PLANS

The helicopter blades roared in Light's ears, the fwopfwopfwop of them numbing, merciless simply by virtue of its repetition, and the rhythm slowed as they touched down. Beads of sweat coalesced on Light's forehead, colder than he would have expected. Wasn't cold sweat a cliché?

Everything was a blur—the cars' lights, oscillating wildly between red and blue, reflected blindingly in countless protective helmets; the buzzing of the headset in his ear; the blinking lights on what passed for a dashboard, like varicolored stars scattered around the controls; the blinding headlights swimming on the pavement. Then came the howls of disbelief from Mogi and his father, metallic and magnified through the headset, and then L was lifting a black notebook by its corners, insatiable curiosity in every line of his body. His own excitement overwhelming him, his heart knocking impatiently against his ribs, Light snatched it away. "Let me see—"

Everything slammed into his brain at once, a wild movie on frenetic fast-forward, frames clicking by so fast that he barely had time to glimpse them, let alone weigh them for comprehension. The faces flashed before him, one by one and together, in sequence, in unison, in a wild non-order that left him reeling. A black notebook with pale lettering lay guilelessly on the rustling grass of a well-kept lawn. Two graceful hands scooped it up, flipping the cover idly open.

His hands.

A smirk took hold of Light's face, twisting his lips, irresistible, irreversible, and utterly satisfying.

All the pieces had fallen perfectly into place. Even the intricacies had proceeded without a hitch, without a hiccup.

Just as planned.

Softly, however, so softly as to be virtually imperceptible, a tiny fragment of Light Yagami protested. It was a fragment he wouldn't have thought existed anymore, a fragment he thought he'd killed with all those who had dared to stand against him—a fragment that some people might have called a soul.

It curled up in a corner and cried, shoulders shaking with the inconsolable sobs of the completely bereft, and its whispers struck a different tone.

What have I done?