A Death Note Carol

Cruelty and Obstinance

As the cityscape scenery whipped by, Light stared blindly forward.

Things had gone so wrong somehow.

He wasn't a fool, he had always known that the world was full of badness but that everything as so sad and so inside out and back to front. Somehow, even seeing Matsuda being brave had bothered him. He felt as if he knew far too much about the man now. No matter how stupid Matsuda would act, Light would see him as the man who had saved his sister (when Light had not) and the man that saved a girl from a mob of men, not by wiping the men out, but by using his wits (dear God...) and then comforting her afterwards (something he had never bothered with when killing Shibuimaru. As for the girl, he never even knew her name.) Matsuda had...beaten him in the game of 'Hero.' (Light never would openly admit to 'playing games' but really that's how he thought of life. 'Hero' was a game Light loved when he first began using the Death Note, though it was soon replaced with 'Beat L'.)

The worst thing he had been forced to realise tonight was that his plans were flawed. Truth be told, Light had suspected it. Some niggling voice had been whispering since he first used the Death Note- the first was when he killed Shibuimaru, who was not, technically, a criminal. It whispered during his campaign against criminals, asking about whether they were rightly convicted or not.

This voice was always full of doubt and anxiety about his ultimate purpose; a new world created in his image. He had ignored it because these thoughts were inefficient. If Light always worried about what might go wrong, or what might be incorrect, then he would never have been as successful as he was. Whether when juggling girlfriends or bluffing excuses to his parents, Light had risked being caught lying and having his reputation tarnished. Light had to task risks because had he not played these little games, he would have killed himself for the boredom of his monotonous, wasted and unchallenged life.

However, the Death Note had been the biggest risk of all and he had understood the danger it withheld. However he had taken the risk because after saving that girl from Shibuimaru and his thugs, Light knew that if he got away with this deception, it would reap great rewards for himself and all the people in the world who deserved it.

If anyone had the opportunity to erase a danger from their family, (from anyone who was good or kind) would not a person take it? Did the likes of L really expect him to just give the Death Note back to Ryuuk, to allow dangerous men to roam the Earth preying on people like Sayu? Would they have done so?

But then, he had made such big mistakes with the Death Note- more than ever he could see that now. He should have listened to the nagging, anxious voice, or at least have let it guide him a little.

For the first time that night, Higuchi came fully to his mind.

Higuchi had blamed Light for his predicament. Whilst Light still knew that Higuchi had to accept his own hand in his own fate, Light was now wise enough to contemplate how much he had manipulated the situation and what consequences had come about that he was unaware of.

Higuchi had killed innocent men.

He killed them despite having a night like this, where he was shown everything about them and given reasons for not doing so.

And so he had paid the penalty.

Light had already figured out that killing L tomorrow was just not feasible; especially with an entire orphanage full of children competing to fill his boots after his retirement or death (and who knew if that orphanage was the only one? The spirits had been exceedingly vague about the whole set up.)

He wasn't afraid of them of course. The children had been silly and immature, especially Number Two. However, in order to kill L, Light would need to kill all of them (technically, all of them were 'L,') which, frankly speaking, was a waste of both his time and human resources.

By killing Naomi the world had lost out, which was against Lights objective. Killing innocent people with the Death Note was not a sensible way of achieving a world for innocent people. Light had realised that he would need intelligent and trustworthy underlings to help build a realistic empire. Humanity would need a solid economy and a reasonable amount of breathing space, in order to avoid the pitfalls of old dictatorial governments, like the Stalinist Regime, and any religious or class resentment.

If you tell people what to do, with no leeway, they naturally rebel.

He had only been Kira for a short time when the police were after him shortly followed by L appearing on the scene.

Light had decided that it would be to be an 'amiable' god, one that can help change people for the better, like the Priest who had been an IRA member. Aizawa, for example, had looked down on Kira for his name and the negative connotations it had. However, had Light been seen to be kinder and more forgiving, but powerful, surely people like Aizawa would be more willing to go along with the new programme? Light would secretly keep wiping out the worst criminals by giving them less suspicious deaths. With a team of intelligent people on his side, he could arrange a sort of Secret Police Force who could gather intelligence of the underworld, that way real criminals could be slowly eliminated, whilst criminals of lesser crimes could be forgiven. Another perk of having an L team would be that justice would be done appropriately. Light could make sure that only men like his father were in the Justice system.

As much as he hated to admit it, people like Misa need to stay alive also. Misa was clearly sick in her mind, and Light, knowing her obsession with him and lack of respect for human life, had allowed her a Death Note, the same way he had asked Ryuuk to give his notebook to someone selfish and stupid like Higuchi. While Misa would also have to take responsibility for her own actions ("I have never forced her hand," he thought obstinately) he had to admit that, as future ruler of the world, he had made (he physically winced) irresponsible decisions.

And this was his main mistake; all his worst decisions had been because he had been irresponsible- killing Lind L. Tailor, killing Penbar (not so much Misora- he had no choice by that stage, the same way that if he killed L, then he would have no choice but to wipe out the entire orphanage.)

He could not change his past mistakes, but he could rectify future ones.

But the issue was now how to get L on side?

The answer to that question was still, infuriatingly, beyond him. Was there a way he could get rid of L and replace him both on the task force and in the minds of the orphans? He could have L killed 'by accident' but then it would still be very suspicious- just for whom L was and what he was doing. And getting Watari to trust Light would be nigh impossible. If there was definite proof that one of the orphans he had seen would take over as L, he could befriend the child. However, any of those children taking over immediately was unlikely and Light had not seen much about Number One in order to estimate how easy the child would be to manipulate.

He had considered trying to make L his friend. By pretending to notice L's eating disorder, camaraderie could be built up between the men, as it seemed this illness of L's was his dark secret, but also a cry for help. He ate disgustingly in front of them, so maybe this was his way of unconsciously, trying to raise concern. "However," Light thought cynically, "it could also just be another annoying habit, or a way of obnoxiously keeping people away from him." Also, L was very suspicious, not matter how carefully Light would claim to have worked out the eating disorder or how innocently he would catch L, the detective would still find a way of sing this to up his percentages. Besides all of that, L was too repressed emotionally for any friendship to be formed. Really the man needed some kind of intense, long term therapy.

However, using the information he had been given it was possible for L to become an ally. He was the victim of injustice, so if Light, and his new god persona, could convince L that his rulership would wipe out those kind of governments and regimes, L could be swayed. Light could portray himself as like one of L's brothers, (Light tried to remember their names but could not) a rebel trying to create a freer and better world. If anything could play on the emotions L kept locked up inside, surely the ideals of a young idealistic freedom fighter would stir them. In time, Light could become that brother figure L lost, thereby securing the detectives loyalty.

The thirteen day rule was still threatening on the horizon. If Light could at least delay it, maybe he could use that time to work on L. Maybe kill another task force member- Watari's death would distract L? "No!" He thought suddenly, "no more innocent men should be killed! Maybe Misa? She is evil, killing all those girls...But then Rem will kill me..."

He sighed audibly. He was exhausted; the night had been so long and due to all the travel his body clock was shot to pieces. He just couldn't think under these circumstances! Maybe the spirits were hoping to exhaust him into compliance.

The worst part was, despite all his scheming, the fact that he had made mistakes STILL galled him. All he wanted to do was go home and go to bed. He considered sulking something only an idiot (L) would do, but he believed that if anyone had a right to sulk at that point in time, it was him.

Suddenly they stopped moving.

They were on a dark suburban street Light dimly recognised meaning they were close to his home. Present was looking at him with those queer eyes, his head cocked to one side and his mouth open. He did not blink, but unlike L, the look was one of complete vacancy.

"Aww, is Light Kun saaad?" He drawled in a tone that could only be described as mocking. Light simply scowled in return.

He really hated this spirit.

"I can let you see nice things. Things that will give you hope." Present smiled. The mouth was too big; it stretched almost completely from ear to ear. Suddenly Light felt furious with it. "Stop imitating Matsuda!" He yelled. "God, you're disgusting. Stop..." he uncharacteristically struggled with his words, his rage making him choke, "...just stop twisting him like that."

"What would you prefer?" It asked as buoyant as ever. "Aizawa? How about one of his kids? He has the cutest little girl, just your type, judging by your little blonde ditz of a girlfriend... or how about L?"

That's when Light lashed out, punching the spirit squarely in the face. As his fist remained there, Light ground out, "you things make me sick! What right do you have to judge me?"

A smirking Present spun his body away from the fist in a single and horribly unnatural movement. He rubbed his cheek briefly, though the action seemed more of a mimic of what a human would do rather than a reaction to pain. "Well," he replied calmly, "the main difference between you and I is omnipotence and that - like the Shinigami- Time is unbiased. I am not a benevolent force nor have I ever claimed to be. But," he smiled softly, "I'm not malevolent either. I am here to offer you just some of the insight I have. And I meant it when I offered to show you something nice."

Light was tired. Very tired. He needed something positive, something pure. Yet he had no trust in the Spirit.

"Alright then," Present stepped forward, his eyes wide, "how about advice instead?"

Still cynical of its intent, but guessing that Present would not let him home without taking him up on one of his offers, he resentfully nodded. Present grinned before his eyes became unfocused and glassy as he looked over Lights shoulder into the distance. Following his vague gaze, Light saw only the street. A car was highlighted under a lamppost. There was nothing particularly special or unusual about it, until Light noticed some movement underneath it. He grimaced as black and white tentacle-like feelers began to wriggle their way from under the car. Unconsciously he stepped back until he was side by side with a grinning Present.

The feelers began to drag out two lumps that Light recognised as Rem and Ryuuk. Now the Shinigami were twisted and strange anyway, but these were monstrosities of those monsters. They were both very small. They were thin with pot bellies, as if they were starved. Ryuuk looked as though his stomach had been twisted several times, as he began to amble about the road. Rem dragged herself towards where they stood, her legs were missing. All the time they made their odd, jerking movements, the wrappings they wore as clothes pulsated and rippled, like something living.

Before Light could even think of any horrified obscenities, Present spoke. "The creatures you see before you are what you should avoid." He said didactically (completely at odds with his usual personality.) "They are Cruelty," he nodded at Ryuuk before Rem, "and Obstinance. They are two of your worst attributes which belie why you have made the mistakes you have so far." He looked at Light and smiled as if they were friends. "Avoid these and you will begin to do better, regardless of what path you choose."

"'Regardless of my path'?" Light repeated incredulously, "but then why tell me?"

"Because you are my first friend. I told you before." Present then gave a shit eating grin that Light hated.

He demanded to be taken home once more.

Suddenly, in a single white flash- he was.

And he never saw Present again.

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