Anecdotes from the Story of the Century

Heaven

What is Heaven? Most would envision, upon hearing the word, a city of gold situated in the sky enclosed by pearly gates, a concept that is both cliché and illogical, since there's no way entire cities can be built on nothing but clouds for its foundation. Others may imagine a virgin paradise, green and lush and bursting with life and harmony for all eternity, the Garden of Eden. While marginally more realistic than the first definition, it's still too idealistic, as there is no place on Earth that could ever meet those conditions, past, present or future.

Then there's the matter of how one actually gets to Heaven; the established theory is that one's soul is permitted access into it if they've lived a righteous life. After they die. There are so many shortcomings with this thinking, it's almost painful. How can one be so sure that there even is another life after death? There's no dead person who can come back to confirm its existence, and there are no means to explore it for oneself. Theories that cannot be scientifically tried should never be trusted.

Besides that, he finds the concept repulsive that only a select few should be granted access to anywhere, much less Heaven, for their assumed "righteousness," while those who fail to meet the standards are "damned" for eternity to a place commonly called Hell. Human beings are far from righteous, after all.

And just who would determine who is righteous and who isn't? A god? That sounds like exactly what Kira intends to do with the world at large.

At any rate, it is supposed to be a place characterized by great happiness.

As of this particular rainy day, however, he formulates a new definition for "Heaven" when Misa decides on a whim to play a game called Seven Minutes in Heaven, whose rules she joyfully explains, "We'll use this spinner to pick two people, then put those two into my closet for seven minutes."

Of course. It's not as if they have other more important things to do, as much as he enjoys games.

"What are they supposed to do in the closet, Misa-Misa?" asks Matsuda, raising his hand as though they are students in class.

"Anything they want," replies the young idol, pausing to fire a sly wink in Light's direction, to which he responds with a blink. She then proceeds to flick the plastic arrow into a few brief rotations before pointing in his direction.

The second time around, it points to "Elin." So Misa insists, in spite of the claims spouting from Matsuda, Light, and Elin that they all saw her blow on the arrow after it'd pointed to her (which he saw her do himself, but can't quite find it in him to care, at the moment).

"Light, you don't want me in a dark closet with Ryuzaki for seven minutes straight, do you?"

"Look, Misa, if you're going to make a problem of this, maybe we should just not play," Light admonishes, looking hopeful about the prospect of their quitting while they're ahead so he can get back to work.

While Elin wrings her hands and steals nervous glances at the walk-in closet in question, Misa whines, "But Misa does wanna play! Ryuzaki and Elin should go first, is all." Ever since Misa had first learned of the American student's existence and involvement, she's dragged her into almost every romantic endeavor she's set out to accomplish with Light, by creating "double-dates." It's supposed to make his constant presence on their dates more tolerable, as well as distract him so Misa can cozy up to Light in something resembling peace. Not once has she seemed to take into account if he and Elin can even stand each other.

Misa succeeds in herding the other girl inside as though she were jabbing a gun into her back; Elin even has her hands up in surrender as she stutters that she's never played Seven Minutes before, and therefore should probably sit this out. Really, he knows it's because she doesn't want to sit in a dark enclosed space for seven minutes, not with him.

Which is too bad.

Misa responds by sliding the door in her face. It is difficult sometimes whether to find the girl's presumptuousness admirable, obnoxious, or a warning that she may go so far as to kill you to get her way.

With a nonchalant grunt, he rises up from his crouch to shuffle towards the closet, the handcuff connecting his wrist to Light's rattling as he drags the struggling boy along with him, much to Misa's indignity, Matsuda's confusion, and Elin's jittery amusement.

"Ryuzaki, what're you doing?" Misa squeals. "You can't go into the closet with Light! You're supposed to go in with Elin."

"No, that's okay. Those two can go in together," Elin's muffled voice carries from under the door. "They can go in, and I can come out and wait my turn."

"I can't remove these handcuffs, Misa," he says wearily for the thirteenth time since the cuffs had been introduced.

He can distinctly hear her grumble behind the closet door, "What, you can't or you won't, big pain in the ass?" She has a dreadful habit of thinking out loud, made dreadful by the fact that most of the things she thinks about aloud are things she would rather not have anyone hear.

In the end, though, what was intended to be two occupants becomes four, all crouched in a circle on the floor surrounded by curtains of expensive leather jackets. Before even a minute has passed, however, their four becomes five when Matsuda sits outside, twiddling his thumbs and sighing from loneliness, to have Elin invite him in to join them ("Come on in, Matsu, you might as well.").

So Light and Misa occupy the left side of the closet, with Misa snuggling under Light's arm and watching him from across the space with a sour look as Light checks his watch every thirty seconds or so. He and Elin have the right, while Matsuda acts as the middle, scrunched up against the wall Indian-style as he rubs the back of his neck in that sheepish way of his. Although Misa had said that they could do "whatever they wanted while in Heaven," Heaven is rather dull, at first, though he has never actually been there, himself. No one is able nor willing enough to break the awkward silence among them.

About three minutes into their stay in Heaven, Elin proceeds to stretch out her legs in front of her as far as she can. "Hmm…well, I guess this isn't so bad," she says with hesitation. "Hanging out in a big, cozy closet filled with nice jackets on a rainy day, with your bestest friends in the whole wide world."

He feels her laying a hand on his shoulder to jiggle him ever so slightly. She also has a habit of goofing around in order to cope with anxiety.

"You mean, 'your best friends.'"

"It's called being facetious, Ryuzaki." She lets go of him so she can lean back and sigh, "Yep. What could be better? All we're missing is the angelic choir."

He finds it perplexing how in spite of how much she dislikes him, she'll stop every now and then to jiggle his shoulder, as though trying to shake something into him…or out of him.

"So, I may assume that you believe in these 'angels?'"

She shrugs, "Sure. Why not? I like to think that there's something beyond what there is here, something to look forward to after…you know." This case has affected her so much, she's had trouble even mentioning the word "death." Either that, or she is aware of how prodding he is by nature and is thus mocking him by constantly saying, "you know."

The closet falls uncomfortably silent on everyone's end except his as he asks, "Do you have any substantial evidence of the existence of an afterlife?"

Her tongue roves around the inside of her cheek. "Well, I wouldn't know from personal experience, but I've got the Bible, and what I learned in Sunday school. Oh. And from Veggie Tales™."

Vegetables. That makes it even worse.

"It's foolish to believe in something simply because someone told you to believe in it," he points out, earning a prompt "HEY!" from both girls.

Her fists clench and unclench in her lap as she grumbles, "You calling me a sheep? Okay, it's getting fairly obvious to me that you're an atheist. Or an agnostic or whatever, and that's fine and dandy. But that doesn't mean you should ruin faith for the rest of us."

"Yeah!"

He's not trying to "ruin" anything. He simply thrives for challenges, to challenge and be challenged. With the rut that they're in, he must keep from getting stale somehow.

"I mean, if there's nothing to look forward to after we...then that sorta takes the meaning outta living, doesn't it?"

"Actually, I believe that the lack of an afterlife makes this life here and now all the more meaningful."

Now Misa decides to join in the sparring: "No, it doesn't! If there wasn't an afterlife designated for good and bad people, what's gonna stop people from doing bad things? Don't you believe in justice, Ryuzaki? Light, talk some sense into him, will you?"

He notices how hard Light is trying to stay calm, collected, and out of this argument, as he is more discriminating about the fights he picks. As Kira is with his victims. "I'm just waiting for these seven minutes to be up," he mutters, his eyes not leaving his watch. Yes, he seems quite eager to come out of the closet, no innuendo intended.

"People have done, currently and will continue to do 'bad things' no matter what, Misa. The existence of an afterlife or the efforts of a god are irrelevant," he says, taking a moment to attempt to gauge Light's reaction, or lack thereof, to this statement. "It's all about free will."

It's an established fact that Misa worships Kira, in spite of her adoration for Light, who is working to catch Kira. Elin, on the other hand…

"So, Elin, does that mean that you support Kira?"

She looks at him as though he's just spouted antlers. "W-WHAT? Now, what the hell gave you that idea? Of course, I don't support Kira. A real god would cut people a little slack. A real god would cut everyone some slack. A real god should be somebody you can talk about your problems to as easily as ringing up a friend without being afraid of what they think of you."

"I see. Like an imaginary friend?" he asks dryly, earning a withering glance from both girls.

"But what if they don't deserve slack?" demands Misa.

"Guys, guys, why are we fighting?" Matsuda cuts in after spending all of this time watching this verbal volleyball match with sweat rolling off his brow. "We're supposed to be in Heaven, remember?"

Elin snorts, "Matsu, we are in Heaven. And anyway, I may not be the best Christian in the world; I fully admit it. But I do know well enough to love my neighbor as much as I love myself, no matter how crummy he is. Or at least tolerate him." She reaches up to pat him lightly on the top of his head, as though he were a child.

In retaliation, he replies, "Coming from an organized religion, that advice seems fairly sound. In your company, it helps me greatly," which turns the pat on the head into a noogie, since they're allowed to do anything they want in here. This is probably going to be the last time they decide to find Heaven in a closet for seven minutes.

In regards to calling the here and now Heaven, however, sarcasm aside, she couldn't have spoken a clearer truth.


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