DISCLAIMER: I do not own Death Note. All rights belong to Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. I only own my OC's-'Kirau', and…that's it, for main characters. And this particular fanfic. Thank you.

Welcome to Psychosis

The Death Note had a varied, colorful history, most notably when it fell into the hands of the human named Yagami Light. He had used it as a tool for domination; his weapon as a means to an end. He was judgment, he was God. The world either worshiped him, or reviled his existence.

But what most never knew was that it wasn't the first time the Note had fallen into the hands of a human. There had been one prior instance, in another realm altogether, hidden by cover-ups of necessary murder, severed ties, and the endless march of time and progression. And it had all started with a child.

Just a poor farm boy, not but eleven years old, raised by an overburdened mother and abusive father. Surrounded by a village too caught up in war and politics and their own survival to care about his, and two siblings who were already preparing for the future; to spread their wings for freedom. He spent his days roaming the fields behind his house, lost in the wounds of the present and the fantasies of his stunted mind. His youth was steadily being shaped and twisted by unfortunate circumstance.

Then, it happened. As he wove his trails through the tall grass and golden grains, it fell from the sky with a thump, leaving a faint impression where it lay. A thin black book, with a black cover and the words 'Death Note' scrawled across the cover.

The boy may not have had access to top-notch education by today's standards, but he was still well versed enough to understand that something about this book was different. It was different. As he thumbed through the pages and tried to comprehend what he held in his hands, the figure appeared. The God of Death to whom this book belonged.

As a child, he should have been frightened of the creature's presence. It wasn't natural, wasn't normal. Wasn't human. It wasn't a part of this Earth. But instead, he was entranced, allured, hypnotized. Fascinated by this being who promised him something beyond what he was subjected and bound to at that time.

The Shinigami hadn't expected to wind up attached to a child, of all possible user candidates. They knew enough from their time spent above that there was a noticeable shift in actions and the like between adults and youth. But the contact had been established. Now, it was on the boy as to what he wanted to do with it. Forced to explain the details of the item he held in his possession, the Death God waited for the sensible rejection, and the scurry that would follow afterwards to find a new vessel, before his absence was discovered.

Another surprise. The boy chose to keep the book, eager to make things 'better' with his newfound gift. He could undo everything that had been done against him and those he loved! After all, wasn't that how death worked? When people died, they went away. Far away. They were buried and gone, where they would never walk amongst the living again.

In death, he could 'send away' all the bad people: those people who hurt others, hurt him. Hurt his family. And it began with his drunkard father.

Such a simple action, to write his name upon the page with quill and ink. And in a few moment's time, the man had keeled over, clutching at chest as the bottle of whiskey fell from his grip, glass shattering on the floor. The amber liquid flowed out, staining the wooden floorboards and dripping through the cracks. The boy had held the book tightly against his heart, eyes never leaving his dead father's gaze. His mother had come in then, letting out a scream of horror at the sight of her husband.

Things were supposed to be better. They should have been better. But they weren't. And he couldn't understand why.

There was a funeral for the man, which he and his family attended, along with the parish of the church and a few scattered others. The Death God had been present as well, watching in silence as the boy struggled to wrap his mind around what was happening.

His father had been cruel. He had beaten them. He had hurt his mother and siblings, hurt him. When he hadn't been off working, he was either at the pub, drinking his fill, or at home, terrorizing his family. The boy certainly felt no love lost between him and the man.

But his family was in mourning. They were crying. The town was saddened. They talked of the 'passing of a great man', the 'loss of an important face in the community'. He was so confused! Were they all utterly blinded to his true callous nature?

As the days, then weeks passed, things only served to grow more strained between the boy and his surroundings. A neighbor commented on his apathetic behavior in regards to his father's death. His mother tried to defend him, attributing it to shock, but the damage had already been done. Into the book went the nosy woman's name, leaving everyone in abject pain and bewilderment as to how the healthy female had suddenly collapsed one day while in her kitchen.

Then, the employer of his older brother had cut back on the pay to his employees. Another name added. That threw the community into turmoil, seeing as the company he led had been in charge of many of the major exporting lines. Then, the butcher, who'd had no good flanks left to sell them for the next night's dinner, all bought up by richer folks who'd been passing through. And then his teacher, who'd sent him to the corner when she'd caught him reading through his book instead of focusing on his studies. He was just lucky that she hadn't taken the Note away from him. That would've caused more trouble for an already stressful situation.

All the while, the Shinigami watched this, saying nothing and feeling nothing as the boy gradually made his way through the population of his town. Anyone who crossed him and his family, no matter the infraction-big or small, they all had to die. They were all hurtful people taking away what was rightfully theirs. They didn't deserve to live, in his clouded child's eyes.

But things were becoming strained among the family as well. The boy was retreating from the world, devoted to nothing but his book, and others were starting to notice. When his elder sister stepped forth to say something about it however, bringing up the idea of taking the Note away in response to the boy shirking his household duties, he was faced with a new dilemma: his kin was now posing a threat to his happiness, his very existence. Could he actually use the book against them?

He could. Down went the name. His mother was distraught, though the boy couldn't see why-he was doing everything for her sake! For all of them! But they weren't grateful! And anyone who couldn't see things his way had to go. In his world, only those who played by his rules were welcomed. It was more than a mere child's game, however. In such a short time, he had effectively raised the fear and melancholy of those in his village, while at the same time cutting the populace number in half. Slowly, the pieces were beginning to fall together, but it wasn't until he actually stepped forth, to try and allow another into his 'ideal' realm that the reality reared its ugly head.

His mother had been quite confused, and a little light-hearted, at first hearing the story he told her and seeing the book. Although morbid, it really seemed nothing more than the invention of a bored imagination. That was, until she touched it. And saw the creature standing beside her beloved son.

What was this treachery? This beast that stood before her and beside her own flesh and blood...had it been the one to bring such horror and heartache to their town? How could her son have chosen to commune with such a thing? It made no sense in her eyes. She couldn't accept it.

Her innocent babe was walking with the Grim Reaper itself. How it had happened, she did not know. But as terrified as she was for the future, as well as her own life...she couldn't bring herself to out him and his deadly secret. Choosing to hide such a fact was blatant treason on her part, making her into nothing better than an 'accessory to murder'. But she would not have it any other way.

She was tired. So many had been lost already, including members of their own family. And although he may have been the one to dispatch them, she just couldn't bear the thought...of losing one more.

There had to be a way out of this. There just had to be. Her boy was sweet, and pure. This Demon must have lied to him, filling his head with fanciful promises and allusions to tempt his naïve heart. She'd get him out of this contract, and then...no more lives would be lost.

She just had to bite her tongue, and pretend that nothing was wrong. Who knew what this monster would do should she choose to act now? He could very well kill her boy before her eyes!

And so, she told him it was alright. She acknowledged his actions, and the being beside him. Told him he was a 'good boy', and that she loved him. She gave him a kiss on the forehead, and resumed her work, the toxic secret slowly eating away at her heart. Nobody else would know. Just them. Just the two of them. Nothing would hurt them, they'd get out of this. She just had to make sure that her plans of escape and redemption came into existence and fruition before it got any worse.

Oh, how the boy's soul danced with joy! His mother knew! And she applauded him! Forget whatever anyone else had said or done; she was all that mattered. There was a new energy coursing through him, as he resumed his duties as the sole guardian of right and wrong in his little community. As the days passed by, the suspicions grew and the noose tightened, but still, the truth was never revealed. And all the while, the Death God continued watching in silence, wondering just exactly what sort of chaos he had unleashed upon this land.

Never had he known that a child could be so vengeful and spiteful, killing without a second glance or thought. Scribble, scribble, scribble. Down went the names, up rose the body count. Down went his mother's sanity, up went her son's glee.

Until that night. That night when everything fell apart.

His mother had collapsed in the kitchen while cooking, and her elder son was in a panic, trying to remedy the situation. Her younger child watched from afar, frightened and unsure what to do. Was his mother going to die? He didn't want to lose her! Of everyone in the world, she was the only one who cared. The only one who had never pushed him away. Even as she'd grieved for those lost, she never once went after her son for causing it. It was just for appearances sake, that's all. Deep down, she appreciated his efforts, everything he was trying to do to make a better life for them. That's all they wanted, in the end: for the other to be happy. What was the point of this Note if the one he wanted to share his utopia with wasn't even around?

That was when his sibling had spied him, peering out from around the corner of the doorway. Rage flared up in him like never before. Here was their poor mother, suffering on the floor, and all he could do was stand and stare? When had he become so useless and ungrateful? Marching across, he had dragged the youth out into the main room, screaming at him for his lack of empathy.

She had seen it in his eyes: that split-second change, from boy to judge. He had pulled away, scrambling for that little book to save him. To erase this tormentor from their presence. He could just as well take care of their mother himself! Who was this stranger to say otherwise? He couldn't even feel that connection of family or sibling recognition, as he prepared to scrawl down the name.

But this time, it was different. The older boy had been faster, rushing up and knocking the Note from his hands. "Enough with your rubbish writing in that damned book!" It had only been a second's worth of fleeting contact, but it was all that was needed. In an instant, the Shinigami materialized before the male, and for a moment, it was as if life itself had left him. His face was pale and the sweat of worry had cooled with the chill of fear. Eyes wide, he tried to comprehend what was going on. The conclusion he came to was simple:

His brother was involved with the Devil. He and his mother-no, their entire village!-were in great danger. He fled for the door, stumbling along the way.

The younger boy had no choice. He had to end it, now. Reaching to grab the book and quill, once more adding another soul to its pages, he was suddenly interrupted by a strangled scream of anguish. He looked across...

...to see his weakened mother, standing behind her elder child, a bloody knife in hand. The boy slumped down against the door, leaving a dark smear of a stain down along the wooden barrier. As he locked eyes with his mother, unable to understand why, she dropped the blade, and collapsed once more, this time beside his dying form.

The boy couldn't believe it. His own mother had stained her hands with the blood of her own child, the crime of murder! And it had all been in his name...she had been forced to choose. And she had chosen him.

It wasn't hard to take care of his sickly mother, bringing her to the bedroom for rest. But what to do with his brother's corpse? He certainly couldn't leave it out in the open; it would rot and smell, and they wouldn't be able to hide the fact that he had been stabbed, which was the only fact required to destroy his perfect little world. So, using all of his strength and resources, he buried the male, in the fields of his youth. His childhood, which had died completely the day that he'd found that blasted book.

However, things are never so simple. Others came around, asking about his brother's whereabouts. At first, they tried to hide it, with a simple lie that the boy had left the village to seek a future outside of its boundaries. Not too unbelievable, at first glance. Then, it was examined a second time, and the flaws were revealed. Why would such a devoted son up and leave his ailing mother and younger brother, after all the tragedy they'd suffered, much less without any of his belongings? Something was afoot here, something foul.

It all came out eventually. Issuing a raid upon the house, the Death Note was found in the hands of the screeching boy. For all her protests, his mother could do nothing to save her son from the fate that awaited him, as he was hauled off by the courts.

Murder was one thing. But to be in league with evil spirits, causing death with just a flick of the quill? That was unforgivable. Justice needed to be dealt out. An eye for an eye.

All the while, the Death God watched, knowing that something was severely wrong with the situation. But he could not as yet determine what. And without his Note, he could not return to his own world. But the only way to get it back...was to allow the young boy to die. For some reason, the thought struck a chord deep within him. Was the loss of another life really so important in the long run? Or had he become attached to his charge?

After the execution, his mother could no longer bear to go on. She passed away in her sleep, leaving the Note up for grabs. And that's what the Shinigami wanted now. To leave this realm of misery and vengeance, and return to his place as a silent onlooker up above, with no responsibility other than the one granted to all in the court of the still growing Gods of Death.

Now though, the populace was faced with a dilemma. They tried to destroy the demon, to no avail. Then they tried to kill the book itself, which was also impossible. And knowing the power it possessed, new temptations began to rear their heads, taking root in the remaining members of the community. The Shinigami knew then that it was out of his control.

It was the first, and only time, that the King of the Shinigami Realm had issued such a command. A flurry of hands went to work high above the tiny village, writing down every last name until not a single breath of life could be found inside its borders, save for the now free-roaming secret was never to be unleashed upon this world, nor would there ever be any contact with any other universe where the residents proved to be so unstable.

"Kill all you see. Do not leave a single one standing. As of now, this village does not exist, and neither do we to this world."

And so, the barriers had been set up, the incident never to be spoken of again...

But where did this leave the Shinigami who had started the chaos in the first place? Although disgraced for having brought such furor upon their Realm, as well as needing to be 'rescued' by his brethren and sisters, he still kept his rank and Death Note. But he was forever changed, choosing to walk alone among the dusty trails of their dead existence, mulling over the events in his mind again and again.

It wasn't normal, this feeling inside of him...that was what it was called, right? Shinigami were not meant to feel. They were Judges without actually doing so, passing the order of death down to whoever's time was up, or had just happened to walk into their line of vision for the day. But for whatever reason, he couldn't get the images out of his mind: that boy, who he had lived with for that period of time, and his mother...and all those villagers.

He felt guilty. Simple as that.

Eventually, he settled into a routine of watching the selected world below without a hint of expression upon his face. It was rare that anyone ever actually saw him using the Note again, though he must have, in order to have survived as long as he did.

He didn't want to use it, this thing that brought so much misery no matter who was the wielder. Humans had become a sympathetic outlet for him, and he chose to watch them through the various stages of life, instead of trying to steal them for himself.

Then that day came, when his fascination and empathy reached a turning point...love. And it cost him his own existence.


It had been a good five minutes since that last statement had left Kirau's lips. Although there was no clock in the hovel that was her apartment, Ryuk swore he could hear a ticking, somewhere. The girl before him was staring down at her legs-or at least, he assumed she was. He couldn't see her eyes, much less the rest of her face. For all he knew, she'd fallen asleep.

Her straggly locks hung and grazed her skin with their ends, and he once more took notice of the lines running across her pale legs. Since that night so many weeks ago, he had never paid much attention to the scars running across the appendages. But now...

Is there any spot she hasn't tried to cut? For a moment, he was sorely tempted to ask. And just as the question was about to leave his lips, his companion stirred. The words were instantly silenced on his tongue, as Kirau raised her head once again to look at him with that softly deranged expression.

"Second grade was a fucking nightmare. I got stuck with the bullies that came in all shapes and sizes. From the c-classmates, to the teachers...and then going home, never knowing which Mother I'd be greeted by? Yeah, it was a real picnic." Another shudder coursed through her thin body, and this time, Ryuk found himself reaching out, to place a clawed hand lightly upon her shoulder. She jumped, but as soon as they locked eyes again the confusion was gone. He drew back, and she continued her tale.

"I was pretty withdrawn by this point, and my grades were going into a tailspin. The administrators had no idea what to do with me. I wouldn't play with the other children, couldn't finish my work-but I never fought, never caused any trouble with authority. They were always the ones picking fights with me. Nothing I did was good enough, not even when I followed their orders...never good enough. Never. Good. Enough." Her fists were clenched tightly at her sides, and she inhaled without a sound, barely any motion.

Ryuk was starting to notice a pattern beginning to emerge. Being surrounded by a constant fear and disregard by others could easily breed someone like Kirau. But that didn't mean she couldn't escape it. It had to run deeper than that, for her to still be so broken and hung up on it over ten years later. Humans were always spouting off about 'therapy' and 'self-love' and 'self-help'-had any of that been offered to her? It certainly didn't seem that way.

"Mom just...kept getting worse. And worse. Aside from cashing her checks and p-picking up her medications, she didn't like to go out. Our house looked like Hell. It smelled like Hell. The power kept going out, because she didn't always pay the bills. She rarely cooked or shopped, so I had to make do with what was a-available. I was fucking seven years old. A-and I-I had to be the one in charge...I was the one who got the blame when things went wrong." Kirau was now shaking her head.

"She just wanted...n-needed to be understood, to be helped. But I...I wasn't the person to do that. Her own daughter. I couldn't...I couldn't help her..." Her voice was getting quite faint, and Ryuk had to lean in to make out the last words as she trailed off. Again with the silence. While her tale was disturbing, it wasn't enough to convince him of any feelings he may have had, nor was it enough to explain her current state. He waited to see what she did next.

You're still trying to deny and rationalize it, aren't you? Poor sod. Admit it, this shit is scary. Inside, he shook his head at his conscience.

I don't scare easily. I've seen worse. She still hasn't explained how all this connects with her using her body as a canvas, or why she was trying to off herself earlier. The voice sighed in resignation. Your lies are wearing thin, Ryuk. True, you may have seen worse, but that doesn't matter here. What matters is that this feels like the worst to you, because it's coming from her. If it were anyone else, you wouldn't even be batting an eye. The fact that you demanded she tell you her life story speaks volumes here. He had no answer to this.

"Then...one day...when it was raining...just like that day...she came up to me. W-with an honest to God smile...upon her face. She took my hand, and l-led me...to the parlor." Kirau's eyes closed, as she let out a tense breath. Was she really breathing, or only going through the motions? Ryuk wouldn't have been surprised, at this point. The girl was something else entirely.

And whatever it was...it had hit him like an oncoming bullet train. He had never expected the rabbit hole to twist down so deeply.

"Her eyes...were so soft, and brown. She was kind, so very kind...a-and gentle that day. She sat me on the couch...and asked me if I wanted...to play a game. Just a simple game, t-to pass the time away, waiting...for the sun." After a moment of lower lip chewing and peeling, Kirau went on. "Always waiting for that damn sun. When she smiled...it was like I was seeing an angel. Her face was lit up like a candle. Such a beautiful flame. She was so loving, so happy...so much like the Mother I had w-wanted to keep by my side...forever. So I said yes...and she told me."

The girl swallowed. "She told me...to count backwards from one-hundred...slowly, very slowly. With my eyes closed. She was going to hide...but I couldn't start looking u-until after I'd finished counting...and after she'd called me, too. She'd know if I didn't f-follow her orders exactly, and I...I didn't want to ruin anything...it was such a lovely moment. She was so lovely then. I followed everything she said." Now her eyes were open, but Kirau's gaze was looking straight through Ryuk. She was lost in the nightmares of the past. They were glazed over, a sedated ocean, waiting for the storm to break.

"When I closed my eyes...all I saw was her face. I felt like there was...was a reason to go on. As a child, I thought...that Mommy was getting better. She hadn't played with me in so very, very long-I was so...happy." The tremors had returned, but by some reserve of strength, Kirau was holding back the tears. Even as her eyes threatened to water, not a single droplet ran down her pale skin. In the lighting, as her head lifted and turned at just the right angle, Ryuk made out the faintest lines upon her left cheek, and thick lines across her throat. There was his answer to the previous inquiry.

"And I sat there, and I waited. And I waited. And I waited...waited. Waited, waited, waited, waited, for t-the sound of her voice...to call me. I just wanted to play. You know? I was just a kid...and I w-wanted to play with my Mommy." Her voice was breaking, and Ryuk felt that sneaking sliver of unspoken fear creeping up his long spine. Something ugly was in store for him here, he knew it. As eager as he'd been to hear her reasons before, now he was desperate to end the tale.

This was humanity on a whole new level, one that he had been completely unprepared for. Never had he had so much investment in a sole being, a figure, a creature. But he did for her. For Kirau. He had unlocked Pandora's Box, and there was no going back.

"She never called me." Ryuk could now feel the chill upon his skin-that deathly cold sensation that had always been a part of him, and for the first time in his existence...he truly wanted it gone. He wanted to grab ahold of the girl before him, and smother her with his presence. He didn't want to feel that cold, didn't want to feel the fear. He wanted that warmth, that sarcasm, that wit and bizarre empathy.

He wanted her. Wanted Kirau to be who she was to him. Wanted that face that existed on a 'good day'. He would have done anything by this point to bring her back. But he couldn't. This was the last hurdle between them, and he needed to know the truth. Know just who was this girl he'd given control of the asylum to.

"Never called for me...and I just kept waiting...and then I thought...maybe she forgot me?" Kirau's fists had unclenched, only for her fingertips to dig into her thighs. The nails were leaving deep red lines in the skin, and her knuckles were bone white. "I d-didn't want to...break the rules, but I...I wanted my Mommy. I wanted to play...just wanted to play. W-wouldn't a good girl remind her Mother...if something was wrong?

"So I...I climbed off the couch...and walked up the stairs...the trip seemed so very long, even more than usual. Not a sound came out...from any of the rooms. It was so quiet...just like a scary movie, when the s-stupid people would go roaming around...searching...when you, as the audience, knew that they should have...run away...and that was me. I was...the stupid victim. Heh." Her mask was starting to crack; her unwavering gaze was no longer as still as it had been before, and the tears were just an inch away from pushing through.

"I looked in my room...of course she wasn't there. A-and then, I looked in hers...and still nothing. And she wasn't-wasn't in the spare room, either. That only left...the bathroom. The bathroom...with the white counters, and off-white walls...the blue cabinets, and large mirror over two sinks-with the burnt out bulbs above it...the separate facilities, with the door that didn't lock, only stuck. The toilet had a cover that kept falling down, h-hitting your back when you sat, and the tub had sliding glass doors...that always made such a racket when you bumped into them. The shag rugs on the tile...mint green and multicolored weave crinkling underfoot.

"She wasn't by the sinks, which only recently I had been able to reach without-without using a stool, or standing on tiptoe. I was so very proud...I was growing up. Did Mommy see me, becoming such a good, nice young lady? Was Mommy proud o-of me, too?" Ryuk could feel it: this was where the dam would break. Whatever was in that bathroom from her childhood...

"And I turned...turned ever so slowly...to see that the door to the toilet and tub was closed. 'Oh', I thought to myself then, 'Mommy must be in there! Maybe she fell asleep on the toilet?' It wasn't like...it h-hadn't happened before, what with all the booze and pills...so I pushed against it, and it opened...it opened, and I nearly fell through, because it had gotten stuck again."

Just like the day of that song. Kirau was crying, but the tears did nothing to halt her voice. The words kept coming, like a hurricane. Ryuk couldn't distance himself, by this point; it all seemed way too real for his liking. As if he were actually there, seeing whatever she had, feeling every last detail. Shinigami never actually had to deal with the sense of dread or the experience of death. They merely caused it, controlled it. To be on the other end, so helpless...

And now he was remembering the night in the alley. How Kirau's life had nearly been extinguished, had it not been for his intervention. And then the hour before, in the bathroom. How had everything come full circle, anyway? It started in a bathroom...and it ended in one, too.

"The first thing I noticed...was the dripping. That sound. It was so faint, but it caught my ears and wouldn't let go. Drip...drip...drip. Just like the ticking of a clock. Tick...tick...tick. And the door opened wider-I pushed it, expecting to see my Mother's leg, as she sat dozing upon the throne...

"But the toilet was empty. Yet the shower...was full. I took a step, and the door opened just a little more...and then I saw the arm. Hanging over the rim of the tub. And the stains...that had dribbled down over the edge, and were now...on the floor below. The nearby carpet...was starting to soak them in."

That was when Kirau lurched forwards violently, one arm wrapped around her abdomen, the other reaching up to clamp a hand to her mouth. Ryuk leaned over, trying to make out the mumbled, frantic words from behind her fingers.

"Oh, God-so much blood...the blood, a-and the water-everything was mixed! It was mixed, l-like some kind of...of sick drink-I saw it! I saw it...I saw the blade, it was floating! She was soaked, b-but her arms...her arms...and those eyes...no, no!"

Now she was rocking back and forth, hair whipping to and fro. "No, Mommy! Please don't-don't look at me like that! I didn't mean it, Mommy...please, Mommy, don't! Don't look at me that way..." A trail of tears, snot and spittle were beginning to mix upon her face, and she started coughing, hand slamming against the wooden floor, leaving a clear smear.

"They were fucking ripped open! Ripped open! She ripped them open! Her arms were fucking ripped open! That water was so cold...and so was she..." Without warning, Kirau began to heave. Nothing much came up though, merely a small puddle of bubbly yellow bile. Her knees brushed against it, but she took no notice. She was panting, reliving that day in her head as clear as if it were yesterday. In her world, it always was. Always.

"The sirens...they came-I don't know when or how, but they did. T-they took me away...and I never saw her again. N-never saw that house...just new houses, and new faces. From one h-home to another...and the offices...the pills-I wasn't going to! I wasn't going to...to b-be like her...I didn't want to be anything close to her!" She was now yanking furiously at the ends of her loose locks. "I gave it up-gave up everything...j-just to try and forget her. Forget them all."

Now she looked up at Ryuk, so lost and forlorn. Like a paper doll, ripped in two. "I was twelve...when it started. I was failing in school, struggling to-to adapt to a new family...dealing with the nightmares...and the bullies...alone...and I-I couldn't take it. I just couldn't-!" She held out her arms, as if offering up proof.

"So one day, as I sat there, w-waiting for the bell to ring...with all the thoughts circling inside me...I found myself r-reaching into my bag, pulling out...those scissors...and that was it. As the y-years went on, the methods c-changed...from scissors to knives...and razors...needles...and thread...sometimes they found out, sometimes they didn't." She chuckled, but it was hollow and helpless.

"In the end...I wound up just like her. I'm still...trying to die, to get away from it all...just like her. Like mother, like daughter, right? Right? Isn't that...the way it's supposed to go? Huh? Huh?" Sobbing, Kirau began lowering herself towards the floor, ready to curl up in a tight ball. When was the last time she'd had to face those memories? Aside from her dreams, that was.

But before her head touched against the wood, she was pulled up sharply by a clawed iron grip. Gasping, she tried to break free-only to lock eyes with Ryuk. She stopped thrashing instantly. The look in his eyes...it wasn't one she'd seen before. And it meant something.

"You are not your mother." The words left his mouth without hesitation. Her heart skipped. "You may wish to think that there is no purpose for you in this world, and I will have to disagree. Your purpose...is to serve me." He let her go, and she balanced before him, now rocking back on her heels. "If you didn't exist, then I would not be here now. Everything as we know it would cease to be. And whatever you choose to say otherwise, you like it this way. I won't believe anything else."

He floated over towards the windows. "And, although I don't say it...I too, enjoy this existence. I enjoy your company." He looked over his shoulder at her. "You are important as you are now. Your past serves no purpose here. You belong to me, until it is the right time for you to die. That is the one place you don't get any say in. Because I need you, for as long as is possible."

Kirau was blown away by his admissions. He hadn't said 'necessary'. He had said 'possible'. He wanted her around for as long as could be managed. Scratch that-he, of all beings, wanted her, a measly human, by his side! He wanted her...her and her alone.

Out of every single person on the planet, he had chosen her. Her, with all her flaws and slip-ups and screw-ups and fuck-ups. Her. Her, her, her, her! Nobody else! To him, she had a place. She had a reason to stay alive. No one else had thought much of her until this point. Now, she had someone who needed her, truly needed her and everything she was. He didn't want her altered in any way. He just wanted her to stay in one piece. To stay alive.

Although shaky, Kirau leaned and scooted back against the bed, ready to fall asleep. For once, she looked forward to the phantoms in her dreams-how would they stand up to her new knowledge and importance now? Perhaps they would finally let her go.

Just as she was slipping under the covers though, Ryuk's voice cut through her thoughts. "Oh. And one more thing." She looked at him, unsure of what he could want now. Hadn't they pretty much torn down every last blockade and shield? Her defenses were lying scattered about her, and she didn't have the desire to pick them up and replace them, as usual. For once, she liked this feeling of openness and vulnerability. Because he would never let her fall. "What?"

"Your name." She blinked. "No more of this 'Kirau'. I want to hear you say it." He was facing her fully now, back against the cracked glass of the windows. The setting sun splayed its rays around his dark figure, giving him the look of something truly menacing and imposing. A fallen angel. A monster. A Shinigami.

But to her, he was simply God.

"Say it. From your own mouth, I want to hear the name that floats above your head." There were no tricks to be played here, no bargains to be struck. She trusted him, and he obviously had some sort of faith in her. It was time to give up the ghost. With a soft sigh and a quick jerk of her lips, she was now smiling. It was small and still a bit sad, but it was better than nothing.

"Guess it was inevitable, huh?" Another chuckle. "My name...is Grace Oka. Pleasure to meet'cha." He gave her a nod and turned to watch the sun continue to slip below the horizon.

"Good. Now, we understand each other." Grace shook her head, lying down upon the ratty mat and tattered blankets. She was soon overtaken by a blissful sleep, one in which she no longer had to hide behind false pretenses or guilt trips.

Ryuk, on the other hand...well, he had a few things left to process.


"...so, this is what humans feel when they're close to each other, huh?"

Yep. You regretting jumping into the situation, now that you know what's going on?

It was nighttime. Ryuk was hovering by the ceiling, drifting around the upper corners of the apartment like an oversized balloon. Below him, Grace continued to sleep, an expression of peace evident upon her features even at this height. He carefully dropped down, settling himself in the air beside her still form.

It had all led to this. All the cursing, the trial and error, the experiments, the questions and fits, the blood and guilt, the denial and violence. Here he was, Ryuk, a Shinigami with a human...and he liked it. No, more specifically: he liked her.

Yes, Ki-erm, Grace-had grown on him. In the end, he supposed he should have seen it coming. After all, spending time in some form or another with another, and certain attachments would form, even amongst those meant to wander alone. Isn't that what had happened to Gelous? He'd been so fixated on little Misa, and in the end...he'd given his life for her. Rem had followed suit not soon after.

Ryuk wasn't going that far. He didn't have to die for her. But he was going to do his best to keep her alive, as long as he could manage. And he didn't need the Death Note to do it.

So, you admit it? You love her, this sideshow girl? This ragdoll? Your little Grace? Ryuk snorted under his breath. Whatever, you're just looking to gloat. Think what you like, it's of no consequence to me. His conscience grinned. I'll take that as a 'yes'.

Love...what a strange concept. Curiosity was one thing, but this? To actually care what happened to another, for such foreign reasons? He'd never thought it possible, at least not in him and his comrades. Gelous-and Rem, now that he thought about it-were always meant to be the exceptions to the rule. It wasn't a compliment. But now, he had to add himself to that list. Just his luck.

Still, with all he had experienced and learned...it was a fair exchange. He had her life, she had his affection. Or perhaps he should call it attention? Once more, he looked at the figure sleeping under the blankets.

It was affection. Because when she died...they would never meet again. She had accepted her destiny as a Note user, and he'd accepted the fact that there was no way he could save her from it. Even the Gods themselves weren't immune to death, and rules were rules. He couldn't change that. Plus, add to that the deal for the Shinigami Eyes, and her lifespan had been halved. Even if he did protect her...she would still die sooner than expected. But she had willingly made the choice, to give him that piece of her in exchange for this dual-bladed sword. A blessing and a curse.

Leaning forwards, his breath grazed her flesh as she slumbered. His gaze lingered upon her features, no longer contorted by agony or discomfort. She had needed that revelation, more than she was willing to admit. He smirked. As long as they were together, in the here and now...that was all that mattered. They'd take on this world of scum and deceit, Death Note securely in hand. Until the day Grace took her last breath. Then, they would part.

He'd never forget her, though. By this point, it was impossible for him to. She was both welcomed and hidden; his dirty little secret that he'd willingly take to his grave, whenever that time came. Perhaps he'd try to stay alive then, and outlive all his brethren? He could keep her memory alive, at least?

It's a thought. With that, he pressed his cold lips to hers in a second of recognition, before floating up and away, back towards the ceiling, to watch the city lights twinkle off in the distance. They were running out of apples again. He'd ask about them tomorrow.


A/N: And there you have it. The final chapter.

Yes, the beginning's a bit unexpected, and rather rambling. I had a vague idea of how I wanted this last installment to take place, but once I started writing it, well...this happened. And looking back upon it, I didn't have the heart to change it. It fit, in a weird, disjointed manner. As if taking another's perspective, and applying it to the current situation in this fic.

How was Kirau/Grace's conclusion? I'd had it in mind from the get-go, and finally got the chance to pen it out. I didn't want it to seem too dramatic, yet I wanted to be certain that it would leave an impression. On the other hand though, it had to be believable. Did I get it about right?

And yes, this is a rather bittersweet ending. I couldn't imagine either character taking up any sort of conventional relationship, feelings be damned. It's just an unspoken agreement between them: they know how the other feels, and how unusual/unnatural it is for both of them...but they accept it. Because it's only between them and them alone. And, just like any other Death Note user, Kirau/Grace will die. I didn't want to sugarcoat it, or come up w/some sort of hackneyed happy ending. It's the truth, nothing more or less. I think it fits the two of them, in the end.

Wow...can't believe I finally reached the last chapter. Go me, I guess? 'mentally pats self on the back' That's three completed stories to my name. I'm halfway there! 'pumps fist' XD Here's hoping you all enjoyed the ride. It's been one helluva a trip; two, almost three years! Who'da thunk it? But we're here. The destination. Was the ride worth it?

Take care, everyone. And many thanks to you for all your support, no matter the form.