I don't spoil stories, so there are no warnings other than the one explaining the rating.
I listen to a lot of different music to get in writing mode, and I'll post it at the top if I feel it's worth sharing. Enjoy?
The news. A murder. Some older man apparently killed his much younger wife for cheating. He was in jail awaiting trial. Click.
Anime. "Code Geass"? It looked familiar. The dark-haired boy was shouting at his friend to listen to reason. Click.
Music awards. Ryuga Hideki was performing one of his better songs in one of his more tasteless outfits. Click.
A talk show. Something about crossdressers and those that loved them. Click.
The news again. A bank robbery. No injuries. Click.
An interview. Political scandal. Click. Click. Click.
The television set threw its ubiquitous blue glare over the boy slumped uncharacteristically in front of it. The images slowly stopped registering to the glazed-over eyes and become mere colors that shifted as the channel changed. Details of each show became more insignificant until it turned to a drone in the background. Static. Eyes blinked, but cognitive processes had ground to a halt.
Light Yagami, boy genius and top-scoring student at Tokyo University, decided that he was tired. That was why he couldn't fake an interest in the goings-on of the world around him. He couldn't even force his eyes to focus on the now fuzzy bluish box in front of him. He wasn't tired enough to sleep, though. Just... drained.
Something broke through the haze surrounding him, and he wearily dredged himself out of the thoughtless void he had sunken into. His eyes struggled to focus on the new object in the room until he realized it was his mother. He forced himself to sit up and look at her as he tried to figure out what she was saying.
"...time for dinner. Shouldn't you be studying, dear? Or at least watching the news and not some cartoons." He shifted his gaze to the television and saw that he had come back to the anime that was playing before. 100, 200 channels, and he had just clicked mindlessly through them for the last hour or two. He couldn't remember when exactly he had sat down out here, but it was darkening outside. His schoolbag was at his feet, though, so he had apparently come here right after leaving the campus.
"Sorry, mother. I must have been awake too long last night studying. I'm tired, I guess." Maybe he was tired; he didn't usually make such vague statements, choosing instead to be precise and always sound intelligent. He was slipping, so he pasted on one of his sheepish and slightly embarrassed smiles for his mother's sake so she didn't worry.
Grasping his schoolbag and heading up the stairs, he glanced into his sister's room. She was watching the music awards and talking on the phone to one of her friends, but she waved at him when she caught sight of him. She was cheerful and surrounded by color and noise. There were magazines spread across her brightly colored quilt and clothes on the floor. Her collections of stuffed animals and cell phone charms were scattered across her bookshelf and desk. It was cluttered but homey and comfortable looking. He lifted a hand in salutation to her and stepped into his darkened room. The sterility of it seemed striking tonight, as if it had just occurred to him that it might have come out of a catalog for all the personality it contained. Textbooks and reference manuals were lined up neatly on his bookshelves, and his bedcovers were either gray or dark blue. Everything was put away, and there was nothing on any surface save his clock, computer, television, and pens. It was stark and utilitarian, but it was how he preferred it to be.
He set his bag by the door in its usual spot, then proceeded to flop with a complete lack of his usual grace on top of his bedcovers. His eyes fell shut, and his breathing evened out, but he was far from sleepy. He just didn't have any energy to do anything. It took too much effort to concentrate on anything, even the television, which was notorious for being something anyone could stare at for hours. Even that had failed to rouse his interest, instead crushing it with its endless reports of real-life crime, trivial coverage of entertainment, and fabricated drama.
He was so tired. He didn't know if he could take it anymore.
Dinner was adequate to keep hunger pangs away, that was all. He had told his mother it was delicious, though. It wasn't her fault he was so out of sorts. His father had appeared briefly concerned until Light distracted him with questions about his latest cases. His father had been working late several days in a row, so there must be a particularly difficult case commanding his attention. Either that or he was just being his usual workaholic self.
He had heard his mother asking him about that years ago, back when he had been getting ready to take his entrance exams for Tokyo University. He had gone to get his second or third cup of coffee after dinner when he overheard them discussing it in the kitchen. Not wanting to interrupt but also not wanting to eavesdrop, he listened long enough to make sure it wasn't a fight he was walking into before yawning theatrically and stepping into the kitchen.
His mother wiped the anxious look off her face and beamed at him, telling him that he was such a hardworking student and that he made her proud. He smiled back at her because he honestly didn't know what to say. He couldn't tell his mother that he was only studying because he couldn't sleep and he was too bored to do anything else.
His father had gripped his shoulder in a fatherly way before turning back to his wife and continuing to assure her that he did love them all, and late nights were necessary to provide for them. Sachiko understood that his job made many demands on his time, but unlike her, Light had stopped wanting the situation to change. It was just how it was. His father was his hero, in a way: distant, noble to a fault, hardworking, and on a pedestal that Light couldn't reach. Heroes were always at their best when viewed from a distance.
But then again, so was everyone else. Up close, he could see everyone's flaws; not to mention, up close he actually had to pay attention to them. This had become more and more tedious over the years. He truly had no interest anymore in garnering friends. They required too much work to keep up with, and they didn't really offer him anything substantial in return. If he wanted superficial conversation, he could talk to his sister. She couldn't converse about philosophy or justice like his father, but she respected him the way he respected his father, so it made up for her lack of depth. It wasn't uncharitable to think that; it was just the way things were.
He pulled himself out of his reverie with difficulty. His mind had been wandering of its own accord lately. Actually, it had been wandering for years. Reality had failed to offer him anything challenging enough to pay attention to, and as a result, his mind had taken to grasping on to any shred of thought and running rampant with it.
It was why he must get into the NPA, the intelligence department, specifically. Surely there he would find cases and mysteries to challenge even his superior intellect. He would find something to occupy his mind and his time and take his attention away from the crushing weight of sheer boredom.
He had to. He was starting to think it was the only thing that would save him.
Today was his graduation from Tokyo University, top of his class, of course, and perhaps the last challenge he would ever encounter. He had wanted to join the NPA and work as his father did, as a detective assigned to Intelligence. He had fulfilled his goal; they already had a slot for him and they had even negotiated his salary. His dreams had come true.
It had come too easily.
Thinking about it now bored him to death. He had aced his final exams and walked right into the head of the NPA's office to be congratulated on his acceptance into the agency as the youngest agent they had.
What was the point of being a genius, a prodigy, if nothing ever truly challenged his skills? It was as though his superior intellect was being insulted by only being tested through mediocre means.
He couldn't take it anymore. Today was supposed to be a day of change, but it had only felt like more of the same drudgery. His future stretched straight out ahead of him, lacking any twists or turns, and it was perfectly clear, even now, the path he would travel for the rest of his days. He saw himself working with others lacking in intelligence, lacking the ambition to do better. He saw himself having to dumb down his speech and repeat himself endlessly to moronic civilians and fellow detectives alike. He had worked with them before while still in high school; he knew what most of them were like. Smart, analytical, but stupid in comparison. He knew it was hardly a charitable thought, but arrogance and ambition had been the only things driving him for years.
Now nothing drove him. His once lofty goals had come easily to him, and it was all for nothing. He had not found himself suddenly filled with purpose, with anticipation. Instead, every day he woke and wondered why he kept going. The listlessness had grown impossible to ignore. A few weeks ago he had slipped up, again, in front of his mother.
She had chided him a second time for watching television for hours before his final exams. He had apologized and headed back to his room, only to stare outside as his textbooks lay open before him. He had studied it all before, and he couldn't bear to look at it again. The occasional person passing in the street as well as the vehicles driving by held more interest.
It was only after darkness had fallen that he had woken from his stupor, realizing he hadn't turned on a light. If his mother had come into the room, she would have wondered what he was doing. He had flicked the lights on, ever a dutiful son, and paged through a random magazine. None of it had held any meaning for him, but he had been so bored, so listless that his mind needed to process something.
Now he had his goals, becoming the youngest member of the NPA as well as the highest scoring student at Tokyo University, in his grasp, and he couldn't feel happy. He didn't even feel satisfied. He felt... hollow.
Perhaps it was time for it all to be over.
Light shook off that feeling, wondering where that thought had come from. It sounded too melodramatic to be anything he came up with. He cursed those dramas his mother and sister watched during dinner; surely that was the only reason such a ludicrous thought had crossed his mind.