” Ryuk chuckled darkly as he wrapped his dark wings around him, causing the boy’s breath to hitch again. “So… I’m yours and you’re mine. I’m glad we got that sorted out.” Ryuk rumbled as he gently ran a claw beneath the boy’s chin and gazed at him with hooded eyes.

Light wasn’t sure how long they stood there, just staring at each other but when Ryuk once again drew him into his arms, this time Light didn’t protest. In fact at some point during their clumsy embrace Light decided to take the initiative, standing on the tips of his toes in order to reach up and give the taller male a peck on the cheek.

For a moment the Shinigami froze, sporting an amusingly shocked look on his face, before leaning down to meet him. Ryuk thought his intentions quite clear yet Light placed a hand on his lips, stopping him.

“No teeth,” Light insisted, locking Ryuk with a steely gaze. As always Light had an excellent poker face and that bead of sweat trailing down the side of his face was the only indication that he was, in fact, nervous.

“No teeth,” Ryuk readily assured him.

The boy quite visibly relaxed, even going so far as to reach out and touch Ryuk’s face as the monster tentatively kissed him.

It was messy and awkward and it had Light idly wondering just how many centuries had passed since Ryuk had last been acquainted with a toothbrush and yet, illogically, Light still felt a rather strong spark of something as he let Ryuk hold him close and slop around in his mouth.

For the moment Light was content to just stand there, being held and steadied in Ryuk’s arms as he worked to catch his breath.

“Ryuk… you’re… you’re actually pretty good at that.”

“Y-you think so?” Ryuk asked in surprise as the teen regarded him through sultry half-lidded eyes. Light unconsciously trailed his hand down the Shinigami’s chest and began to reach up again with obvious intent when the warning bell rang.

“Dammit!” The teen hissed and then squeaked in sudden alarm at the sudden feeling of Ryuk’s claws gently trailing right against his skin—Ryuk had been busy getting his school uniform dress shirt sloppily untucked in order to work his hand beneath it.

“Ryuk?”

“Hmmm?” Ryuk crooned as he gently rubbed his hand against his back. Light almost didn’t want to stop but...

“School.”

“Dammit!”

Light smiled ruefully—at least they were in agreement on that accord. The teen patted the arm of the scowling Shinigami, chuckling lightly “Patience, Ryuk. It’s only a couple more hours. I promise we’ll do something fun later.”

Ryuk just grumbled and growled and flapped along behind him.

“Patience” says the mortal who doesn’t know he has no time to waste. Thought the Shinigami as he gave another worried glance above Light’s head.

Ryuk froze in midair when something just occurred to him about Light’s invitation.

“Wait, does that uh… mean we’re… dating then? It’s a date?”

Light pinned the fidgeting Shinigami with his crimson-tinted stare but his gaze softened as he observed Ryuk’s body language—the Shinigami looked so nervous, so… adorably awkward that Light couldn’t help but take pity on him.

“Yes, Ryuk. It’s a date.”

Chapter Text

Light looked on incredulously as the streets of a ridiculously stereotyped version of Tokyo whipped by outside his window. He was momentarily distracted by the image of the great golden dragon bobbing up and down within the median strip. Light determined this to be the cause of his error—he knew even as it happened that he had taken the turn too fast but now he couldn’t decelerate. He could only watch hopelessly as the cement wall raced towards him. Light’s car exploded in a massive fireball and the sounds of sad booping 8-bit music filled the air as the screen flashed the words: Game Over. You’ve lost.

Light glared angrily at the screen as Ryuk cheered and rocketed past him and over the finish line.

Game Over. Do you want to play again? Y/N

Light hung his head in defeat as he looked on at the twisted metal carnage that remained of his racing car—this (along with the fact it was faster to walk and take the train) was part of the reason Light wasn’t eager to get his driver’s license any time soon.

“I win again!” Ryuk crowed beside him.

Well, at someone was having a good time.

Towards the back of the arcade there were several games that were enclosed in plastic capsules—most in the shape of booths or racing cars—for a more complete virtual gaming experience. That meant that Ryuk could be his Player 2 and no one would be the wiser. It was dark inside but for the too-bright glow of the screens and Ryuk's eyes which somehow caught and reflected the light an eerie bleeding crimson.

“Good game, huh?” asked the death god next to him.

Light was actually quite proud of himself—he hadn’t punched a hole in the screen yet. Unlike that one incident when he was around six years old and needed to get stitches afterwards and no one ever talked about and never happened.

Yes, Light was well-aware he could be a sore loser but he did his utmost to be polite about it most of the time.

“Yeah, good game,” Light said, clenched teeth hidden behind a beaming smile.

Do you want to play again? Y/N

Light fed the machine two more tokens.

He’d get him next time for sure!

***

“I’m not sure if I liked it,” the boy sniffed with a dignified air as he sat in the Shinigami’s lap inside the fake plastic racing car. He was only sitting in Ryuk’s lap because the Shinigami, over-excited over his latest win, had dragged a very ruffled and irritated Light into his lap to hug him again. Light hadn’t yet extracted himself from the monster’s hold only because it would be too much of a hassle. Not because he enjoyed it. Not at all. “I mean it was pretty noisy… not to mention childish.

“You had fun.” Ryuk observed, amused by the teenager’s huffy response. The Shinigami gave a rattling chuckle when Light crossed his arms and pouted most childishly. “You know what I think? I think you like childish things even though you pretend not to. You pretend not to because no one would take you seriously if you acted like a kid, right?”

“Just when did you get so perceptive?” the teen shot back in obvious irritation but he didn’t deny it.

Light had never been a normal boy. He was gifted. Somehow his parents and teachers equated that to “should always be studying.” Not that those stupid children’s games he was denied were very much fun for him anyway. This time was just an… aberration—more to do with his surprise and amusement at his Shinigami’s skill at sports and racing games than his actually having fun himself, he was sure.

Light briefly startled at the feeling of Ryuk’s talons trailing softly up and down his back, petting him again. “I’m not about to judge you for having fun, Light. After all, I’m here to have fun too.”

The teen, lost in his own brooding over having lost at video games to a creature whose comprehension of human technology was still catching up from the feudal era, suddenly gave an embarrassingly girly shriek at the sudden sensation of Ryuk’s cold talons gently rubbing under his shirt, against his stomach.

“What… what the hell are you doing?!” Light somehow managed to choke out between shrieks and giggles.

The Shinigami quirked one of his barely existent eyebrow. “Tickling you,” Ryuk stated, his gravelly voice laced with mirth, “I thought that should be obvious.”

“Well… stop it!” Light snapped, laughing so hard he was in tears. His back slammed against the far wall in his attempts to escape his tormentor.

They must have made quite a ruckus.

“What are you kids doing…?!” demanded one of the arcade’s staff members as he threw open the door but was surprised and disappointed to find only one teenager, sitting quiet and composed—the very picture of innocence—and very much alone.

The staff at least had the good grace to look sheepish.

“Sorry, I thought you had a girl in there or something. Just don’t get too rowdy in there, okay?” He cautioned as he closed the door.

Ryuk chuckled as the teen turned beet red. Okay, laughing at him at this juncture probably wasn’t the best idea but it was an ingrained response of the Shinigami’s to laugh at human misfortune—even if it was a human he liked. Ryuk knew he had screwed up again as soon as he saw the ugly look the teen was giving him. The Shinigami rumbled apologetically, nuzzling against Light’s shoulder as he tried to come up with something to help preserve his boyfriend’s fragile masculinity.

“You know it was quite macho how you tried to jump over that drawbridge to catch up to me… even if you went splat against the skyscraper. I mean, it was a very impressive explosion...”

“Don’t…”

“I bet he wouldn’t have said that if he knew he was talking to Kira…”

“Really Ryuk…”

“Those weren’t even close to girl shrieking noises! Those were obviously boy shrieking noises!”

“Just stop…”

“…Guy’s an idiot.” Ryuk strongly asserted as he leaned against his human’s smaller body.

“…I guess we can agree on that count,” Light muttered, blushing again, this time at the feeling of his Shinigami cuddling against him. That just felt so… nice. The teen relaxed, leaning back against Ryuk’s strong chest before he caught himself at which point Light quickly exited the cabin before he was really tempted to become “too rowdy.” He almost instantly regretted it because outside the faux racing car he was once again greeted with the sight of the rest of the arcade and all of its excess stimuli—the riotous clamour of the games, an eclectic mix of chimes, sirens, blaring music, and machine gun fire, in the darkened room and the darkness seemed to make all that gleaming neon, flashing strobe lights, and blaringly bright screens shine all the brighter (Light imagined it was an epileptic’s worst nightmare.) And it was hot and sweaty and getting hotter by the minute as the many, mostly male, bodies fumbled with joysticks and firmly gripped their flimsy plastic weapons. But one good thing Light could say about the ambiance of the arcade was that it certainly made it easy to get lost in there and to escape unnoticed… as became necessary when Light spotted Yamamoto and Taro who were, luckily, completely engrossed in shooting up zombies a couple of aisles over. He wasn’t afraid of Yamamoto of course; he just would prefer not to spoil their date with the unpleasantness of yet another confrontation.

They quickly exited the arcade and the brightness of the day assaulted their vision. Though he adjusted to the change more quickly than his human companion Ryuk hovered there for a moment just taking in all the sights and sounds. It never ceased to amaze Ryuk—the human world was so much brighter than the Shinigami world.

Beside him Light cleared his throat. “You know, I’m feeling kind of thirsty.”

The Shinigami snickered.

“Not like that, you perv!”

“Like what?” Ryuk quirked his head, noting with amusement that the teen was blushing again.

“Do you want a drink or not?!”

“What sort of drink?” The Shinigami asked, bobbing along behind his human as he walked towards their new destination which was soon revealed when he stopped outside another building, several blocks away from the arcade.

“A coffee shop?!”

The teen nodded slightly as he pushed the door open.

“But I thought you you’d sworn off coffee.”

“You’re right, I have Ryuk, but it’s still a nice place to hang out… and they serve something else you might find interesting,” the teen spoke softly, trying to avoid getting caught “talking to himself” in the surprisingly crowded coffee shop. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea to take him here for a date if he couldn’t even talk to him here… Inspiration struck while Light was waiting in line and he saw some asshole rudely shouting into his cell phone. Whenever he spoke to Ryuk he would pretend to be talking (quietly) on his cell phone.

Ryuk watched, fascinated, as Light strolled up to the counter and ordered an extra-large cup of iced apple cider and thoughtfully picking up two straws so he could share it with his invisible companion. Ryuk couldn’t help but find the human’s confidence to be extremely sexy. Light might not be interested in ruling that way but the teen certainly had the commanding presence fit for a king.

“They must have had extra coupons leftover from Thanksgiving,” Light muttered into his cell phone as he caught Ryuk’s eye. Because he had ordered a fall seasonal drink it came with a coupon for a free meal at KFC. Light folded up the coupon the cashier had given him and shoved it in his pants pocket.

“Thanksgiving?”

“An American holiday that involves eating a lot,” Light explained. “They traditionally serve turkey, a native bird. I hear is kind of like chicken but more expensive, especially to export to Japan. But eating at KFC is quite popular for Thanksgiving.”

“Oh. And I guess we already missed it this year?”

Light worked the numbers backwards in his head.

“It was… the day before I picked up the notebook.”

Light chuckled to himself at the odd coincidence. He remembered when they spoke about Thanksgiving in his English class about how he was thankful for his family, and his father who he was proud of, but wishing he could make a real difference in the world. And look, his wish had been granted! It must have been his fate, no, his destiny. “Destiny” had a better ring to it.

“Hey Ryuk, remind me next year to see about getting a real turkey. I want to see if it really does taste any different.”

He was sure he knew what he would be thankful for next year.

Light lead them to a booth towards the back of the shop and Ryuk was surprised at how generous the seating was seeing as the booths were meant for humans, not seven foot tall Shinigami, but he somehow actually managed to squeeze into the seat across from Light without having to phase out or anything. Ryuk supposed it helped that even as large as he was he was also lanky. They just sat there and talked for a while or mostly Light talked and Ryuk listened and shared his drink—which turned out to be pure liquid apple bliss. Whatever Light had to tell him Ryuk never found it to be boring and while sometimes the Shinigami would ask for clarification about concepts he didn’t understand his human was always more than willing to demonstrate his knowledge on the subject. It always astounded Ryuk just how much he had in common with this human boy despite all appearances at having such opposite “life” experiences. Light told him inconsequential things like how this coffee shop was a popular teen hangout and how he had discovered this seat toward the back behind the planters was an ideal place for quietly studying without being bothered. And it was also an excellent vantage point for eavesdropping on his classmates should he ever need blackmail material. Ryuk in turn told Light about his rock back at the Shinigami realm. It was an excellent perching place for overhearing the conversations of the others. Usually it was boring and inane but every few decades someone would have a juicy bit of gossip about some idiot stealing from the King’s Orchard or of something new found in the human world, or of another Shinigami turning to dust.

After they had been sitting there for some time, they were both taken by surprise and their impassioned discussion on the inherent nature of others (and how much they suck) was interrupted when a strange man sat himself down at their table. Light observed for the first time since they sat down just how crowded the café had become—every other seat was taken.

Still it wouldn’t have killed him to ask first!

The man looked like he hadn’t slept or showered in weeks and upon hopping up onto the “empty” seat he removed his shoes (revealing no socks beneath) and wriggled his bare toes upon the bench, no doubt getting his germs and toe smell all over the seat. Light figured the only way he could possibly be any more boorish would be if he were to kick his feet up onto the table (thank any hypothetical higher powers that he held the favor of for small mercies.) Light did not give voice to this thought of course—the last thing he wanted was to give this offensive weirdo any ideas.

Light felt an ugly feeling twisting around in his gut when the stranger unknowingly sat in Ryuk’s lap.

“Who the hell do you think you are?!” Light hissed.

The strange man lifted his head to regard the booth’s other occupant, black matted, mane falling in his wide, frog-like eyes. He appeared surprised to see the innocent-looking teenager shaking with rage.

“You think you can just sit down wherever you please…”

“Yes,” the stranger said blandly as he stole the slice of apple pie that Light had ordered for Ryuk the moment the waitress placed it on the table.

The teen shot up, ready to punch the bastard right in his ugly, smugly smirking face when he again felt Ryuk’s arms wrapping all around him, physically restraining him and thus stopping Kira from killing the other man with his bare hands.

“Light, it’s not worth it. Isn’t this one of those things you could get in trouble about? Didn’t you say you wanted to keep a low profile?”

Light immediately relaxed at the feeling of the Shinigami’s long arms all around him again. That’s right Ryuk wanted him, not this stranger….

Light’s brain froze at the strange turn of his thoughts.

Was this really…? Am I…. jealous?!

“Woah! This dude looks like he could really use some coffee! Is that what happens if you humans don’t sleep and shower on a regular basis? Damn, I wouldn’t want your withdrawal symptoms.”

Ryuk declared a mental victory when he actually made Light snort in amusement. At least until the Shinigami twisted around to see the stranger’s face and thus read the name floating above his head. Ryuk froze when he read that this rascal’s name was L Lawliet.

Was it that L? The guy who had sworn to see Kira executed? Maybe this was why Light had such a paltry lifespan. The Shinigami let slip a growl of frustration. He couldn’t warn him even if he wanted to.

Light seemed to catch Ryuk’s change in mood. That was all the incentive he needed to leave. Honestly the guy gave him the creeps. Light knew he really must be bad if he gave Ryuk the creeps too and so they left the café, stopping only to buy another apple pie to replace the one the crazy bum had stolen.

Back at the table the great detective L chewed on his lip thoughtfully as he watched, amused, as the younger man left in a huff—he tended to get that reaction from people whenever he went out so that wasn’t at all unusual. Yet L couldn’t help shake the feeling that there was something definitely odd about that boy—like how he sat all alone yet his drink had two straws in it or how he seemed to hold heated, animated debates with a cell phone that wasn’t even on.

What a weirdo, thought L as he returned to his conquered pie.

Chapter Text

Light sagged against his bedroom door. He wasn’t sure how long he was there, laughing and sobbing hysterically, when Ryuk’s words floated to him as if from far away:

“Breathe Light, breathe.”

How had it gone so wrong?

***

Light smiled softly as he watched Ryuk fly around in circles—a raven-dark shadow against the blue, cloudless sky overhead, while he walked back home through the park. The Shinigami was so awkward-looking on the ground—who could have guessed that the huge, gangly monster could be so graceful in the air?

Like a swan in flight, Light caught himself thinking and then he couldn’t help wondering if the lack of coffee and sleep deprivation had addled his brain.

Ryuk landed when Light beckoned him over from the park bench, offering to share his apple pie.

“I had fun today… surprisingly.” Light remarked while offering Ryuk a forkful of pie.

“So I make you happy?” Ryuk affectionately ribbed him between snatching up the offered bites.

“…Surprisingly happy.” Light assented.

” Mission accomplished!” Ryuk cheered.

Light laughed over Ryuk’s antics. He's so damned cute…

That thought impacted like a train crash in his head.

Dammit!

Against all logic and reason he might actually be… falling for the Shinigami!

“Yeah, I had a wonderful day too. Not even that asshole could ruin it. I’m sorry about the rude people though…”

“What are you apologizing for? That can’t be helped. I really did have a good time, Ryuk, despite the idiots,” Light assured him. “Besides, maybe one day I’ll work my way down to them... Starting with that fucker.”

The Shinigami let out a mocking gasp. “Light, really, I’m surprised at you! That you would use that kind of language! What would your mother think?”

Light rolled his eyes. What did he expect? He was a high school student. And not even he could be perfect all the time (just the closest thing to it.)

“What? Well since I don’t have a name for him and since he was a total fucker he shall henceforth be known as ‘That Fucker.’”

“Wait, which fucker are we talking about?”

“That fucker. The one from the coffee shop. The crack addict.”

“Oh. Him. Yes, That Fucker,” Ryuk cackled. He supposed that ‘That Fucker’ was a good a name for the overly obnoxious man as any seeing as he couldn’t tell Light the man’s true name. Honestly it was a better descriptor anyway. “He really was a fucker, wasn’t he?”

Light nodded in agreement “Until today I didn’t think it was even physically possible to be that rude. Maybe he has a mental condition or something? But, really, what could have possessed him to sit at our table? Is there just something about me that attracts crazy people?” bemoaned the megalomaniac.

Ryuk gave him a sideways glance. “Do you really want me to answer that?”

Light met Ryuk’s look with a withering glare of his own. “Do you want to sleep on the couch tonight?” he threatened.

Ryuk scratched his head in obvious bafflement. “Why would I want to sleep on the couch when I can sleep in your bed?”

Light shook his head, grumbling “Idiot!”

“I'm surprised, Light. I didn’t think some stranger’s bad manners was enough to rile you up so.”

“That Fucker…” Light spat, throat suddenly dry as he confessed the reason for his ire “he… he sat in your lap!”

Light felt himself blushing again and he couldn’t look Ryuk in the eye.

“He didn’t really sit in my lap, Light. I phased out as soon as it looked like he was going to park his ass at our table. And then he didn’t even do that—did you see the way he was sitting or…? No, I guess the table was in the way. It was the weirdest thing. He kind of looked like he was trying to imitate a frog!” That earned him a giggle from the teen as Ryuk drew in close. “So no—he didn’t sit in my lap… but you are welcome to sit in my lap anytime, Light.”

Light shook his head, with honest regret “Not anytime. I think people would notice if I was floating above a park bench.”

“What if I sit behind you?”

“That… could work…”

“ Like… here?” Ryuk asked as he sat down behind him, Light stiffened and then relaxed as he felt Ryuk pressing up against his back, cuddling up behind him. The teen gave out a startled gasp, his eyes fluttering shut for a moment.

Yes, Ryuk was nice. He liked Ryuk. His Shinigami was clever and funny and, at times, oddly sensitive. Perhaps he should give him a chance? He could do worse, really—he did. His name was Kenji.

Not only was Kenji an abusive ass but also an idiot. Light supposed it was fortunate he was an idiot—Chief Yagami caught him trying to break into their house (and thought he was going after Sayu.) The asshole wouldn’t be getting out of prison for a very long time.

Light had yet to work his way down to rapists and perverts with the notable exception of one Takuo Shibumaru who thought it was a bright idea to try and rape a girl in the middle of the street, right in front of him on the night he was reborn as Kira. Since then Kira had been working his way down the list of the worst of the worst of criminals and he was currently focusing on mass murderers, serial killers, and war criminals. Petty criminals and people like Kenji had frankly not been worth his time.

Besides to put Kenji up in on that same list of the “worst people in the world” would be to acknowledge that he was important, that he still held power over him, and that was unacceptable. He was the God of a New World now and Kenji was no longer a threat. Besides, Light had already decided it would be best not to go around killing people he knew. Kenji could wait his turn and be judged with the rest of the... sex offenders.

No, Ryuk wasn’t Kenji. (He was awful, truly a beast—surely comparing them would be an insult to Shinigami everywhere.)

Despite his misgivings he was curious and he could no longer deny to himself that he was interested. Light considered himself to be a very practical and pragmatic and the benefits of pursuing a relationship with Ryuk far outweighed the negatives—Ryuk shared his power with him allowing Light’s own ascent, Light was grateful to Ryuk and even though the creature could be obnoxious and irritating Light still enjoyed his company, he listened, he was… fun.

He also actually listened when he told him “no” which was a big step up from… before—Ryuk made him feel safe.

Light felt himself relaxing at the feeling of Ryuk’s arms around him, his talons gently carding through his hair.

Light jolted at the realization that a Shinigami made him feel safe.

And even with Ryuk’s obnoxiousness, even with that face he was still attracted…

Just how fucked up did that make him?

Light shook his head as if to clear it.

He’d deal with it when they got home. Maybe if they had the house to themselves…

What am I thinking?!

Light was almost hoping that his family was home because then it would give him an excuse to put off dealing with his feelings… or doing what he was sorely tempted to do. Light abruptly got up off the bench, and out of the clutches of his cuddly Shinigami, determined to get home—he’d work everything out at home. Ryuk only gave a disappointed grunt and resumed floating silently behind him. He seemed to understand now that Light needed space and Light realized, belatedly, that Ryuk seemed to be getting better at reading him. Light wasn’t sure if that was a good or a bad thing—on the one hand it got tiring having to constantly explain himself to the Shinigami to get him to abide by human manners but on the other hand… He didn’t like the idea of anyone being able to read him. He would not be (hurt) manipulated again.

Light turned to cut across a small alleyway, a shortcut that took twenty minutes off his walk towards home, only to crash, head first, into a very solid body blocking his path—a horror from his past he never expected to see again. Kenji wasn’t supposed to get out for another five years (and Light had planned to kill him long before then) and yet here he was, out on the streets again, ready to accost him in a dark alley.

Light was never more grateful to have Ryuk there with him.

It was Ryuk making a racket with the trashcans that provided the distraction that allowed Light to escape when Kenji tried to drag him into a dark alleyway.

It was Ryuk who had given him the Death Note, an emergency scrap of which Light used to end his Kenji problem once and for all when he wrote the bastard’s full name followed by “traffic accident.”

The Death Note didn’t fail him—Kenji was hit by a bus when he tried to cross the street in pursuit of him. Light shook again at the memory.

There was so much blood.

His problem had been reduced to so much meat and viscera—it shook Light to the very core. This wasn’t neat and tidy like Kira’s judgments—of course that could only be a good thing—no one would ever connect it to Kira. Light wasn’t sure why Kenji’s death unnerved him so—he’d even seen an accident before, Takuo Shibumaru, a similar specimen of corrupted humanity—but then, he hadn’t been that close to the action. He had seen Takuo’s “accident” from behind a store window almost a block away. Light found that being close enough to get sprayed with blood splatter was a very different experience.

Light was brought back to the current moment by the feeling of Ryuk’s hand on his shoulder.

Ryuk.

Ryuk was… safe and having him here now was good. He even found his Shinigami’s deep, rumbling to be soothing as he reminded him of what he needed to do.

“Breathe Light.” Ryuk insisted again as he sat down next to him as Light sagged against his bedroom door, physically and emotionally exhausted.

Yes, Light remembered, breathing was vitally important to living beings.

Light breathed, his breathing leveling out becoming slower and steadier as Ryuk again pulled him into his lap and slowly rubbed little circles into his back.

Light’s eyes slowly regained focus and drifted back down to the crimson stain that splattered his once pristine white dress shirt and it slowly dawned on him.

He was home.

He had, somehow, made it home.

That much was good but that he had gone about it so thoughtlessly—that was the exact opposite of good.

And he needed to get out of these bloody clothes.

The accident was quite messy. The blood had splattered… It was on his clothes. It was on his face, fuck it was in his hair…

If he was smart about it he should’ve cleaned up, gotten rid of his bloody clothes before coming home but it’s not like he had a spare set he could change into—he wasn’t expecting to be covered in blood today! And after what happened all he could think about was getting someplace safe…

Stupid!

Light reached up to his shirt collar with a trembling hand.

Dammit!

His hands were shaking so much how had he even unlocked the door?

Shit! Shit! Shit!

What if he left blood stains on the door?

Perhaps it was just that his adrenaline chose to cut out at this inconvenient moment where he was most likely to be discovered. His hand was shaking so much that his fingers fumbled when he tried to do anything with them—he couldn’t even undo a single button—how pathetic was that?!

Light thought feverishly that perhaps this was his punishment for trying to be safe and secret–he was doomed to forever wear his crimes and for all to see.

Fuck.

“Ah… Ryuk…” Light began, ever-so-politely.

“Yeah?”

“Do you think you could help me? These clothes. I need to get rid of them… I mean, they’re evidence.”

“You want me to get you out of those clothes?”

“Yeah... Because they’re evidence.” Light emphasized, an odd bit of warmth inexplicably returning to his pale and drained face.

Ryuk kneeled before him and Light’s breathing leveled out as he felt Ryuk’s forehead gently touching his own. He focused on the sound of the monster’s rumbling purr as Ryuk just ripped the shirt right off him.

“That okay?”

Light sighed. The suit was a lost cause anyway. “It’s fine this time but don’t rip them off like that in the future.”

Ryuk chuckled. “So you want me to undress you again in the future?”

Dammit, he was definitely blushing now. “Ryuk…” Light issued a warning growl.

“Er… Sorry.”

Light nodded when Ryuk was genuinely contrite. The teen was surprised he wasn’t more embarrassed when Ryuk helped him slide out of his pants but then it wasn’t like this was anything new—Ryuk had seen him dress, and undress, before.

“Wait, where are you taking them?” Light demanded as Ryuk bundled up his ruined clothes.

“The fireplace. You gonna be okay for a minute? I’ll be back soon, okay?”

“Yeah… Okay.” Light assented. That would have to do for now.

As soon as Ryuk left the room, Light pulled his knees up to his chest, suddenly feeling very alone and vulnerable.

Pathetic, Light sneered at himself but, surprisingly, this line of thought didn’t make him feel any better.

Meanwhile Ryuk looked around; making sure the house was indeed empty, before taking the blood-splattered clothes to the living room. The Shinigami turned on the fireplace, tossing Light’s ruined, blood-splattered clothes onto the pyre. He then checked the house again, Light’s paranoia rubbing off on him, before he went to set things up in the bathroom, ebon claws adjusting the fake crystal bath knob until the water was within the proper human range—not too hot and not too cold—it seemed almost too warm to Ryuk, though, but then his body temperature tended to run colder than that of a human.

When he returned, Ryuk told him what he had done with the clothes. Light nodded but he knew that wouldn’t do if people were actually looking for evidence against him or if his father looked closely at the fireplace but it would have to do for now. Once his goddamn hands stopped shaking Light would be sure to clean the fireplace thoroughly and then use it again before his family got home to destroy the trace evidence and then to conceal the fact it had been concealed...

“W-what are you doing?” Light grumbled as Ryuk gently picked him up and carried him—weak and unresisting as a kitten. He was all too aware that he’d been stripped naked but it still wasn’t enough—Kenji’s blood had soaked to his skin, even in death defiling him all over again.

“Trust me?”

Light closed his eyes and sighed, unconsciously snuggling into Ryuk’s broad chest. “Yeah... Okay.”

Ryuk carried him into the bathroom where the warm steam and sweet smells of the bath soap hit him in the face.

“Bath time!” Ryuk announced gleefully.

“Is everything a joke to you…” Light trailed off as he glanced back up at the Shinigami’s ever-smiling face. “Wait! Don’t dump me in the tub!” Light exclaimed when Ryuk held him out over the water.

“Of course not!” Ryuk said, scandalized. “I’m not sure if I got the temperature right. I might have got it too hot. I don’t want to burn you.”

Light gingerly stuck his hand in the bathwater and gave a sigh of relief. The temperature was just right. In fact it was just the way he liked it. “It’s perfect, Ryuk,” Light assented, his voice steady once more. There was even a hint of a smile.

“Really?”

“Yeah. It feels nice.”

“Okay then!” Ryuk said cheerily when, without any further warning, he dunked him into the tub.

Light shouted at him and glared at him angrily but at least he was feeling more like his old self again.

“You asshole,” Light grumbled as Ryuk laughed.

“Better?”

“...yeah,” Light admitted, grudgingly as Ryuk held up the loofah.

The water was warm and relaxing, still Light squirmed in slight discomfort when it slowly permeated into his consciousness that he was bathing with Ryuk. The bath was a nice gesture and all and it wasn’t at all uncommon for men to bathe together—Light had even bathed with other men before but not like this—this, somehow just seemed too intimate.

“I can bathe by myself Ryuk.”

“Are you sure?”

Dammit!

He was better. It’s just his stupid, trembling hands didn’t get the message. Light sighed in defeat when Ryuk offered him the loofah. He didn’t even try to pick it up.

“I’ve been around for quite a while, you know. It’s actually pretty common for important persons like princes and emperors and such to have someone help them bathe and…”

“Fine! Just wash me,” Light ordered.

“As you command, dear sweet prince.”

“Asshole,” Light grumbled again even as he surrendered to the pleasant sensations of the soap and the sponge gliding over his skin. It was almost surreal—Light let out a nervous borderline hysterical giggle as he watched those black talons becoming covered in bubbles and soap suds. His eyelids grew heavy as Ryuk worked the soap into a fine lather, the loofah sopping up the blood.

“That’s gonna have to go in the fire too,” Light murmured, a worried crease forming in his brow.

“I’ll take care of it,” Ryuk assured him.

Light let out a relieved sigh and unconsciously leaned back against his… helper, feeling oddly content.

The bath soap smelled like apples—he should have known. Not that it was hard to acquire—his mother got them on sale—she bought like fifty damn bottles of the stuff. Light suspected that she was now under the mistaken impression he had an apple fetish given the rate they disappeared around him.

“You did great today.”

Light’s frown returned. What happened today… that wasn’t “great” by any stretch of the imagination. It had reawakened terror and pain he thought he’d left far behind him. He hadn't planned for it. True, he'd planned for vague emergencies where he'd have to kill someone (and that was what saved his life) but he had never considered this particular scenario—it took him completely by surprise. Kenji was supposed to be in jail. Clearly the justice system was even worse off than he had originally thought.

“Kenji…”

“He’s gone now,” Ryuk gently reminded him. “He’ll never bother you again.”

“Good,” said Light.

That’s right. Kenji was dead, as in deceased, food for worms—and he was God, or would be soon—so why did he shake so?

“You handled it so well, Light. I’m so proud of you.”

Light’s cheeks burned hotly as Ryuk tucked him into bed not-so-secretly pleased with the Shinigami's approval.

“Ryuk… could you do me another big favor?”

Ryuk was silent for a moment before assenting. “What did you need?” Ryuk asked while gazing down at him, utterly besotted.

it would be worth it... Light considered again, squirming slightly beneath the covers, For Ryuk's cooperation alone...

“Uh… could you check to see if there are bloodstains on the door or anywhere else in the house?”

“I don’t think there were.”

“Could you check anyway?”

“Alright.”

Chapter Text

Light startled awake when his Shinigami slid into bed next to him. Light realized he must have been dozing—he honestly hadn’t expected to fall asleep after all that happened.

Ryuk held in a curse—he hadn’t meant to wake him. Light had been sleeping so peacefully and he really deserved some time to recover from the horror of the day.

“It’s done,” Ryuk announced. He’d successfully wiped up and destroyed all the evidence of Light’s rather gory afternoon.

“Ryuk?”

“Yeah…?”

The Shinigami startled as the boy rolled over so that they were face to face and even lightly pressed his forehead against his.

“Thank you.”

“Er…” The Shinigami swallowed—suddenly, inexplicably, nervous. “No problem.”

It occurred to Ryuk that Light was still naked from the bath and while most of the young man’s form was concealed beneath the sheets the temptation remained regardless.

“Ryuk… er, I was wondering….”

“Huh?”

“Did you want to, you know, er… play?

Ryuk froze. No… Light couldn’t possibly mean…

“Mario Kart?”

“No, not Mario Kart!” Light snapped, beyond annoyed at the socially clueless monster.

Before he could change his mind Light surged forward and kissed his Shinigami full on the lips.

To his credit Ryuk quickly caught on and Light was once again welcoming Ryuk’s skilled tongue which still, unfortunately, tasted vaguely of apples and rot.

Ryuk returned Light’s sloppy kiss but inside he was torn.

Should he take him now?

He wanted to… he was going to… but then he noticed the way his human trembled in his arms—much like the others had right before they broke. He’d made many… mistakes when it came to interacting with humans but he did try to learn from them. He did not want to ruin Light—at least no more than he already had—he liked playing with Light, he’d admittedly grown attached to Light, and he might even (dare he think) care about him.

Ryuk was struck with the sudden epiphany that though he’d offered, Light didn’t really want to play with him—he wanted to feel safe. Light was looking to him for safety. Ryuk wanted to laugh but for some reason his amusement died when he met those trusting, pleading brown eyes.

This is what he’d been waiting for, it would be an opportune time but… even Ryuk could see Light had been hurt. Badly. Ryuk still wasn’t sure how it came to be that he cared but… his idea of “play” was really the last thing Light needed at the moment.

On the other hand… Light couldn’t really afford to wait.

Ryuk glanced again at the paltry number in red that hung above his human’s head and it occurred to him that what he wanted wasn’t really required for helping Light—taking him wasn’t strictly required—merely the promise. That would be enough. It had to be. He just, still, had to be patient—that’s all. He could do patience—he really could! Even with the teen in his arms, tempting him worse than a whole basket of apples… Ryuk somehow managed to reign in control of himself before he pinned his human to the mattress. There was more at stake here than just his self-gratification. Still… he could barely believe it. Light was offering. Ryuk hoped that that would be enough—he wouldn’t last much longer.

Ryuk worriedly gazed down again at the human in his arms as Light shivered against him like one of his past human playthings that was about to break. Ryuk reached out and wiped some blood from Light’s bleeding lips where he accidentally cut himself on the Shinigami’s sharp teeth.

“Light… Are you sure? This is… okay?”

Light nodded, panting and pressing their chests together. Light glanced down the expanse of Ryuk’s chest appreciatively. Though gaunt his companion was large with broad shoulders and the Shinigami’s skin-tight leather tunic put the shape of his body on display—Light lightly traced his fingers over the well-defined muscles of his stomach causing the monster to shiver slightly. Light chuckled when Ryuk caught his wrist and growled softly. He gasped at the pleasant tingling somehow induced by Ryuk gently rubbing his wrist with the pad of his thumb.

“Ryuk… just… just take me now, please.

Ryuk groaned but forcefully pried himself away from his eager human.

“Light… wait.

Light glanced up at the Shinigami coquettishly through the curtain of his russet bangs when he stopped him.

Why is he… stalling?

“I admit I don’t know much about humans but this doesn’t seem like the appropriate time to be uh… ramming my cock up your ass.”

Light stared at the Shinigami in stunned disbelief. Had he just been rejected—by Ryuk?!

Now wasn’t that ego-crushing?

Light hadn’t expected Ryuk to object—he’d been coming onto for the last day and a half! So what changed?

“Why not, you want me, right?”

The Shinigami gazed down at him hungrily. “I do want you, Light.” Ryuk insisted, punctuating this by licking at the trembling boy’s neck, “I’d love to do it with you … but this isn’t about what I want. Do you really want me to try and play with you in such a way right now? Have you ever had anything as big as me inside of you before?”

“I can handle it!”

He was not "a delicate little flower" regardless of what the Shinigami believed.

“Light… Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to fuck you but if there’s one thing I love more than your body it’s your mind…”

“Ryuk… just… shut up.” Light’s look was ugly. He’d managed to find some rather nasty manipulative assholes to date before and did not appreciate being jerked around in the slightest.

“Light, please. I am really trying here. But if I take you now, unprepared, I will rip you open and bleed. I promise you—that will not be a fun experience. For either of us.”

“I’ve survived it before…” the teen grumbled under his breath. Sure it would hurt but it wasn't that big of a deal, really—none of the men he'd ever been with had been very considerate nor had they bothered much with foreplay. He was no stranger to bruises and bleeding...

Dammit, why did Ryuk have to grow a conscience?

Just when he’d decided it wouldn’t be so bad—in fact, Ryuk’s offer seemed an ideal way to stop thinking about unimportant things (and what had happened that afternoon was unimportant, insignificant, as was the newest name in his notebook.) He’d been sure Ryuk could help him take his mind off things for a while—in fact he’d actually been looking forward to it.

Light startled when Ryuk growled and the monster’s lanky arms wrapped all around him gathering him into his lap in a tight, possessive embrace.

“Did you kill them all or do any more humans need to die?" Ryuk hissed in his ear.

“I don’t need you to fight my battles, Ryuk,” Light huffed though he found himself oddly pleased at this development—both Ryuk's holding him and the obvious display of concern. That felt... nice. And Ryuk's hissing in his ear was sending pleasant shivers up his spine. The teen wriggled slightly in the monster's lap, hoping he might entice Ryuk to change his mind. “You said you’d take care of my needs,” Light said and was further humiliated when his words came out in a near whine.

“I really do want to play with you Light, really I do, but we shouldn’t we like… start the game on “Easy” mode rather than “Nightmare”?” Ryuk declared mental victory when he actually managed to get Light to crack a smile for just a moment before he returned to glaring at him. The Shinigami sighed and wrung his claws through his black spikes.

“Light… I know I’m an idiot when it comes to humans but even I can see that you don’t really want to play right now. You want to feel safe.

Dammit, were his motives really that transparent?

Still, Light tried not to make it obvious that he was pouting.

The most annoying part was that Ryuk was right—it was too much, too fast, too soon. They really should... work up to stuff like that. Light wasn't sure what he'd been thinking, suggesting that, letting himself get all... stupid and emotional! The scary thing was... he probably wasn't. Light usually thought of himself as a highly rational person... but he was aware that he didn't really handle emotions well on the rare occasions that he did feel things strongly.

Love is a weakness. So why the Hell am I...?

He wanted to.

With Ryuk.

Light knew there was probably something fundamentally wrong with him that he did but at least Ryuk would reserve judgment on that accord.

He could be himself around Ryuk... or at least more himself than with anyone else...

Even if it hurt...

Light considered it a small price to pay for the... what? Companionship? Protection?

Light nearly laughed disparagingly aloud.

Protection. Right. Ryuk is a God of Death. That's a real bright idea. What the hell was I thinking!

“…So how about tonight you let me protect you instead?” Ryuk suggested casually and Light's mental processes ground to a halt.

"Wha—?! Protect me?”

"Yeah… so, uh… Light? Will you let me claim you in the ways of my people?” Ryuk stumbled, trying to remember the formal wording.

Light shivered slightly. Part of him, admittedly, liked the idea of being claimed but then… Ryuk was a Shinigami—he might have a decidedly different—and far less pleasant—definition in mind…

“What exactly do you mean?”

Light figured he had every right to be cautious when his beau was a God of Death and “Claim you in the ways of my people” could very well mean claiming his soul and killing him.

The Shinigami fidgeted slightly under the intensity of Light’s glare. “Er… it’s just, you know, a ritual of protection…”

“Protection?” Light repeated again in disbelief and obvious confusion. Ryuk wanted to protect him?

Though looking back on it Light supposed he'd already had, even if the interference done was minimal, what with Yamamoto and... and Kenji.

But.. How would that even work? Did Ryuk miss the memo that he was a God of Death?

“Yeah. It’s not a big deal. I just draw glyphs on you and stuff.”

“Er… why? I mean is this really a magical ritual or…” that was Light’s first assumption given that Ryuk was a Shinigami but he supposed it could be some sort of cultural or religious practice. Did Shinigami have religion? Ryuk didn’t talk much about his own world but given how Shinigami must have been around for thousands of years… surely it had some sort of culture? And would Ryuk take offense if he declined? Light was inclined to let him—as kinks go it seemed pretty benign but… “I mean no offense but, uh… is there a price for this?”

Ryuk gazed down at his clever human with respect. Light was so smart. Naturally, he’d figured it out. Of course there was a price—no ritual between a Shinigami and a human was without its price for the human, of course, but… “None that you wouldn’t be willing to pay.” Ryuk insisted.

The teen huffily tossed his hair and folded his arms across his chest. “I’ll be the judge of that. Do you mean to take my soul?”

Ryuk face-clawed. What was it with his human’s fascination with souls? “I don’t want to take your soul! It’s just drawing a few runes! It doesn’t even hurt you at all! The price is simply that you devote yourself to me. And seeing that you already have…”

“Wait, what?!

“Er… you kind of did… twice now—what with uh… offering you body and soul…”

“I thought you didn’t want my soul.”

“I don’t, Light… Hell, I wouldn’t even know what to do with it! Or even if it exists at all!”

“…Are you calling me soulless?”

“…in any humans,” Ryuk amended when he felt he was treading on thin ice. Light sure was in a touchy mood tonight, but Ryuk figured the whole getting assaulted by his ex-thing probably had something to do with it and so refrained from comment. “It’s just the principle of the thing! You see, there’s a Deal and since you already offered yourself to me I thought it was only fair to grant you my favor and protection. This ritual merely strengthens the Bond we share. It’s left over from the old days when it was more commonplace for humans to believe in and devote themselves to one of my people. Humans used to believe in all sorts of Gods.”

The teen blinked again in momentary confusion.

Oh.

That’s right.

For some reason he sometimes forgot that Ryuk was a God.

Well, Light supposed Ryuk just didn’t act very Godly—he had no sense of decorum whatsoever—but he was a God, even if he was a God of Death.

“Alright so it won’t cost me my soul,” Light mused aloud. “But are you sure there isn’t some other cost besides just my “dedication” to you? I mean, no offense, but… will it suck out my Lifeforce or something?”

“None taken. And no, this Deal has no price like that… but there’s another Deal that does if you’re interested.”

“No thanks!” Light said quickly and Ryuk laughed.

“So, just to clarify, this Deal, er...ritual, thing won’t cost me my life?”

“No," Ryuk insisted and Light noted that there was a strange softness to his Shinigami’s eyes. “The opposite really.”

“…The opposite?

“Light, please … just accept. I don’t want to have to write your name in my Death Note any time soon. With this ritual I can offer you some limited protections and it allows me more leeway to help you.”

Once he’d claimed Light, Light would be considered his, in more ways than just Light was his to kill—he would be his just as his notebook was his under Shinigami Law. That meant he had more leniency when it came to operating in the human world and he could even to an extent act on his human’s behalf without worrying about turning into sand.

“I don’t understand. Why offer it now?” Light demanded, folding his arms across his chest. Some magical “protection” could have certainly come in handy when he was being accosted in a dark alley earlier… “Isn’t this a little late?

Ryuk chuckled, ruffling the already annoyed teenager’s hair. “Oi, Light-o, you just love giving me a hard time, don’t you?”

“Don’t dodge the question!”

“Alright. For one… I forgot about it.”

Annoyance quickly turned to exasperation. “Really, Ryuk?”

“Hey, it’s a very obscure ritual and not often used now—Shinigami don’t interact much with humans these days. Also I couldn’t offer it to you before anyway.”

“Why not?”

“I told you, I couldn’t offer unless you offered yourself to me.”

The teen gave his Shinigami another disbelieving look. “Ryuk, on the night we first met I offered you my soul. What else would you call that?”

“Well… while a nice sentiment I think the ritual-thing means more along the lines of body than soul. Do you still offer?”

Light sighed. “You’re just interested in my body?” He really should have guessed that. It was a pervasive pattern to all his relationships. Every fucking time...

“I’m interested in you as a person, Light. I mean, sure, I like your body, it's a nice body but that's not all there is to it. You're smart, and you're funny, and I like hanging out with you—even if you do have a weird fascination with human souls."

"Hey!"

"I just know that I like you, a lot, and I want to protect you in the only way I can. Will you let me?”

Light sighed and forcibly turned away lest he let his Shinigami’s pleading eyes influence his decision.

Ryuk observed how the teen idly cradled his own jaw, stroking his lips and chin, an unconscious tic that he’d noticed Light frequently did when in deep thought. “It’s just drawing runes on me?”

“Just drawing runes.” Ryuk insisted again.

Light closed his eyes, exhaled slowly, and hoped he wasn't making a huge mistake in this largely irrational decision to trust Ryuk.

“…Alright.”