Title: Some Things Are Beyond Near
By: Dr. Kim-chan
Author's Note: Just a three-parter I had the itch to write for Halloween (Happy Birthday, L!) as well as my second Death Note fic. I'm addicted, what can I say? I don't have much experience in writing horror either, so I hope this is up to snuff. Anyway, I trust you read the summary, so I won't waste your time any longer. Happy Halloween, everyone. May you eat as much candy as L!
Near's dark-gray eyes stared at the multiple computer screens, absorbing all the data he would need to make the crucial decisions he was called on to make every day, with enough mental capacity left over to let his attention wander from the screens as he dedicated his imagination to actions figures, piles of dice, once in a while consulting Roger through a computer monitor, or Commander Rester over his shoulder. Papers, manila folders, and the occasional lukewarm cup of coffee were strewn across the stainless desk surfaces. In his ears was the clicking of keystrokes from Lidner's and Gevanni's workstations.
The SPK headquarters looked no different than it did any other day, with the exception of a few changes, including the name 'SPK'. Since the all-encompassing Kira case finally came to a close a couple of years ago, the acronym was rendered useless, and with the world governments now fully aware that Near was truly meant to be the next L, the organization replaced 'K' with 'N'—the Special Provision for N.
In addition, they had also worked on gathering recruits; even with Roger's assistance, Near's burgeoning connections to the police forces and intelligence agencies of the world and their own talents, there wasn't much that Rester, Gevanni, and Lidner could do by themselves.
However, no one looking in from the outside could have noticed the change. As a new rule, only those with the most "seniority" in the SPN were allowed to have direct contact with Near, unless Near himself deemed it safe to allow others into his inner circle. As a result, unless they were out on the field the only people who were in the command center on a regular basis were Rester, Gevanni, and Lidner. Roger would come in once in a while, but for the most part he worked in a separate office, working parallel to Near.
Maybe this special position in the organization, as well as their experience gained from the Kira case, was the reason why Near seemed less cold to them, why they could read even the most subtle of changes on his face. Maybe this was why they supported him, not merely with cases but with any personal conflicts as well.
Certainly this was the reason that, aside from Near, only those three knew what happened on Halloween last year.
Most of all, it refused to leave Lidner's mind. If she knew that was going to happen, she would have never went out and bought the damned thing, even if it had meant losing her job…
It started on October 20th, a day as routine as any other.
Lidner had been sitting at her workstation yet again, helping Near go over an extensive list of pro-Kira sympathizers left over from the mass murderer's reign. After the public began to notice a lack of activity, they began to come to the conclusion that Kira had either been caught, killed, or had "forsaken the world", and a sudden upsurge of major crimes occurred worldwide. A majority of them were left to local police, but a rash of Kira copycats in particular had caught the attention of the SPN, and the past few months had been spent following leads, gathering information, and rounding up suspects.
Lidner's stint in the Secret Service meant she had an eye for detail, and today Near needed this particular talent to help him go over the data. Rester had been sent to the FBI on an errand, and Gevanni was directing field operations. Lidner would have also rather done something more exciting, but she squelched this selfish attitude. Anything to help Near was of value.
Even now, something was catching her attention.
Once in a while she kept an eye on Near to monitor his progress; she had made it a personal mission to try and improve her pace so she could keep up with him, though she could never understand how he did it when he always had a veritable chest of toys to keep him company.
Today, however, his speed seemed to have decreased dramatically. His eyes had lost what little luster they had, treating the case files as an annoyance. Even the 350 Series Mechtrooper they purchased for him just two days ago stood off to the side, abandoned.
Lidner raised an eyebrow. Near not playing with his toys—if it had been anyone else, it wouldn't have been as serious.
She cleared her throat, silently rehearsing her question before it left her mouth.
"It probably isn't any of my business, but it looks like something is bothering you."
The silence in the office wavered, the computers' hum being the only thing giving her an answer. Just as she started to regret asking, Near responded.
"No, that's perfectly all right, Lidner. I appreciate your concern."
The end of the sentence was weak, as if he wanted to say something more. He picked up an object in front of him, the view of it obscured from Lidner's sight. As she leaned forward, she realized that it was the mask of L that he'd worn during the confrontation in the Yellow Box Warehouse. For a couple of minutes he stared at it blankly, holding the chin of the mask tentatively between his thumb and finger.
"Eleven days from now, it'll be Halloween."
"I know, sir…"
Near turned his head slightly, a signal that he wanted to say more and didn't want to be interrupted, but his eyes never left the mask, and at one point he held it up to one cheek.
"It would have been L's birthday."
Lidner's face scrunched up in surprise. Near hadn't talked about L since the Kira case, and even then it hadn't been anything as remotely personal as this.
"He never made that much of a deal about it. One's birthday, after all, is but one way for a person to obtain even more personal information about someone else, and L definitely didn't want to risk that. Of course, he also worked on his birthday most of the time. As for the rest of us raised at Wammy's House, some of us knew, some of us didn't. Some didn't care. Celebrations were far and few between at the orphanage."
Lidner's face softened. Her birthday, too, had gradually become of little importance since she began her career, but at the very least she had the memories of her childhood. She couldn't fathom such a cheerless early life.
But why did he bring up L, of all things?
"Since we confronted Light Yagami in Japan, there have been many issues and questions occupying my mind. Most of these questions are directed at L, and since we saw evidence of shinigami existing, this also left me with many hypotheses about the afterlife. It's like a puzzle with a couple of missing pieces; solving it is impossible, and rather distressing."
Guessing where Near was going with this strange conversation, Lidner decided to speak up again.
"From what you've told us about L, I'm sure he's at rest…"
Near shook his head. "That's not what's bothering me. Whatever his fate, I know L has accepted it. What concerns me is that I have questions without answers…but then I recalled the shinigami, and the possibility of an afterlife…"
Suddenly, the white-haired young man regained his resolution, a faint shine of determination coming back into his eyes. His lips thinned and he held the mask up higher.
"How many files have you gone over?"
Lidner opened her mouth, and then closed it, caught off-guard by the sudden change in topic. She glanced at her monitor.
"After you reach forty files, I'd like you to concentrate on a new task."
Lidner nodded reluctantly. "What are my new orders?"
"I'm aware there is a game, of sorts, that will allow me to test my theory."
Near turned around completely, his eyes meeting Lidner's blue ones.
"I'd like you to obtain an Ouija board…a white one with plain black letters, and the letters 'L', 'M', and 'N' printed in Gothic font. If no such Ouija board exists, go through our usual supply channels and get one made. I'm asking for this a little early because I know this will take a while. If you cannot get one by the 30th, then I'll take a standard one from a retail store."
Lidner could barely croak out the word "Understood", she was so stunned. Near had requested a lot of strange things over time, and Ouija boards were in fact sold as a board game, but she heard the stories of people using Ouija boards irresponsibly. She always took them with a grain of salt, as her spiritual side wasn't very strong, but at the same time she didn't want to risk it. Again, she suppressed her opinion and decided to do what Near asked. If it helped him, it would be of value.
And what happened eleven days later would, without question, be priceless.
(End Part One)