Chapter Twenty-One: A Lesson in Getting What You Want Part B
“What. The. Fuck. Did you just say?” I ask. “I think my ears have gone funny. You did not just say Kira.”
“Unfortunately, it’s true, Mello.” Near nods calmly, as similar reactions run through Matt and the Japanese Police Force members. The SPK members, I notice, are already fully aware of the situation.
“How can it be? We saw him die, and you burned the notebooks.” Matt asks, keeping his logical mind in the face of the shock.
“It appears there is another notebook in existence.” Near replies. “There may be many. After all, we do not know how many Shinigami exist in that realm of theirs.”
“But Light Bastard Yagami is dead!” I yell, not realising until the words were out of my mouth that I’d unintentionally called him by the name I’ve always given him.
“That’s a bit far, don’t you -” Matsuda begins, but Aizawa puts a hand on his shoulder to shut him up.
“Excuse me? A bit far?” I snap. “No, I don’t really think it is, given that he was a mass murderer.”
“But that was Kira. Light himself was -”
“Matsuda.” Aizawa cut in. “It’s all very well that you were friends with Light. But the man was a criminal. Please remember that. He would have killed you if he could.”
Matsuda sighed, and hung his head. “I know. I’m sorry.”
Near had watched all this with a coolly disinterested gaze; and only now did he step in. “If you are done, I will answer Mello’s question.” He waited for a nod before continuing. “I simply use the name ‘Kira’ to refer to a human who raises himself to the level of a God. You are correct, Light Yagami is dead. This is another Kira.”
“The… third?” Yamamoto asks.
“Fourth.” Near corrects. “So far only the people in this room know of his existence, so for the future please keep it that way.”
“People will notice.” Matt points out. “The internet fansites will talk.”
“Yes.” Near concedes. “But we will avoid this for as long as possible.”
“So what is our next step?” Aizawa asks.
“First we will assign you all tasks. Then we will get to work. That is the usual order of things.”
“Aren’t you going to give us more details, first?” I ask, frowning. “You’ve shown no evidence that there is another Kira.”
“I’m on it.” Lester replies, tapping away on a keyboard. The big screen in the centre of the room, previously used for closer examination of surveillance footage, flickered into life. The projection it showed was a list of names, all originating from the same prison, with times and causes of death listed next to them. Each one said ‘midnight’, though on different days, and ‘heart attack’. There must have been twenty names, at least.
“Well.” Matt says. “I guess we’d better get working, then.”
Pretty soon Near had it all worked out. All of us doing the hard work instead of him. I suppose it was only to be expected. He just carried on playing with his finger puppets instead of paying any real attention to anything, while Lester doled out the jobs. No one got to choose, I notice. He’s had it all figured out since the day he realised there was a new Kira, I expect, and it only makes me trust him less. There’s something about him that isn’t right - it’s like he doesn’t have the conscience that I - and even Mello - have. Of course, for Mello that conscience is simply religion; and he doesn’t care about going to Hell. But at least he knows when he’s done something wrong.
Anyway, Near’s creepiness aside, I guess he has logic. He managed to assign everyone to jobs that suited them. Matsuda was assigned to watching all the news programmes in Tokyo, and writing down all of the names of criminals that came up. I suppose it’s all that he was good for, really. The man has the observational skills of a blind badger, and what’s with sticking up for Light Yagami? Honestly, I don’t want to sound like Mello here, but does he not have any brain cells?
Aizawa was put to checking the whereabouts and health of all of those criminals, as well as those already in Japan’s holding cells, which was not really an enviable task. Mind-numbingly boring, but also requiring large amounts of attention - I suppose as the Chief, Near thinks he’s responsible enough. At any rate, Yamamoto was set to help him, so those two will be working hard. Yamamoto should probably be the coffee boy. I’m certainly not doing it, and he’s the youngest here except for us Wammy kids.
Gevanni left almost as soon as the introductions were over. I guess he had something better to do, though whatever it was, we’re none the wiser. Near’s playing some of the cards close to his chest, of course; when does he not? As for me and Mells… well.
I’m on internet duty. Hooray for me. I get to check out all the Kira sites, news sites, that sort of thing, for anyone claiming to be the new Kira or claiming that there is one, or reporting a mysterious death that was not caused by heart attack but something else. Meanwhile Mello - and this is what scares me - is supposed to be posing as a Kira fanatic on a couple of forums, digging for information. I give it… one day, before he posts something out-of-character and his cover is blown. Anyway, I don’t even know why I’m doing this job, to be honest, or Mello. I think Near is toying with us, or keeping us out of the way, or just trying to infuriate us - something like that. I know he knows we won’t last long at it. He’s up to something, and I don’t like it.
Everyone’s busying themselves. Lidner and Lester are cross-checking all the dates of death and crime, seriousness of crime, and any other factor they can think of to look for a pattern. It seems they had already started this task before we arrived. It doesn’t surprise me - Near has probably known about this for longer than he’s letting on. Of course I suppose it must have been a little humiliating, to discover a new Kira right under his nose, on his turf. It seems he perhaps hasn’t been doing his job well enough. If people can’t fear Kira, they should certainly fear L in his place.
I do not know what Mello is thinking. Ever since the introductions were over he’s been silent, not questioning anything Near says or complaining at all. Not even demanding a second look at the data. I’m not sure he actually knows how to work in a group like this, but I doubt that’s the issue. I can’t work it out, but there’s something wrong with him. He even does the work he’s been set to without trying to protest.
A couple of hours after everyone settles down he gets up suddenly, and walks over to Near. He says something quietly, then Near looks up at him for a moment, and they go outside. When they come back in Mello sits back down at the computer without a word. I’m getting more and more suspicious by the minute - what’s on his mind? I try to get his attention, but the room is full of people talking and machines whirring, and he pretends he can’t hear me.
“Matsuda, can I have that list now?” Aizawa asks. “I need to start checking it.”
“Sure. … Oh! I know! I’ll fax it to you.”
“…Fax?” Aizawa asks. Several people turn to look at Matsuda, waiting for him to do or say something idiotic, as usual.
“That way we can both have a copy, you see?” Matsuda beams, feeding it into a fax machine at the end of the room. It seems the SPK have use for even the most outdated of technologies, I think to myself, rolling my eyes and getting back to work.
Everyone works hard. By the end of the day I feel like I need a cigarette already. Mello and I take the lift up to our floor and sit down on the bed.
“My eyes hurt from looking at that screen all day.” Mello complains.
“That’s why I wear these.” I reply, pulling my goggles down from my face. “So what’s bugging you?”
“Other than the fact that there’s a serial killer on the loose?” He fires back, and I smirk.
“Yeah, other than that. I can tell there’s something. You can’t lie to me, Mells. I can read you like a book.”
“Yeah? What number am I thinking of?”
“I’m not telepathic, dumbass.” I say, rolling my eyes and grinning. He says nothing for a while, just sits in silence. Then he pulls a chocolate bar out of his pocket, and opens it; but before he puts it in his mouth he starts to speak again.
“Yes?” I look at Mello. He isn’t looking at me, but at the chocolate, and his eyes are unreadable. His tone isn’t, however. It’s sad. Nervous, almost. Like he’s about to do something he doesn’t want to do.
“We need to talk.”