Amane, Misa was in a rapturous state. Her plan was moving full-speed ahead. Four tapes sent to Sakura TV station, four tapes that were sure to call the attention of Yagami, Light the man she knew was Kira. The man she was in love with. He'd have to make contact with her after this!
Light would be so glad to have someone else on his side, someone like her. She would do anything, anything for Light. Not only had he ended the life of the horrible, evil, vile trash that had taken her parents lives, but he'd done so much for the world.
"And he's so hot!" she squealed into a pillow.
If they got married she would be sisters with Haruka and because she'd done extensive research she knew she'd be gaining another sister as well. She'd always wanted a younger sister, someone to play with and share fashion advice with. When she married Light she would have two! Two bridesmaids to pick out dresses for, two weddings to go to in the future, two people to take on Girls Only vacations...
"Two aunts for our babies!"
Rem watched in silence. Misa would appreciate nothing the shinigami had to say, had ignored all warnings, and now her lifespan had dropped dramatically. If the natural course was followed Misa had no hope of meeting her goals with anyone at all, much less Yagami, Light.
Misa's death would be averted at the cost of Rem's own life, but it was a price the shinigami was more than willing to pay.
"I can hardly wait for everything to start!"
It had always seemed like such a foolish thing, something her friends giggled over and bragged about.
"We held hands the whole time!"
Who cared about that? What was the significance? Haruka had never understood their exaggerated excitement over the act. Even now, though it made her happy, she couldn't see why it was regarded as a milestone.
Perhaps it was because the circumstances were different. She had no opportunity to hold Ryuzaki's hand in public and maybe that was a crucial piece of the puzzle?
She snorted at the thought of being seen with L, in any capacity, by the populace. What an odd pair they would make! She could hardly imagine it, walking down the street and holding his hand. Where she and Light drew admiration, she and L would draw confusion. How could they not? They didn't match.
Still, she wasn't much bothered by the idea and spent little time thinking of it. There was no purpose to dwelling on such an insignificant action, especially when she couldn't see it happening any time soon.
Regardless she couldn't stop smiling about it and had locked herself away in her room to keep the others from seeing her in such an unnatural state. Matsuda would undoubtedly comment, calling the attention of her father and that was the last thing she needed.
Her school books were her only source of entertainment and she found comfort in the unbiased, cold, hard facts contained within. Arithmetic was difficult, English a fond struggle. Other subjects were met with disinterest, but the end of high school was just around the corner and she didn't want to leave with poor scores. Modeling career notwithstanding, she hoped to have more to her name than a pretty face.
Haruka had never cared much for school except to the extent that it gave her the opportunity to endear herself to others. Being surrounded by people who admired her, who sought her attention, was what she'd always wanted.
From the time she was young she'd known that she liked having people do things for her, that she wanted them to follow her directions. She supposed most children were like that, most adults as well, but not many had the ability to convince others to comply their whims.
A natural trait?, she wondered. She couldn't think of a time when she'd tried to make others do as she bid, it just seemed to happen. Even in elementary school it had been too easy to become the center of the classroom; girls were always sharing possessions with her, friendship bracelets and things like that, while the boys poked fun at her from afar. That hadn't been something she wanted, but she'd been told by a young teacher that boys behaved that way toward girls they liked and she'd wielded that knowledge against rude children of the opposite sex like a weapon.
In the end it appeared as if this was all fate.
She did believe in fate. There were too many 'coincidences' in life for her to think that everything was just one big accident. She'd been born for a reason, to her family for a reason and she knew that Light was Kira for a reason. Even his actions had a purpose, though she couldn't think what it was and she accepted that she might never know.
At the very least it had led to her meeting L.
"A fated meeting." It was a romantic notion, the kind of thing she tended to dismiss as one of those 'Teenage Girl Syndrome' symptoms, but what other explanation was there? Had Kira not popped onto the scene she wouldn't have even known L existed. If Light wasn't the number one suspect she wouldn't have been on Ryuzaki's radar.
She didn't blame fate for unfortunate circumstances, people made their choices and dealt with the consequences, but she did feel that life happened the way it happened because that was the way it was going to happen.
A decision could be made, an innocuous one, that lead to the loss of someone's life and people would call it an untimely death, but not Haruka. How many things needed to come together for that moment to happen? Millions upon millions of moments, so many actions made by people the world over, and then a death. Or a life. A fight. Love.
"Love?" She did love L; lying to herself would do no good. Honestly she'd never thought that she would feel this way, she couldn't even be genuinely happy in the presence of most, but Ryuzaki's strangeness had reeled her in before she had a chance to cut the line.
He wasn't people. People were easy to understand. People made the same mistakes time and again. People were boring. People were followers. People were foolish. People were stupid.
L wasn't like that and she'd only ever known one other person who managed to stand outside her estimation of the population.
Unfortunately that person was a mass murderer and her older brother, which had put Light out of the running for one-true-love, but L was neither of those things; he'd won the position without trying.
There remained, however, one glaring uncertainty in the relationship she was pursuing:
Ryuzaki had not said that he loved her. In fact he'd informed her that he didn't know how to explain what he felt. Perhaps that was a point in the direction of love, but maybe not. Being unable to talk about his feelings seemed like a very L thing so it probably didn't mean much one way or the other, but it was still a source of some anxiety.
What if she'd fallen too hard? What if he didn't feel the same?
Her school books were abandoned as she moved toward the door and swiped her cardkey off the dresser.
This hotel had a special room for those on the upper floors; she'd never gone before but had seen it in a brochure, with a television, juice bar and finger foods. It was time to explore.
Prior to this she'd never had much interest in the places she stayed, but now she needed to keep away from L while others were around and this was as good a distraction as any.
Haruka paused with her hand on the knob, doubled back into the room, and made a call to the hotel's spa.
MP3 player and room key in hand she intended to leave without speaking a word, but her father's call for an explanation forced her to give a rundown of her plan.
"There's a spa here and I'm going to use it."
No further objection came and she left the task force members to their discouraging meeting.
Frustration seemed to be the predominate emotion. Everything was frustrating. There was little to go on, few things to discuss, and yet Ryuzaki remained as calm as ever. Soichiro could not grasp the detective's ability to detach from the situation; how could L sit there eating cake when six more criminals had been found dead just the day before?
Even so he didn't feel he had the authority to take issue with Ryuzaki's mannerisms. If not for him the Japanese Police wouldn't have gotten as far as they had on the Kira case. With a single television broadcast he'd discerned that Kira was located in the Kanto region of Japan, had proved the existence of the possibly psychic killer. He was their only real hope of winning this battle.
Strange though he was, L was perhaps the only person on the planet who could stand against Kira. Without his talent the Task Force would have disbanded long ago.
Now Ryuzaki, Matsuda and himself were left to discuss the few details they had.
"What do you think it means? 'L, do you know? God's of death love apples.' What does that have to do with anything?" Matsuda asked.
"It could be allegory, something symbolic. Kira may be telling me that he views himself as a god and apples are associated with the gain of forbidden knowledge. Perhaps Kira is alluding to his ability to kill in such an impossible way, saying that he has attained some kind of special power. Or he could be stating a fact. Shinigami might love apples. Of course that assumes that shinigami are real."
"Well, that is impossible."
"I would have thought it impossible to kill a man from a distance, at any time, with only the knowledge of his name and face, Asahi-san. However I no longer do. At this point I don't think it wise to assume anything is impossible."
"It still seems crazy though... I guess I just can't wrap my head around it."
"It's rather easy to do if you can discard preconceived notions of what is and is not possible."
Matsuda's blank look was answer enough to his ability to see beyond his personal sphere of experience.
"In any case even if shinigami are real and among us it does not change our objective. Kira must be stopped. Yagami, Light remains the top suspect," the indignant frown on Soichiro's face went unheeded. "However I think his assistance could be useful. Not only to observe him more closely, but his observational skills could be an asset." In the event that the Yagami boy was Kira this offer would surely throw him off balance, just as their first meeting had; the teen had been so upset that his entire 'date' with Haruka would have been little more than a waste of time had she not broached the subject of Kira's mistakes.
Yes, that was interesting. She was more forward thinking than Light, perhaps she had a better understanding of human nature as well. Kira was childish in ways Haruka was not. Too idealistic for his own good and now egocentric on top of that.
"Ryuzaki I find it hard to accept that you still suspect Light of being Kira, but I remain sure of his innocence. In any case I don't think he would refuse the offer and if it will help clear his name I'll bring up the subject."
"Thank you, Asahi-san. I'm sure everything will turn out for the best."
"Hey, Light. You know–," he broke off, began to laugh. "Never mind."
This was getting better by the day! Why ruin it with a tip off? Instead Ryuk guffawed, thought of that date and the girl with the shinigami. She'd definitely made the eye deal and she knew.
His laughter doubled at the thought. Meanwhile here was Light, totally unaware! He was pissed about the things his sister had said, had no idea he'd been found out. What was coming next? He could hardly stand to wait!
"Ryuk that is very annoying."
The irate statement did little to calm his unwanted companion and Light ran a hand through his hair in agitation. Haruka's words, recent and those from weeks ago, haunted him. It was impossible. She couldn't be right.
How long had she cared about Kira? Why bring that up? She'd obviously been more interested in the subject than he realized and knowing what he did now, that she was close to L, made the situation seem all the more suspicious.
What else did she know? What else had she thought of? Was she digging for information now, trying to find what he desperately needed to keep hidden?
He'd thought having her on the inside could be a good thing, but at the moment all he wanted was for her to leave the presence of the detective. The further she was from L the better.
"Poisoning her mind..." Very likely. Telling her lies about Kira, calling his noble work evil.
And yet she'd seen his end, had seen him lose to L. What was the point of this if his toil was for nothing? He'd made leaps and bounds toward cleansing the world! The crime rate had dropped to an incredible, unprecedented low. Was it all destined to be undone?
A cruel trick of fate that would be. To allow the human race to come so close to perfection and then rip away their only hope.
He'd spent many hours thinking of it, trying to keep the sense of foreboding at bay, but could find no solution. He had no idea which actions in particular led to that outcome. The future may have already been changed and he would have no way of knowing. Unless Haruka had another insight his hands were tied.
The unexpected ring of his cell phone jarred him from his thoughts.
"Dad?" he muttered as he looked to the caller identification. It was very strange to receive a call from his father at all, much less on a cell phone at this time of night. It was getting late. He answered, his voice in perfect imitation of the kind, concerned son his parents thought he was.
"Ryuzaki would like for you to join the Task Force."
Of course he answered in the affirmative, refrained from smashing the phone against the wall as he hung up, and kept his seething anger hidden from the rest of the household by digging his nails into the palms of his hands instead of shouting in frustration.
L! That bastard! What sort of crap was this? Clearly a trap, something to trip him up and dammit it had worked!
He'd always intended to find a way into the Task Force, but on his own terms. Not L's! He had no choice but to accept, it would be suspicious for him to decline after all the things he'd said to Soichiro about his commitment to executing Kira.
How many other surprises did L have prepared for him and how could be plan against them?
"Dammit!" he hissed. He was falling behind in this game; L was already pulling into the lead and Haruka had seen his death.
"Huh? Ah. That's interesting. Sudden drop."
Ryuk's comment broke through Light's haze of fury and his eyes flashed red. He tried to sound unconcerned as he asked, "People's lifespans, do they stay the same throughout their lives?"
"Nah. They can change... Not sure why it would matter. Everyone dies!" His laughter returned.
Light was going to become an official member of the Kira Task Force. She badly wanted to throw a fit over the revelation, but could think of no reasonable explanation for a tantrum without letting her father know that Light was the only person in the world she thought capable of being Kira.
That was the second-to-last thing she wanted him to know.
There was nothing she could say to dissuade Soichiro on this front; it was better to act as though she didn't care.
"I think it's really great!" Matsuda enthused. "Light's very intelligent and talented, I'm sure he'll be a valuable addition to the team."
Haruka refrained from rolling her eyes at his eager attitude. Matsuda, Touta was forever over energetic. Maybe it was a product of youth, but after having been on this side of the Kira investigation she would have thought he'd acquire a more reserved posture. In a way she envied him; nothing kept Matsuda in low spirits for long and he was always optimistic. Though he was also rather dense, she liked him. His personality could be helpful and he'd cleared the air many times after L's unsympathetic comments made everyone else uncomfortable.
"Yes, Light-san will doubtlessly be of great help to us. Our first meeting was rather strained, but I think we can overcome that. We will, after all, be fighting toward the same goal. The capture and execution of Kira remains our top priority."
This time she did roll her eyes. 'Strained' was an understatement. Three days after that date and he was still acting standoffish and cold. School friends had called her out on their lack of interaction; she'd brushed it off as a typical sibling fight, but they were all eager to see the two getting along again.
"I wanted to invite you both to my family's restaurant!" Minna had huffed and demanded, "Haruka! Make up with Light!"
She wasn't going to apologize, but it didn't make sense to stay upset either. Considering that they would soon be in each others company more often it was in everyone's best interests that they move beyond their issues.
She wouldn't be returning to the hotel directly after school on Thursday, but Light would be participating in his first meeting with the Task Force. They had to find some measure of reconciliation before tomorrow evening.
"So, Haruka-chan," Matsuda called her attention. "How was your relaxation time?"
For a moment her mind went blank; thoughts of Light had the tendency to sweep all others out of their path. "Ah, you mean just now? It was fantastic. Thank you for asking!" Another distraction provided by Touta. "As you can see I had my nails painted and–,"
"As fascinating as that is, Asahi-san," L commandeered the conversation, ignored her sounds of irritation. "I think it best that they get going. Asahi-san you will need to debrief Light before the meeting tomorrow, I would suggest doing so tonight. Matsui please go to the police headquarters and inform the others of our plans."
His directions were followed without argument and formalities were exchanged without ceremony. He was left to the company of Haruka who, though she did seem inclined to remain his presence as she laid across the couch, did not to address him.
Observation proved useless. He could not find a logical reason for their unlikely pairing and they'd yet to formally define what that paring was. He supposed 'dating' was an approximately equivalent and socially acceptable term for whatever it was, but it felt inadequate and almost wholly incorrect.
He wasn't dating Haruka. They were just together and that was strange enough. Togetherness was a near foreign concept to him. He'd never been together, always set apart. He did not tend to the majority and it was often more of a hindrance than a help to work in close contact with others; he had his doubts about what spending time with her would do to his productivity, but was unwilling to speak of those concerns.
What if she took it too personally and withdrew?
Instead he stared and decided that said staring was justified. Watching her may provide some insight and did it not stand to reason that if he could better understand her, Light would also become easier to interpret? But, again, that wasn't something he could say to her. She would think he was with her only to gain a better perception of her brother and even though that wasn't the case it would be no simple matter to regain her trust if he lost it.
An explosion of anger or, perhaps worse, she would cry.
He'd been at a loss when tears came during the cross-examination. Her nose had turned red, her eyes glassy and she'd sounded so heartbroken that he hadn't been able to withstand simply watching.
Thinking of it now he supposed that had been when his regard for her began to grow. In those few moments she'd laid bare her heart; instead of the surly brat he was accustomed to dealing with she had only been girl afraid for her family.
He was still unsure of her claims to seeing the future; it wasn't that he disbelieved her, but he lacked the ability to understand how it was possible. Her description of Near was enough to convince him that she'd seen something. Whatever the case it was a heavy burden to bear and had added a new dimension to her character.
Sharing secrets with her was novel. He had many things that he kept private, things that not even Watari knew of, but no one had ever gone out of their way to tell him things they'd rather the rest of the world not know. Indeed she'd sent him a letter hinting at one of her most serious problems.
The thought brought a frown. He'd made a conscious effort to keep those ideas at bay, but the fact was that Haruka had been intimate with Light. It brought him no pleasure to ask, but some things needed to be discussed.
She covered a yawn with her hand as her head lolled to the side, eyes landing on the grave expression worn by her... Whatever he was. 'Lover' didn't sound right, but neither did 'boyfriend'. She eyed him, he seemed to have something serious on his mind so she pushed into sitting position before nodding that he should continue.
"This will doubtless be an uncomfortable topic, but I need you to be honest."
Her shoulders slumped as she realized what he referencing. "Oh." She'd known this day was coming, but that didn't make it any easier.
"Was anything forced? Were you ever made to do things?"
She snorted. "Things. That's a polite way of putting it."
"No. I was never forced and you don't have to be sorry. It's not your fault. You don't have to ask either, I'll tell you." This wasn't a moment she'd looked forward to. "It started on the staircase at home, long story short I tripped and knocked us both into the wall. I thought something was off just before that happened, but things got... tense. Everything snowballed from there. I'd hoped he'd just bumped his head a little too hard, but I guess I'd already realized the truth." With a deep breath she continued, "I told you before that that was why I really started considering the idea of Light being Kira. It was so unlike him. He would have never done any of that! It makes no sense unless something else is involved, something I don't know about." She shook her head. "Anyway, we never went all the way, thankfully. I'm sure he was anticipating it, but then I was attacked so there was never a chance." Vague enough that she didn't feel like vomiting, yet descriptive enough for Ryuzaki to understand the circumstances.
It was harder to speak of it than she'd expected it to be. Haruka had told herself to throw shame away, none of those interactions had been for her enjoyment, but it seemed that being apart from Light made the memories even more difficult to stomach. When she was at home, in his presence, it was easier to deal with; she could look at him and remember why she consented to their affair. Now, in a hotel with a person she actually did care about in that way, it made her face heat in embarrassment.
To know that L knew what she'd been a willing participant in was gut-wrenching. To think that he had some idea of the things she'd done made her heart stutter. To wonder if this would be a deal breaker, if he would close off her just-opened access to his feelings, was heartbreaking.
As they sat in silence Ryuzaki considered Haruka's position. She was in a vulnerable state of mind, likely recalling things she'd rather not and he had nothing to say that would heal those wounds, but he could try to assure her that he placed no blame on her shoulders.
"Haruka." She did not look to him. "There is no reason to fault yourself, you made a choice to try and stop Kira from fulfilling his goals. There was no one else in a position such as yours, who could stand in the gap the way you were able to. You have undoubtedly saved more lives than we will ever be aware of and–,"
"You don't know that," she interrupted. "There is no way to know that I've done any good. For all you know I might have–,"
"I do know that you've done good." He'd considered telling her before, of Near, and this moment called for it. "That boy you saw in the dream, I am aware of his identity. He is a child who may well be in that exact situation at some point in the future. He is one of two who, I suppose you could say, is vying for the title of 'L'. When I die it seems that he will be the one to take my place."
She shook her head again. He spoke of his own death with too even a tone. "You aren't going to die."
"I certainly will."
"Tch, no time soon."
"I am not afraid of passing away and have made many preparations in the event of my eventual demise. The probability of meeting my end on this case is near the ninety percent mark."
"No, you don't understand. I'm telling you that you aren't going to die. I would know if you were!" His certainty of meeting his end grated on her already frayed nerves. She wasn't going to let him do it even if he was set on it. "You are not dying. Even if I saw it happen, I would stop it."
A blink. A hundred breaths. A thousand heartbeats.
He had nothing to say to that.
"Light, get over it." She didn't have the patience to be gentle with him. "I don't know why you're upset, but I do know it's time to move on." Untrue. She knew exactly why he was angry with her. She'd pointed out the glaring holes in his plan to be god and he was immature enough to act out his frustration. "Dad will be concerned if he sees us acting like this and he's got enough to worry about. Let it go."
It was a reversal of roles. He'd always been the one to try and end arguments, the one to seek her out, and now she found herself taking on that duty. She'd gone to his classroom, requested his company, had led the way to the unused classroom and now she was telling him to grow up.
It felt wrong.
She was supposed to be the childish one, the one who held onto grudges and refused to say "I'm sorry", not him. Being Kira had done nothing good for his personality and yet he thought he could be god. It was unfathomable. How could he possibly believe he was capable of leading the human race in a positive direction? He couldn't even handle his own upsets! He'd regressed! Did he think everything would magically turn around if he won, that all his problems would disappear? She couldn't understand his thought process anymore. He'd truly gone insane if he thought he could rule the world in this state.
Maybe he had. Maybe he actually had lost his mind. How could he not have? Killing hundreds of people, planning to kill thousands more before all was said and done... Those weren't the actions of a person with a healthy psyche. Even if he thought those people deserved death there was no way the act of killing, however he did it, left his soul unblemished.
She could see even more changes in him now. Having been separated allowed her to notice gradual alterations that she would have missed had they been in close contact. He'd lost a bit of weight and the shadows beneath his eyes were darker. He was under a lot of stress and she hadn't made his life any easier with her Kira observations, but that didn't matter anymore. He was Kira, the most dangerous serial killer the world had ever dealt with. The worst of the worst, the lowest of the low, he was a killer who'd had no fear of being caught. There'd been no skin in the game for him.
Criminals, FBI agents and she'd heard the task force speak of a woman, Misora, who'd gone missing and Kira had probably done away with her too.
This wasn't Light.
Light never did offer an apology, but she hadn't expected him to. This felt like an insurmountable obstacle. If he wasn't going to cave, and she wouldn't either, there was nowhere for them to go but down.
To tell him the truth, after all the things she'd said, would be as good as suicide. He knew she didn't support Kira and if he ever found out that she was aware of his role he would be forced to kill her whether he wanted to or not. For her that knowledge was the final nail in the coffin.
Light was dead and Kira had taken his place.
"So, Haruka-chan, what do you think you'll do next?"
The interview was nearing completion.
"Well, everything depends on the offers I get. Of course I'd love to do something like a commercial someday, but for now I'm glad for any opportunity to show my dedication."
They'd asked about the attack, she'd answered in brief and the questions rolled on. It had almost been an hour since she'd arrived at Sakura TV station and she was very ready to leave.
The interview wasn't being conducted for the low-repute network, nor would it air on their channel, but their studios had multiple conference rooms that were utilized by other professionals and Marker Magazine was one of them.
Marker was known for helping to launch the careers of many of Japan's idols. They caught them early, just as they started to rise, and pushed them into the spotlight. This interview with Marker was the best sign of her success thus far. Hideki, Ryuga had his time with them right before he became a big star. Amane, Misa had been featured mere days ahead of landing a lucrative contract. The rest had similar stories and she was anticipating a breakthrough.
Cameras were put away, hands met for final shakes and bows were exchanged in formal goodbye.
"Okada-san, I'm going to stop in the restroom for a moment, okay?"
"Of course, Haruka-chan. Can you find your way to the front? I'll bring the car around," she spoke as she pushed a back door and exited the building.
With a nod of acceptance Haruka left the company of her manager to find the halls eerily quiet. Where was everybody? This was a 24 hour network, people were always around, but as she walked into the bathroom she saw not a soul.
It was as she washed her hands that a familiar throb of pain shot through her forehead, left her breathless as she sank to the floor.
Ukita. Dead outside the Sakura TV building.
Like every time before the pain was gone as abruptly as it arrived; she had her phone at her ear before it fully faded.
Yagami, Light worked to project a feeling of calm. No one questioned him upon arrival, not even Ryuga. Instead they began speaking of the disappearance of Misora, Niomi. He had nothing to be concerned over. There was nothing to connect him to the woman.
"Light, do you have any thoughts on this?"
A test, he was sure of it, but this was one he could easily pass. "You said she's been missing for a long time? And the man she was engaged to was one of the FBI agents killed by Kira. I hate to say it, but that sounds like the kind of thing that might lead to suicide."
"So it does, however I was personally acquainted with Misora and suicide is too easy an answer. If she could be found, dead or alive, we might have a clue to what really happened."
"Shouldn't we open an investigation into this matter?" Matsuda asked.
"If we do it should be coordinated separately from the Kira case," L said. "And we should use police sketches rather than actual photographs."
Aizawa interjected, "We're talking about somebody whose been missing for over a month already. Chances are she's probably dead."
"Ryuzaki," Watari entered the room, his voice hurried, and he spoke over the sudden ring of L's cell phone. "Something seems to be happening on Sakura TV."
A glance at the name on the screen and Ryuzaki was on his feet, the phone held securely in his hand. This difference did not go unnoticed by most of those present.
"What is it?"
"Ukita can't leave the hotel room!" she spoke quickly. "And no one else either. No one is allowed to leave! Do you understand?"
"Something is happening at Sakura TV. Where are you now?" He'd moved to stand by the window, neglected to answer the questioning eyes of the team as Watari wheeled a television into the room.
"...At the Sakura TV station."
She heard his short, sharp intake of breath, but his voice remained level. "Listen to this broadcast. I'm putting the phone on speaker."
"...In other words all the reporters and staff here are Kira's hostages..."
Haruka supposed that effectively made her a hostage as well, though she thought she might be able to get out of the building undetected if she took the back exit.
This made sense though. Ukita would rush to the station to stop the broadcast only to get himself killed by Kira in front of the building.
"Ryuzaki!" she shouted. She had no worry of being overhead. Still closed in the women's restroom she'd not heard a sound from the hallway. No one, not even a security team, was wandering the halls right now; they were all waiting for the end, waiting to see what would happen once the tapes were aired.
"Damn," she whispered. Light was there. Even so there was nothing she could do about it. She raised her voice and barked an order, "No one can leave. I'll go stop the broadcast."
"That is not–"
"There isn't exactly a whole lot of time right now, L. It's not like you can stop me. People have already died, right? Newscasters, people who have done absolutely nothing wrong, were just killed on national television and this Kira is about to 'send a message' to the world. It has to be stopped. I'm going."
She hung up, turned her phone off and ran to the corridor, pushing open every door in her path. She came across a makeup room and made an impromptu stop to pull on a wig, put in a pair of colored contacts and pocket a cloth mask. It would do no good to bust into the broadcast room only to be killed the moment she entered.
This wasn't Light's Kira. This was something different, another person with the impossible power of killing with heart attacks from a distance. Even Light hadn't fallen this low yet. The two murdered TV personalities had been outspoken against Kira, but that had never been something he cared about. With his ego he'd assumed everyone would eventually fall in line. There'd been no reason to kill them.
"Excuse me, sir?" A man in a uniform was stationed at the end of this hall. She was getting close, but she needed a weapon. There was no way the money hungry dirtbag who ran this station was going to let her walk away with his ratings.
His eyes widened in surprise, but she was glad to note that he didn't seem threatened by her abrupt appearance. "Miss, what are you doing here?"
"I had an appointment," she stepped closer. "Could you tell me what's going on? I'm a little concerned. I haven't seen anyone at all for, like, ten minutes now and I think I'm lost."
He had no time to react as she reached for the pressure point on his neck.
"Sorry," she whispered, flinching as his body hit the floor with a thud. "Ooo. You'll be alright though, I hope."
Luckily he'd been well armed and after taking his gun she continued down the hall and around a corner where she finally found a door with a shining signal light. She paused briefly to secure the covering to the lower half of her face and then slammed into the room shouting, "Stop this broadcast or I'll shoot you now!"
"Was that Haruka-chan?!" Matsuda asked, aghast. "Did she just say she was at the station!?"
Ryuzaki and Light both tried, and failed, to re-establish a connection.
"The person you have dialed is either out of the service area or has turned off their phone. Please leave a message–"
"Aihara-san, you know Deputy Director Kitamura's cell phone number, correct?" He did. "Light, please get in contact with your father. Rely to him the information I'm about to give Kitamura."
There was nothing for him to do but follow Ryuga's direction. In any case he didn't think himself capable of forming coherent independent thoughts at the moment.
Shock. Utterly shocked. What in the hell was going on? He had nothing to do with this broadcast, nothing to do with Sakura TV at all. He didn't even watch the channel. Their Kira support was all for show and rather obnoxious. In the beginning he'd appreciated the outlet for taking a firm stand on Kira's side, but they'd gone way over the top and into the realm of ridiculous quickly.
Haruka was there. Of all the places she had to be, why there and why now? That stupid interview because of her stupid desire for fame! And now she was trapped in the middle of it all, trying to stop the broadcast and–
The television screen went blank.
Soichiro could hardly believe the things he was hearing, but this wasn't the moment for disbelief.
He moved into a car with tinted windows, cell phone still at his ear, and the police procession toward Sakura TV station began.
She hid in a janitorial closet and stowed the hand gun in the bag full of Other Kira paraphernalia. The weapon would be gotten rid of later, but it was covered in her fingerprints and it would be foolish to leave it behind.
Her phone rang the moment she turned it back on.
"I will thank you for never doing that again, Haruka-san." There was a hard edge to his voice; she thought he might be close to yelling. "When you return there are a few things I will need to speak to you about, so please go to the front of the building as quickly as possible without raising more suspicion."
"Well, I stopped the broadcast didn't I?"
He hung up without a reply.
The directive was followed and she managed to keep the pause in her gait brief as she left the building. It was a surprise, to say the least, to see the brigade stationed in front of her. This was definitely a stand against the new Kira and the old; she doubted the general population had any idea that this was the work of someone else, but it was still a brave move on the part of the police.
She refrained from speaking to her father, who was behind the wheel, as she pulled off her disguise and dialed the cell phone of her manager.
Okada was beside herself on the other end of the line, nearly cried in relief when Haruka told her that she'd gotten out of the building safely. A tale was told and gratefully accepted, forgiveness assured, and the call came to end just as they arrived at the hotel.
She was subjected to an unexpected embrace when her father hugged her and couldn't find it in herself to do anything but return the affection. She could only imagine how worried he must have been once he'd realized what she was doing. Still, he would worry even more if she didn't put on her 'strong, independent woman' face.
"Geez Dad. It's fine! I stopped the broadcast and got the things that were sent to the station. Let's just go already!"
His sigh was a tired one, but she knew he was glad to hear the familiar tone of impatience.
Nothing more was said between them and the second she set foot in the door of the suite she was being pulled by the upper arm away from the task force.
Closed in that dark, bare room once more she prepared for the unleashing of L's wrath. Surely he was going to shout at her? He probably wanted to hit her.
Ryuzaki did neither of those things. Instead he kissed her forehead, her nose, her cheeks, and she wondered if she might have broken the detective because it really wasn't like him.
"Hey! Stop that! What are you doing?" She tried to wiggle away as one of his arms snaked around her waist, pulling her close. "This is too weird, Ryuzaki! Be normal again!" Her commands went unnoticed. "I'm fine so stop it already!"
The protests were halfhearted. In actuality this attention had her on cloud nine, but there were other things to be doing.
"I love you."
There was nothing else to be doing.
Ryuk says there was no 'fate' involved, that the whole thing was an accident. "It just happened to fall around here and you just happened to pick it up." He is incorrect.