Something is Wrong Here

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You have walked the paths of millions of heroes and trillions of villains and you have sentenced each and every one of those beings to death.

– - –

IT starts with pain
followed by hate

– - –

You have always thought Light Yagami is a lovely boy, and you are even more certain of your convictions as you watch him frolic through the sea of legs and chairs, effortlessly interacting with an adult here, an adult there, and a pet or three along the way.

When his mother pulls him aside to stand out of 'harm's reach,' he is handed over to a woman whose loveliness easily rivals his own.

With a pretty smile and a flash of semi-cream teeth, she kneels by the child. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" It is a softly-posed question, spoken in baby-talk and as if it is meant for someone whose ears are too sensitive to handle anything louder than the scratching of paper against pen.

His expression doesn't change for a moment; you can see him evaluating her with his mind, working out the facts and smoothing down the deductions, flipping through and discarding possible answers.

Were he a little older, a little meaner, you would almost say that he is humoring her.

"A police man," he says slowly, with restrained eagerness and a bright flash of his eyes. "So I can protect people's justice, like Father." With that innocent tilt of his head, the tawny-eyed child's stare passes the woman. He looks at you long and hard, his gaze bordering on a challenge and his pupils shimmering with a color that shouldn't be there. There is something in the glow of his eyes which tells you he can almost see your criss-cross patterns and twisting arabesques of Design and Life, and that he would be willing–is willing–to burrow into his own grave on his eleventh hour in an infantile attempt to throw you away and tear you down, just to try to snap those threads like they are the brittle Pocky sticks you have seen he loves so much.

For no more than a moment, you look away.

He's hardly been speaking in intelligible sentences for more than half a day and he's at a party with osechi smeared on his face and he doesn't understand anything, but Heaven, he can nearly see you and he shouldn't. You hardly notice the woman's delighted laughter as the child answers her because you are entranced by the twitch of his pink kamaboko-flecked lips as his eyelids tilt and head drops in smug acknowledgement of a victory never won. A flash works its way through his eyes and the light hits them at just the right angle as he shifts his feet, and combined with the contented smirk of his mouth and eyes, you see just what he is.

He is a byproduct of faded greatness; a domesticated cat leashed so closely within the boundaries of tradition and expectation that any sense of freedom evanesced the second he took his first, shuddering breath. Everything he has is controlled by another, not personally possessed, and he never had the chance to place his own stepping stones across your river. His life has been dictated entirely by you, from start to finish. He is chained.

He is a leashed cripple who dreams to run, even if it means he'll have to drag his bounds along behind him for every step of the way.

He is three years old.

He is three years old and he wants to race you and you know the path your Threads have spun for him and you know that he's going to fray those strings and sprint right off the road into territory unknown, even to you, and you begin to hope that he might–just might–be able to find the single trail that will lead him to a life of happiness because even now, you can see that he possesses a degree of innocence that should never never never be touched by anything.

And you are sad because you know that is not how it's going to happen; that that is never how it happens; and that no matter what happens, the law has been laid down and the future scored into your skin.

He is chained.

When the black-haired slip of a mother ushers him away from the crowds, your eyes follow.

– - –

fueled by the endless questions
NO ONE can answer

– - –

Blinking confusion, and then: "She's dead."

A bandaged fist clenches slowly and the young man's muscles tense as his posture straightens; his breath picks up speed by the minutest of margins and his eyes widen in acknowledgement. There is nothing deeper. No shock, no disbelief… no visible pain, or anger. Dull acceptance settles in comfortably, accompanied by a revelation: he has been cheated. He doesn't know the why, the how, the when or the where or the who what WHY.

In a twisted search for escape, his eyes dart to the window looking out over the familiar arches of the Temple, only to be met with boards and nails stretched with tattered pieces of cloth.

And like magnetic puzzle pieces poured from the sky like rain, it all falls into place. Who what when WHY where how. All of it.

They had had money and the fiancé–they had been safe. She hadn't need to… he could have… should have… would have.

Should have.

He can't find it in himself to be surprised, though; not after everything.

"We sent you a letter…" his mother states in a whisper bitten by an impasse of unshed tears and muffled by the pale lavender mask of silk. "You should have… should have gotten it–you… you wouldn't have been out of the training camp." And her eyebrows furrow as she blinks back tears and hangs her head, trying to ignore how he looks like he's going to leap at her, throttle her….

Looking at the ground so intently you wonder if he is counting the individual spindles in the hardened wood grain, he doesn't speak.

And she stands there, guilt apparent in the uncomfortable twist of her mouth.

"The post office," come the blunted, deceptively mild words. "The post office was bombed, Mother." With that, he casts a pointed glance at the unusual roundness of her cheeks and high quality of her clothes. "I'm glad to see Sayu's death was worth it."

Ignoring her gasp–anguish, anger, shock; he doesn't care–he turns and he stalks straight to the door, dignified and cold, each step a deliberate, irrevocable movement towards oblivion. The elegant tableaux is destroyed when he struggles to pry open the sticky-hinged door singlehandedly, effectively ramming his sling into the wooden frame and eliciting a clipped yelp of pain which perfectly complements the thunk of the door against his flesh.

"What–" she begins, stopping until she sees him halt is movements in anticipation of her words. "What are you going to do?" She tries not to notice that the door is still propped wide open and he hasn't turned around.

His eyes stretch to the heavens almost imploringly and it almost seems, once again, that he can see your plans for him and that until he meets his goal, he intends to go down kicking and screaming with his fingers ripping into anything he can get his hands on… and that when he meets his goal, he's just going to let go. "Follow in Father's footsteps." And he leaves.

This time, he doesn't even hear her gasp and the sobs that follow, because she knows just as well as he that Soichiro Yagami's bones lie frozen in the Yana River Valley, buried under layers of shrapnel and blood and pointless death and hatred and misguided, broken people with everything to lose and nothing to gain and nothing to lose and nothing to gain and everyone is dying because they have nothing.

And you watch the young Yagami as he treks across the street and spits at the feet of a robed Shinigami Servant standing on the steps of the Temple, and you want to cry. So few have beaten you and you know he can't, not when Death's Child is involved, and you are once again overcome with the knowledge that it's all such a waste, such a waste. All a waste waste waste….

And you think then that you really would like to let him win.

– - –

a stain
covers YOUR heart
tears YOU apart just like a sleeping cancer

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A/N: A series of extended drabbles (five more pairs to come). Long story short: Light is a drafted soldier into an endless war that one side CAN'T win and the other WON'T. All you need to know, really. It's based on a co-written, as-of-yet-unposted Work-In-Progress, but this is a stand-alone. The astute reader may pick up vague insinuations regarding the nature of the original Death Note story and its place in Light's fate… if you're looking for it.

This piece itself is Light's [AU] life pre- and mid-war from the eyes of Fate, who not only watches people, but has a frail sort of emotional connection with them through which their basic thoughts and sensations are transmitted. (Fate doesn't have a role in the actual project, although allusions will be made.) Yes, Fate is supposed to sound madly in love with Light.

Disclaimer: I married Light and L back in 1864; you can check the papers. They belong to me. Unfortunately, 12 Stones' song 'World So Cold' does not. DX They wedded before I could get to them (and those dratted monogamy laws are harder to get by, these days). Oh, and you see those annoying run-on sentences? They're deliberate, thank you.

So. Read, review?