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Death Note Redux


Sayu had finally broken down.

"Tsshh...," she hissed as she bit down too hard on her thumb. A bad habit, biting at her fingers when she was upset; she couldn't help it though. It had been a while since she'd done this, she wasn't one to get stressed out over things, but this was too much.

All she'd wanted was help with her homework! How had he turned it around like that!? What sort of magician was he anyway?

"Huh? Weird. Hey, Light! What's goin' on? Why's your door locked?"

She should have stopped there, turned around and gone back to her room.

"What is it?" he'd asked.

"Can you help me with my homework?"

Stupid quadratic equations! Stupid Haruka for not being any good with math either!

"I'm like the only person in my class who doesn't get this stuff," she'd strolled into his room, passed the bed and sat at his desk, like she didn't have a care in the world.

And then he struck.

Halfway through the assignment, just when she thought they were making good progress, he started asking about Haruka.

She tried to brush him off, to lie her way out of it, but he could see through all that.

"I can't tell you!" she'd finally exclaimed. "I promised I wouldn't!"

Truthfully she was a little bit afraid of what he might do, but she was more worried about what Haruka would definitely do. Light could keep his feelings to himself, he was the mature one. Haruka wore her heart on her sleeve; when she was mad everyone knew it. She had no qualms about making her displeasure known. Often times the thought of what was coming was worse than what she actually did and Sayu wholeheartedly believed her sister worked that way on purpose.

Still, Sayu thought she should tell him. He deserved to know. Haruka had kept this up long enough and she was only growing crankier as the days went by.

She couldn't do it openly. Just telling him wasn't safe; Haruka might overhear.

The Plan came to her in the middle of the night and she began it's execution the next day in the school library where she printed off a page from Haruka's website. She'd lied and said it was for an assignment about a person she admired to in order to be allowed to print in color, but the point was that she'd gotten what she needed.

At home that afternoon she dropped it and, wouldn't you know it, the accident happened right outside Light's door. By a twist of fate her clumsy step to pick it up sent the sheet under his doorway.

"Oops! There's nothing I can do about it now, I guess."

Light had just completed the reconstruction of his desk drawer and it would have been some time before he noticed the paper had Ryuk not pointed it out.

"Hey, Light, looks like your sister's sending you secret messages."

Which sister was what mattered, but he didn't care to let the shinigami in on his preoccupation. He was a bit perplexed by it himself, but he was expanding too much effort on weeding out the criminal element to spend much time thinking about what Haruka might be hiding. He would have a chance to interrogate the family after he'd taken care of the main problem causers. Once this information became more widely known, the fact that criminals were dying in droves, his burden would be lessened; even those who might have been inclined wouldn't dare risk it, unless there was some mental health issue and what did the world need with unpredictable people like that? If someone was willing to perform criminal acts despite the certainty of death they needed to be gotten rid of.

As he picked up the leaf of paper he immediately realized which sibling had given him the clue. It seemed Sayu had caved.

His eyes traced the page, taking on a hint of red as his interest raised; this was what she'd been doing?

Sayu had provided him with a print-out of Haruka's blog.

He was on his computer and browsing her website a moment later, his ire steadily rising as he clicked through the last few days worth of photos.

She hadn't told him.

Ryuk cackled. "So, this was the big secret?"

She hadn't told him nor had he figured it out himself.

"I wonder why she didn't tell you?"

Light wasn't sure who he was more angry with. His family for agreeing to her stupid request? Haruka for behaving so childishly? Himself for failing to notice that something was off?

From her site he gleaned that she'd been in the business for about two months; he hadn't suspected a thing for most of that time. Either he had seriously misjudged her acting ability or he'd been unbelievably blind. Whatever the case he was legitimately upset about it, more so than he thought he should be, but he couldn't stop his eyes from narrowing as he crumpled the paper in his fist. He could hardly contain this feeling.

What made him furious wasn't the deception, it wasn't the secret keeping or even his inattention. No. What brought out the fury was something else.

Ryuk guffawed as Light clenched his jaw and ground his teeth. He hadn't expected this. Humans were so interesting.

The shinigami had little knowledge of human beings and generally lacked the interest to learn more. They rarely took lives and, even when they did, put forth no effort to make an informed decision about who they killed.

As little as they knew of humanity, shinigami knew even less about themselves. Where they came from, where they might go if they died, they didn't know or care to find out. Occasionally the thought would cross a mind that, perhaps, they had once been humans who'd used a Death Note in life, but it was never spoken of.

Ryuk was unique in his curiosity regarding humankind. He thought the earth a strange place, an intriguing place.

He'd told his constant companion the whole thing was an accident, that he just happened to drop the Death Note and that Light just happened to pick it up, but he was beginning to think that might be inaccurate. Was there something else at play here?

Well, he didn't really care and certainly not enough to say anything about it.

But, as he watched the teenage boy wonder struggle to contain irrational emotions over this stupid issue with his sister, he began to wonder if the Death Note might have more power than he'd thought.

As long as this stayed interesting he would do nothing to tip the kid off and it looked like something really fascinating was about to happen.

They were calling It, Kira.

Haruka heard the name from her school friends. Whispers, just softly spoken thoughts, while they walked home. They didn't make any definitive statements, just general observations.

"People are talking about Kira online."

"Yeah, some are for him, some against."

"What do you think, Haruka?"

That was a loaded question. They were looking to her for something to latch onto, an opinion that would be safe. "People can do what they want and say what they want. There've always been consequences to actions. I'm not thinking of Kira too often, just doing what I know is right anyway. I think we all need to live lives we can be proud of. There isn't anything else we can do."

Relief washed over each face, smiles broke out, and Haruka knew that she'd pacified some of their fears. She wondered if they approved of Kira, whoever that was, and the so-called justice being served, but didn't ask. She'd spoken the truth about her own thoughts; if they had anything to add they could do it without prompting.

"Anyway," she continued. "It doesn't do any good to go on the internet and obsess over it. There are other, better ways to spend time. This is the kind of thing we leave up to fate while doing our best in our own situations."

She was rewarded with nodding heads and contented sighs.

"That's our Haruka for you, always knowing what to say!"

Home again she mentally mocked their easy acceptance of her thoughts. It was too simple to sway their opinions, they could be fooled by anyone. This was no accomplishment on her part, nothing to be proud of. Her influence was easily exerted over the weak minds of the people who called themselves her friends.

They rarely spoke of their own beliefs, always asking what she thought before making any statements. It was irritating, but Haruka was all too aware that she could be replaced. For the time being she was the one they looked up to; should someone more accessible come along they'd defect in a heartbeat.

That was the way teenage girls tended to behave. What they really wanted was to feel accepted and she could give them the attention they craved. They liked her because she seemed like one of them, easy to relate to, yet still different enough to be interesting. Nevertheless, it wasn't that she thought them worthless or that she didn't care about them, they were just so typical! It was too simple to see what they were thinking, too simple to change their minds and influence their decisions. There was no challenge in it and she ran the risk of growing bored with their company.

It was a difficult balance to maintain and she looked forward to the days when she could break out the school-girl role.

December was flowing along and with spring would come her first year post high school. She knew her family expected her to head off to college, but that didn't seem the most profitable path; it could become a distraction. She had her own plans and this modeling enterprise was a faster route to the final destination.

She would have to tell them soon.

In her room she quickly changed into her preselected outfit and took a couple shots of herself in the mirror. They were soon uploaded to the computer, brightened and color corrected.

This task was less complicated than she'd expected it to be. She'd thought the whole blogging thing would be more time consuming, but she'd gotten it down to a science. A morning picture of her breakfast and bento, in the afternoon she uploaded her outfit of the day shots, and during the evening she replied to comments on the posts.

Again, it was too simple to learn the ways of those who frequented her site. The superficial things they cared about, the pictures they wanted to see, and the words they wanted to read were all easily provided.

Were all people this easy to understand?

"Hmm." Maybe not all. There was at least one person she couldn't get a clear grasp of.

Light had come home very late the evening before, with no real explanation for his absence. His evasive answers were enough for their mother and Sayu, but Haruka was still against speaking to him, so she supposed she would never know where he'd been or what he'd been doing.

His recent behavior wasn't far from the norm and she'd questioned more than once if she might be over thinking it, but every so often a look would come to his eyes that made her heart pound violently. No one else seemed to notice, but as his twin she'd always been a bit more attuned to his inner workings than the rest of their family.

Finished with her work for the moment she flicked on the small television set up beside her desk.

"We'd like to apologize for the interruption. As of now we're bringing you a live worldwide broadcast from Interpol's ICPO..."

A worldwide broadcast? From the ICPO, too. It had to be about Kira. What else warranted this kind of attention?

"L?" she murmured. "Who is 'L'?"

This man, Lind L Tailor, called out Kira. Pledged to catch him, called him evil and then...

"Dead?!" she jumped from her seat. That was impossible. Surely the culprit was about to be apprehended. This was a live broadcast! They must have seen who'd caused the heart attack. Then again, who could force a seemingly healthy person to suddenly experience heart failure?

The picture on the screen changed. There was no longer an empty seat with the Interpol backdrop, instead it was filled with the letter 'L' in some gothic-type font.

"I had to test this just in case, but I—I never thought it would actually happen. Kira, it seems you can kill people without having to be there in person. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't just witnessed it."

A voice distorting microphone was obviously being used. This had to be the real L, whoever he was. Lind L Tailor had been a decoy, a criminal on death row, killed by Kira on live television.

"Fool," she whispered. He'd fallen into a serious trap by confirming his existence in this way. It wasn't planned by him, it was orchestrated by an adversary, and Kira had obviously done exactly what was expected of him.

"...the truth is we are only broadcasting in the Kanto region of Japan."

As she listened to the rest of the broadcast she took in the given message. Kira was real, a murderer, and in Japan. Not only that, but the strangest part of all, he was a killer who didn't need to be in the immediate area to commit his crimes. But, he hadn't been able to kill the real L, whose name and face he didn't know.

What mattered the most, at least to her, was the knowledge that her father had to be in on it. If this was a localized broadcast then the police must have been aware and as Director Superintendent her father would be in the middle of it all.

She was sorely tempted to find her way into the files she knew were available, but resisted. There would be too much of a risk involved in that. Heaven forbid someone realize confidential data was being accessed and trace it back to her.

Besides, there was plenty of information for her to find online.

A search for Kira brought up fan websites.

"Idiots." Yet not surprising. There were also dissenters, though they weren't as vocal as the supporters. The internet provided an open forum for all kinds of nonsense, but these people were taking it to another level. Some of them almost seemed to worship Kira. "Weird."

Looking for L brought less content. She learned he was a detective, arguably the best in the world, but there was nothing more than that. No real name, no pictures. The guy was something else.

"If anyone is equipped to stand against Kira, it seems like it would be L."

However, she wondered how long it would be before policemen began dropping off the case. She assumed there had been a task force created, probably filled with the best of the best, but how many of them would remain by week's end? Who was dedicated enough to stay on this case? If Kira only needed a name and a face to kill they were all at risk.

Her father wouldn't quit, she knew that, and this explained his recent late nights. He was on the Kira case, probably exclusively, and likely working under the direction of L. His safety wasn't guaranteed and she resolved to keep track of any odd feelings she might have as the days wore on.

That was something she seriously considered telling Light, but she was still bitter about his lack of involvement in her life.

"If anything happens I'll tell him."

It was a strange ability, one she would have never asked for, but it had proven useful once; a life saved and a friendship lost. Maybe that was the cost? She didn't blame her, Ogawa, Kumiko, for the way she'd reacted. Who could believe it unless they'd experienced it themselves?

She shook her head. She hated to think of it and who could say if it was even something she could do anymore? It had been years since anything like that happened; perhaps she'd lost the curse.

Light was the only one in the family who knew of it. He'd witnessed more than one episode and his initial skepticism had quelled with the death of a mutual friend. He hadn't known how to comfort her, except to say that she'd tired to prevent the tragedy.

"If it's fate, there's nothing you can do to stop it," he'd said as he tried to wipe away her tears.

But, if it was fate, why had she been given the knowledge of such a horror in advance? Why make her witness it firsthand?

She still blamed herself for those deaths, but overall tried not to dwell on the misfortune. In self-defense she kept herself from growing too emotionally invested in her friends, she thought that might have an influence over the things she saw, and if she didn't care too much she would have no strong subconscious desires to protect them.

She'd asked herself multiple times if that was selfish and always found herself answering with a 'maybe', but she supposed it was a natural reaction and refused to feel badly for it. Someday she might change her mind, be glad for the ability, but that day was not today.

In the meantime she had other things to be doing.

Her blog was growing steadily and she wondered if she might have Kira to thank for that. Despite what they said online, she knew that most people were still feeling nervous about what was happening. It was a frightening idea that someone, somewhere, could kill whoever he wanted just by knowing who they were. Suppose he decided to go after petty criminals as well? Plenty of people had done stupid things in the past, would they also be targeted?

With that fear in mind they were looking for things to bring them happiness. Latching onto unnecessary, unimportant things was what people did in trying situations. Why else would a person, when faced with a serious problem, talk instead of the inconsequential? Why would a student who needed to take an important test spend their time with internet games instead of studying?

Simple. They didn't want to face the reality and chose an escape route instead. By ignoring the issue they hoped to delay it, maybe make it disappear altogether. Never mind that it didn't work; if someone wanted a temporary reprieve from their everyday lives they would find one. Once upon a time people had turned to books for diversion, but today the internet was used to fill a void many felt in their hearts.

What did her breakfast matter to anyone else? It didn't really and under normal circumstances she knew she wouldn't have seen this kind of growth, but right now a lot of people were looking for that escape. They were living through her.

When she posted a photo of herself in a dressy outfit they wondered if she had a date, imagined themselves in the same situation rather than their own life. The escapism mentality was a powerful thing and Kira was making it the preferred route for so many that they were finding and using her to help themselves pretend that life was fine.

She would never condone Kira or what he was doing, but that didn't mean she couldn't profit from the fallout.

Humans were so predictable.

Death Note Facts

No one knows where the first Death Note came from, not even the Shinigami king.

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