A picture or two and then...
"Do you honestly have to do that, Haruka?"
"Mom, it's what the people want. Who am I to deny them?"
"I just find it odd. Pictures of your food? Why?"
She shrugged. "I can't really say, but they like this. It would be stupid to ignore the amount of attention these posts get. I know it seems strange, but people enjoy seeing into the lives of others."
Sachiko had given her eldest daughter free reign over her own breakfast and lunch. She was growing more elaborate with the meals she created, waking early to utilize the kitchen and take her photos before leaving for school. Haruka hadn't ever shown an interest in cooking before, but it was a necessary life skill so Sachiko allowed it.
"You've seen magazine interviews, they ask about this kind of thing. People like to know what 'celebrities' eat. I'm not saying I'm on that level, but it's the same principle."
"I suppose." Yes, that was true. Even Sayu was interested in that kind of thing; just the other day she'd seen a picture of that singer with a certain drink before requesting one for herself. She could remember having the same sort of feelings when she was younger, wanting to emulate a person she looked up to. "When you explain it that way it makes more sense, but I still wonder about the maturity of those who take it so seriously."
Haruka laughed. "Me too, but if they're my fans I need to be grateful to them."
She adjourned to her bedroom to clean up the photos and post them. While there she changed into her school uniform, got her bag, and then returned downstairs to consume the food she'd made.
Her mother watched as she ate, something she'd taken to putting more effort into as of late. Haruka guessed she was concerned about the possibility of meal skipping, but she had no reason to do that. She wasn't preoccupied with her weight; as long as she had balanced meals and kept up her usual routine there was no cause for concern.
"Okay, well, I'm done so I'll head out."
"Do you really need to leave so early these days?"
"It gives me time to study before most people get into the classroom. Here I'm tempted to check the blog or do other things, but at school I have nothing else to do." That and she didn't want to meet with Light.
"Have a safe trip."
Out the gate and onto the road. The streets were quiet, few were up and about yet. Adults were on their way to work already, but she didn't meet with any other students. Most of them would wait until the last possible moment before leaving the warmth of their homes.
"Another day." Another typical, boring day. At least she had plans after school to go to a shoot. That made life slightly more interesting and she actually found herself looking forward to the work. To be honest she hadn't thought she would find enjoyment in this job, but it was more absorbing than she'd thought it would be.
It was fun, being the center of attention. All eyes on her, people asking if she wanted anything, giving her compliments and making promises to help her gain notoriety. Things were progressing well and it would soon be time to take the next step:
Making modeling her career.
She'd thought long and hard about this choice, wondered if it was the right direction to move in, and had finally come to the decision that it was the best course of action for her to take. She wanted to be influential and this door was already open.
Her parents would be against it. She knew it wasn't what they envisioned for her. They expected her to use this experience on an application, to watch her go off to college, likely with her brother, and succeed on some other track. She could think of only one way to guarantee their support.
"Tch." She didn't want to tell him, but if Light was on her side Sachiko and Soichiro would have a hard time arguing against the both of them. They knew Light was brilliant and his influence would be invaluable. If he was to reason on her behalf she could be assured that her parents would agree to her wishes in the end.
There was still time, but not much of it. The biggest mistake she could make would be putting off the inevitable. Even so, the thought of telling Light about her endeavors after all this time was enough to make her nauseous.
She entered the school building, changed shoes at her locker, ascended the staircase, and traversed the halls to her classroom. As she'd expected there were few people in the building and no one from her class had arrived yet. Soon a couple of people would be there to set up the room, but she decided to take that matter into her own hands.
This generosity would not go unnoticed by her classmates. They would be grateful to her and tell their friends of her kindness. Perhaps this would be something they remembered and passed on to others, either through actions or words.
With a sigh she sat at her desk. Maybe she and Kira weren't so different with what they hoped to achieve, but their methods differed widely. To her the ends didn't justify the means and if she couldn't do this the right way she wouldn't do it at all.
It was wrong to kill people on your own like Kira was, even if they were criminals with a violent past. The justice system was in place for a reason. Accidents happened, mistakes could be made. Who could say if Kira had killed someone who'd been wrongly accused? Sometimes circumstantial evidence was used when it shouldn't be and backroom deals weren't unheard of; there were people imprisoned who'd done nothing wrong.
Kira was childish. Naive even. How could he take police reports at face value? With the rate of death she thought it unlikely he was taking the time to look into all the evidence used to convict his targets and if he wasn't doing that then he was being lax. Making assumptions was wrong and lazy.
L said Kira was evil. Though the words had come out of the mouth of Lind L Tailor she felt certain they'd been written ahead of time by the real L. He'd probably set up the entire display.
"He might be right about that trait." Kira was a murderer, regardless of who he killed or how much he thought they deserved it. Death row existed to finish people who'd committed heinous crimes; though it often moved too slowly for her tastes that wasn't for her to decide.
Based on his demonstrated personality she thought Kira must be around her age, but the real question was how he'd gotten his power.
She believed in the existence of extrasensory perception, thought she might have a bit of ESP herself, so maybe it was something similar? But, why start to use it now of all times? Why not long ago and with more discretion?
There were too many unknowns here. It was a waste of time to think about this; she had no way of finding the truth. Unless she could somehow convince her father to let her in on the case she'd never know more than the general public, but he wasn't likely to allow that. Light had a much greater chance of becoming involved than she. He'd helped the police with smaller cases before, but who knew if he'd tell her anything with the way things were between them.
For more than one reason she had to make up with Light.
As expected she was praised for her hard work. She didn't have the brains of her brother or the determination to make up for what lacked with studying, so this was her way of leaving a lasting impression on her teachers and classmates. She did well enough on school assignments, but with her grades, though she ranked within the top ten percent, she was never going to get to number one. She used to dream of being one and two with Light, but those fantasies had faded long ago. They didn't have the same set of abilities and she'd accepted that fact.
Instead she concentrated her efforts on endearing herself through perceived altruism. So far it had worked like a charm.
"I can't believe how fast the end is coming!"
"I know, soon we'll be out of high school."
Her friends were gathered around her desk; the lunch hour had arrived and they'd planned to eat together. It was a surprise when Light appeared in the doorway asking for her.
"Haruka-chan, your brother is here to get you!"
She'd twitched in her seat and looked to him with wide eyes. Why in the world was he–
"Sayu," she muttered darkly as she stood, pushing away from her desk. "Sorry," she turned to her friends. "It looks like Light wants to have lunch with me."
They gave her assurances that they understood, raved about the way the two looked together. Haruka was used to those kinds of compliments. Most of the girls in school had a thing for Light and she'd been subjected to their delusions about his character more than once. She knew it wasn't really their fault, they didn't know him like she did, but it could be bothersome listening to them extol his many imagined virtues.
Like how good of a kisser he must be.
She gagged at the thought. Why in the world would they ask her about that? How would she know? She could swear a few of them were half convinced that something must have happened between the siblings at one time or another; they were looking for drama and scandal where it didn't exist.
She shot rumors like those down with the intensity of a thousand dying suns. Unfortunately things like that, no matter how untrue they were, would crop up whether she said anything or not. Meanwhile Light alternately thought it hilarious or didn't care at all.
She was on her own on that front.
Haruka followed her brother to the cafeteria, in silence, where they occupied one of the smaller two seated table by the windows.
He definitely knew. She could see it in the way he sat, leaning toward her, putting himself just a bit too close for comfort.
"So," he began. "You got a job, right?"
He wanted her to spill it on her own, though he was already aware. Well, he was going to be disappointed.
"Yeah. I did. What of it?"
His eyes narrowed slightly, a hint of a frown pulling at his lips.
"Haruka, why didn't you tell me?"
She exhaled. "Why should I have? You figured it out eventually, though I imagine it was more because Sayu finally lost the battle wills and told you, rather than you solving the mystery yourself."
He didn't acknowledge her charge. "You should have told me. It was immature to keep a secret like that."
"I've always been the infantile one, haven't I? This is right in line with my character. You shouldn't be surprised."
"Surprised? No, I'm not exactly. Maybe at how long Sayu held out, but not so much your behavior." He opened his bento, motioned for her to do the same. "But I still want to know why."
She eyed him; the real reason was slightly embarrassing, but he would know if she lied and that would be worse.
"Fine. I'll tell you the truth, but if you laugh I'll never you another thing about me as long as I live. Even if you die first I won't visit your grave to let you know how my life has been." He didn't say anything, but she thought he seemed mildly amused. That wasn't an exaggeration though, she meant every word. "I– I was jealous."
His expression became void of emotion.
"Don't take that the wrong way, okay? It was just because you spend so much time studying and when you aren't doing that, all holed up in your room, you're with your own friends. I realize that's totally normal, but since the summer you haven't even... I mean, you don't ask me anything anymore. So, when something big happened I kept it to myself. I meant to tell you and Sayu at the same time, but there was never an opportunity for that, so I told her at dinner one night when you ate upstairs and that was when I made them promise not to tell. If you weren't interested then why should I have to go after you?" She crossed her arms over her chest and turned away, nose in the air.
And then, suddenly, his face was right in front of hers. He'd moved his chair and his arm came to rest around her shoulders. He looked her in the eye and asked, with a certain amount of disbelief, "You were jealous?"
Haruka seriously considered slapping him or at least getting up and leaving. That was what he got out of everything she'd said? She settled for turning away entirely, shrugging off his arm as she did. She brought one leg up to rest across the other and bounced her foot in agitation.
"No, that isn't what I just said, Onii-chan," sarcasm was her tone of choice.
"I'm sorry, it just doesn't seem like you to keep that to yourself. If you wanted to spend more time together, why didn't you do it?"
She knew what he meant. He was asking why she hadn't barged into his room and demanded an explanation. Coerced him into taking her out or something, but the fact was that they were older and behaving that way would only give fuel to those stupid rumormongers.
She did not feel that way about her brother, not even close, but at one time she had definitely been the clingy little sister. Light was so smart, dammit! He was too perfect! How could she not have wanted him to look at her? That was normal enough, many girls went through that kind of stage with their fathers or brothers, convinced they would marry that important person someday, and as they had for others those feelings washed-out into something duller as she grew older, but she still wanted his attention and when he suddenly withdrew it she was left to flounder.
"Because I understood why you were doing it. You had to study, still have to, and you couldn't spend all your time outside of that with your 'effing sister! That's just creepy and," she dropped her voice, "in case you forgot, people like to talk about things even if they aren't true."
It took him a moment to catch her meaning, but when he did he laughed. "Oh, you mean–"
"Shut up!" she hissed, flipping around to stand over him and cover his mouth with both hands. Of course that drew a few looks and in hindsight she realized this action might bring exactly what she was trying to avoid, but it was too late to change it now. She released a small cough into her fist and sat once more, trying to look nonchalant as she smoothed her skirt and crossed her ankles. "Anyway, that's why. Happy? I told you everything so... So there! That's it." She hated how awkward he was making her feel. It wasn't fair.
She was unaware of how Light felt about it all. This had gone far better than he'd expected it to. Haruka had been jealous. He felt he should have realized it, but she was right about the studying and now he had other things to do on top of that. He couldn't pin all the blame on her. It was also a testament to how important appearances were to his sister and he'd already been aware of that issue.
"I'm sorry," he said finally, watching as she chewed on her lip. "I should have known how you would take it, but you should have known how I would act about it. Even if I had thought of it, and I didn't, things probably would have turned out the same way." He sat back in his chair. "You're so pushy. I didn't realize anything was wrong because you didn't bring it up." He hummed in thought. "Maybe you're more mature than I thought, if you can curb those kinds of impulses."
"Making fun of me." He was right though. More than once she'd wanted to knock his door down and drag him out of the house.
He smirked. "I'll have to take you on a date to make up for this, right?"
"What?" she spluttered. "No. No way. I don't want to." It didn't sound convincing, even to her.
"Not now," he reached for her chopsticks. "I don't have time between cram school and studying. Soon though. Once exams are finished. We won't have much time after that with school starting up again."
She pinched her lips shut, glared at him when he tried to feed her. Who did he think he was? Besides that, if she opened her mouth she might say something she'd regret. She wasn't ready to tell him about her plans; they'd just started getting along again. He would be mad about it before he accepted it.
Then again the look that came to his face suggested that he'd already realized she was holding something back. Damn him.
"Don't want to."
She tried to stare him down, but as always that was a contest he won. "Alright, but, if you're going to get mad, just– Just hold it in until later." He was growing apprehensive, she could see him becoming still. "The truth is, I don't want to go to college."
"...What?" Flat. He was angry.
"I'm guessing you know about my work, that I'm into modeling, and I want to stay on this track. I like it. I've never been great with studying, I don't enjoy it like you do. Grades were never so important to me and I haven't ever known what I wanted to do. I considered politics, maybe journalism, but that doesn't feel right. It's too boring." She shifted in her seat, tried to look as helpless as possible as she clasped her hands together under her chin and looked up at him from beneath her lashes. "Please understand! You know I'm not cut out for more schooling. It would be a waste of time and money. Why should I try to pursue the wrong path when a door has already been opened in front of me? I'm doing well now and I can keep it up." She reached for his sleeve, held it tightly and was relieved when he didn't try to pull away. "So, help me tell our parents. They won't listen to just me."
He sat in silence for several minutes and she held onto him the entire time, wondering what he was thinking. He was too good at keeping a poker face, something else she wished she could master but likely never would.
Eventually he removed her hand from his arm and took up the chopsticks again. This time she didn't refuse the offer, hoping against hope that he would accept her plea and unwilling to do anything that might upset him before he'd made up his mind.
"If I agree to do this," he began as she chewed, "You have to make some concessions too."
She nodded eagerly, nearly choked when she tried to speak too soon. "Sure, sure. Whatever you want!"
Light handed her his soda as her eyes watered, shook his head at her easily given promises. She probably thought she was manipulating him and he hated to admit that she sort of was; he would turn that around on her, but if Haruka had one real talent it was definitely manipulation. She would resent the term, insist she was good at persuasion, but batting eyelashes was hardly being persuasive. "You have to make me lunch everyday until I say otherwise."
"And we're eating together from now on."
"Great. Good plan."
Her earnest stare was wearing him down. A brief idea, hardly more than half a thought, passed through his mind.
He considered finding out who the top people were in her agency and killing them.
Because she was watching him so closely Haruka saw the flash of red in her brother's eyes. It was there for hardly a moment, but it did catch her attention. Had it been a trick of the light?
"Also, you need to tell me about what you're doing. I'm not sitting around in the dark anymore and I don't want to have to go after Sayu for secondhand information."
"Understandable. But seriously, will you or won't you?"
He sighed, ran a hand through his hair and leaned his head back. He didn't want to. He didn't want her doing this, he didn't like it. But, how could he tell her no? What reason could he give? Not a rational one.
He was unprepared for her holler of success and they both ended up on the floor when she launched from her seat to hug him, but it was nice to be back in her good graces, even if he had the growing desire to end her career before it started.
Haruka didn't walk home with him; she had a photo shoot.
He clenched his fists in frustration.
"Hey, Light, what's got you so upset? She's just working."
He didn't want to answer Ryuk, but the shinigami was persistent.
"You keep acting this way and people will get the wrong idea."
"Who cares?" he fought to keep his voice low, calm. "As God of the new world I'd think I'm entitled to do whatever I like, especially after everything I'm doing to make the world a better place."
Ryuk eyed the teen with interest. This was getting better and better.
"You don't mean you'd actually be with your sister, do you? Not that I care, but that does sound interesting." He laughed loudly. "You know what? Do it."
Light shook his head. "You're only in it for a good time," he observed. "That would be harder to pull off than everything else combined."
"Sure it would. But, you like challenges don't you?"
He couldn't argue against that point.
Nothing worth having was easy to get.
"Haruka-chan, would you like a ride?"
She turned, looked a young man named Tanaka, Aoi in the eye, and answered with a smile. "If you really wouldn't mind."
"Not at all!"
She pretended not to notice the flush that came over his face.
She'd met Tanaka a few times; he was a freelancer, took lighting jobs as they presented themselves and he'd been on more than one shoot with her. He had a full-time desk job, but he'd told her he was hoping to break away from the corporate world.
He held the passenger side door open for her.
She didn't hate the man, but he liked her more than she liked him. She thought it a bit sad, but didn't feel wrong about accepting this offer. It was better than taking the bus.
"So," she struck up conversation. It would be torturous to sit in silence. "How'd you get into lighting for photo shoots?"
"While I was in college I worked part time with a professional photographer. She had a studio, took family portraits and things like that. At the time I didn't think I could turn it into a stable job. That was a mistake on my part," he laughed. "For now I'm stuck at a desk like everyone else."
"Hmm, but at least you're getting back into work you like."
"Yeah, it's been hard, but I enjoy this."
She nodded. "That's good, oh turn left at the next intersection."
They snorted at the play on words. The ice was officially broken.
"Haruka-chan, how'd you get your start in this business?"
"Me? Well, it was an accident. I never thought about people being recruited in real life, but I guess it happens. I had to ask my parents though, that was the hardest part."
"They were against it?"
"Not exactly. It's just that my dad is the director superintendent of police so–"
"Really?!" he exclaimed. "No kidding?"
Slightly nervous; she thought that the appropriate reaction. She'd be more worried if it didn't make him anxious. "Yes, so he's really careful. He insisted on doing background checks on everyone. He even came, with his lawyer, when I signed the contract. I think he scared the head of the agency, but I guess it works in my favor. No one will try to screw me over."
Tanaka blinked in surprise. He'd never heard the girl use that type of phrase and found her more attractive for it. Truthfully he thought her beautiful, but she seemed almost too perfect. "I didn't think you spoke that way."
"Oops," she put a hand to her mouth and smiled sheepishly. "Sorry. I don't usually, but actually I sometimes need to put a lot of effort into editing what I say before I say it."
By the time he was opening the car door for her at the Yagami home Tanaka was enamored.
She waved as he drove away, felt a little guilty for maybe leading him on, but allowed the feeling to pass. She hadn't done anything overtly flirty; she'd been no more than friendly. Still, it would be better to be careful about things like that. The last thing she needed was a trial of broken hearts and gossip to go along with them. There were sayings about spurned women, but men could be just as bad.
She entered the house without fanfare. There was no one at the entrance to greet her, but she guessed that her siblings would be upstairs and their mother was probably getting dinner on the table.
To the second floor she went, and into her room, to change before supper.
She was just buttoning up a new top when the doorbell rang.
"Dad?" He was home earlier than usual; had there been a break in the case? She doubted he'd discuss it, but there had to be a reason for his early return. Any progress was better than no progress.
Before leaving the bedroom she took stock of herself in the full length mirror that hung on the back of her door.
A navy blue blouse with white polka dots and black skinny jeans. She'd pulled her hair up, into a pony tail that would likely end in frustration when she had to cut out the band.
"Eh." It was alright, but there was no reason to get all dressed up for dinner at home so she stopped short of accessorizing. "I'll use this for tomorrow's upload."
Light was at the bottom of the stairs when she started to descend, greeting their father.
"Hey, glad you could join us for dinner. You hungry, Dad?"
"Yeah, it's been a long day."
"Dad! You're back early."
"Ah, Haruka. Yes, for once." He excused himself to freshen up before the meal was served, leaving the twins alone with a look that appealed for peace as he moved up the staircase.
He said he'd had a long day. What did that mean? He seemed weary, but that wasn't surprising.
She looked to Light, he too remained on the stairs, and thought back to that afternoon. Had she really seen red in his eyes? He didn't seem any different than usual now, and yet something. Something was off.
He turned to her, gave her the once over and a serious case of the shivers. "You look nice."
"Um, thanks." Strange. Really strange.
A raised eyebrow. "Are you planning on coming down the stairs or...?"
She jumped, "Oh right!", and lost her balance.
Light, standing at the base of the stairway, was directly in her path and the two tumbled into the wall as he broke her fall.
"Sorry!" she exclaimed once she caught her breath. "Sorry, are you okay?"
His back was to the wall and, while they were both on the floor, Haruka found herself trapped. His legs were bent upward and when she made to stand he caught her wrist saying, "Hold on. Are you hurt?"
She tried to shake her head, opened her mouth to tell him "No", but the words died on her lips as his hands came to her face. He turned her head one way, then the other, and pushed her chin up.
To anyone watching it would have seemed that he was just checking for bumps or bruises, but it felt different to her, wrong somehow.
Before she could get too worked up about it their father appeared at the top of the stairs. "What happened?" he asked.
Light smiled at the older man, his sister could see that it was contrived, as he provided an answer. "Haruka lost her balance. Don't worry," his eyes came back to hers. "I caught her."
There was that red flash again. This time she was sure it wasn't an illusion of refracting light; did that mean it had been real before too? What did it signify?
"Well try to be more careful Haruka or you'll end up taking both yourself and your brother out of commission." Soichiro shook his head and turned away. It seemed that some things never changed. At least they appeared to be on better terms; that was one less thing to worry about and he had enough on his plate as it was.
As their father disappeared once more Haruka put a hastily concocted plan into action. Surely, everything was fine. This didn't mean anything. "Light, you– hit your head, right?" She tried not to sound nervous, told herself her fear was irrational, and shifted to sit on her knees. "Here, let me look."
Nothing was wrong. Nothing was wrong. Nothing was wrong.
He leaned forward, put his forehead on her shoulder and with shaking hands she gently pushed her fingers into his hair, carefully checking for an injury.
Everything is fine, she thought. He's just concerned and–
But then his arms were around her and he was holding her way too close. He'd turned his head, she could feel his lips on her neck, and she wanted to convince herself that it had been an accident because he was pulling away already.
She had to be wrong, wanted to be wrong, but his eyes said otherwise.
What was the expression? Eyes were the windows to the soul. But, with a crimson color that wasn't his own, she had to wonder if this person had a soul at all.
They sat side by side as they always did when everyone had dinner together, a rarity as late. Sayu was beside their mother, seated across from Haruka, while their father was positioned at the head of the table and he took the task of striking up conversation.
"So, Light, tell me, how are your studies going?"
"Hm? Everything's okay I guess."
Sayu was quick to contradict the humble answer. "Whatever! He's at the top of his class! My big brother's a genius."
"That's my son! We're all proud of you, Light." No one could mistake the pride in their mother's voice.
Light redirected the flow of speech. "Is everything okay, Dad? You look tired."
"Yeah. I'm not able to say too much about it, but this case I'm working on now is really tough."
"My big sister is pretty cool too, though," Sayu commented, looking to Haruka with shinning eyes. "Even if she is just as bad at math as I am."
"Haha," she muttered in response. "At least I try to do my work."
"You know if you need help you can ask me."
So he said, but was that really her brother? That soulless thing at the bottom of the stairs– She couldn't accept it.
"No thanks. I can do it myself."
"Don't be petulant, Haruka," their father warned. "If you need help it's better to ask for it."
"Or accept it when it's offered," Sachiko added.
"If I needed his help I would ask for it and, actually, I did ask for help with something," she kicked him under the table, "earlier today." It was better to pretend that she hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary, especially in front of the family.
"Oh?" Their mother was interested in this. "Are you two on speaking terms again?"
"Yeah, Mom. I figured out what was going on."
Sayu glanced away and hummed a quiet tune.
"Well, it's about time, isn't it? At the rate you were going I was afraid you'd be upset beyond the start of college." A relieved smile came to her face.
"Funny you should mention that because that was what I was asking him for help about," Haruka's hands clenched together in her lap. She looked at the table. "Because, you know, school and I– kind of..." How was she supposed to explain this?
Any design she might have had fled her mind when Light put a hand over hers, his thumb caressing her skin as he pushed her hands apart. She stiffened.
"Haruka doesn't want to continue her schooling."
The gasps of shock were audible.
"When did you decide that!?"
She shot a glare at Light. "Way to be tactful," she hissed as she dug her nails into his flesh. "Baka, Onii-chan."
He jerked his hand away and she noted, with some satisfaction, that there were indeed marks left behind.
"She told me this afternoon," he explained. "I was against it at first, but after thinking about it I understand what she means. She wasn't ever as good with school work as I am and she does have a career path already."
Their parents remained skeptical, but Sayu was prepared to join in as an advocate.
"I thought you might do something like this," she said. "Light's right, you're not so great with school and–"
"Better than you!" Haruka interrupted, indignant.
"–and you're already doing really well with modeling. What if this is like, your destiny? Maybe you're supposed to be a star!" Her smiled widened as a new idea occurred to her. "Maybe you're supposed become an idol, meet Hideki-kun and introduce him to me and–,"
"That's enough, Sayu," their mother interrupted before turning to her husband. "Soichiro..."
His silence was enough of an answer, but Haruka had been prepared for this. Desperate times called for desperate measures and she was serious about this decision. Schooling wasn't for her, but if they couldn't accept that she'd come up with a contingency plan.
"It's fine if you can't give your blessing, Dad. I understand, but then I have to ask you to understand too when I say that if you really can't accept this I'll be moving out," she ignored the looks of surprise. "Either on our birthday or once school is over. It would be easier once high school is done, but I'll be 18 at the end of February so–,"
Light's hand came down on her shoulder like a vice.
She had a very short space of time to come to a conclusion about what he was doing. It did no good to deny what she'd seen, or hadn't seen, in his eyes earlier or what she'd felt in response. She'd had the horrible, wild thought that he might be Kira, but could not reconcile the image of an emotionally immature mass murderer with that of her brother. Clearly something else was involved, but how could she find out what was really happening?
The only way to win at this game was to play as well. If she wanted to gain anything she'd have to join in. Could she handle that? Perhaps that wasn't the right question to ask. Could she handle not taking part? She got the feeling there was more at stake than she could even hope to imagine.
She might lose if she played, but she would definitely lose if she didn't.
Her heart and mind came to agreement; this had to be done.
"I think I should leave you all to talk this over, but maybe Light should come with me for a minute. He didn't know about this either and I should explain it to him."
His grip loosened as she spoke and released entirely when she stood from the table. The two left the dinning area to no protest.
Sayu watched them leave and briefly considered following, but the hand her mother placed on her knee, and a slight shake of her head, dissuaded the girl. It seemed her older siblings would need a private moment and, as she looked to her father, she thought it best she not abandon the table.
His hand came to rest on the small of her back the moment the door closed behind them. It wasn't easy to suppress the shudder of disgust that threatened to overtake her, but this was to be expected. Whatever being had control of her brother's body needed to believe that she was a willing participant.
She shook her head at the direction of her thoughts; she was actually hoping that Light was indwelt with some kind spirit. If that was the case she could at least put the blame on someone else, but if it turned out that this really was him then she would have to seriously consider the possibility of ending his life, either by her own hands or those of the justice system.
Part of her hoped, perhaps foolishly, that it was just the bump to his head taking effect.
"Haruka, what are you thinking?" He was visibly upset. She'd expected him to be unhappy with the way she sprung the news, but he seemed to be taking it personally.
"I'm thinking..." Was this too much? Would he be suspicious of her motives? "...that we should talk upstairs. Alone. In your room."
She tried not to cringe as she took his hand and led him down the hall and up the stairs. He didn't resist and she saw that as a good sign, though also a little concerning. She wasn't the best actress and thought he should have seen through her awkward phrasing.
In his bedroom she encountered another uncomfortable choice: Did she sit at his desk or on his bed?
Sitting at the desk wouldn't be too strange, but it could be interpreted as a sign of discomfort. The problem was that sitting on the bed could be a sign that she was too comfortable.
Which was worse in the big scheme of things, with all her concerns considered?
She said nothing when she heard the lock click and took her seat on the edge of his bed.
"I'm sorry," she began. "I didn't mean to lay it all out that way, but you're to blame too! I didn't know you were going to bring it up so soon."
He remained standing.
"I was going to tell you about that part, but I hadn't really planned it all yet so I didn't want to say anything until I was sure." This much was true. She had intended to explain this to Light before speaking to their parents about her plans for the future.
Finally he spoke. "You do realize that you were the one who started talking about school, right?"
"Huh? Nope, sorry. I don't recall that. You're misremembering." Even though he wasn't. She'd gotten flustered when their mother brought up college plans.
"Of course you don't," he sat beside her. "Because Haruka never does anything wrong and she's always right." It sounded like the typical jest, but she thought otherwise as his arm draped across her shoulders and he pulled her into his side.
Again, she struggled to contain a quiver of fear and tried to remember why she'd made this situation possible in the first place. She had to play the game with him, find out how far he was willing to go and try to beat him, whatever that entailed.
She calmed her pounding heart with those thoughts. This wasn't about her, this was about Light and figuring out what he was doing. This was about the ruby red color his eyes had taken on, so bright that she could see it in the darkness, and pulling him back from the edge of an abyss. Something had taken hold of him, but she was the only one who saw it and the only one who could do anything about it.
Light was holding her fully now, both arms wrapped around her body; this affection, disturbing as it was, served to spur Haruka into action. If this soulless monster wanted to be close to her then dammit she could get close to it for the sake of her family.
With that in mind she pushed revulsion far into the recesses of her psyche and shifted into his lap.
Her concerns that he would find it unusual were stayed when he chuckled.
"My imōto still likes to be close to her brother?"
"Shut up," she muttered. "This is embarrassing."
For more than one reason, but she needed fool him so, "Just because!" Keep it simple, she told herself. Getting too elaborate would tip him off.
"You don't need to be embarrassed, I'd like to be closer to you too. We drifted apart for a while," he pulled her hairband out, "but I want us to be intimate again."
How could he say that in such a, such a dirty way? Exactly when had they ever been 'intimate'? This was getting fouler by the second.
She gripped the front of his shirt with one hand and leaned her head against his chest, tilting to look up at him. His eyes were blood-red. "How so?"
Rather than answer he slid his hand down her back and around to grip her hip.
"Light...?" She could muster no more than a whisper.
"Don't be nervous. Don't you know that I love you more than anyone else ever will? More than anyone else ever can?"
She was unable to hide the fright quickly enough; his eye flickered, for a moment he looked immeasurably angry, but it was gone even more rapidly than it appeared and he was saying, "I'm sorry. I confused you, didn't I? Made you upset."
"Not– not exactly."
His lips quirked and she watched with trepidation as his gaze wandered over her face. "Let me explain it to you, so you can understand." His hand was on her cheek, stroking, his nose bumped against hers and his mouth descended, molding with that of his sister for the briefest of moments.
A hunger awoke, one he had never known before, and he touched her lips to his again. And then again. And again, and again, and again and he felt as if he would never get enough of her taste so he pulled her closer, holding her body to his as they fell backward onto the bed.
He heard her squeak, felt her struggle, but if she was wholly against this she would have put up more of a fight. Haruka was not one to go down without a battle and he suspected that her upset had more to do with surprise than anything else.
After all, though she couldn't possibly be fully aware, she had to realize that he had changed. He was different, powerful. He held life and death in his hands. He would be God of a new world and she had always been His. Even her previous distress had been driven by her desire for His attention. She wanted this, even if her sense of decency made it hard for her to accept.
It would be difficult to say whether or not Haruka would have been gratified by Light's thoughts, to the extent that he remained unaware of her true purpose, because even if she had known what he was thinking she could hardly make sense of her own mind at the moment.
Repulsed. She was absolutely repulsed by this turn of events, or at least her brain and heart were. To her disgust her body was behaving in an opposing manner. She knew this was her brother beneath her, that Light had kissed her, was still kissing her, and running his hands up and down her back under her blouse, but that didn't seem to matter to the butterflies in her stomach.
If there was one thing she didn't want to do it was consent to this liaison by pretending to go along with his affection, but was it really a lie if her body actually wanted to reciprocate?
And the winner of my first kiss is: Light, she thought grimly.
Of all the things she'd thought he might do this had been far down on the list of expectations, but it was too late to back out and if she didn't participate he would recognize her falsehoods. So, using all the acting ability she had, Haruka pulled away and sat up on top of him only to encounter a new mental block.
How was she supposed to act? Shy or alluring, which was more appropriate and how could she figure that out in the next two seconds?
"Um..." Shy it was; though it would appear out of character under normal circumstances she hoped he would forgive this lapse and chalk it up to nerves. "O–onii-chan," her face was on fire as her voice wavered. She thought it absurd, told herself she had nothing to be ashamed of. She wasn't the instigator here. Even so, it was hard to take it in. He'd really pulled her onto his bed and kissed her senseless hadn't he? This wasn't just a realistic nightmare. She shook herself and tried to reclaim her prior determination. "Light."
He pushed up onto his elbows and raised an eyebrow. "Yes?"
She could detect the faintest hint of impatience in his voice. "I," she reached forward to lock her arms around his neck and tugged to the side. He followed easily and hovered above as she spoke. "I want to be on the bottom."
She wanted to die as his eyes shifted from red to black.
The smile that came to his face was savage.
Death Note Facts
All actions of a human Death Note user are voluntary, but the Note holds a significant power generally unknown to both Shinigami and human users: The Note will greatly influence human decisions.