What's the hook, the twist within this verbose mystery?

I would gladly bet my life upon it

That the ghost you love, your ray of light

Will fizzle out

without hope.

Misa had honestly never seen it coming.

She had believed, for a little while at least, that Light would be coming home. It had taken her quite a while to realize just how mistaken she was, that fairytale endings simply did not exist in the real world and that Misa was left behind in a cold apartment smelling softly of his shampoo and filled with ghosts of his presence. It was just too much… it was enough to make Misa consider suicide. For someone who had always enjoyed life as immensely as Misa had, this was a frightening prospect, that she could be this affected by anything.

Misa had hoped from the very beginning, from the first time she met Light, that she had found her Prince Charming at last. No more would she suffer through dates with men who only wanted to date the famous Misa-Misa and had no interest in Misa Amane herself. She had hoped she would live in a state of suspended bliss with him until the day she died. But fairytale endings are far too hard to grasp, and she knew this.

And now she was left behind. It was the coldest, meanest, most miserable feeling she could even imagine. She was always cold, always alone, and always gloomy. Her only comfort came in the form of visits from Matsuda and occasionally Mogi, who would sit and have an awkward tea with her, make small talk, and then eventually leave, always managing to avoid the subject of Light's death. Matsuda had been the one who'd told her, though, and Misa was able to see outside of her own depression long enough to realize that it must have been hard for him; he had told both her and Light's mother and sister about it, how he had died bringing down Kira and protecting them.

She still remembered that all-too unpleasant visit… the way Matsuda had shifted uncomfortably in his chair, the way he had tried to smile at her but his eyes were devoid of his usual cheerfulness. His normal sense of clumsy charm was left behind at the scene of Light's death, and though he had regained it since then, he still wasn't the same. Nothing could ever be the same after something like that. Nothing.

The only thing Misa had to keep her warm as she lay in she and Light's lonely bed night after night was the fact that her Light had been so brave. That he had gone down fighting and that he had never given up. She would lie there struggling to push back her tears and think of that small ray of good in the sea of negativity. She would lie in the dark and talk softly to Yuki, the remaining pet lovebird. The male, Tatsuki, had died several months before Light. Yuki had been as devastated at losing Tatsuki as Misa was at losing Light, and as she lay and whispered to the bird, listening to her soft coos echoing back from the cage in the darkness, she felt slightly less alone. It almost comforted her. Almost.

And so, on this particular night, there was nothing to ease the pain of being without him, and though Misa listened to Yuki speak the few words she could mimic, she still felt utterly abandoned. It wasn't Light's fault, she knew, he hadn't meant to die. But she still felt that he had gone away and left her alone anyway. She rolled over in the darkness and grabbed his pillow, the one that still smelled like him after he had been dead for a month. Clutching it to her chest and planting a small kiss on the fabric, she could feel a fresh flood of tears prickling at her eyes and the pool of loneliness and worthlessness deepening in her stomach once more.

"That's enough!" Misa shrieked into the darkness, sitting up with the pillow still clutched against her. She wasn't sure who she was speaking to, but she spoke the words loudly into the dark anyway, clutching at her chest and marveling that her misery was so strong that she could actually feel physical pain. Lunging for the beside table, Misa could feel her entire body shaking as she pulled the handgun from the drawer. Light had always kept it there out of habit, and Misa hadn't been able to bring herself to move it. She knew that it was loaded, she knew that the safety was off (they had no children, so what was the point in it being on?), and that one simple twitch of the trigger could plunge her into eternal darkness. This was an interesting, almost intriguing concept, and Misa turned the gun over and over in her hands as she pondered it. It could end her pain. It could end her life. She shivered, slipping a finger over the trigger.

Misa knew in all reality that she was serious about this, but she didn't know how serious she was about doing it this moment. But still, she held the gun experimentally against her temple, and felt a sense of raw fear and power shifting through her. Maybe this was how Kira felt, she thought. The sense of someone's life lying in his hands, the new feeling of power at his fingertips. And at the moment, Misa had her own life in her hands, and it felt scary beyond all reason. And yet, she felt calm. She finally had control.

"I want to die…"

Just then, the ringing of the phone beside the bed broke into the dark silence. Misa shrieked and Yuki made a soft squawking noise. With a soft, plushy thud, the gun toppled onto the covers. Sighing softly, the immense sense of relief washing away as quickly as it had come, Misa grabbed for the receiver. She never knew when a call could be important, and it would be unwise to ignore it. Feeling like a child because of her momentary weakness, she cast the gun a small glare and held the receiver up to her ear.

"Yes?"

"Misa-san?" came a voice through the earpiece. The voice was vaguely familiar, scratchy and unaffected and almost annoying.

"Yes, this is Misa-Misa. What do you want?" she asked, trying to keep the irritation from her tone. Whoever this man was, he definitely sounded like a pervert. Misa did not want to deal with perverts at this time of night, especially not when her heart was breaking and her eyes were watering and all she wanted was to die or to sleep. She wanted unconsciousness… she wanted hope.

"I hope I didn't call at a bad time," the voice said, though it didn't sound considerate at all, despite the words spoken.

"Yes, you did. Now please tell Misa what you want…" through all her melancholy, her habit of speaking in third person had all but disappeared. But here it was again, and now that she was older, no longer the up-and-coming model who could afford to be childish, she would have felt embarrassed if there weren't more pressing matters at hand. "So she can get some sleep."

"But you weren't sleeping, Misa. You were doing something else, and I was considerably worried you might actually go through with it. And so I called."

Misa's blood ran cold and her eyes darted out the window of the apartment, looking for the distant gleam of binoculars outside in the faint glow of the street lights. "Who is this!?" she shrieked, losing her head far more than she should have considering she had dealt with stalkers multiple times before. "Leave Misa alone, you pervert!"

There was a slight pause. "I'm… a pervert?" the voice sounded slightly amused, and she could hear the small sound of him chuckling, though it was faint. Suddenly something in her mind clicked, and she sprang up into a crouch, her eyes darting around in the darkness.

"Ryuuzaki?" she was, to say the least, surprised. It had been five years since Light had told her he had left the Kira case and gone back to wherever it was that he had come from. She had been a little miffed he hadn't even bothered to say goodbye, but had brushed it off because she still had Light and that was all that really mattered. But if it was really him… oh God, something about that fact would make the world so much less lonely. Ryuuzaki had probably been the person closest to Light, and this made it feel like some small part of him was still alive.

There was a short pause on the other end. A thinking sort of silence. And then when the voice answered, "Yes, this is Ryuuzaki…" a small snag of hope tugged on her heart, her trembling almost coming to a complete stop.

"Ryuuzaki…" she whispered into the dark as though the word was sacred.

"Hello, Misa-san."

"Where have you been?" she demanded softly, though her voice had far less fight to it than it would have the last time the two had come into contact. "Light told me you left the case suddenly! And you didn't even say goodbye!"

"I'm very sorry, Misa," Ryuuzaki sounded genuinely repentant, and it was enough to make her stop scowling. "I meant to give you a proper farewell, but as Light-kun told you, I had to leave very suddenly. It was something only I was able to foresee." the young man was silent for a moment, and when he spoke, the remorse hadn't left his voice. "I was… very sorry to hear about what happened to Light-kun." she had never heard such genuine sympathy in his voice before, and something about it made her want to weep, deeply and endlessly. And so she did, sobbing into the mouthpiece and whimpering out all her troubles to be met with small, sympathetic murmurs. When she had finally cried herself dry and the pain had ebbed to a dull throb, she wiped her red, puffy face free of tears and sniffed several times. The silence between them grew for a moment until she spoke in a thin, wobbly voice.

"What has Ryuuzaki been up to?"

"Eating cake," was the simple reply.

"Are you working on a case?"

"Actually, I've retired from that business," Ryuuzaki told her. "I retired after leaving the Kira case."

"Oh," Misa was surprised… Ryuuzaki had always seemed to enjoy his job so thoroughly that for him to quit with such suddenness struck her as odd. "Why?"

"I suppose you could say I was forced to retire." his tone was a closed one, and Misa decided it was better not to push him further. She was glad that he had the foresight not to ask her how she had been; the answer was obvious from her crying spree. The two just sat in silence, connected by the telephone, and Misa felt comforted knowing that she wasn't alone.

"I have to go," Ryuuzaki told her after a few minutes of the silence. "I'm sorry,"

"That's okay," Misa told him softly. "Thank you for being there, and for listening. Misa is very happy that Ryuuzaki called…" she paused. "Can Misa see Ryuuzaki soon?"

"Misa-san…" he sounded uncomfortable. "I don't think that will be possible." he paused again, and this time he seemed to be gathering courage. "I know I don't tend to be open in such matters but Misa… I want you to know that no matter what you may think or how much you might miss Light-kun, you will never be alone. It would be unwise to lose hope, especially at such a young age with such a long life ahead of you."

Misa bit her lip to stop a fresh wave of tears at this, and nodded, though she knew he couldn't see her. "Okay…"

"Misa-san?"

"Yes?"

"My name-- my real name-- it's Lawliet. But I'd appreciate if you'd refrain from telling anyone else." he seemed to know how trusted this information would make her feel. Misa almost smiled, holding the fact close to her as though she could really touch it.

"I won't, I promise."

"Goodbye, Misa."

"Goodbye, Ryuuzaki," she said softly. Something about the goodbye was so final that she nearly cried again when she was left with the sound of the dial tone and a cold bed full of memories. But she was slightly comforted in the knowledge that she was trusted with his true name, and she held the secret and the unspoken bond it seemed to imply close. And for the first time in the last month, she slept without Light's pillow in her arms.

It was a week before she told Matsuda about the call from Ryuuzaki, and when he got an odd look on his face and shivered, she was prepared for the worst. "Misa… I don't know how to say this but Ryuuzaki… died. He was killed by Kira five years ago."

To be perfectly honest, Misa was not entirely surprised. It didn't seem unlikely that Light had lied about Ryuuzaki leaving the case to keep her from knowing that he was actually dead. But it did unsettle her slightly that she had received a call from someone who was supposed to be dead. She asked Matsuda scores of times if he was sure, and he told her he had seen it happen. This left her with a cold, eerie bitterness. But somewhere underneath that, there was comfort. There was the knowledge that she really wasn't alone, and no matter what happened, someone had cared enough to stop her that time.

That night, Misa tucked herself into bed, snuggling under her covers against the storm that raged outside the window. She said her customary, tearful goodnight to Light. And then, before she rolled over, she threw it in as an afterthought.

"Goodnight, Ryuu-- Lawliet," she whispered into the darkness. And as she dropped off to sleep, she unconsciously allowed herself a small smile, falling into the arms of unconsciousness in the dim, empty bedroom.

"Goodnight, Misa."

Hey Miss Murder, can I
Hey Miss Murder, can I
Make beauty stay if I
take my life?