Light woke up on the next morning, a Saturday, grateful that he only had to be at work for a few short hours in the afternoon.
The reason being was that the cider was a cruel mistress to his mind, indeed; seducing it, bedding it, then knocking it about the head with a hammer and taking all its money.
Luckily for Light, his wallet had not been emptied at all, but his head was another matter entirely.
He couldn't even remember how, exactly, he had gotten home after falling asleep in Ryuk's club (that much he could assume). Was it Ryuk's doing?
Light shivered at the thought of the stringy, leather-skinned man carrying him like a baby to his apartment and tucking him in, and convinced himself that he had been driven home.
Driven home, and nothing more.
Somebody must have turned his space heater on while he was sleeping, because the air was warm as he slipped out of bed. It took a great deal of mental effort to convince himself that it was his own doing, and not Ryuk's, as he fetched some aspirin from the bathroom and took a shower.
The quicker he forgot about the whole business with Ryuk, the better.
It disappointed him to no end when he found that his refrigerator was lacking milk, when he went to make himself some breakfast. He then suddenly remembered just why, exactly, he had been out the previous night—it was to get milk from the grocery store.
So, hungry, he turned off the space heater and felt the air grow cold as he set out to follow through on his trip to the grocery, waiting for the aspirin to kick in.
It was around 10 AM when Light asked himself how, exactly, his wallet's contents had gone from no more than $100 to $1000.
He didn't hide his surprise very well, as he discovered this while paying for the milk, a loaf of bread, and a pound of coffee—but managed to get the items paid for without mishap.
Was this also Ryuk's doing? He wondered as he walked home, flipping through the new contents of his wallet in an almost morbid curiosity.
The smell of delinquency hit his nose, a smell of cigarettes and black leather.
A boy (no older than 17 or 18, by his estimation) put his cigarette out with his shoe and stepped in Light's way. "What's that y'got there, bucko?" he said.
"Nothing," Light said, attempting to sound cool and continue on. The boy and his leather buddies refused him that. "Will you let me go home? Please?"
Light's nervousness grew when the boy shook his head, saying something that Light all but should have expected: "We charge a certain… fee, for gettin' past us," he said. "How 'bout we take a look in that wallet o'yours and see if you can make a sufficient payment?"
Light gulped, his blood running like cold water through his veins.
He then did something that, only the day before, he would have considered colossally stupid.
He narrowed his eyes. "Don't mess with me, kid," he said, in a voice that was barely his own. "I'm with Ryuk."
The delinquents looked amongst themselves, slightly taken aback, before chuckling all together. "You think we're some kind of stupid?" one of them said. "No way some square like you'd even know who Ryuk is."
Light gulped again, and began to nervously search in his wallet. Never in his life would did he imagine that he would be so desperate for a sign of Ryuk's involvement with his personal life and belongings.
"So y'don't know Ryuk," the head delinquent said. "Yeah, you'd better pay up."
There was a flash of white ink on dark paper, and Light found it hard to restrain his glowing smile into simply a self-satisfied smirk. "Absolutely not," he said, and proudly displayed Ryuk's business card for all of them to see. They paled. "Please leave me be."
The boys nervously looked at each other, and then at their "fearless" leader, who currently looked rather ill. "L-let's scram, you guys," he finally said. "It's not worth it, anyways."
And scram they did, leaving Light sweating and panting in relief as he looked over Ryuk's business card for, oddly enough, the first time.
It was printed on black paper, with glossy white ink that almost seemed to glimmer softly as he turned it about.
"Walter Ryuk: Seller of Fine Liquors and Desserts," the card proclaimed, in a perfect echo of what Ryuk had told the night before in the taxi, along with the address and phone number of Eden's Apple.
He turned the card over and over, before barely noticing the shine of graphite on the bare back. Squinting, he read: "Call me up if you ever need me. -WR."
Light shivered, just slightly, and hastily put the card away, but in a spot where he could find it easily, should the need ever arise. Not that it would, anyways.
Best not to think of Ryuk for a while, he reasoned, and continued on his way.
He didn't want to go harming his reputation any further; he was treading on dangerous ground already.
After breakfast, his headache mercifully gone since his encounter with the leather-and-cigarette boys, he unlocked his bicycle from the front of the apartment building and rode downtown to the newspaper building. He'd just have to check in for a bit, then he could get some lunch and enjoy himself for the weekend.
Unfortunately, his weekend was to be far from enjoyable.
The newspaper office was a flurry of action and noise when he entered, after taking the elevator up from the lobby, with a few nervous secretaries scurrying around in their pastel-colored suits and garishly bright scarves. Being the polite young man that he was, he tapped one on the shoulder before asking her a question. "Excuse me, but what's going on?" he asked.
"Oh, dear, dear," she twittered, clutching her manila folders to her blouse. "There was a murder outside, didn't you see?"
Light shook his head slowly. "A murder...? Outside the newspaper building?" He didn't see so much as one policeman on his way up...
"Well, not exactly outside it," the woman continued, her eyes darting upward. Light had to resist the urge to sigh. Women and their habit for stretching the truth... "It was just down the street, on the corner. Somebody was shot!"
"On one of those motorbike things, no less..." the woman said. She chewed on an apple-colored nail, and called over her shoulder. "Sylvia, who was the one that got shot, again?"
A rather mousy woman, with brown hair falling in curly wisps about her ears, stopped for a moment to think, a large pile of files in her arms. "Takua... Taku-something?" she said, haltingly. "He was the one that was always bothering us at lunch."
"Oh, that Takuo boy!" The woman with the apple-colored nails rolled her eyes. "I say good riddance, anyways, he was nothing but a pig."
"Amen," said Sylvia, who quickly went on her way with her files.
Light's stomach felt like it had been dipped into a bucket of freezing water. "Takuo Shibuimaru...?" he said slowly.
The apple-nailed woman pointed a finger in a gesture of recognition. "Oh, that's the name," she said. "Why, did you know him?" Her eyes grew cold with distrust.
Light very, very quickly shook his head. "No, no, not at all. I just heard his name around, what with all the trouble he'd been getting into..."
Her eyes lost their ice, and she gave a sugary smile. "I see, I see. My, look at the time, I really must be running... What with all the commotion going on..." Quickly, she hobbled away on her stilettos, and Light cautiously made his way to the editor's desk.
No, no, it was just a coincidence, he told himself frantically, trying to keep calm. The kid was a delinquent, of course he'd get shot, things like this happen all the time-
"Yagami! You look troubled. What's eating you?"
The editor, a rather burly man with a mustache that might have been Charlie Chaplin's in a past life, leaned with his arm against his desk. His face was that of a skeptic's, and set in a nearly permanent smirk. Light shook his head. "Oh, uh, just kinda... shocked about the murder, I guess," he replied, not entirely lying.
"Ah, yeah, the Shibuimaru thing," said the editor. He tucked a pencil in his hand, held like a cigarette, behind his ear. He looked out the window in an almost inspirational manner. "It's really something, you'll never guess who the cops think's behind it."
Light had to resist the urge to gulp. "Who?" he said, almost conversationally.
"Georges Jealous. Ain't that something?" He took the pencil out of his ear and held it in his hand again. He kept it poised near his mouth, as if he were ready to take out a match and light it at any time. "He's been clean for months, that Jealous."
"Huh, that's something," Light said, trying to decide whether his brain should explode with internal screams, or if all the stress should evaporate in a sigh of relief. He knew that this should have calmed him, and yet, there was a very small and insistent voice in his mind chanting Ryuk's name, over and over, like some demented ghoul.
"Yeah, it really is. They should be arresting him soon, or at least trying to find out who he got to do it," the editor continued. "Still, they ain't got a motive; but there's evidence."
"Earring thing. You know, Jealous' boys all got their faces pierced somewhere," he added, chewing on the eraser of his pencil. "Downright weird, if you ask me."
"Sure is, sir," Light replied automatically, wishing dearly for the conversation to end. "Er, so, is there anything for me to to do today?"
"You? Nah." The pencil returned behind the ear again, the eyes still never making contact. "It's Sunday, after all. Go have some fun. You gotta go cover that museum opening on Tuesday, though."
"Right, right," Light said, his feet beginning to move quite beyond his control. "Well, I'm, uh, going off to lunch. Say hello to your wife for me, will you?"
"Yeah, sure," came the distracted reply, as the pencil was removed from the ear for the second time. Light quickly got out of the newspaper room, and was on his bike and pedaling towards Eden's Apple, feeling like he was about to vomit when he passed the remains of a bike and a man on the side of the street, with blood and onlookers everywhere.
Despite all his most logical reasonings, there was a terrible and sickening thought in the base of his stomach, and he needed more than just word of mouth and gut feeling to make it go away.
Eden's Apple seemed far less glamorous by daylight. It was a rather drab-looking building, right on the corner of a downtown street, with gold letters shining dully above the entrance without lights to aid the glitz. Light, with unusual recklessness, leaned his bike against the front and knocked on the door. Nobody answered.
He took a deep breath. He closed his eyes. He entered.
The bar was free of people, feeling odd in its emptiness. Free of people, that is, save for a black woman with a blue paisley scarf on her head, idly wiping a cup, and a hulking square of a man near the door that Light remembered led up to Ryuk's private lounge.
He took another deep breath. He advanced. The bartender glared at him almost condescendingly as he passed.
The square of a man was even larger close up. He did not look at Light as he approached. "Um, excuse me...?" Light said, in a voice that would rival the meekness of Dorothy, as she cowered before the "Great and Powerful" Wizard of Oz.
Beady black eyes glanced down at him, but not a word was spoken.
"Um... I'd like to speak to Mr. Ryuk, please," Light said bashfully. Silence. Feeling extremely foolish, he fumbled for his wallet in his pocket, and took out Ryuk's white-on-black business card. "He gave me his card last night, see."
The square man took the card from Light's hand, turned it over in his fingers, and handed it back, stepping aside. "He's eating lunch, right now," he replied, in carefully selected and vaguely accented words. "Knock before entering."
Light nodded, taking the words truly to heart, and clinging to the business card as if it were some sort of rosary as he ascended the stairs. He knocked before entering.
"C'min!" a sandpaper voice replied.
And Light entered.
Ryuk was eating a sandwich. A particularly messy sandwich, composed primarily of lettuce, mustard, and several slices of what appeared to be radish. He waved it around, scattering crumbs and sauce all over the napkin he had tucked into his collar. He grinned.
"Well, look who decided to come back!" he said, all too good-naturedly. "Want some lunch?"
"No thanks," Light said, attempting to sound as cold as possible. Ryuk wasn't fooled.
"Eh, suit yourself," he said. "What brings you here on this sunny afternoon?"
"I... I need some answers, Ryuk," Light said, gulping in the middle of his sentence. He could feel the sweat on the back of his neck.
"Ask away, kiddo," said Ryuk, heading towards the bar. He took a bite of his sandwich; crumbs flew everywhere. "You sure you don't want a sandwich while you're here, by the way?" he said, though it was barely comprehensible through the bits of sandwich in his mouth. "I make a mean sandwich..."
"Stop fooling around!" Light said. Ryuk stared at him, swallowed, and took the napkin out of his collar.
"I see you mean business then, kid," he said, wiping his mouth. "Well, what do you want to know?"
Light gulped, narrowing his eyes, and attempting to channel that malicious self-confidence that had swept over him when he had been dealing with the punks at the grocery store that morning.
What came out was a cheap imitation, but an effective one. "Were you the one that killed Takuo Shibuimaru?"
Ryuk grinned, and put the napkin on the bar. "Well, aren't you the sharpest pencil in the box!" he said.