Tales of the Slayers
Ryuk tilted his head in lazy observation for a moment or two, wide mouth unmoving from its usual stitched-on grin, before giving a small nod that made his earring jingle.
This human boy – this Light Yagami – had yet ceased to impress him.
"You know, Light," he said, as he watched the teenager carefully extract the ink reservoir from between the circuit connectors and replace it with the rubber insulator glued to the underside of the drawer's false bottom; "You sure went to a lot of trouble with this."
Light spared him a glance with those chocolate eyes.
"Yeah. I'd heard," Ryuk went on, raising a clawed finger, "that when a human picks up a Death Note, their biggest problem is hiding it. You must be the first to have put in this much thought."
Light laughed, and dismissed Ryuk's further notion that his method was still a dangerous thing to be playing with; he only put his arms up behind his head and noted that he'd rather deal with a house fire than the death penalty.
It was actually a good half and hour later – when Ryuk was gazing out of the window munching an apple – that Light Yagami glanced up from his homework, his interest apparently, finally, piqued.
"I'm the first to have gone to this trouble?" He toyed with his pen between deft fingers. "Then there have been other humans? Other Death Notes?"
"Oh, yeah. I toldja, Light. The Shinigami world is a dump."
Ryuk's eyes glinted; though the human boy did not quail beneath the flash of them.
"What's your point?" The brunette asked coolly, resting his head in one hand.
Ryuk pointed a long finger at the drawer concealing the Death Note by way of reply, adding;
"…I'm not the first Shinigami to have gotten bored."
I feel like I should explain this, so I'll try and keep it brief;
On re-watching the above scene (more or less) in the Death Note anime, I was struck with a sudden notion that it might be really interesting to look at the power of the Death Note itself in relation to the fact that it apparently only brings humans misfortune. However, the only way to really critically look at the Death Note itself is to remove it from the context of the manga/anime, and from the intense character politics and dynamics between Light and L and Misa and the task force and Mello and Near and blahblahblah.
Yes, that's all the best stuff in Death Note. We're not denying that. But it kind of distracts from the notebook itself, and that's what Tales of the Slayers is about (name is borrowed from a Buffy the Vampire Slayer AU comic series). The best way to illustrate the unluckiness of the notebook was, I felt, to use OCs – not because I love OCs ad made up my own Death Note characters who are totally gonna like marry L and stuff. Quite the opposite, in fact – OCs are useful here because you guys don't care about them. It means that you'll focus more on the notebook and less on whether or not those two chained-together-muppets are ever going to just give into the urges and get it on.
Also, I was interested that Ryuk said "when a human finds a Death Note, their biggest problem is hiding it", which implies that other humans before Light had picked up Death Notes, and possibly used them.
The result is Tales of the Slayers: Three one-shots, set in past times long before the post-millennium setting of Death Note, looking at how much being a 'pre-Kira' Kira sucks (plus a prologue and epilogue featuring Light and Ryuk).
If you choose to continue reading Tales of the Slayers (since I know "OCs" will have sent many of you scrambling for the hills), please look out for the references to real DN characters thrown in here and there (such as names and other bits and pieces).
And, incidentally, if you do choose to continue reading, thankyou very much – I don't expect this to be very popular, in all honestly. :)