Nothing Like Sugar

"Love is like Life — merely longer,

Love is like Death, during the Grave."

- While it is Alive, Emily Dickinson

Amane Misa sometimes wonders how death tastes.

She has a creeping suspicion that it's a bit like the stale fatigue of staying awake til 4 AM, waiting for someone to creep into bed beside her, face buried into her pillow and trying not to appear too hopeful when the phone rings and it's just room service asking her about the stalker outside. Movie stars like herself don't get the respect they're due; she tells the reception to shoo him away, not bothering to add that the fans can wish all they want, but they'll never have her.

She only belongs to god, after all. Everything she does is only to please him. She even goes through her extensive collection of lingerie all night just to find the perfect golden-lace-and-black-frills-corset; there are crosses stitched into the bust part, she thinks that might tickle his twisted religious fancies. But when he comes home, dead tired and smelling of elevators, he doesn't notice at all; or even if he does, he doesn't say anything except, "So, did you find our man?"

"Yes, Raito, but –" she sidles closer to him, "I heard there's going to be a meteor shower tonight, and I was hoping –"

"What's his name?" His laptop is switched on, his fingers poised over the keyboard. Ryuk laughs. It sounds like dead branches scratching against a windowpane. Misa shivers, realizing for the first time how stupid it is to be dressed like that when the air conditioning is turned to max. She mutters the target's name and sits on the bed in the most suggestive pose she can muster while fighting back tears. Raito finds the man's picture, gives her a quick hug, and dashes out the door.

"So much for meteor showers, eh?"

She throws a pillow at Ryuk. It would have hit him squarely on the stomach if he hadn't suddenly turned himself translucent; he cackles one more time before going off to attack the poor apples in her fridge, and she sighs and closes her eyes and tries to stop herself from feeling self-pity, because a supergirl like Amane Misa is supposed to know her worth, and self-pity just doesn't go down in the law of girl power.

Raito's just been having a tough day.

(Everyday is a tough day for the god of the new world, but she just has to accept that if she wants to play the role of his goddess.)

Misa doesn't know very many big words, but by now she has studied some crime psychology (if only so that she can have more intelligent conversations with Raito, but so far it hasn't been working), and sometimes she feels like she's suffocating – asphyxiating, (hah, beat that, Webster's), being crushed by a giant fist, first her windpipe then her whole head and her whole being and she doesn't know what to do, but all of a sudden she's dying, dying. Dead.

Then she opens her eyes and sucks in a breath and realizes it's only her thinking too hard. That job should be left to geniuses like Raito and Ryuuzaki (who lost, by the way. One point for the world of tomorrow. Although she does feel a teeny-weeny bit guilty when she thinks about his poor panda eyes closing forever). That won't do. She takes aspirin and something a little stronger that the doctor did not specifically prescribe, then she settles down to watch her favorite TV drama and ends up sobbing through all the funniest parts, because her world is inside out these days and the only time she ever smiles is in front of the camera.

Sometimes it actually hurts to smile.

Sometimes it even hurts to breathe.

And this isn't melodrama; Misa has done two dramatic movies by now, she should be able to tell the difference.

No, this is her waking up every day alone (save for Ryuk, who definitely doesn't count), trying to cover her eyebags and the puffy tear-splotches with mascara that has started to spoil because she hasn't been cleaning up her makeup kit properly; this is a platinum-selling pop idol with a sob lurking somewhere in her throat every time she opens her mouth to speak; this is her subsisting on a diet of lies and empty promises and empty embraces and she is supposed to be the only thing he cares about outside of work but she isn't, she knows she isn't, and it hurts.

Sometimes she asks herself why she loves him. It was Kira she fell in love with, after all; it was just her luck that Raito was drop-dead gorgeous to boot (literally at that, but she isn't complaining). She could have done her part by just giving him her eyes, but she went and threw her body and soul into the package too. Now he's got a grip on her life, and he's not about to let go.

She doesn't even want him to.

She doesn't know what she wants anymore.

"Kiss me like you mean it," she tells him one night, a smile on her face and something like optimism in her eyes while she presses her chest against his back and lowers her mouth to his ear. His shoulders relax for a moment. Her eyes widen – he wouldn't actually – but then he puts down his mobile phone, pulls her into his lap and touches their lips together. The moment lasts longer than she dares hope; by the end of it she thinks her heart has stopped beating, but this time that's only melodrama.

Then he's upright and halfway across the room already with all his papers tucked under one arm. "Goodnight, Misa," he says, before he's out the door completely. "I'll see you. Sometime." And then he's gone.

Maybe the kisses are fake. Like the words. Like everything she believes in, and everything he does. Maybe the kisses aren't real.

They still mean the world to her.

She cries herself to sleep that night with a finger against her lips, remembering how much Raito Yagami tastes like sugar. And death.

A/N: I didn't think of any particular setting for this piece, but I hope the general idea came through anyway. This was written for starflare on lj. :D Thanks for reading. Comments would be very greatly appreciated.