Death Note Redux

Observational Experimentation

Haruka had never seen L consume anything resembling a balanced meal; he ate nothing but sweets. The human body couldn't possibly function well on a diet like that. Perhaps this was a partial explanation for his other strange habits? A lack of essential nutrients had led to the development of infantile tendencies including, but not limited to, thumb sucking and a refusal to wear socks or shoes.

He appeared to have problems with his back, but she'd realized that his bad posture was a preference rather than a physical deformity. She would have thought he needed a chiropractor had she not witnessed him standing at full height without trouble. There was no grimace, no sign of pain to be seen. Clearly his hunch back act served a purpose, maybe to keep others away? It was exceptionally off-putting.

Ryuzaki sat in all chairs the same way, knees drawn up with his upper half curved forward, and he preferred to sit alone. She'd not once caught him on a couch. She could only guess where this inclination came from. He clearly didn't have mysophobia nor did he seem to have any anxiety issues; she refused to ask so she supposed she would never know.

He held things very delicately, often using only his fingertips to grasp small objects. She saw him with a cell phone at one point, holding it in that odd way with his wrist bent at a seemingly uncomfortable angle. He'd been on and back off the device quickly. He didn't seem to like telephones.

The rings under his eyes were permanent. He rarely slept and apparently suffered from some kind of disorder. Or multiple disorders. She thought that a definite possibility.

His clothing choices did not have variety. He wore a white long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans. Period. She'd never witnessed him in anything else and wondered if he had an unending supply of that one outfit. He didn't exude any obvious odor, so she assumed he did change his clothing, but it was impossible to know for sure.

L's hair was always a mess, but it didn't seem tangled or dirty so he had to at least brush it on a regular basis. She could make no conclusions about how often it was washed; the man rarely saw the light of day so there was little opportunity for his hair to collect dirt or dust. Relying on the presence of an oily look was unreliable, different internal balances made for different hair types. He could be one of those people whose hair never seemed greasy.

A toothbrush was unquestionably something Ryuzaki owned. He had all his teeth and that wouldn't be possible without extreme attention given to his oral health, especially considering the incredible amounts of sugar he ingested. He probably flossed too. Unless his teeth had fallen out long ago and been replaced... She couldn't think of a way to check without being noticed so that was something else she'd never know the truth of.

He spoke almost exclusively in monotone with very little variance in pitch regardless of the subject. Not that she'd spent much time speaking with him, but she had overheard (read eavesdropped on) a few conversations between the task force members and his tone rarely altered. Be their discussion centered on recently deceased criminals or Matsuda's lack of insight his voice remained level.


"What is that?" She jerked her chin at the table and the offending thing that sat upon it.

"I assume your question is rhetorical."

So it was, but that didn't make her any less annoyed.

Flowers. They were flowers. A large glass vase full of them and covered in strings of pearls. It was obviously expensive.

And also an experiment.

"Don't want 'em."

He didn't seem disheartened or surprised; Haruka supposed that meant she'd reacted the way he'd thought she would.

She was tempted to push it off the table and shatter the vase, but that would pose a danger to herself and she thought he might expect it of her. She wasn't that immature.

Instead she walked away, waited for him to close himself off in some other room and then overturned the decoration in front of the door he'd disappeared behind.


Ryuzaki wasn't actually a thumb sucker and he'd taken offense to the insult, but she would use it again even though it wasn't technically correct because that was the first time he'd reacted so obviously to something she said. She'd also noticed him making a concerted effort to keep his hands away from his face, but it seemed the habit was difficult to break. There it was now, his thumb resting on his lower lip.

L was rude. He spoke without regard for the feelings of the other participants in conversation. He paid no heed to looks of shock and disregarded expressions of revulsion, like the one she was currently wearing as he followed her into the elevator.

Even in public, in a space where others walked regularly with God knew what on the soles of their shoes, he wouldn't put on footwear.

"Gross, thumb sucker."


Insincere verses heartfelt.

Would she be able to tell the difference?

The gift of flowers had not gone over well, she'd been aware of the insincerity behind his actions as he'd predicted she would be. She had managed to surprise him with her reaction, it had been far more restrained than he'd expected; there was no shouting involved. Of course she'd then proceeded to send water flowing beneath the framework of a door, starting a small electrical fire and ruining a few copied files that had been left scattered on the floor, but all in all he thought the experiment a success.

Now for the next attempt.

"Gross, thumb sucker."

...

He shoved his hands into his pockets.


Ryuzaki had never seen Haruka wear the same outfit twice. Excepting her school uniform, which wasn't at all flattering, she appeared to carefully select her clothing. Everything she wore was fashionable, color coordinated and correctly sized. And, on the subject of the things she wore, her skirts tended to be on the short side though it was winter and very cold. He did not understand that trend.

High-heeled shoes were never worn in front of her father, instead she changed into/out of flats just outside the doorway. In order to accomplish this task she always carried two oversized tote bags with her out the door, where she placed the offending footwear, but he'd observed that she often left the building with only one. As it turned out she sometimes charged the front desk with the care of a bag and retrieved it when she returned to the hotel.

Her hair required constant maintenance and specialty products. She did not use shampoo and only truly cleansed her hair once a week, but brushing under running water was mandatory on a daily basis. A vinegar rinse was employed on occasion. She did not use the usual hair bands, hers were supposedly tangle-resistant and more expensive; even so he'd seen her forced to cut them out of her hair when she used them for ponytails. More than once he'd been tempted to pull one of her curls to see how long her hair really was, and to find out if it would bounce back, but so far he'd been able to quell the impulse.

She was useless before six in the morning and after midnight. A whiny, weepy, uncoordinated mess. She was rarely awake at either of those times, but it did happen infrequently. She would come shuffling through a room only to bump into the edge of a table or trip on the upturned corner of a rug. She'd once hit the floor and stayed there for the rest of the night.

If it took her more than ten minutes to fall to sleep she began complaining to her father. Or Watari. Whoever she came into contact with first.

When she was young Haruka embodied the phrase "cutting off the nose to spite the face". If she thought wounding herself would hurt someone who'd wronged her, she would do it. Chief Yagami had recounted her childhood tendency of purposely putting herself in harm's way to upset others or garner sympathy. They'd attempted to break her of the habit early on, but she'd recently displayed the same inclinations when making her family promise to keep her work life a secret from her brother, leading her to be more upset than the one she sought to insult. L thought it a case of nature winning out over nurture.

She'd lately participated in an incestuous relationship with her twin. Their contact had only been severed because her father believed she was suspected of being Kira and thought she was being kept for observational purposes; in fact that was partially the truth, but Light's chances of being guilty were much higher than his sister's. However she'd been in a vulnerable position and more easily accessible. Ryuzaki hadn't yet had the opportunity to cross-examine her, but the probability that her information would be useful stood around the seventy-five percent mark so he was willing to wait.

On her MP3 Player was a set of near one hundred songs that she listened to repeatedly. The most often played was titled Ordinary Day. The second: Whenever, Wherever. Her musical tastes varied, but the majority of her playlist was excessively sentimental. L had little interest in music, but this provided some insight.

Haruka's singing voice wasn't terrible, but neither would she win any contests with it. Her ability was modest and she may have benefited from lessons.

An expert eavesdropper she would never be. She was prone to sounds of annoyance when conversation lulled and too quick to give up listening. She remained unaware that he was cognizant of her attempts.

L had been told that Haruka's recent explosions of violence were out of character. Prior to their first meeting she'd expressed anger through silence. Her father was apologetic for her actions, but could offer no viable explanations.


"What is that?" She pointed to the huge, wrapped box in the entryway.

"I assume your question is rhetorical."

"Not this time."

"Generally one would open a container to find out its contents."

She didn't appreciate his condescending tone, as slight as the change in pitch had been she'd caught it.

This was another test, but curiosity was getting the better of her.

"You open it."

"If it's for you, shouldn't you be the one to open it?"

"Who says it's for me?"

He shuffled forward, lifted a large tag attached to the pink ribbon bow. "Well, would you look at that?"

Asahi, Haruka

Instead of doing as he said she turned and dashed away, around a corner and down the hall. Matsuda was inside one of these rooms, she just had to figure out which.

L found her with an ear pressed to a door.

"Ah, ha!" She knocked once and pushed open the barrier. "Matsui-san," a stage whisper. "I need your help for just a second!"

Matsuda was quick to accept her fear that the top would be too heavy for her to lift and was easily persuaded to open the box for her. Yet she did not find the stereotypical carnival-sized teddy that she'd been expecting inside. Instead there was another box.

Her interest was captured and she gently shooed Matsuda away to finish the task of unboxing herself.

By the third box she'd forgotten Ryuzaki existed at all, let alone that he was the one who'd set the display up to be used for research.

At box number five her impatience got the best of her and she cursed.

Box number six looked to be the last and in her excitement she realized too late that she couldn't reach it without tipping into the opening.

"Ah!" Haruka released a short yelp as she found herself stuck, half inside and half out, kicking her legs in an effort to swing upright. She'd gotten hold of the last little box, but opening it would be impossible in her current position.

How long would it take her to ask for assistance?

L hypothesized it would be within five minutes. He knew Haruka wouldn't want help, more specifically she wouldn't want his help, but he was the only one nearby and she had no means of getting herself out.

He recognized that his refusal to offer a helping hand might be interpreted as a lack of common decency and acknowledged that allowing her to remain in discomfort when he had the ability to change her circumstances was undeniably rude, however this was a central part of his investigation into her character and necessary.

Haruka counted two hundred forty-one seconds before accepting that Ryuzaki would not offer aid and resigned herself to requesting help, but it was another full minute before she could work around her pride to do it. When she emitted a loud, long sigh it had been more than five minutes and it was at least another thirty seconds before she actually spoke.

She'd lasted longer than he thought she would, but she met his expectation of impolite behavior by refusing to acknowledge his role in extracting her from the trap.

Within the smallest container, a rectangular robin's egg blue box, was–

"A spoon?" It was decorated with a thin, white ribbon tied about the handle.


It was difficult to say whether or not she'd appreciated the gift. While she hadn't had a tantrum, thrown the utensil away or misused it, neither had she utilized it at all.

He concluded that she was not offended by this present, but it would be impossible to fully understand her reasoning without further observation.


What was the meaning of this 'gift'?

For two days now she'd been trying, and failing, to decipher the true significance behind Ryuzaki's actions. It was some kind of experiment, but what was the point? What had he learned about her through all of that?

Why did he even need to know anything more about her? Much to her chagrin she'd made her character painfully obvious; he knew how immature she truly was. Some of her reactions surprised even her, she'd not thought herself so vindictive or easily angered. In most situations she remained composed. Even if someone was ridiculing her to her face she could accept the abuse gracefully, with the expectation of making the insulter seem ridiculous.

She couldn't do that with L, but, then again, what had he done to her? That thing with her father was humiliating, but to be honest she wasn't sure Soichiro had understood the significance of the detective's words. Since then Ryuzaki'd not said much to her, hadn't really provoked the wrath she'd unleashed. Her reactions were unwarranted. The worst part of it was that even though she realized how silly she was being, she couldn't stop the involuntary reactions.

In the dark she sat, in a new room once more. The process of switching hotels was not a burden to her, it always happened while she was at school, but she was growing tired of it all the same. It seemed that L was winding down on this precaution though. There had been no new leads, the household surveillance had been removed and all the task force had to go on were the continued deaths of criminals; unfortunately it appeared that Kira had claimed victory this round.

With all of that in mind, and taking into consideration the seriousness of the situation, he was choosing to spend time planning ways to test her. Was this related to the Kira investigation in some obscure way? If it was someone was going to have to clue her in because it didn't make a bit of sense to her.

The spoon.

What was the importance of a sugar spoon?! More than that, why did she want to understand so badly?

Elbows on the small round table, one leg crossed over the other, she held the spoon up in front of her face and rested a cheek within the other palm. She'd looked at the stupid thing a hundred times; researching it's origins left her even more confused than she'd been initially.

It was from Tiffany's, cost over twenty-one thousand yen. What the hell did he think she'd do with an absurdly expensive spoon? He was the sugarholic, not her. In fact she didn't think she'd ever eaten something sweet in front of him.

Maybe it was meant to be an insult. Perhaps he was implying that she needed to be sweeter.

Her fist came down on the tabletop and she bit her lip. There was only one way to know for sure, but that would mean asking the one who'd initiated the contest. Surely he was waiting for that, waiting for her to breakdown and demand answers. That would be playing right into his hand, she was sure of it.

And there was another problem, one she could hardly stand to acknowledge. Some tiny part of her, a stupid, irrational, ridiculous part, was shouting as loudly as it could that this was a good thing. It was the part that hadn't fully let go of the crush, the one that had been the most hurt by the things he'd said about her feelings.

She knew it was dumb, so why couldn't that bit just shut up already? Ryuzaki had made it clear what he thought of her feelings. "Ill-conceived." That was what he'd called her. Misguided. Foolish. She refused to fall for a person like that, someone who could so easily belittle the affections of another.

It wasn't like she'd been in love with him and even if she had, even if she'd been so stupid as to love a person she didn't know much about, who was he to knock her down so carelessly?

Well, she knew him now and he was a Grade A Freak. A jerk. Altogether socially inept and– and...

And she still liked him!

What was wrong with her?

There was no reason for this attraction. By all accounts she was way out of his league and under normal circumstances she wouldn't have looked in his direction twice. Well, maybe twice, but certainly not a third time and no way would she have looked long enough to start liking him. No way.

"No way."

This was probably Light's fault. After that illegitimate romance her subconscious was looking for his opposite and had bestowed the honor of being the fallback on L. That made sense, right? It wasn't so much him that she liked as his differences from her brother. Prior to meeting him she'd already placed a lot of hope on Ryuzaki, so it only stood to reason that she would start to idolize him.

Even now she recognized that he was the world's best chance of stopping Kira.

All those reasons combined almost allowed her to forgive her own stupidity, but not quite. There was something else.

She called him a thumb sucker, knew it wasn't true, but did it anyway. Why? Not because she was trying to provoke him, but because she had to say something contrary to what was really going through her mind when he put his finger to his mouth.

"Of all the dumb things," this was the dumbest.

Whenever he did that, whenever she noticed, it made her want to touch him. Pull his hand away or something, she wasn't sure what, but that urge needed to be squashed so she insulted him instead. Most of her insults stemmed from reactions like that.

Okay, so it was all of them.

Suffice it to say that was why she couldn't forgive herself. Even if this was Light's fault she was the fool in the end. It was her heart that would be emptied by the time this was over, not his.

L didn't know of her regard, he was too emotionally blind to see behind her actions. Criminals he could understand, but this was different. While he was testing her for reactions he missed the point. Haruka had little fear that she would be found out, but that didn't mean it wouldn't be safer to get rid of the blasted feelings.

The only problem was she didn't know how to do that.


She'd not been combative for the last few days, but now it was time for the cross-examination and he wondered if her new attitude would be able to withstand his questioning.

"I need to know that you are not Kira," he began. "And I need to know why you claim to suspect your brother of holding the title. Right now my suspicion of you being the culprit stands at one percent, however that still places you in the second spot as the only person with a higher chance of being Kira is Yagami, Light.

"I have little evidence to support my belief in either case, but please be aware that should you do anything to suggest that you are Kira you will immediately be placed under heightened security." He reached for his cake and instructed, "Start at the beginning. When did you first suspect Light of being Kira?"

"It was probably when he start getting so touchy-feely with me, which wasn't long after he found out about my work so... I guess it was at the start of December?" she cocked her head to the side. "Yeah, it definitely was because that was when I saw the red in his eyes. I remember thinking that he didn't have a soul."

"You felt like he didn't have a soul. Explain."

"I don't know, his eyes just seemed dead, like there was nothing inside. I thought he looked soulless, but it wasn't just that. The way he believed me so easily wasn't right, he just followed me up the stairs without a second thought. It was like he didn't even think for a second that he could misjudge what I was doing and he's been that way ever since. His ego is huge. I can't swear that he's Kira just because of that, but he isn't Light either and I think he is Kira. Not only that, but I'm positive I know what his end-game plan is."

"And what would that be?"

"He wants to be God. He wants to rule the world and thinks he has the right. Whatever power he's gotten hold of, or maybe its gotten hold of him, has gone to his head. He looks at people differently now, like they're all scum. No one is good enough anymore."

L considered her words as he finished his first slice. "You're right. You don't have concrete evidence against him. However, your observations are valuable. I assume no one else is aware of the relationship you had with him?"

She shook her head violently. "No one."

"This letter," he pushed the paper forward. "Why did you write it?"

"Because I knew we would be under surveillance eventually and if L was in charge of the investigation he'd be the one ordering it. Ultimately it would make it's way to him and I thought some information was better than none."

He recognized that she didn't equate himself with L, but shelved that discussion for another time. "So it was. Why were you so sure that your household would be watched?"

"...It only makes sense, right? Even if it wasn't just us the police would be watched. Information was leaking out so–"

"And how do you know that?"

"Because it's obvious! Nothing the police did was working. Dad was home later and later every night, more tired than ever. If things had been going well that wouldn't have been the case. Also, Light seemed really smug. At one point I got him to show me what was on the home network. He had no trouble getting into the police files. I acted like I couldn't understand what I was looking at, but let me tell you...What I had to do for that–! UGH!" She shuddered. "Anyway it wasn't hard to figure out. Even if Light isn't Kira, someone else could hack in with minimal effort and why wouldn't they?"

"I should inform you that I've increased your chances of being Kira to two percent."

"Oh for-" she reached out and took his plate away, ignored the shock on his face. "Listen here, Ryuzaki! If I was Kira I would have given myself away by now on purpose. I would hate myself. I would be dead because I would've committed suicide. Do you know what I've done to get as much out of Light as I could? It's disgusting what I've allowed. My Dad would die of a heart attack if he ever found out.

"You know, I had to convince Light not to kill our sister? He wasn't actively plotting her demise, but I knew he would, I could feel it. She's the most innocent person on the face of the earth and he would kill her if he thought he could gain something from it. He was enraged when I said I'd kill myself if she ended up dead, mad at me for it. He's Kira. I don't care if you put me in a padded room with a hundred cameras trained on me twenty-four hours a day, but you'll only be wasting your time because I'm not Kira." She tossed her hair. "You're stupid if you seriously think I am."

"In that case, tell me, how do you think Light commits his murders? And give that back."

She would have refused, but she'd known this question was coming and with her answer would be the crucial admission of a hidden truth. So, she pushed the plate back, waited until he'd taken another fork full and spoke. "I don't know for sure, but he needs a name and a face to kill. Seems like ESP or something, but even if that sounds crazy I would believe it. I," she hesitated and looked away, to the floor.

L noticed her change in countenance, but refrained from calling her out on it. It was interesting though. She'd switched from snappish to unsure in the blink of an eye.

"I would believe it was ESP because," another pause. He wasn't going to believe her, she knew he wasn't, but that didn't matter. What she said was the truth. "Because I have a– well, power isn't the right word, but I have a strange ability. It comes and goes though," she spoke quickly. "I can't do anything about it except hold people at arm's length. If I don't care too much, I won't see anything about them." Her voice died and she watched him with guarded eyes, her hands clenched into fists. His expression hadn't changed; she couldn't tell what he was thinking.

Ryuzaki was unsure of what she expected him to do with that admittance. She hadn't even explained herself properly. He tried to make her continue, "Are you saying that you've experienced psychic phenomena?", but all he received in reply was a jerky nod of the head. "You think he could have an extrasensory power because you believe you have experience with one?"

"That's not the reason! I just don't have trouble thinking he might."

She was growing pouty. Her arms were crossed now. He could feel her irritation, but she needed to be more forthcoming with a description of what she thought she'd experienced. "Explain."

Haruka heaved a sigh. This was even more unpleasant than she'd thought it would be. Why did she have to care so much about what he thought of her? "I used to see the deaths of people I cared about. Two of my friends, years and years ago when I was in elementary school, passed away and I saw it before it happened. Once in middle school I was able to prevent a death, but lost the friendship because of the way I did it. I'd get a terrible pounding in my head and then I'd see it, like watching a movie, the death and how it happened. Recently, I saw that man who died after trying to take over a bus to Space Land. I didn't know him, but I'm sure Light was involved somehow. I was going to meet friends, it happened on the way and no one was around, but..." she took a deep breath. "The headache came and I saw a hand in a brown jacket lying in a puddle of blood."

"Yeah, uh, I was just wondering, what kind of jacket did you wear this morning?"

"Sorry, sorry! Just tell me, was it brown?"

He pulled the memory forward. Haruka had called her father on Wednesday December 20th at work, to ask about his choice of outerwear. He'd overhead the conversation. That had occurred nearly forty-five minutes before the death of Kiichiro, Osoreda.

"Is it two shades of brown? Like darker near the wrist area? Also, are you planning on wearing it outside any time soon?"

"I called everyone but Light because I knew he wasn't wearing a coat like the one I'd seen. Even so, he was the only one out besides me that day. I thought it was strange then and now I'm sure he was involved. I never got him to admit it, but he'd said he was going on a date. It was probably to Space Land and he was likely on that bus."

"Anything else?"

"Tch." He was as calm as ever. What did that mean? Did he believe her, think her insane or a liar, or maybe he was reserving judgment? "The last thing I saw was different. It was a dream, but it felt so real that when I woke up I had to go see if Light was still alive." Her eyes grew glassy as she recalled the horror of her nightmare. "He was in a warehouse, I don't know it," words jumbled together, "and he was shot. So many times! But he ran away," the tears spilled as grief took over. "He died alone," for her that was almost the worst part, but there was one thing even more troubling than that, "There was a demon. I only saw it for a moment, black wings and a grotesque face." She was openly sobbing now, but plowed ahead with the tale, "Then I saw Mom and Sayu at his funeral. Dad wasn't there and I realized he was dead too, but I don't know where I was. It didn't seem like I was there," and that was where she stopped with a gasp because, impossibly, Ryuzaki was standing over her, awkwardly patting her head.

It was irrational, she knew it as soon as the desire came, and he likely wouldn't thank her for it, but she needed a hug.


L went stiff. Physical contact wasn't something he solicited or had much experience with, so even though he had an immediate reaction to keep from falling over Haruka's jumping into his arms was unexpected and he didn't know whether it was normal or not.

So there he was holding the seventeen year old beauty, he'd long ago recognized that she was good-looking, while she cried into his shoulder. One arm around her back and the other too close to her posterior for comfort, but it was that or drop her.

The real question was, what did he do now? He did not have the educational training to deal with this type of situation. Haruka was still crying, but the intensity was dying down. Was it appropriate to put her back in the chair yet? And what was he supposed to do after that? He needed to know more about what she'd seen in that dream, it would undoubtedly be insensitive to press for details, but he had to know.

A compromise then.

"Haruka," he felt her grip around his neck tighten. "Did you see anything else? Was there any sign of a date, anything to indicate when it happened?"

She shook her head and spoke with a muffled voice. "It was a while away, Sayu looked older at the funeral and she was in a wheelchair. Light seemed older too, at least a few years from now." She hiccuped. "It was all industrial, no trees. The ground was just dirt. I couldn't tell what season it was. Not winter though, he was breathing heavily as he ran," a few more tears leaked, "but I didn't see his breath, so it wasn't cold."

"Hm."

She couldn't be sure that he believed her, but at the very least he hadn't pushed her away, even though she'd thrown herself at him. She'd half thought he would toss her off the second she made contact.

"Actually," she paused. This was something she hadn't told Light, but L needed every detail she could give him. "I saw someone else too. Someone I don't know. I didn't tell Light this part, I thought he'd try to find him, well, I'm sure he would have. He looked young, maybe a middle schooler, his hair was white–!"

She hit the floor hard with a shout, "Ouch! Ryuzaki!", but it seemed he hadn't heard her as he moved, more quickly than she'd ever seen before, out the door. She scrambled to her feet, attempted to follow, but he was already out of sight.


Near.

How was that possible?

"Roger."

"L!"

"Where is Near?"

"Near? Here of course, asleep I'd think, but..."

"That's fine. He does not need to be informed of this."

"Alright. If that was all-?"

"Yes."

As per usual he ended the conversation without a formal goodbye.

"Watari, keep an eye on on Near."

"Yes, Ryuzaki. However, I would like to say that if I were to be concerned about anyone it would be Mello."

"You may say so and under normal circumstances I would tend to agree. Look into the surveillance from the bus involved in the Kiichiro, Osoreda incident in December." He offered nothing more in the way of explanation. Instead he ambled from the room, only to face an aggravated female.

"Ryuzaki, I realize that I surprised you when I, you know," she shifted uncomfortably. "Well, it was a surprise to me too, but you didn't have to drop me."

Rather than apologize he requested more detail. "Tell me what the boy was like."

"Eh? What he was like? He was weird, as weird as you. I don't know what it was about him, maybe the way he touched his hair like you," she slapped his hand away from his mouth. "Do that. Or, maybe the way he sat on the floor...? I can't be sure, but I feel like you must be related."

It was certainly Near she spoke of.

"You said you kept this from your brother."

"I did. I was afraid he would try to find out who the boy was." She turned as L slouched past her, followed closely to keep from loosing sight of him again. "Why? Do you know him? The boy with the white hair?"

"I believe I do."

Her eyes widened. "What? Really?!"

"Really." He turned his attention to the task force. They were gathered in the main room, looking over files of the recently deceased. "Haruka is still under suspicion of being Kira," he announced, drawing sighs, frowns and one loud huff. "Her chances of being Kira have been increased from one percent to two percent. Because of this she will remain under quasi-house arrest. Nothing changes."

"Ryuzaki," Soichiro spoke from the couch. "Is this really necessary?"

"Yes." He could feel her glaring holes into the back of his head. "Even if she isn't Kira, I feel that she may be targeted by him. It is best to keep her close."

Haruka watched her father deflate. He was surely growing tired of all this, the waiting and watching. There wasn't much to be done; she knew he acknowledged the truth of the situation, but that didn't make it any easier. He had to hate being on the sidelines. Kira seemed to have the upper hand, but it was only a matter of time before the scales tipped again. What really mattered was being able to recognize when events started moving in their favor and whether or not they were prepared to act quickly.

She looked to Ryuzaki. As much of a genius as he was, as amazing as his abilities as a detective were, he was clueless about how she really felt and would likely never catch on either. If jumping into his arms wasn't enough of a hint she didn't know what would be; she'd cursed herself for that, afraid he would find what she was hiding, but he remained in the dark.

It was probably better that way. Did she even want him to understand? He would mock her again, except this time the ridicule would be fully deserved. She knew what he was like and wanted to be with him anyway.

Her teenager tendencies were finally kicking in. She'd never had a crush before, now she choose the person least likely to return her feelings as her target. Some irony! At least her friends liked reasonable people. Boys their own age, people they saw regularly and got along with. She'd looked down on them for it, but now she envied their choices. Even Sayu's crush on Ryuga, Hideki made some sense; he was a celebrity and appeared to his best advantage at all times.

L was too interesting. When she thought of it, it did make sense that she would like someone similar to him. She'd always found everyone boring and easy to understand; L was neither of those things. She'd pegged him a freak, still thought he was, but apparently she liked freaks so...

"You can go," he waved a hand without looking at her.

...so she was stupid.


Other Facts

A human may avoid their date of death, but only if someone else gives up something to prevent the death. This may be done unwittingly.


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