Disclaimer: Death Note, as well as all characters and plot ideas from the manga or anime, are the property of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.
A/N: I started re-reading the Death Note manga, and it got me thinking about the meeting at the Yellow Box Warehouse. I wondered what would happen if the tables had turned in Light's favor, instead of Near's. Things just progressed from there. Please review! :D
A dark mist, in the form of suffocating silence, filled the warehouse. All the pieces to the puzzle fit, and all the evidence pointed to the man who had taken over as the legendary detective L.
He simply stood there, glaring at the young white-haired boy who had presented the evidence against him. The boy who, until today, had only been seen by the Japanese Task Force as the letter N on a screen. This child was the true heir to the legacy of L.
Damn him, Light mused. This little bastard's doing everything he can to ruin me! He can't do this! I... I won't let him! As long as I still have the power, he can't touch me! He has no proof that I'm the one that used the Death Note! Near has nothing!
The boy, still crouched and fiddling with his finger puppets, suddenly spoke. "You've failed, Light Yagami."
Light grimaced inwardly. "Wh-What are you saying? Explain yourself!!"
Near simply grinned and glanced towards the dark-haired man standing in front of the warehouse door, panicking. "Wh-Why? Why won't they die?!" the man cried, staring madly at the notebook in his hands. His frightened gaze moved to Light. "God... I-I've failed you!"
Damn you, Mikami, Light thought, avoiding eye contact with the man. You don't look at me and say "God"! I thought you knew better!! But you have a point... Why haven't they died yet?!
"Gevanni, Commander Rester, arrest Mikami," Near instructed.
The two men behind the boy moved quickly and grabbed a shuddering Mikami, who dropped the notebook as Rester immobilized him for Gevanni to slap the handcuffs on his wrists.
Near held out his hand. "Gevanni, the notebook, please."
The dark-haired man scooped the notebook up off the floor, handing it to the snowy-haired child.
"I'd like you all to see something," Near said, folding the notebook onto itself. He turned the notebook so it was facing Light and the men behind him. Written on the page were the names: Nate River, Anthony Carter, Stephen Loud, Halle Bullock, Kanzo Mogi, Touta Matsuda, Hideki Ide, and Shuichi Aizawa.
"The first four names are, without a doubt, the true names of the members of the SPK. The last four are the names of the current NPA members participating in the Kira Case... except for Light Yagami."
Light flinched as Near continued, "Mikami called you 'God', Light Yagami, and said that he had failed you. This proves it. The notebook in my hands proves that Light Yagami is Kira."
I'd better act fast, Light thought.
"N-No!! This is a trap!!" Light screamed, pointing at Near. "You set this whole thing up to frame me!! It's not possible that the people whose names were written in that notebook can still be alive!! That alone proves that this is a trap!!"
"But I told you before that nobody would die, because the pages were replaced," Near replied.
Damn! You replaced the pages of the fake notebook, but Mikami wrote the names in the real notebook!!
"Th-This can't be... This is impossible..."
The quivering voice or Mikami cut through. "G-God..."
Light glared at the trembling man with venom in his eyes. "This is a lie! I don't even know this man!! I've never seen him before in my life!!"
Aizawa sighed, placing a hand on Light's shoulder. "Light... it's too late. Near's won. And as Mikami counted down, you said 'I win, Near' just before the countdown ended. Light... that's as good as any confession...."
Matsuda's eyes widened, and his knees gave out. "L-Light..."
Mogi solemnly approached Light, drawing a pair of handcuffs from his jacket pocket. The instant the handcuffs clicked, Light swatted them out of Mogi's hand, running and pressing himself against the far wall of the warehouse.
Near scowled. "Light Yagami... L... Kira... You've lost. Only moments ago, you proclaimed your victory. But to tell you the truth... you might have defeated me. You had Mikami use a fake notebook and carry it around while Gevanni was probing him so we'd think that it was the real one. You even went so far as to suspect that I would replace the pages in the notebook, so that we wouldn't die even if our names were written in it.
Things went exactly as you had expected, and we replaced the pages in the fake notebook. But... that was the plan I came up with as well. I replaced the pages of the fake notebook, and you had Mikami bring out the real one for the first time in order to kill all of us. But when I said that 'I replaced the pages in the notebook', I was talking about the real one as well.
I tampered with both notebooks, though I only replaced a small part of the pages in the fake notebook, but I replaced all of the pages in the real one."
Unbuttoning the top button of his white night shirt, Near reached inside, pulling out the Death Note. "This one is the real notebook."
No!! That's impossible!!
"In one night, Gevanni was able to create a perfect copy of the notebook. He replaced a part of it without much difficulty, but it was far more challenging to create a forged copy of the real one and all its contents. He used a pen identical to the one Mikami used, and copied his handwriting to perfection, even making a perfect copy of the cover in addition to the interior pages."
He switched the real Death Note with a forged copy? No way, Light told himself. That's impossible. Mikami always had the fake notebook with him. But... they didn't die even when their names were written down. What the hell...?
"Seeing how I had already touched the notebook beforehand... I've been able to see the shinigami from the moment you entered the warehouse." Near glanced up and smiled. "Shinigami, it's nice to meat you. I am Near."
Ryuk chuckled. "Nice to meet you, too. I'm Ryuk."
"Until today, I've always believed shinigami to have skulls for faces and carry scythes or sickles," Near said.
"Well, there are shinigami like that, too."
Dammit! He's talking to Ryuk... There's no doubt he's telling the truth about being able to see him.
Near held the notebook up to Ryuk. "By looking through this notebook, I found some pages that had been clipped out. Is it possible for people to die if their names have been written on pieces of pages that have been cut out of the notebook?"
"Yeah, they'll die."
Light scowled. Dammit, Ryuk!!
"I see..." Near placed the notebook on the floor. "Even the pieces are effective... I'm sure that there must have been several uses for that. I can't even begin to think of how many innocent people were killed and deceived that way."
Near paused and glared at Light.
"Light Yagami... you are Kira."
Not yet, Near. You haven't won yet. I can still turn this around, Light told himself. I just have to fake everyone out.
"Wh-What?! N-No! I'm not Kira! I'm not!!" Light shouted frantically, turning to face the men behind him. "Y-You have to believe me!!"
Light grabbed Matsuda, who was still on the floor, by the collar of his jacket. "Matsuda!!" Light cried. "Matsuda, you have to believe me! I'm not Kira!! I'm not!!"
Matsuda glanced at Near, his eyes returning to the son of the late head of the NPA, Soichiro Yagami. He shuddered, unwilling to believe that the man before him — whom he had loved like a brother — was the psychopathic mass-murderer, Kira.
"Light..." Matsuda pulled Light's hands from his jacket, and placed his own on the younger man's shoulders. "Light, I... I know... I know you're not Kira."
Aizawa grabbed Matsuda fiercely and pulled him off the ground. "Matsuda, don't be fooled!! All the evidence points to Light being Kira!! There's no mistake! Near is right!! Matsuda, you have to understand that!!"
Matsuda glared at the other man and pulled away. "No, Aizawa! No... I refuse to believe that Light is Kira. Near may have evidence, but it's not nearly enough to convict Light of being Kira. He can't physically prove that Light is Kira. Light is not Kira, Aizawa!"
It was quite a relief to Light to have Matsuda on his side, but the hesitation of Aizawa, Mogi, and Ide was less than helpful in his current situation.
Near glanced up. "Actually... I do. I owe what I am about to show you all... to Mello. And I'm quite sure you understand what I mean." Near held up the notebook. "The first line of the page on the left," he said.
And there was the evidence.
Kiyomi Takada. Suicide. Burns to death by setting fire to everything around her, including anything she wrote on. January 26, 2010; 2:33 PM.
Kiyomi Takada?! The time of death is set one minute after I wrote her name down!! Did... Did Mikami also...
Light spun and glared at Mikami, who stared solemnly at his "God".
Mikami stammered. "I-If Takada was in a situation like that, it became my job to..."
You idiot!! I told you not to do anything unnecessary until today!!
"That's right, Light Yagami. When Mello kidnapped Ms. Takada, Mikami used the real notebook to kill her. The notebook he had kept hidden in a safe deposit box at the bank," Near explained, pointing to Takada's name.
Gevanni spoke up. "After the kidnapping was announced, Mikami immediately headed for the bank. October 25th was a Sunday, so he went on the 26th. But my surveillance of Mikami shows that in August, September, November, and December, he went to the bank on the 25th.
"He also went to the bank on January 25th, and then again on the 26th when Takada was kidnapped. I found it strange that Mikami, who was extremely methodical, went to the bank two days in a row. And as I entered the bank to follow him, I watched him enter the safe deposit room. And for the very first time since I began tailing him, Mikami appeared to be nervous of someone following him."
Near nodded in agreement, his powder white hair bouncing a bit. "Mikami lives a completely fixed life, but when Takada was kidnapped, he suddenly went to the bank two days in a row. I only thought about the possibility of a fake notebook after Gevanni informed me of Mikami's behavior. We should have started suspecting him when he used the notebook and spoke to himself about 'not having a shinigami' in public. Until then, we had been completely tricked by you, and had replaced the pages in the fake notebook."
"Th- That's enough!!" Light shot, narrowing his gaze and grinding his teeth. "You know nothing!! You're jumping to the conclusion that I am Kira, and that I know this man," Light pointed at Mikami, "and that I've been killing people through him!! We're not here to point fingers, Near!! The only reason we agreed to this meeting, was to share information. I didn't come here so you could falsely accuse me of being Kira!!"
He could feel his heart pounding against his ribs as he tried to work up a sweat. There was no way he would allow this child to capture him as Kira. Without him, the world would fall once again. People would return to their wicked ways, and there would be nothing to stop the bloodshed from starting again.
That's right, he thought. Just keep it going. So what if Near knows everything? There's no way he could possibly make everyone believe that I am Kira.
Near grinned. "That is exactly what I am doing, Light Yagami. I'm sharing the information that I've gathered these past five years since the first L's death. And all the evidence... points to you. You see, Mikami could have killed by using scraps of the notebook, since they also function. But if he had written the names while at home under the assumption we had installed a camera, we might have discovered the possibility of a fake sooner, as well as the fact that one can kill with just a piece.
"But in order to make the fake notebook appear real, you cut pages from the real one and handed them over to Kiyomi Takada to have her perform the killings while Mikami led us on. He fed her the names via cell phone or email, which she deleted once she had written the names down. And according to your plan, Light Yagami... Mikami was not to use the real notebook until today."
The boy's hard eyes were fixed on Light... on L... on Kira.
Light Yagami... you are Kira. If you truly believe that you can talk your way out of this one, then by all means, talk. The truth has been revealed. All you have to do... is admit that you are Kira. Come on, then. If you think you can still kill me, then go ahead. Try it.
"Although I don't know which of you wrote the name first, you are still responsible for Takada's death. If scraps of the notebook pages have the same effect as the whole notebook, I find it hard to believe that you wouldn't have taken advantage of that." Near sighed, lowering the notebook to the floor. "It's too bad," he said, "that when Takada was kidnapped by Mello, Mikami wrote her name down as well."
Mikami glanced at Light, sorrowfully. "G- God... Forgive me..."
Light shot the man a sideways glance.
Mikami... your loyalty was truly impressive. I did tell you that I was being watched, and that I couldn't act, but it's like Near said... You saw the only way out and wrote Takada's name, believing that it was to my benefit. But you were still told not to use the real Death Note until today... Unfortunately, putting my trust in you worked out for Near....
"For both of us... having Mikami write both our names down on the page was the right idea. It had to be done. If not, we wouldn't have been able to capture Mikami, obtain the notebook, or get a closer look at it. Of course, we never would have gotten this far without Gevanni and Rester's imitation. But..." Near sighed, toying with his finger puppets, "the credit really goes to Mello for creating such a situation."
Lidner took a hesitant step forward, gazing at the floor. "I'm sure he knew about it," she said. "I told Melo that Near was planning on 'bringing an end to this case with his own hands.' But then he said 'I guess I'm going to have to do it.' I only thought that he was planning to finish the case before Near, but if he hadn't made such an aggressive move, we'd all be dead..."
Near stared at the floor, resting his chin on his knee. "I don't think Mellow was able to foresee us replacing the notebook pages, but... I know he was always striving to get ahead of me. Even if he didn't..." Near plucked the finger puppets that resembled himself and Mello from the floor. "He always said he would be the best, and that he would be better than me and L... but I knew that even I would never be able to surpass L.
"It's possible that I lacked the ability to act, and Mello needed to be level-headed... and even though we couldn't surpass our idol..." Near placed the two puppets onto his fingers, and held a third one that resembled L between his third finger and thumb. "Together, we can be like L. Together, we can be greater than L. And now... we are fighting against Kira, whom even L could find no proof against!! The Kira who murdered L!! We are facing Kira, showing solid evidence before his own eyes!! Light Yagami, you are Kira!! Now... let's see you talk your way out of this..."
Light flinched. Impossible!! Th- There's no way I can... Damn him!! If this gets out, the New World will be destroyed!! No... No...
Light fell to the floor, clutching his head in his hands, and shaking like a leaf in the wind. Whimpers could be heard from the man against the wall as he shook. Still quivering, Light pulled himself to his feet, the whimpers becoming louder and louder until they erupted into a demonic laugh. He turned, a wicked glint shining in his eyes as he glared at the others.
"That's right," he chuckled. "I am Kira."
Near gave his opponent a victorious grin, even as the others' eyes widened in horror.
Light grinned madly, clenching his hand into a fist before him. "So now what? Hm? Are you going to kill me here? I am Kira, and... God of the New World. In this world, I am the law. That's the truth. I have become justice, and the world's only hope. Are you really going to kill me, knowing who and what I've become? Is that the right thing?"
He turned, spreading his arms as if they were wings. "Capturing Kira may have been the just thing to do in the past, but now it's evil. The world's perspective has changed. Do you really want to go ahead and capture Kira just for your own selfish satisfaction? Don't you see? It's been six years since Kira appeared. War has become a thing of the past, most of the most vicious criminals have died, and the crime rate has decreased worldwide.
"But... this world is still dying. There are too many people that need to die. We have the right to enjoy life and be happy. But because of wicked people, that right has gone up in flames. It's an inevitable part of our world as long as those people live. Even before I got the notebook... I saw that the world had fallen as far as it could into the abyss. Try to understand... that the wicked people... must die.
"When I got that notebook, I knew I was the only one capable of purifying this world. I knew that killing was a crime, but I was willing to make that sacrifice for the good of humanity! This role was a mission that only I could fulfill! I was chosen to save us all!! Would anyone else have been able to do this?! Would they have been able to come this far, and continue?!"
Light turned, his eyes burning with indignation. "Would any of you have been able to do this?! I've never once thought of myself while doing this!! People like that only bring pain and suffering to others! Only I could do it... I was the only one who could create a perfect New World... and guide it..."
Near's eyes hardened. There may have been some truth to Light Yagami's words, but the man had reached the breaking point that led to madness, long ago. There was no way to create a "perfect world". Sin was an inevitable part of life, and no one could truly purify the hearts of man.
"Think about it," Light challenged, staring at Near. "Do you want the world to return to the way it was? For people to change again? You know that there are people who deserve to die. Do you really want to put an end to the era I've created? Is that for the best? What good will it do for you to arrest me now? It'll make you happy, right? Isn't that rather... egotistical of you? If you dare claim that this is to avenge L... then you're lying. The man you see before you is Kira... and the God of the New World!!"
The white-clad child sat there, and sighed. "No... You're wrong, Light Yagami. You're not a God... you're just a murderer. And this notebook of yours is the worst weapon in the history of man. If you were just a normal man, who had used this notebook out of curiosity... I'm sure you would have been horrified by the powers this notebook holds.
"But... I can actually understand people who would use this notebook to kill a couple of people for their own personal interests. Even I think that something like that is logical. But you've used the power of the notebook and the shinigami and have confused yourself with a deity. You're just a crazy mass-murdering psychopath. That's all." Near twisted his hair around his finger, crushing a puppet marked "KIRA" in his hand.
Stupid boy, Light thought as he glared.
"You're wrong, Near. I'm the icon of justice."
"Well... you may be right," the boy admitted. "We can't tell everyone else what is right and wrong, good and evil. Even if Gods exists... and I were to have his word before me, I'd think it through and make my own decision about whether or not it was right. In a sense... I'm no different than you. I believe that what I think is righteous.
"You're no God, Light Yagami. And I feel that this idea of you making the path for others is neither righteous nor peaceful. As far as I'm concerned, any man who kills people while claiming to be a deity is evil. But I can't speak for everyone here. They should choose what they believe to be righteous."
Light sighed in disappointment. That's too bad... You're all hopeless fools... It would be best if I could kill them all here, but... I just need enough time and opportunity to act...
"Near... You believed that the fake notebook Mikami created was real, and you replaced the pages. And the fake notebook you created was the one Mikami brought here. So, both notebooks turned out to be fake, when each side believed them to be real. And the mistake both sides made was that they didn't test the notebooks to see if they were real."
Light grinned. Just a little more. I only have to stall him a little longer... And then...
"So, how can you be sure that anyof the notebooks here are real? The one you have right now, and the one that Aizawa brought from the Investigation Headquarters... Are they real? You can already see Ryuk, so let's assume that the notebook you have is real. But the one Aizawa has was kept at Headquarters, where I had access to it. There's the possibility that I switched it. And if I switched it, then I'm the only one who knows where the real one is. So, if you really wish to defeat Kira, then you should write my name or Mikami's in Aizawa's notebook to see if it's the real one."
Is... he bluffing now?
Near picked his head up from his knee. "Light Yagami... Kira, I have no intention of killing you. And I don't really care anymore if the notebook is real or not. From the beginning, my sole objective was to apprehend Kira. I only want the killings to stop, and for that to happen, Kira must be captured. You're going to be arrested, so I'll just confiscate the notebook Mr. Aizawa has. That will suffice for now. And I will not announce your arrest, or the existence of the notebook to the public. I'm sure that everyone here can keep that secret. And I will take full responsibility for locking you up in a place where nobody will ever find you... until the day you die."
So Near has no intention of killing me. Then as long as I can kill Near... The Death Note scrap inside my watch will do. I know Near's name and face now, so I just need to write his name down. If I move carefully, they won't notice me opening the watch. But... it's nearly impossible to write his name without being seen... It should take... Two seconds... I can do this!!
Light shrugged, and slowly turned, walking towards the back end of the warehouse. "Well, whether it's real or not, I'd be on the safe side and take a good look at it if I were you. I wouldn't make such a vain assumption. Especially about something like the notebook."
This should be far enough. I can write the name here before anyone can get to me.
"I'd be careful about the notebooks, Near. You never know what could..." Carefully gripping the watch dial between his finger and thumb, Light tugged on it, and the metal tray slid out with a click. "Happen!!"
'N-A-T-E' I'm almost there!!
The sound echoed, and Rester's eyes went wide. "He's got part of the note hidden on him!!" His hand had barely moved to his coat for his gun, when the boom of a gunshot rang through the warehouse.
Matsuda was still kneeling on the floor, but pointed his smoking weapon at Light, who screamed in rage and pain.
"Matsuda... You idiot!! Who the hell do you think you're shooting at?!! Dammit!! If you're going to shoot anybody, then shoot the others!! Do it!!! Dammit, Matsuda!! I thought you were the only one who understood!! Kira is righteous!! Please!! Shoot Near!! Shoot the SPK members, Aizawa, and the others!!"
His eyes were filled with tears, but Matsuda forced himself to stand on shaking legs, still keeping the weapon pointed at Light. "N- Not you... L- Light..."
Light fell to his knees, still clutching his bleeding hand. The officer's name was said in a shuddering whisper. "Matsuda... please..." Light lifted his head, making eye contact with the other man. "It... It doesn't have to be this way... Don't you remember... what it was you said... about Kira before...? You said... that you've always felt like one of the weaker people... Don't you understand? I'm not just doing this for the world... I'm doing it for the people I care for..."
The words hit Matsuda hard, and he found himself struggling within himself. Was Kira truly evil? Was Kira righteous? It was true that he felt like one of the weaker people, and that Kira stood for the weak, but...
"What about Sayu...?" Light fought back a grin. Bringing his sister into this was a sure way to get Matsuda on his side. "If you kill me... who will protect her? Do you think my mother can take care of Sayu on her own...? And what about Misa?"
Matsuda cringed. "Light... I..."
"Dammit, Matsuda!! Just shoot him!!" Aizawa shouted, rushing to Matsuda's side. "Just do it!! There's... nothing we can do now... Light is Kira... We'll just have to accept that...."
"I... I'm sorry..." Matsuda hung his head shamefully. "I'm... so sorry... Aizawa..." He turned to his friend, and fired point-blank into the left side of Aizawa's chest.
The man let out a weak groan before crumpling to the floor in a heap. Matsuda shut his eyes as his fired at Mogi, Ide, and the remaining SPK members, only sparing Near and Mikami alive.
The young officer stared at the weapon in his hands. "Oh, God..." he breathed, letting the weapon clatter to the floor. "Wha- What have I... done?!"
Light's hand grabbed the bloody pen that had fallen to the ground, and he finished the remaining letters of Near's name. "R-I-V-E-R!! You're finished, Near!!"
The boy stared at Light and Matsuda in awe. "To think... that you'd join Kira. Well, I can't say that I didn't consider the possibility of this being the outcome. But sti--" Near's breath caught in his throat, and after the wrenching pain in his chest, he fell to the floor.
"I've won... I--" Light glanced down at Matsuda. "Matsuda... we need to leave. I'll gather up all the evidence Near brought, and I want you to get the notebook from Aizawa."
Reluctantly, Matsuda tore open Aizawa's suit coat, and removed the notebook that was still within the plastic case.
Light scowled as Matsuda handed him the notebook. I can't allow him to live... There's nobody else that knows about the events that took place here. I have to kill him!!
"Matsuda, we're going to need the everything and anything that can aid the police in learning their names."
As Matsuda turned to search his dead comrades, Light removed the notebook from the plastic casing, being careful not to get his blood on the floor. As carefully as he could, Light glanced at his watch, and wrote "Touta Matsuda - Heart Attack 4:19 PM".
He's got less than three minutes to live...
"G- God..." Mikami lay on the ground, the handcuffs clearly breaking the skin on his wrists. "P- Please, forgive me..."
Mikami... I still might be able to use him...
"Our enemies are dead. That's all that matters," Light said scornfully, tearing off part of Aizawa's shirt to wrap his hand. As he walked by, Light gave Near's limp body a good kick, noting that Gevanni had let the key to Mikami's handcuffs fall when he had been shot. He grabbed the key, forcing it into the lock. The cuffs clicked open, and Mikami sighed in relief as he went outside to wait.
Light glanced at his watch, and smirked. It's really too bad... If Matsuda had been on my side in the beginning, I might have hesitated before writing his name in the Death Note.
Matsuda tapped Light on the shoulder, handing him all identification that the others had kept on their persons. Tucking them into his pocket, Light knelt down, grabbing Gevanni's gun.
He placed a hand on Matsuda's shoulder. "There's nothing for you to be ashamed of. You've given Kira another opportunity to change the world. The world will be cleansed, and you're to thank... Matsuda..."
Light pulled the trigger, and Matsuda's legs went numb as he fell. He glared up at the man above, realizing that he'd been a fool, and cursing himself under his breath. "Light..." he wheezed. "Wh- Why?
He'll be dead soon, anyway. There's no need to hide anything from him now.
"You've seen far too much, Matsuda. If you had been on Kira's side from the beginning, then I might have let you live. This is the beginning of a new era. An era I can't take any chances with."
Matsuda bit his lip. "Th- Then... what was it all for? The Chief... Your father... What did he die for?!"
"My father?" Light snickered. "Yes, Soichiro Yagami. His death wasn't in vain. Not even close. My father unknowingly died to help create a world where the just are never made to be the fool. When he decided to obtain the Shinigami Eyes, I... didn't know how to stop him. But now... I see that it was better for him to die at Mello's hand than to have to face his son as Kira..."
Light glanced at his watch again.
Hopeless... "Goodbye... Matsuda." As the man died, Light slid open the door, and walked out into the fading sun.
"Well, Light," Ryuk chuckled, "looks like you got outta this one unscathed..." The shinigami glanced at Light's hand, and grinned. "Well, more or less. You know what I mean. And it looks like I get to watch how this plan of yours unfolds."
Light pulled a book of matches from his pocket, striking several of them against the side of the warehouse before letting them fall. His eyes met those of the shinigami as the flames licked wildly at the rusted building. "That's right, Ryuk. This isn't over yet. Not by a long shot. I am Kira, and this," he spread his arms, "is my New World."
:D Yeah, I know it was kinda cruel of me to kill Matsuda, but that's how I saw things happening if Light had won. :D Please reveiw!