Note: Aizawa was the only member of the NPA who didn't quit his job for the sake of the Kira case in volume five, chapter forty.


With his head down he gazed with tears in his eyes at the picture frame he held in his hands. Hands—body—shaking, he set it back down on the bedside table, making a thunking noise. Beside him, Sachiko shifted in her sleep, mumbling something unintelligible. He froze, willing her back into a calm sleep, not wanting her to wake and see him like this again. It would be the seventh time. When her murmuring quieted, he returned his attention back to the picture. His family smiled happily back at him, though if the slight tension in Raito's face was anything to go by, he was a little uncomfortable. Sachiko, Sayu, and Raito were huddled together, Sayu between them with her arms around both of their necks, forcing the taller members of their family to lean down.

Behind them a fountain spouted water into a pool filled with coins from those children and adults who remained steadfast in their belief that their wish might someday be granted. Anything from getting a toy, to finding their soul mate. Incidentally, it was the same fountain where he had met the love of his life moments after tossing a coin in and making a wish. He glanced behind him at said love of his life, feeling warmth flare in his heart at the memory of that day.

The next time they met at the fountain, he had asked Sachiko to marry him, and she accepted. The next two times they met at the fountain, Sachiko informed him that she was pregnant. First with Raito, a brilliant boy graced with supernatural beauty. Second with Sayu, a pretty girl who was bubbly and happy, loving to see a smile on everyone's face. Perhaps she was a gift to make up for the sometimes distant son, who used to smile so much, but then seemed to smile only when appropriate.

It was a fairytale story, to be sure, with an ending worthy of a fairytale. Except…

Lately he was forced to battle the powerful urge to go to that same fountain and toss in a coin. Wish for the life of his son back. It had granted his wish before. Why not now? The urge was a back again, now, stronger than ever in the lonely darkness of night, filled with so many prospects and smashed hopes. He knew he would be paying his fountain a visit tomorrow. Logical or not, even if he would only hurt himself more when the wish was not granted, he toss a coin in, wishing with his eyes closed that he could see his son again, if only for a moment.

Fixing his eyes on the picture again, he huffed down a sob. He nearly laughed at how childish he was acting. A grown man, crying because his fairytale story was run through with a force known as reality.

That knowledge did nothing to relieve the grief, though. Clawing at his heart and mind with razor-sharp nails, determined to keep him in its clutches forever. All he could do was writhe and suffer. Bleed silently on the inside. At work, he could hide it. He was a professional, after all. In his line of work, it was best to keep one's emotions in check, especially on a particularly gruesome crime scene. He was used to the motions of shutting down his face on the outside, even if on the inside he was ruptured and torn and hurting and vulnerable.

But around Ryuuzaki—L…

Sometimes, around that man, his nails dug grooves in his palm in an attempt to stay his hands. He was actually no longer a police man, but even without his gun, he could sink his hands into the flesh of L's neck and hold and squeeze, no matter how well of a fighter L might turn out to be. Even if the others tried to pry him away from the raccoon freak.

Or would his hands meet cold steel? Sometimes, he felt he was working for a machine under the guise of a man. Cold, heartless in his stoical indifference to the emotions around him, and those that might directly affect him. And if his hands did meet steel? What then?

He knew it wouldn't happen. L, however heartless, was still a man. As infallible as the next. But he had to wonder… Did he dare test that infallibility? If it came to it, if he ever had the chance, could he, would he, get revenge on the man who had so easily and without remorse taken down Souichirou's own flesh and blood? Killed his son, awakening in him the feeling that he was being torn asunder? Could he, would he, take that chance and all the consequences that would undoubtedly arise from his actions? What of his wife? His remaining child? What would become of them, if he so chose that course? …The Kira investigation?

His morals, the core of his being and the same thing that had driven him into the profession of law enforcement, screamed against the very notion of such an action. Going against everything his own father had ever taught him, against what he believed so fiercely in… But this was for the sake of his son who had died a meaningless death. With his gut writhing against such an easily imagined act as killing L, he thought.

Could he…?

Would he…?

He thought that, maybe…

The answer was yes.


Misa was back on the other side of the couch in a flash, giving some excuse about Ryuuzaki—which was a better name that Ryuuga Hideki in her opinion, as it seemed to embody his personality—getting a little too touchy for her like. Even though she had been the one leaning against him. Maybe getting a little too close for her own good, then?

No, she wasn't falling for him. (She knew it, because the only one for her was Yagami Raito, who had her completely—heart, body, and soul if he so desired. He didn't even have to ask; she'd give it for him whether he wanted her to or not.) But despite her former hatred for him when she still though Raito was dead, they were forming an awkward, tentative bond. She wasn't sure why, but they seemed to have developed something deep in common without her noticing until it had happened. Something that went beyond mere words. Never had she felt anything like it. It wasn't love—the fluttery feeling she got in the pit of her stomach at the mere thought of Raito—but a suppressed sort of friendship, she supposed.

"Do you feel it too?" Misa asked slowly, curling up on the couch and leaning against the arm. She blushed in embarrassment at how silly she must have sounded. However, she didn't apologize. She truly wanted to know.

He was quiet, and she started to think that maybe he hadn't heard her question, or was ignoring her, when, "I feel it, yes." Ryuuzaki wasn't looking at her, but focused on the slice of cake on the plate before him. She wondered if he ever got embarrassed. He didn't seem like the type. "Does this also count as friendship?"

Looking at him oddly, she said, "Of course! Ryuuzaki, don't you have any friends?" Hesitation showed on his face, unwilling to answer such a personal question. Relenting, he shook his head.

"Raito was my first friend." Surprised, he leaned across the space between them.

"Are you serious!?" she asked, wide-eyed. "You need to get out more, Ryuuzaki. It's not healthy to be alone all the time."

"I guess so. But I'm not really talented in social interaction." Finally he looked at her, allowing her to search his face. He looked slightly apathetic.

"Well, now I'm your friend! You don't have to worry about social interaction. Raito and I will be your best friends ever! Since you already know us, it shouldn't be a problem."

"I gained another friend." She smiled brightly, holding back a squeal. Jumping up and pulling him from the couch with her, she grabbed both of his hands and spun around with him in a circle, laughing. Too bad Raito wasn't here. He might have gotten annoyed, but she would have loved to have pulled him into the circle as well! Speaking of, L just kind of flopped along. She didn't mind his rather apathetic behavior.

"Yay! Raito's friends are Misa's friends. We'll definitely get along!" Allowing his hands to drop from hers, she continued spinning while he watched. "And Misa always takes good care of her friends!" she cheered, having slipped into third-person in her happiness.


Panic was setting in, he could tell, but it was surprisingly subdued. The Shinigami before him, Rem, had just confirmed possibly his worst fears. He didn't understand why it was affecting him like this. He was dead already—it shouldn't matter whether he had been a psychotic mass-murderer in his former life…

Somehow he still rivaled against that thought. He had always been a model citizen—the perfect boy, with a perfect countenance, picture perfect in every way—son of a prominent police officer, who had raised him to have good morals and an ambition of heading the National Police Agency one day. Working in the name of Justice to make the world a better place.

Instead… Instead he had soiled the very definition of Justice by using it as an excuse to make a utopia he could rule over. Under the guise of being righteous he had killed millions for some selfish goal of becoming a god. In the eyes of the people he had wanted to be something people would talk about for centuries to come. Idolization was his goal. He could tell without actually having the memories.

So what if he was scared, then!? He had the right to be. The knowledge that he had been capable of taking a person's life, let alone so many, made him want to vomit. If a Shinigami's stomach could produce it, he probably would have out of sheer disgust. He probably would have cried as well. But Shinigami had not bodily fluids. The body was basically just a shell with a "soul" residing in it.

Rem stood quietly, giving him plenty of time to contemplate. For that he was grateful. He could handle this, but it would be like a large looming scar in his mind. Ugly. Made of the blood he had shed to create a sublime kingdom under his rule.

If he dared to touch Rem's Death Note, his memories would return. What then? Would he take up the mantle of Kira regardless of his time without the Death Note? Having L as a true friend, not just a detective holding him under suspicion… Misa forcing L and Raito to play games with her… It had been fun, believe it or not. Regardless of his complaints of Misa being too pushy with her feelings, or L being too apathetic, he did enjoy their company.

"So I'm really Kira, then?" he asked no one. Rem said nothing, just looked out at the people working steadily in their cubicles. What now then? Risk the chance that he would return to the Kira mindset to take a slip of paper from Rem's Death Note to L? Could he just tell L who Kira was? He didn't know the punishment Shinigami went through when they broke a rule. Would it result in his complete destruction?

"Rem." She turned to him now. "Can I take a piece of paper from your Death Note?" He knew she wouldn't agree, but he still felt he had to ask.

"And what if you return to being Kira?" He had no answer. Rem could see it. Regardless of the fact that there was a small percentage that he wouldn't become Kira again—that his will as it was not would overcome any former will he might regain—it was one she was not willing to bet on. Truth be told, neither was he. "Then no. I can not allow you to take a piece from my notebook, even to catch Kira."

Nodding in understanding—and maybe in relief that he had been refused--he turned towards the wall, fully prepared to take off.

"Higuchi is Kira." She reminded him coldly. He took off without replying.


No, wait! I love you! -shot repeatedly in the head- Ow. Okay… I deserved that. X.X I hope you all had a very merry/happy Christmas/Hanukkah/Yule/Kwanza/Whatever-the-hell-you-celebrate! And a happy New Year as well!