The Seventh Note
"Ryuzaki, I'm going to take off these handcuffs, but would it be okay to continue the investigation here?" Light held up his wrist, gesturing towards the infernal chains. He didn't mean to sound impatient, but ever since he had gotten his Kira memories back, the handcuffs did nothing but impede his plans. Thanks to the fake rules written into the notebook, which was now unfortunately property of the task force, L officially had no more excuses to keep him under 24/7 surveillance. The real Kira was back in the game.
If L was irritated by Light's casual assertion of control, he did a very good job of not showing it. The detective nodded slowly and emptied another creamer into his drink, which was beginning to look more like milk with a bit of coffee added. "Yes," he muttered, almost to himself. "I suppose this means that Miss Amane shall be free to leave, as well."Tilting his head in the detective's direction minutely, Light watched, unamused, as L proceeded to stack the empty cream containers into the shape of a small pyramid. L's eyes were wide as always, with dark bags under them. His jet black hair was a mess, sticking out in various places as if he had just rolled out of bed, and he sat crouched atop a rolling chair. No shoes on, as usual; just the long-sleeved white shirt and baggy jeans L-classic.
Light was not impressed. He had always been somewhat of perfectionist himself. Light's bronze hair seemed to be perfectly in place without much effort on his part at all, and he was rarely seen out of his seemingly just ironed school uniform, which consisted of a tan suit and a bright red tie.
Light pushed his chair back and stood up. He tried to remain calm, pretending that L's lack of emotion shown towards the suggestion didn't annoy him. God, sometimes Light hated L more than he even knew how to put into words.
"In that case, I shall walk Misa out," Light announced before quickly adding, "as soon as you remove these, of course." He lifted his arm again, intentionally swinging the chain out so that it would interfere with the detective's playthings. The metal clanked against the table in front of L, knocking several of the weightless cream containers to the floor. L looked up, somewhat surprised.
"Oh! Of course, Light-kun."
With his arm outstretched towards L, Light waited patiently as the detective pulled the key from his own pocket and undid the cuff's lock. The ring of metal fell directly into L's lap upon doing so and Light instinctively pulled his arm back again, rubbing against the released wrist with his opposite hand. He paused for a good moment or two as if debating about what he should say before instead turning away.
As if holding their breaths in unison, the task force watched as Light paced across the room and pressed the button on the elevator. He waited about a minute as an eerie silence swept across the room before stepping inside, where he intended on breaking the news to his more-or-less girlfriend and eventually escorting her out of the building. However, Light had no intentions of leaving himself... In fact, he now had a very clear idea of how he, acting as Kira, was going to move on from this point.There was a soft click as L undid his own handcuff and placed the set on the desk before him. It was funny... He could've sworn that Light was Kira, but the Death Note that they had confiscated from the now deceased Higuchi seemed to suggest otherwise. It did, however, fail to mention the possibility of one losing his or her memories, having previously been a Kira. In case of this, L had taken the precaution of moving the Death Note to a different location where it would be secure and thus unavailable for Light to steal or use without alerting the Task Force. (If the teen truly was Kira, L doubted Light would've let the Death Note be taken into custody without having first assured himself an alternate source of magical killing paper, but it was best to be safe rather than sorry.)
One thing L found odd was that when he had instructed for the Death Note to be moved, the shinigami Rem left with it. He suspected this had to do with a Death God being obligated to follow a notebook it was attached to, a thought that made L feel slightly guilty because now she would have to hang around outside a vault in an undisclosed location for an indefinite length of time until the Kira Case was solved. It was a shame. L could think of a few more questions he would've liked to ask that shinigami...
L tilted his head just enough to watch Light disappear into the elevator, but not enough to make it look like he was watching. The detective had… mixed feelings about all of this. He almost said something, but then the doors were closed and it was already too late.
What will be will be, he thought.
Light pressed the button for Misa's floor and waited. He didn't let himself smirk until the doors had closed completely and he was moving; and even then, it was a very modest smirk. Who knew where L was going to put cameras these days?
Light was amusing himself on the way up by imagining all sorts of horrific, gruesome deaths he could write up for the detective as soon as he got a hold of the man's name. Just as the thought crossed his mind that being ripped apart by wolves wasn't a painful enough punishment for going against Kira, the elevator shuddered to a halt and the overhead fluorescents dimmed. Except the doors weren't sliding open like the should've, and when Light looked up at the display, it showed that he was nowhere near Misa's floor. That's when the power went out and he was suddenly falling to his death in complete darkness.
First, he thanked Kira that L was an arrogant bastard who decided the task force building needed to be big enough that each member could have an entire floor to themselves. Next, Light tried to calculate the weight of the elevator, how fast it was falling, how many stories were between him and the ground, how long it would take for the elevator to get there (and thus kill him), and whether or not that was enough time for the emergency brakes to kick in and stop his descent. Then Light gave up on that last one and just focused on not pissing himself.
When the emergency lights flickered on in the computer room, the task force members jumped to their feet and started shouting questions at L, all of which were ignored. The detective stood, grabbed a flashlight out of a desk drawer, and wandered off to dig through some boxes stacked up in a nearby closet.
"What's going on? Was that a power surge?"
"No. I think we lost electricity to the entire building."
"What should we do?"
"There isn't much we can do but wait and see if it comes back up…"
"But what if it doesn't? Could we try—?"
L started to hum a cheery tune to himself to block out the annoying chatter of his employees. Once he found what he was looking for, he carried it back over to the elevator, swinging the crowbar to and fro in time with the melody in his head. He then proceeded to pry the doors open with a loud creak of metal, and only then did the others shut up and take notice of him.
"Gentlemen," L said. "I have good news: Light probably isn't dead."
He was almost immediately interrupted by the task force members' mutters of concern and embarrassed shame for forgetting that the younger man was still in the elevator. L cleared his throat and handed the crowbar off to Mr. Yagami.
"You might want to head down and fetch him out of there before he hyperventilates himself to death. He should be on the—" L glanced back down the elevator shaft. "He should be stuck on the fourth floor. I'll take care of things up here and try to get the power working again."
Without saying anything, Mr. Yagami hurried down the nearest flight of stairs, still clutching the crowbar in his hands.
"Chief, wait!" Matsuda called after him. Once it was clear they were being ignored, he and the rest of the task force followed Mr. Yagami into the darkness, with the stair railing acting as their only sense of direction during their rather long descent. Aizawa was the last to arrive at the fourth floor, nearly colliding with the policeman in front of him.
The only light in the room was faint and coming from Mr. Yagami's hand. He held his cell phone in front of him like a flashlight as he searched for the elevator doors. Once they were found, Mr. Yagami copied L's movements with the crowbar while Mogi directed the light from the phone, and pretty soon the doors were pried open wide enough for a person to fit through.
Light was lying sprawled across the floor on his back, his eyes still wide. "Please tell me that wasn't L's idea of a practical joke," he said weakly.
Mr. Yagami entered and helped his son to his feet with an arm around the boy's waist. "The power's gone out," he said, "but that doesn't explain why the elevator would have dropped. We're still looking into it."
"How long do you suppose it'll be out?" Light asked as they stepped into the hallway, their eyes still unused to the darkness.
"We don't know. Hopefully not long."
Light pulled his own phone out from his pocket and flipped it open. One by one, each task force member followed suit and in no time at all the place seemed somewhat less spooky now that they could see the outlines of the room around them.
"I don't suppose Watari could turn on some sort of backup power?"
"I don't know. I didn't ask."
The group began to head upstairs again. Upon reentering the room, they saw L perched at his desk and frowning at the black screens. He tilted his head backwards to see the others approaching.
"I take it Light made it out okay."
"No luck up here?" Mr. Yagami asked. L shook his head.
"The emergency power's being difficult. I tried calling Watari about it, since he left a couple hours ago, but we don't seem to be getting any service either."
"No service?" Light echoed, peering down at his own phone. L was right: the tiny screen showed no bars. Briefly, Light wondered of all these things were connected. The power shutting off, the elevator dropping, losing mobile service... But that was ridiculous, right? He shuddered somewhat, hoping that these were all just a coincidence.
"What about Misa-Misa?" a voice suddenly chimed in from behind them. The grouped looked back to see that it was Matsuda who asked this. "We should make sure that she's all right!"
Light nodded in agreement. "Before all this happened I was going to head up there anyway. I might as well go check it out myself."
"I can come too!" Matsuda volunteered a little too eagerly.Light stifled a sigh and headed back for the stairs. "Okay. Come on, then," he mumbled.
It wasn't easy, ignoring a bouncing ball of raw excitableness as it followed you up the stairwell in the form of a policeman, but Light prided himself on being persistent. By the time he reached Misa's floor a short while later, Light had managed to suppress Matsuda's worried chatter to a dull buzzing in the back of his mind.
"…wonder if she's scared right now. It doesn't look like this floor has emergency lights like the computer room does. Oh man, poor Misa-Misa, all alone in the dark!" Matsuda cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted right into Light's ear. "DON'T WORRY MISA-MISA, MATSUDA AND LIGHT-KUN ARE HERE TO SAVE—"
"Matsuda," Light hissed as he spun to face the policeman. "Shut up. Misa is a grown woman who can care for herself, I'm sure she's fine. Last I heard, she was taking a nap after a really tough day of modeling and whatnot. So quiet down, will you?"
"Sorry," Matsuda said with a sheepish quirk of the lips.
"It's fine. Now make yourself useful and go look for her in the hallways while I check her bedroom. There is a slight chance she could be wandering around somewhere, and we'll cover more ground if we split up."
"Aye-aye, Captain!" Matsuda saluted and turned to run off down the corridor, open cellphone held high.
If only the other idiots were that easy to lose, Light thought as he headed for Misa's room. When he finally found the right door, Light knocked once and, not hearing a response, let himself inside.
The suite Misa had claimed as her bedroom faced the west and had a wall that was almost entirely window. Judging by the shade of grey of the sky outside, Light guessed that it was not too long after dusk, and although what little sun that was left over from the day lit up the room better than his measly cellphone screen could ever hope to do, it was still far too dark for him to see very well. Light found himself feeling along the edges of furniture so as not to stub his toe as he made his way towards the queen sized bed on the opposite side of the room. There, as he'd suspected, lay a very Misa-sized lump curled on its side under the covers.
"Hey Misa, wake up," Light said as he shook the lump's shoulder. "The power went out and Matsuda was worried about you, so if you could go calm him down, convince him to shut his mouth for a while, that would be—" Light stopped and pulled his hand back. When he held it up towards the gleam coming from the windows, his fingers seemed tacky with something.
Something red and warm.
He flinched away on instinct, shaking the bed in the process, and a piece of paper fluttered to the floor.
The next thing Light remembered, he was standing outside Misa's door with a man sobbing into his shoulder while the teen chanted under his breath it's okay it's okay everything's going to be okay. Light had no idea which one of them he was talking to.
The door opened and a very sickly looking Ide stepped out. Light wondered when the other task force members had gotten there and how much time had passed without him knowing.
"L wants you with them," Ide said, and then he motioned towards the man clinging to Light's chest. "Uh, sorry, do you want me to…?"
Together they managed to free the teen from Matsuda's grasp, who then immediately latched on to Ide's arm instead.
Ide looked up at Light and sighed. "Go ahead. I'll stay here."
Light nodded, still unable to respond. It took all he had to heave his legs back across the threshold to where the rest of the task force huddled around the bed. At first Light was surprised he could even see them at all, given how dark the building still remained since the power outage, before he noticed a small candle had been lit on top of the nightstand beside Misa's bed. It wasn't much, but it offered just enough illumination for Light to see how pale and shaken everyone was.
Well, except for L. That asshole always looked disturbingly unruffled. Light stepped up next to the detective, who was hunched over Misa's unmoving figure with a thumb pressed to his lips.
"I-Is she...?" Light managed. He was surprised he could speak at all, what with how his throat felt like it was closing.
L glanced at him and confirmed her passing with a nod. Light looked away, his mind racing. In that moment, he realized two things that sent a cold fever squirming down his spine:
First, the fact that Misa was dead. Well and truly deceased.
The second was that someone in this building had killed her, and it wasn't Kira.
"But how?" Light whispered.
L hesitated. "Clearly a homicide," he said in a careful tone, motioning to the clean slice across the girl's neck. "Miss Amane couldn't have done that sort of damage to herself."
Light looked up in surprise at his father, who was gnawing on his bottom lip and glaring at the floor.
"But why like this?" Light chimed in again. "If Kira wanted her dead, why not a heart attack like everyone else?"
L shrugged and looked away. "Or," he mused almost to himself, "perhaps it wasn't Kira, but..." The detective trailed off and suddenly squinted at the floor. "Light-kun, what is that?" L asked, pointing.
A sheet of paper was peeking out from under Misa's bed. Light knelt and carefully picked it up by pinching one corner between his thumb and forefinger. When the teen stood once more and held the paper up to the soft glow of the candle, it could've been his imagination or a trick of the light, but he was pretty sure L was smirking at him.The task force gasped in unison. There was a lopsided number seven smeared onto the paper in blood. The men were sharing pained and anxious looks across the room, even though none of them knew what the symbol could mean, and it was all Light could do to keep from flinging the evidence as far away from himself as possible.
"This is, uh..." Light cleared his throat. "This is her blood, isn't it?"
"It would be impossible to tell without running some tests, but I think it's safe to assume so," L said. "The murderer would hardly leave his own blood at the scene of the crime, would he?"
They were interrupted by a loud wail from just outside the doorway, and Light wondered if Matsuda was listening in on their conversation.
"I should probably go help Ide," he began.
"Not yet," L said. "Does anyone have any ideas on what this clue could mean?"
"It's a seven," Aizawa pointed out rather matter-of-factly. "Perhaps the killer is trying to send us a message?"
"Do you mean like the first part of a message? As in, there will be more?" Mogi asked, brows furrowed. Aizawa shrugged in response.
"I'm just saying, maybe the seven means something. Like seven days..."
"Or seven victims..."
Light looked away, not liking where this conversation was going. He had no intentions of killing Misa... not yet, anyhow, and certainly not like this. But if not Kira, then who had committed the crime? And would they strike again? He glanced up towards the ceiling above him but saw nothing in the blackness. An eerie chill shot down his spine as the thought of the killer still being in that very room crossed his mind.
"But is it really a seven?" L asked, interrupting Light's current train of thought.
"Of course it's the number seven!" Mr. Yagami shot back. "What else would make any sense?"
L nodded thoughtfully. Of course it was; nothing else would make any sense.
"S-So what do we do now?" Light asked uneasily, hoping that the others wouldn't be able to tell how nervous he really was. "The power still hasn't come back yet, and you said we couldn't get ahold of the rest of the police department or Watari..."
Mr. Yagami cleared his throat. He figured that he might as well direct the group somewhere, if no one else would. "I think the only thing we can do now is leave the scene in order to report it to the others ourselves. I don't like the idea of leaving Misa's... corpse like this, but it won't do any good sitting around and staring at it."There was a ripple of hushed agreement throughout the task force. Within another couple of minutes they had managed to pry themselves away from the scene and begin heading towards the exit, no more calm than when they had first witnessed the gruesome display. Ide was having a particularly difficult time walking as Matsuda clung to his arm, both slowing his pace and pulling him backwards. Light almost felt bad for the guy when he felt a familiar hand on his shoulder.Having been following the dim lights from in front of him, he turned around and saw nothing in the dark hallway.
Mr. Yagami hugged his son comfortingly, the way only a father could. "I'm so sorry," he whispered. Now unable to contain himself as he had in front of the others, Light could feel the tears streaming down his face. He wrinkled his eyebrows, but the crying refused to stop. To put it bluntly, Light was terrified. He himself had killed people before as Kira, in more gruesome ways than what he had just seen... but writing a name in a notebook was entirely different from watching someone's eyes go dark and chest stop rising as the red poured out of them.
"It's not your fault," Light replied, his voice low. He wasn't entirely sure why everyone seemed to prefer talking at a lower volume for the time being, but given the building's current lighting it just felt wrong to converse at any more volume than a whisper.
"C'mon, let's rejoin the others," Mr. Yagami said as he pulled away. Light nodded before quickly realizing that his father likely wouldn't've been able to see the gesture.
"All right," he answered instead. Light quickly rubbed his eyes with his sleeve, hoping to hide any evidence of his emotions before being around a source of light again. He pulled his cell phone out once more, no longer being able to see the soft glow from the other mobiles in the building, and frowned at the all-too-familiar red bar. It was slowly running out of battery and of course he didn't have a charger with him. Light only hoped that he would be back in the safety of his own bed before needing it again.
Light and his father had only made it to the top of the final flight of stairs before hearing someone yell out in anguish. The two of them clung to each other in surprise, expecting the worst.
It was Mogi's voice, and it sounded as if he rapidly pushing and pulling against the heavy set of doors."WHY WON'T THESE STUPID THINGS JUST SUBMIT TO MY WILL AND OPEN?"