A/N: Hello there! This is going to a strange little set of stories. They all have a common theme, and that theme is 'teeth'. They were written for DN Contest, a livejournal community where this was a recent prompt. The first ficlet is about Takada, and we'll be branching out from there. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Talking Of Teeth

By SunMoonAndSpoon

It's been a long, largely unpaid slog to somewhere in the middle of the corporate ladder. Kiyomi isn't sure how to progress any further, and she doesn't know if it's a glass ceiling effect, or if she just hasn't been as stellar an intern as they all say she's been. Kiyomi's clawing for anchorwoman, and it drives her batty that she isn't there yet. Even though she's fresh out of college, even though her parents say she can live with them as long as she wants and that she shouldn't expect to reach her dreams immediately, she wants to sprawl out on top of the heap, screaming her own praises at the sky. Takada Kiyomi, famous anchorwoman is the only title she will tolerate.

She wracks her brain trying to figure out what she's doing wrong, and in the end, the answer turns out to be obvious. It's her teeth. They aren't quite as sparkling as one would expect from an anchorwoman—Kiyomi uses soy sauce on her rice—unheard of in Japan!—and she drinks far more soda than is good for her. As such, her teeth display a slight tinge of yellow, like a book that's been on the shelf for too long. In life, it doesn't matter much, but they're reluctant to put someone on the air who's less than gorgeous.

Kiyomi doesn't have the time or the patience to wait for bleaching and brushing to take effect. A few trips to the dentist later, she's sporting porcelain veneers. Her new smile is as white as DVD casing, and she tells herself that that's all she needs to achieve her dreams.

"B, how in the world did you get so many cavities?" Watari asks, hands on his hips in a manner too girlish for such an elderly man. B almost laughs at this, but he keeps his mouth shut. He shouldn't be laughing right now. He ought to be devastated. L never had any cavities, and as such it's utterly ridiculous that B should have a single one. He's been following L's diet like it's a religion, so he ought to have the same outcome! He shouldn't have this pouch of flab forming on his formally flat stomach, and he shouldn't have thirteen rotten teeth!

He doesn't even have to say it. Somehow (he's probing his brain, he's got psychic powers and he's going to make B explode with his psi-waves any minute now!) Watari already knows what's caused this. "You're not L," he says gently, gnarled hand searching for bits of B's shoulder that aren't coated in jam. "L shouldn't eat the way he does either, it's going to catch up with him eventually. But you're not him, and you can't handle this."

Once upon a time, Teru's teeth were as straight and white as piano keys. Not quite that long, because humans don't have teeth that grow that long, but in any case, his teeth were flawless.

Apparently, this is no longer the case. In spite of the fact that Teru has to be at work in half an hour (a lowly cashier position at 7/11, but work all the same) he is now glued to the bathroom mirror in the pre-law building at his university, staring at his overlapping teeth and attempting to coax them back into piano key perfection. This will not work. He knows it won't. You can't force bone to do your bidding, you can't reverse years of catastrophic drift. This is because his wisdom teeth are coming in, his existing teeth are being crowded out of position, and there's nothing he can do. He could get braces, get something done, but that would cost money, that would cost tuition for the semester. All he can do is run his tongue over his crowded teeth, pretend that doing so will fix them. Pretend, when it fixes nothing, that this really doesn't matter to him, that it doesn't change his world at all.

But Teru doesn't want to open his mouth anymore. And Teru feels almost too anxious to go to work, because a part of his world is different from what he was used to.

"Oh my god! Rem, Misa just realized something! Oh, this is so cool!" After her outburst, Misa begins rifling through her abundant possessions, most of the black and coated in lace and religious imagery, searching for…Rem doesn't know. She doesn't like that she can't always understand Misa. It's her dearest wish to do so, but there are times when Misa's thoughts and feelings are either too complex or too simple for Rem to comprehend. "Rem!" she pipes again, bursting with excitement. "You've got fangs, Rem!"

Fangs. Rem runs a thick tongue over pointed teeth and decides that she agrees. She has got fangs. What Rem hasn't got is Misa's point. "Vampires have fangs!" she squeaks, flopping back on her bed with a book in her arms, not the Death Note. Something called Dracula. "Wouldn't it be cool if you were a vampire, Rem? You could create a vampire army to fight alongside Kira, and you could turn Misa into a vampire, or Light! He'd sure make a pretty vampire, don't you think?"

If Rem were human, if she couldn't control her emotional response, she'd have shuddered upon hearing Light's name. She'd have bristled with rage. But instead, she smiles indulgently at Misa, says that yes, that would be "pretty cool."

"What you can do for real is much cooler, though," Misa says, slender fingers groping idly for the Death Note, which lays nestled on a black satin pillow nearby. "Vampires are actually kind of lame, but death gods…Misa likes those."

"Why is he crying so loudly?" Soichiro moans, hands over his ears in protest. As if he has to listen to this day in and day out, as if he's the one who has to make it stop somehow! "Sachiko, it can't be good for him to cry this hard. He wouldn't be doing it if there wasn't some kind of problem, right?" Translation: It's not a big deal, right? I won't have to actually do anything? I can go back to work now?

Sachiko sighs, leans back on the couch and rubs circles on her screaming son's stomach. "Light, sweetie, shhh…it's okay, whatever's wrong it's okay, Mommy's here, shhh…" She repeats this over and over again, rubbing different parts of his tiny body to see if anything will calm him. Something's hurting him, these are the cries of a child in pain. Soichiro doesn't know. He asks if Light might be hungry. "I fed him," she mumbles, kissing Light's cheek and brushing her lip against something hot and swollen.

"Something's wrong with his gums," she says, gently prodding them and producing fresh screams. She finds a tiny nub of white amongst the mass of swollen gum. She yelps, "I think he's cutting his first tooth!"

"Really?" Soichiro asks, so surprised that it's almost cute. Sachiko forgets her momentary irritation with him and nods, says, "that's why he's crying, he's teething. Could you go get the teething ring from the diaper bag? Maybe if he has something to chew on, he'll calm down."

Until then, Light twists and howls in his mother's arms.