…HER GOD IS MY ENEMY…
[Near // Misa Amane]
A/N: This fanfiction story is of AU content and explores the aftermath of Kira's reign and hubris. The actual dates in the original Ohba story have been changed here to suit the themes and moods applied throughout these chapters. Beta proofreading is courtesy by SunMoonandSpoon.
Where do we go? Nobody knows.
I've gotta say I'm on my way down.
God give me style and give me grace
God put a smile upon my face.
-"God put a smile upon your face"-
1) Misconception of His Justice in her head
Valentine's Day, 2014
Shaft of light flashed in her wet eyes when she stepped on the cold cement below her. Her breathing heavy, the rhythm pulsed in her head, weighing twice the load. Her bare feet were sore from climbing up the multitude of stairs. Fifty-eight stories up the air and done with the dispute if she will proceed ending her life, she looked down at the small colorful lights blurred in this distance. The automobiles even seemed to shrink when she focused her eyes on them. Craving for forgiveness not met, Misa Amane realized that Hell is the only way to go. She needs to die. She thought about this as she stood there, perfectly calm, almost posed in a meditating stance. She had done nothing but rob riches gained from the blood in her hands. Her hands convey the countless criminals she murdered for a god she thought would offer her redemption. This is sweet repose, the final stage of everything, the point of no return, the dead end between the devil and the deep blue sea. It almost felt like ice picks were puncturing her through the collarbone and down through her torso. This must be how she pays the damages for enlisting people to follow and honor her blasphemous ways.
The more she thought about it, the clearer it became. She's done something horrible for so many years and never even saw that it was a mistake. Perhaps it isn't or perhaps she wants to believe it isn't because it's embarrassing to admit she was wrong all this time. Misa Amane wiped her hands on her garment which was already drenched in her blood. Her palms feel cold and small against the turbulent whooshing of the wind around her. Her wrists were still sore and bleeding and as she stared down at them, she could see the pattern of handcuffs that wounded the skin. She hissed as she tried peeling off some portions of the skin turning purple because of bruising. When she couldn't peel that much skin, she began weeping again; it seems like nothing she could do would reverse the situation.
Evil witch, you deserve to burn alive in a stake.
She starts to sing a song to accompany her to this demise.
Then she heard a voice. She glanced behind her and spotted the silver locks of hair that curled on his head; the piercing, hollow eyes; the lips that never once smiled.
She welcomes him. "Hello, Near."
He crept closer; nineteen years old and tall, wearing a long white trench coat. He reached out a gloved hand at her.
"Misa, be with me." His voice sounded almost as sincere as his plea is as convincing. "Walk here and be alone no more..."
Tuesday, first day of winter season
"Good morning, Mr. River." Chief of Police Ian Rosenberg greeted the famous, young detective who was squatting on the floor.
Near fingered a white puzzle piece before placing it neatly on the right portion of the board. For a moment, Rosenberg stood there and remembered his young boss as the genius orphan who succeeded an immortal figure known by a single letter and that letter appeared as Near was finishing the puzzle. When he was done, he examined it fondly even though he had that puzzle in possession since he was eight. Rosenberg afforded a smile, realizing that he was no longer a boy; however he still appears to be shy of social contact. To Rosenberg, he stayed as a child; the child who solved the chilling case of serial mass murders that caused fatal national terrorism. Yes, that case; the one locked safely in the records of any country that encountered its venom ten years ago. It was the legendary Kira who murdered criminals all across the globe, using a paranormal notebook, the Death Note. During the process of solving that case, Near's mentor, friends and associates died. But with a final, crushing move, he claimed victory. The media never got to officially release the truth as to how Kira kills his victims. Ten years went and Rosenberg trembled in disbelief that it would be coming back to haunt them again.
"Complete attendance as usual around the bureau." Near replied unsympathetically, the timbre in his voice a quiet alto. "If we keep this up, the rate of crimes around in Europe will decrease."
"We kept peace for a very long time, yes." Rosenberg took a seat in the armchair adjacent to the youth.
Near held up the puzzle board, admiring the perfection of his work. "Ian?"
"Winter is Mello's favorite season, did you know?"
"I know now." Rosenberg smiled. Mello was Near's 'best friend,' if the term applied is even possible. Mello saw Near as an enemy because he wanted to be the one to succeed their late mentor but Near fondly thought of him as his 'dear' Mello which pissed off the other boy to no end.
"I would like you to heat him a fresh chocolate drink tonight when the snow gets colder." Near answered as he placed the puzzle board on a glass table located on his left. He didn't take his eyes off of it.
"Yes, I would do that, Near." Rosenberg sighed, eyebrows furrowed. Mello died trying to reveal Kira's identity through that suicidal plan he conceived. Whatever Near is asking for right now, it's just one of his unemotional rituals. Near is never interested in becoming a part of the human race. A locked door isn't always easy to open when you don't have the right key. Lord knows Rosenberg attempted several times but failed. Still, this forty-seven year old Chief of Security treated him like a son.
"Thank you, Ian." Near looked at him with those empty eyes. He would look at a person the same way he would look at a toy clutched in his hand.
Rosenberg tossed his thoughts back and forth, treading his steps before he tells the youth about this new case. He leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees, hands clasped together. His eyes fell on the letter "L" in the lower portion of the Near's finished puzzle.
"L was a good man." Rosenberg remarked silently.
"He was a great man, Ian." The sentiment is flat, that much is certain, because even though Near succeeded the great man, he saw him only as a pedestal that he had already conquered.
"Yes." Rosenberg looked back at Near who idly kept their gazes steady for a long time. The young man waited for him to say something more.
"I will be direct with you, Near." Rosenberg whispered softly, his jaw clenched into a scowl. "There is a certain baffling event in Japan: a society who calls themselves followers of Kira Justice."
When Rosenberg enunciated out the word "Kira," he winced bitterly. Then it was followed by the word, "Justice." What enlightened human being of this year would consider the brutal, unforgiving crimes of this organized serial killer prophetic and honorable? It just doesn't make sense. Could it be that there were surviving supporters of Kira after all this time? They did all the necessary procedures to eliminate the aftermath chaos. All of the government agencies in the world reversed every civilian's belief, pressing on the truth that Kira was a merely a man who took law in his own hands and passed judgments on criminals. That never made him a hero; it only smeared him as the worst deranged and narcissistic sociopath that ever lived. Rosenberg could never understand for the life of him why a group of people would still worship this pathetic criminal.
"His name was Light Yagami." Near broke through his lines of thoughts.
"He was only a college student." Rosenberg continued. "A very promising one too. He was also a well-bred citizen of his country. His father works for the law. At one point of his life, this good kid picked up a notebook and started a killing spree. Why?"
Near said nothing. He did not value justifications to be of importance because that would require him to extend care which he was incapable of next to experiencing joy.
"Do you want to see if there is any truth to this cult?" Rosenberg asked. "Do you want to form theories, Near? Near?"
Near peered outside the window and watched the snow as Rosenberg kept speaking.
"We shouldn't alert the media about any more information. This cult is an abomination against law and if we don't put the brakes on them, they may become extensive."
Rosenberg knew he heard that name before. He searched his memory banks and retrieved the content. He nodded and said. "She was the famous celebrity back in the year 2004. She was allegedly connected to the Kira murders."
"She was acquitted as his accomplice, the Second Kira, because the testimony would not hold in court." Near stood up slowly, keeping his back turned from Rosenberg the whole time.
"Do we have any idea where she is currently residing?"
Near tapped the window as if he was trying to poke a snowflake falling outside. "She vanished without a trace."
Rosenberg felt his toes were cold. "What do you mean?"
"I've been looking for her and I think I know now for certain that she is alive and well." Near kept tapping the window in a measured, contemplative tempo.
"Do you think it's her? Is Misa Amane the one leading the cult?" Rosenberg took his cell phone from his pocket and snapped it open, speed dialing. "We must find her. She's most definitely somewhere in Japan."
"Without a doubt," Near strolled towards the Chief. "But still—"
He rested a gentle hand on Rosenberg's cell phone as he was about to place it on his ear. The older man simply nodded, his trust for the boy's decisions intact, and placed it back in his pocket.
Near walked to his desk and stared at the puzzle board on top of the glass table across it. "Do you want to know why Misa Amane got caught up in all of this?"
"Well, according to official records, she was a victim of 'miscarried justice'. The fiend who murdered her family got away. There was a rumor that the jury facilitated the case with bias. When the news of Kira spread around the Kanto streets of Japan, she believed it was him that executed the criminal since Kira's signature is a cardiac arrest and almost fifty criminals in Kanto alone died under this suspicious circumstance. So it's not surprising that the Amane family's murderer belonged to it. Just like previous followers years later who saw Kira as some kind of deity, so did she. She felt she owe him gratitude and service. It might or might not be a coincidence that she herself discovered a Death Note."
Near waited patiently for the older man to finish and then he picked up the puzzle board from the corner and threw it on the floor. He did this without anything in his expression. Rosenberg sat there, waiting for something else to be done. Then the albino sleuth bent down and flipped over the puzzle board, sweeping it from the white pieces it was covered with. He handed it to Rosenberg who just stared at it because he doesn't understand what to expect. He simply kept blinking at the empty surface before him.
"I'm fraught." Near looked up and twirled a silver strand of hair. "The board is emptied once more. And the pieces are nowhere to be found."
Rosenberg nodded, seeing the analogy clearly. "We need to find those pieces so we could form the pattern again."
"Some of those pieces won't fit and perhaps they don't need to." Near approached the window and, taking one last look at the snow outside, he pulled down the blinds.
Rosenberg glanced at the pieces scattered on the floor and then he saw Near stepping on them languidly. He looked up and watched Near's face.
The youth added nonchalantly. "And some are not meant to be found."
He peered at Rosenberg.
"Take me to Japan," was the last phrase he uttered for the entire day until both of them climbed inside the private plane and traveled to the other side of the world.
Valentine's day, 2014
Misa's eyes locked into his and for a while, their words were simply suspended in another universe, unspoken. His hand remained outstretched to her and she never took it. Tears hazed her vision. Allowing him to step closer towards her, his eyes never leaving hers, they stood there, unyielding. He was a man now, no longer the child she remembered. Misa, on the other hand, was an abandoned repentant with nowhere else to go.
"He has left me," she spoke with a voice she hardly recognized. "I see no reason to live."
Near didn't answer her, his callous, probing eyes remained watchful.
Misa was angry at him. All this blood saturated on her robes was partly his doing.
"Misa," he spoke at last. "I was left alone too."
"That's nothing to compare to my own despair." Misa closed her eyes. "You don't care being left alone, Near. In fact, you rejoice for it."
Near's lips tightened into a straight line as if he was going to smile at that remark but restrained himself. "Misa, I don't recall 'rejoice' to be present in my currently selected emotions these days."
Misa ignored that sarcasm and turned away from him. When she did, she swayed, caught off-balance and stunned. Near grabbed her hand just in time. Misa gasped and then she realized she wasn't really ready for this at all. She gazed down at the lights, the cars and the people. She looked up at the skyscrapers and the dark clouds of the sky. She wept again and called his name. Near held her hand but he didn't force her to come down. She turned her body to face to him and lowered her right foot from the ledge. While his hand held hers, she raised her other hand to fondle his silver locks. And then she pulled them hard from his scalp.
The youth didn't even feel a goddamn thing but there was a flicker of amusement in his eyes now. Near breathed gently and Misa was so close that she determined that his warm breath smelled like autumn air. She inhaled and savored it, infuriated by the way his very human swept across her skin. So Near has a piece of him that's human. Misa wanted to claim that.
She chuckled grimly when he still didn't move. Taking her hand off his hair, she responded. "You know what they will do to me. They will execute me."
Near didn't answer.
"Why are you here?"
Misa placed back her right foot on the ledge and pried her hand off his. She waited for him to say something but the young man just watched her.
Ian Rosenberg turned on the television and called Near from his room. The younger man walked with disinterest towards Rosenberg who was standing with his arms folded as his eyes watched the news. Near turned his gaze on the television screen as well and tried to comprehend the terror this country is going through. The details are still admissible but Near was capable of seeking even the truths buried beneath the surface. He glanced swiftly at his companion, half-smirking.
"Is this why you're upset?" he asked.
The older man answered by pressing the volume on the remote control. Both of them understood perfect Japanese. The newswoman in the screen was saying, "Police are unable to appease the riot that's been going on for two days now. Citizens around Kanto are locking their homes from possible threats. Schools were suspended and all roads are closed to avoid anybody leaving or entering the district. Thousands of men are gathered from all across Japan, calling themselves as Kira's followers."
"As all of you may know, Kira was a convicted felon back in 2007 who organized a series of deaths in which all his victims were criminals. The Police stressed that everybody should not play vigilante at this critical time and to avoid aggravating higher authorities."
Rosenberg tried to exhale when his chest felt like it was constricting unbearably. He glanced at Near. "How do you want to deal with this?"
"It is not our job," Near replied.
"Then why are we here?"
Near observed the live feedback from the location of the riot. People had gone berserk. They were assaulting policemen and burning places down. He paid close attention as an armed policeman was struck by three men and other police officers were forced to start shooting at them. This stirred more panic.
The newswoman and her crew were looking for a safer place to report. He could hear her talking to the microphone loud and clear. "There is nothing that could stop these maniacs from attacking the city. They're all mad!"
A loud explosion echoed followed by screaming and crying. Rosenberg flinched visibly and hurriedly took his coat and gun from the corner. Near just stood there, watching. The newswoman continued to wail. "They're all mad!"
Near smirked wider. Well, aren't we all?
"Stay put, Ian."
"I need to alert the bureau about this." Rosenberg was dialing on his cell.
Near looked back at him with a sudden commanding air. "That's an order."
Rosenberg's lips closed firmly as he tried to read Near's facial reaction. There was nothing there. He sighed and turned off his cell phone. "What do you want to do now, Near? You're not safe here."
Before Near could say something back, their attention was diverted when they heard the newswoman saying, "There is a woman being ushered by armed men to the center of the street. She is wearing--focus the camera closer, Subaru--she is wearing long white robes and she's leading the group. We could not get any closer but this is the best image we have of her."
Rosenberg took the folder he brought with him and skimmed his eyes on the contents. Then he looked back at the screen. When he was convinced enough, he raised the photo against the television screen and showed it to Near. "It's her."
Near nodded. He twisted a strand of silver hair around his index finger. It was a habit he never overcame ever since he was a child. He always does that out of reflex especially when he is deeply perplexed with something.
Rosenberg was becoming impatient. "What do you want to do now, Near? We clearly proved that she is the one in control here."
"Not for long."
"What makes you so confident that you could arrest her without her resisting you?" Rosenberg believes in Near's abilities as a detective and law officer but sometimes the young man is too relaxed and even gruesomely unfeeling. There are many incidents during cases when Near never expressed agitation even if the moment calls for it...unless of course he is reaching a breaking point. The last time that happened was seven years ago but it might happen again this time.
"Tell me what you are thinking, Near." Rosenberg pleaded. He had been working for him for so many years but Near hardly find that a basis of complete trust.
"You can do what you want, Ian." Near finally responded. "But if you don't mind, I would like to find her myself."
"I see," Rosenberg expected this. He also knew that when Near really needs help, he would just ask for it point-blank. If he wishes to do this alone then he must have a pretty good reason.
"I don't understand why," he said silently as he picked up a few things before he headed to the door.
"It is not that complicated." Near bowed his head, observing his toes exposed on the rug beneath them. Near wouldn't look at him.
"Then good luck with that, Near."
He finally opened his eyes to look at the older man.
Rosenberg smiled. "By the way, I brought Mello his hot chocolate as you wished."
"Thank you for telling me," Near smiled back blankly.
"Take care now," he said to the young man as he opened the door.
"You be careful out there," Near glanced back at the television screen.
As Rosenberg was about to leave, he looked back at the youth, "What makes you think you could get through her?"
Near bowed his head again. "I fancy that she still doesn't know where she's going and through that I could find her."
Tears did not stain her cheeks anymore. Misa really wants to know why he pursued her only after so many years. They have met before, yes; when all was done, when her beloved had died. They had seen each other one last time when he buried his dear friends, that blond boy Mello and the other one with the goggles whose name Misa could not remember. She knew that the event seven years ago never called for change between them. She was still the girl searching for a divine purpose. He was still the successor trying to succeed his mentor. Lines might have been crossed but not here where they stand. They are enemies but just tonight, all of it felt otherwise.
"Misa," he called her. He kept his distance.
"I think I would fine by my own now," she smiled at him and turned her back away, fully prepared to take the plunge.
Near was just standing there.
Misa closed her eyes and laughed at that. "You and I both know that I am already dead."
Near finished the same puzzle again, the one with colorless pieces which are so glossy that, when the picture is finished, they shimmers in the light. The letter "L" was solid and Near started tracing it with his pinky finger. He held a cup of coffee in one hand, sipping as he contemplated. Once in a while he tried to sleep but it was futile. He was awake for seven years and it was a long time ago. Seven years gave him enough time to sort out angles. He dealt with real pain one time in his life before what happened seven years ago. He knew that pain is always temporary. When L and Mello died, Near didn't feel awful. Nonetheless, a part of did feel and he wasn't sure what to think about that.
He saw how Ian always looked at him. That colleague of his perplexed him. Nothing keeps Near company more than his toys especially this particular puzzle. It remained there in his touch, glistening as the sun surfaces on it. He sipped his coffee and couldn't suppress the yawn.
Then he looked out the window and wondered when winter is visiting Japan. He also wondered if Mello likes winter with Japanese chocolate. Near pondered about it and it is the thought that stayed the longest in his mind.
"Do you believe in God, Near?"
With his eyes, Near traced her figure, her straight back exposed in front of him.
"Do you believe He will take care of you when you die?" Misa asked him again in a voice soothing as a forgotten lullaby. "Do you think He takes good care of the ones you love right now?"
"You see," she added. "I don't. At least not anymore."
Near took a step closer. "Look at me."
Misa ignored him.
"It's over, Near." She fluttered her eyelids open. "It's gone."
"You're wrong." He answered.
Misa raised her arms from her sides, outstretched, ready to be crucified.
"There's beauty in ruin and decay."
Misa snapped her eyes at him from behind, astonished. When their eyes intertwined momentarily, she understood him for the first time.