|Ain't no Rest for the Wicked
Author: stratusfish PM
And here Harry had thought being the Master of Death was just a frivolous title.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Harry P. & L - Chapters: 7 - Words: 25,763 - Reviews: 881 - Favs: 1,414 - Follows: 2,018 - Updated: 02-03-13 - Published: 12-03-11 - id: 7606356
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
yes, I used my all-powerful creative license to pretend Grindlewald had all three Hallows, no matter how outlandish it may be. Fucking christ I forgot how nitpicky the HP fandom is...
He knew even less what to think of L Lawliet.
Grindlewald had conformed into him a sense of cautionary wariness when dealing with the two battling foes, L Lawliet and Light Yagami. He'd started feeling less self-righteous anger at the two of them for being such a pain in the ass, and more anxious confusion as to whether it was truly his place to meritoriously drop kick them both in the face, or at the very least, use the Death Note to make them do that to each other.
Unfortunately it seemed that decaying, crazy ass motherfucker had a few… surprisingly accurate things to say.
Dammit. The boy—who was way too young to be dealing with so many self-absorbed, maniacal psychopaths in his life— thought, resigned. Damn my hereditary heroism.
And, with a brief glance to the incredibly self-absorbed, dark-haired maniacal psychopath to his left; And damn you too, L Lawliet.
He was supposed to be the good guy! He was supposed to be stopping the other sociopath! He certainly wasn't supposed to be one himself!
But what else could possibly describe the guy? Though he believed truly in justice, he had a real underhanded, douchebag way of going about it. Including but not limited too playing cheap, psychological mind games, goading and manipulative behavior, planting a variety of privacy-encroaching machinery without warrants or probably cause beyond his own ideals, and the real ass kicker, being a pain in Harry's ass.
To that end, however, even though he wasn't supporting the biggest, arrogant douchebag in the world, he wasn't supporting the biggest tool, either, who also went by Light Yagami.
Both of these guys are fools. Thought the wizard with splenetic contempt.
Good god, couldn't they see how similar they were? How could you hate someone who was practically yourself? (Of course, Harry was quickly realizing he had done the same) Both of them were trying to attempt their own idea of justice—which was already a very subjective, ambiguous idea within itself—and both going about it in the most unlawful way possible. L was a detective who worked for no agency and broke just as many laws as Light. Granted, he didn't go about murdering people using a murdering book, but for a guy who was supposed to support the legal justice system, he certainly didn't go about it legally.
But perhaps his outstanding opinions could better be described in how he ended up in this certain predicament, squashed between the most arrogant egotistical jerks at the To-Oh induction ceremony, rather than what his assessment was after the fact.
"Don't call me that!" Roared the brunette, halting his incessant pacing to raise his voice to his cowed servant, before continuing once more.
Justin swallowed, shifting his weight on his skeletal toes. "Mr. Potter." He corrected. "How about some tea, to calm your nerves?"
"How about a Xanax?" Ryuk snorted from his spot lounging on the top of the bookshelf.
Harry ignored them both—though it was a difficult task—in favor of his own thoughts.
How dare he!
Who the hell did Grindlewald think he was, coming literally out of the ground, or at the very least, out of the basement of some guarded prison like a pile of uncovered dirty laundry, only to give him advice? Like he didn't have enough going on already. Like he even wanted advice from the most prolific killer of the Wizarding World.
Not that Grindlewald ever had the opportunity to deal with Death Gods, either, regardless of how helpful they can be when they weren't gambling away their lives in eternal boredom.
Perhaps the reason he was so angry could be an accumulation of stress, encumbering responsibilities literally blindsiding him out of nowhere, tedious Death God servants, the very fact that he had no idea what in the hell he was doing but everyone in the world—both worlds—expected him to be some kind of righteous leader, and that Grindlewald was right.
The crazy old man that committed mass genocide against muggles simply because he wanted to, was right.
"At the very least, why don't you lay down?" Justin asked, undeterred by his unbridled fury. Harry felt somewhat bad—it wasn't the skeletons fault he was so pissed off.
"What'd the old guy say to you that's got you so pissed off?" Ryuk wedged a finger into his ear. "Well, you've always been kinda pissy, but today more than usual—hyuk, hyuk, hyuk."
Harry sighed, folding his arms and finally stopping his constant walk around the study perimeter in favor of sagging against his desk. "And you wouldn't be pissy?" He snapped back. "Imagine, for once in your life you can do as you please—no one looking at you for the answers, expecting impossible things from you—and then suddenly not only does the entirety of the free world look at you as their unofficial leader, so does the world of the dead!"
"The free world thing is kinda a bit of a stretch." Ryuk pointed out.
Harry pretended he didn't hear him. "Not only that, but you've got this inherent guilty conscious coupled with a heroic complex which is constantly goading you into conforming what everyone wants from you—never allowing you to even understand what you want yourself!"
"Sounds like an identity crisis."
That's been going on since you were ten. Harry added cynically.
"I fail to see where Light Yagami falls in this." Justin offered meekly.
Harry frowned, turning to look at the Death God hovering by the door. "Everything in me says that I should just kill him off and the world would be better for it." He explained, simply. "But at the same time, I can see that Grindlewald has a point. That whole 'responsibility' to the world thing coming back to bite me in the ass."
"So you're saying you shouldn't kill him?" Justin tilted his head.
"Of course he shouldn't!" Ryuk cut in. "He'd ruin my entertainment—
"And what's your entertainment in comparison to the King's wishes—
"I shouldn't kill him because I don't know if its my place to even do so," And, with a dark look to Ryuk, "Not because it would ruin Ryuk's petty 'entertainment'."
"It may be petty." The enormous Death God agreed, "But you said so yourself—it's entertaining."
Harry narrowed his eyes at the Shinigami's winsome smirk. At the door, Justin looked like he expected Harry to kill the other Death God off at any second.
But he didn't.
Instead, he took a deep breath. "You said that Detective L Lawliet was currently on the 'Kira' case, right?"
"That's right." Was Ryuk's gleeful reply.
"So he's working on catching him. Do you think he will?"
"That's why it's so amusing!" The Shinigami's entire countenance seemed to change at the very thought, morphing from occupational boredom into what could be considered genuine—if not morbid—interest. "Who knows who'll win."
"We don't have time for that!" Harry straightened, pushing himself off the desktop. "He needs to be stopped now! Who knows when this L guy will catch him. How many lives will be lost until then?"
"You're thinking like a pacifist—and like a human." Ryuk cackled. "Think like a Death King! The humans are over populated, anyway. What's a few more?"
"A few more human lives?" Harry shot back.
"Your servants take them away every day, what's the difference?"
"That's for food!"
"Not all the time. Are you going to kill us all too? And anyway, since when did humans need an excuse to kill one another? Even without Death Notes… just think of your Dark Lord—he killed people just as quickly, didn't he?"
"And he needed to be stopped!" Argued the wizard. "And he was!"
"By you." Ryuk agreed. "Another wizard."
Harry gave pause. "So you're saying I should wait it out, then? Let other human's deal with Light? But he's using a Death Note—that's an unfair advantage!"
"Your Lord Voldemort used Death's wand—isn't that the same thing?"
Everything in him wanted to protest, yet the words couldn't form in his mouth. If Voldemort had never attempted to kill him as a baby—never seeded a part of his own soul into Harry's—would there have even been a Chosen One? If the stroke of inopportune misfortune hadn't befallen the Dark Lord at that very moment, if one insignificant woman hadn't plead for her baby's life, could anyone have truly stopped him?
Ryuk took his silence as an answer, laughing loudly. "Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk. It's true, isn't it? Another wizard killed him, you killed him, took away another's life—doesn't that burn in you? Who were you to decide his fate? To play God?"
"He needed to be stopped!" The wizard protested. "Voldemort was crazy! He was killing hundreds of people left and right, he couldn't be allowed to live—
"—And there you are, enacting your own sense of justice, your own ideals onto his, and taking his life. So he was crazy, so he killed a lot of people, he was following his justice, just like you were following yours."
Harry had nothing to say to that.
Ryuk unfurled his wings, floating over towards Harry until his beady, yellow eyes reflected the red in Harry's. "That's the flaw in you humans, you always blame each other. You always think, my way is right, your way is wrong. You fail to see that there is no right way."
Harry pursed his lips. "That can't be true. I can't believe in a world without right and wrong. Killing others, hurting others—that can never be justified."
"But you just justified your own actions!" Cried the Shinigami. "'He couldn't be allowed to live' sounds an awful lot like justification, hyuk."
He swallowed, looking away.
The room hushed in a blanket of tense, uncertain silence. Justin still stood at the door, looking like he half-believed Ryuk to be struck dead. Harry didn't even have it in him to think of that. Everything the Shinigami said had a point, and yet at the same time he could see that Ryuk was clearly playing mind games with him in an attempt to stave off the destruction of his own barbaric form of entertainment.
Still, the Shinigami had given him a lot to think about.
And perhaps had even uncovered some of the things about himself that he'd been hiding from the world—and himself.
He thought about the Dark Lord, Tom Riddle, more than he should. Thought about his death at Harry's hands. Thought about right and wrong, and where he stood on that line—if there was even a line at all.
"I'll concede you have a point." The Death King said, at great length. "But I still don't think that letting this whole debacle play out on its own is a good idea, either. The whole thing wouldn't have even happened without outside interference—mainly you, dropping that stupid Death Note right into Light's hands in the first place."
Ryuk didn't even have the good decency to look guilty, only shamelessly holding his leveled gaze with a mischievous smirk.
Harry tilted his chin up, coming to his own conclusion. "I'm going to go down there and see it for myself."
If anything, this only seemed to give Ryuk more amusement.
This was how Harry found himself decked in a tailored designer suit transfigured from a pair of pajamas, conjuring his way through the Administration office of To-Oh University to join the incoming freshmen class. He imagined L had down something of the same—without the magic. And Light, well, Light had gotten in through just being a genius asshole.
He stared himself down in To-Oh's men's bathroom, silently admitting that Ryuk had hit a soft spot in his heroic armor.
The entirety of the Wizarding World at large would agree with him when he said the Dark Lord needed to be stopped, and yet that didn't stop the guilt of taking away his life from eating away at his soul. He'd killed him because he thought that Voldemort was wrong, plain and simple. He could rationalize that the Dark Lord was evil, mentally unbalanced, sociopathic and destroying countless lives and upturning the civil peace that was the Wizarding World, and yet that was all insignificant. The very heart of the matter was that it was hypocritical of him to enact his own sense of justice, and yet get angry at—and even kill—others for doing the same.
He'd had dreams, multiple in fact, of being the Dark Lord. Of looking in the mirror and seeing the flat, slit nose and crimson eyes, or worse even, the suave smirk and charming face of Tom Riddle. Yet he'd never felt so much like him as he did in this moment, staring at his own name written in blood above his head, holding the power that the Dark Lord had dreamed of. The means to act out his own sense of justice against everyone else's.
"I'm getting a fucking headache." The Death King sighed, rubbing at his temples and wondering if it was because he'd walked through a sea of glowing red numbers to get here or because all this deep thought was getting to him. He'd never had to think about this kind of stuff when he was out 'saving the world'. Everything he'd done had been told to him by others, he was the Chosen One, it was his destiny, he had to save them all, yeah whatever. He wasn't about to blame them, either. He was the one who'd followed along with that, believed they're sense of right and wrong without question.
The thought didn't make him feel any better.
Harry jumped, spine growing rigid as his eyes flew open at the sudden intrusion.
And there, zipping up his pants and facing the urinal was Light Yagami.
"…It's just the crowds." Harry said slowly, after regaining his composure.
The genius made his way to the sink, washing his hands and smiling pleasantly at Harry's reflection in the mirror. "I don't like them much either—they make me nervous."
He lies so effortlessly. Harry thought, eying the charming young man. It was one thing to hear about him, watching him silently from afar, another to see him up close. Everything about Light seemed sculpted from gold, a faultless perfection from the wayward bronzed bangs to the refined slide of his nose, down to the tips of his curved fingers.
Hell, looking like that, no wonder the guy thought he was God.
"It's like they always want something from me."
And thought the world of himself.
The egotistical ass.
"Maybe you just have a lot to offer." Harry rebuked, turning on the faucet himself, at least in a last ditch effort to look like he hadn't been standing there silently watching the other guy pee the whole time.
Light somehow managed an awkwardly charming self-depreciating look. "You think so? I don't know what could be special about me—
And Harry was really about to lose his temper to that cunning, innocent spiel when the bathroom door swung open, again, and out walked L Lawliet from the stall at the far corner.
Harry's mouth fell open and he lost his composure, again, as the slouching detective shuffled passed them. It was also one thing to watch the detective from his perch in the Shinigami Realm, another to see him walk passed him in the flesh. He was… taller than Harry expected.
Fortunately for the Death King, Light took his aghast expression as incredulity over the other man's appearance, rather than the fact it was L Lawliet, the guy he'd been after this whole goddamn time, who also looked weirdly a lot like his mother and a sleepless vampire combined.
"You think that guy's here for the ceremony?" Light leaned back to watch the bathroom door swing closed slowly. "He looks like he hasn't changed his clothes in days."
"…I wouldn't know." Harry swallowed. When he thought of the world's greatest detective, he hadn't thought of that.
And then, shaking his head. "We should probably get going. We'll be late for the opening speech."
"No kidding, huh?" Light chuckled, before offering his freshly washed hand. "I'm Light Yagami by the way."
Harry studied the hand in front of him, mind racing.
"Tom. Tom Riddle."
He looked up then as his hand clasped Light's, and above the human's head, Ryuk's razor teeth grinned wide.
He wasn't sure what possessed him to say that. Even less, striking up a god damn conversation with the most prolific single-handed murderer the muggle world had probably ever seen. It was the first name to strike in his head when he saw Light's face so close to him—the muggle reminding him so much of his old enemy that it was as if Tom Riddle had truly come back from the dead to haunt him. Their similarities were boggling, certainly.
He followed Light into the auditorium dazedly, taking a seat beside him in the front row. Soon thereafter, L followed, sitting bird-like on the chair to Harry's left, no doubt irritated that he'd taken the open spot next to Light.
"So you're a foreigner?" Light asked casually, sneaking a glance past Harry to where L was perched onto the seat to his left. He looked like a large, humanoid bird, wide dark eyes facing forward like the podium in front of them fascinated him greatly. Harry supposed he was listening intently to their conversation. In the background, the Principal droned through the opening ceremonies.
Harry nodded, thankful that while the translation spell allowed him to speak fluent Japanese, it still retained somewhat of an accent. "Yeah… I moved here a year ago with my family."
Light nodded, looking strangely interested. "What made you choose To-Oh?"
Harry faltered. "It seemed like a good school?"
Ryuk continued to float next to Light, staring at him greedily as if he half-expected Harry to go on a murderous rampage and kill everyone in the room. Harry wanted to wipe the smug look off of the Shinigami's face—or better, kick him in the mouth and shut him up.
"Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk… hyuk, hyuk, hyuk…" Ryuk continued to chuckle, and Harry caught the brief, irritated look that crossed Light's features at the sound, bringing a dark, tenebrous look to what had up until now seemed angelic features.
He could tell that all Light wanted to do right now was turn around and tell the Death God to shut the hell up, yet couldn't do so at risk of looking insane.
"Are you alright?" He asked with great relish. "You look a little… peaked."
Light schooled his features back into amiable cheer. "I'm fine! Just a little hot."
Harry nodded. "Oh yes, these stage lights are pretty bright…"
"—And now for our Freshmen Address, and Freshmen Representative, Light Yagami."
Light nodded, standing up. Harry's eyes followed him involuntarily—the guy certainly had that charisma and grace people always looked to in their leaders, regardless of how evil they truly were.
"Likewise, Freshmen Representative, Hideki Ryuuga."
Murmurs split into the crowd.
"Like the pop singer?"
"No way! He's not smart enough to be in To-Oh!"
The crowd quieted down when L stood, looking dismayed at the bland, disheveled man who belonged to the name. Harry narrowed his eyes. Hideki Ryuuga? Of course he'd go by a fake.
Both Light and L's Freshmen Addresses were terribly bland and long-winded, leaving Harry jittery and volatile with wariness. Of course, he'd decided to unobtrusively keep tabs on them by attending this absurdly studious college in the first place, and by default thrown himself head first into their mind games—but he hadn't expected to so quickly be wedged between them, literally.
However, the most eventful thing so was L whispering into Light's ear as they exited left off the stage. Something L said seemed to have struck Light pertinently, as the boy faltered in his steps, regaining his countenance smoothly after but a moment, yet his face continued to lose color as he walked back to his seat. Harry strained to hear, but they were too far away.
Luckily for him, Ryuk, who had been shadowing Light the entire time, swooped ahead and perched himself on the top of Light's chair, looking like a faithful lapdog waiting for it's owner, but turning covering his body with his wings to chuckle at Harry.
"L's told him his true identity!" Ryuk cackled.
Harry's eyes widened.
"He wants Light to join the task force, heh, heh. I wonder what Light will do with this opportunity…" He unfurled his wings again, turning to grin unblinkingly at Light as the boy returned to his seat and stiffly sat down.
L sat down gracelessly, wasting no time in peering over Harry to look deeply into Light's eyes, the other boy staring impassively ahead.
"I trust you." The detective whispered.
"If this guy's really L, he's something else." Ryuk snorted, returning to his act as Light's Shinigami. "Are you going to join him, Light?" Ryuk chuckled, giving his wings a few flaps. "What are you going to do? Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk… I like this guy!"
For his part, Harry acted as naturally confused as anyone normally would be, sitting between two people with such an unhealthy amount of tension.
He took a breath, dipped into his Gryffindor courage, and broke it.
"So you two know each other?" He asked decorously, looking between the two.
Light managed a small nod, and something of a smile. "Sort of, yes."
"I'm Hideki Ryuuga." L spoke, as smooth of a liar as Light. "We're acquaintances, yes."
Harry turned to Light, giving a polite, teasing smile. "Won't you introduce me?"
"This is Hideki Ryuuga," Light nodded towards L, swallowing thickly. "He's… a friend of my father's. Ryuuga, this is Tom Riddle. I met him earlier, and as I'm sure you've noticed, he's in our class."
"Yes, quite." L was quick to reply. "A pleasure."
At first glance, L seemed… rather tame. In fact, his mannerisms and inflectionless voice lent him a nonchalant, insouciant façade which would have fooled Harry had he not been following Light around for the past few days. No, this was the genius mastermind behind every camera and microphone invading Light's personal space, every lie and deception made in the effort to get ahead of Kira, and who was crusading against Light Yagami on a five percent chance the boy was, in fact, Kira.
Granted he was right, but the very idea of someone manipulating the legal system so underhandedly to further his own gain irritated him as much as Light's pompous self-righteous glory.
That, and the two were not only lying to each other, but to him as well.
Sitting between the two of them, Harry was quickly forming another opinion.
Regardless of his own inner turmoil and Ryuk and Grindelwald's surprisingly pertinent advice, it would certainly make him feel better to kill them both and be done with it.