Alrighty, my first Death Note fic. This one is based off of a picture on deviantart (delete the spaces):
h t t p : / / p h a n t o m - d . d e v i a n t a r t . c o m / a r t / B e t t e r - T h a n - N o t h i n g - 1 2 8 6 9 7 4 4 6
Hope you enjoy.
BETTER THAN NOTHING
All that I really remembered about being dead was the nothingness that Ryuk had promised when he wrote my name down in the Death Note.
I remember literal nothingness; nothing but blackness and maddening silence. I dont even know how much time had passed while I wallowed in my own madness before he came.
When I first saw him after all that time--whether it was ten seconds or ten thousand years--I should've felt angry. I should've screamed at him, and shouted about how he had ruined my life; about how he should've let me live, and let me kill those traitors who had gotten in my way of a perfect harmonious world.
But I didnt.
Instead, I cried. I cried with madness, relief, and pleading. He was right in front of me, but when I reached out, he seemed a hundred miles away.
He grinned at me, lying on his side in midair, his hand propping up his head as he simply stared at me. I kept reaching out to him like a child for what seemed like hours before he finally nodded at me.
"Do you want to leave here, Light, and never come back?"
I dont know whether I had nodded or screamed 'YES YES, ANYTHING JUST GET ME OUT OF HERE', but he had then reached forward and grabbed me, holding me against him as his wings sprouted from his back and he took off in what looked a shining white and black portal.
I had apparently fallen asleep--a superfluous action for a dead person--because I remembered waking up to him standing over me, his arms crossed. He told me that he had gotten permission from the Shinigami King himself to bring me back. But for a price. He told me that I was to be his human spirit slave.
It took me just a moment to weigh the options in my head: An eternity of maddening nothingness....or an eternity of at least being able to see, to hear, to touch. To be free in abyss, or a slave in the Shinigami Realm.
I lowered my head and told him my choice. That I would be his slave in return for my freedom from The Nothingness. I almost flinched when he erupted into a bout of that laughter he was so keen on using when he found something amusing, then blinked when a book was shoved into my line of view. I took it, not recognizing the language. It was smaller than a Death Note, but twice as thick. I opened it up, noticing extremely tiny writing filling up the pages.
"It's the Slave Note," Ryuk said, a pencil that looked to be made of tiny skulls in his hand, his fingernail tapping against it. "It's written in our united language; the language of the Shinigami. But the translation is actually very short and simple. There are just five rules to being a Shinigami's slave."
He paused almost dramatically, then continued.
"Rule 1: The Slave is to make a sacrifice of his person to his Master. I'll explain that one in a minute.
"Rule 2: The Slave does as the Master says, and in return, the Master takes care of the Slave. That means that if you do as I say, how I say it, I'll make sure no harm comes to you.
"Rule 3: The Slave is never to write in the Master's Death Note. Pretty self-explanatory. You cant possess or even write in my Death Notes.
"Rule 4: The Master is under no obligation to keep his Slave if he does not wish to. That means that if I want to set you free, or give you to another Shinigami, then I can. But that also means that if I set you free, there's a 50/50 chance that you'll go back to nothingness.
"And Rule 5: The Slave shall do nothing to commit harm against his Master. Again, self-explanatory. You cant do anything that would cause me harm."
I didnt think to ask what I could even do to cause him harm, but kept listening intently.
"Now, going back to Rule 1. In order for you to completely agree to the Slave Note, you have to give something of your person to me as a sacrifice. So what are you willing to give to me?"
I felt slightly colder as he said that; something of my person...that meant a part of me had to be given to him. I again weighed my options, thinking about what I could really do without. Finally, I looked back up at him.
"...My right eye," I finally replied. Ryuk's perpetual grin widened.
"Acceptable," he said. He turned the pages of the Slave Note in my hand until it came to halfway into the book. He pointed to a line and handed me pencil. "Write here what you want to sacrifice."
I took the pencil and wrote down on the line My Right Eye. Almost immediately, I felt a searing pain in my right eye, as though it was being burned out of my skull. My hands flew to the area, and in an instant, I felt it. I looked back down--seeing through only one eye--and saw, in perfect condition, my right eye sitting and staring back up at me in my cupped hands. The burning sensation went away almost as fast as it had come, and I felt no more pain.
Ryuk reached out and picked up my eye, examining it for a moment before closing his hand loosely over it, then opening and revealing that it had vanished. I opened my mouth to ask him if that was it, but froze when I saw him reach up and dig his fingers into his own right eye and manually pull it out of the socket. I felt sick just watching, but it didnt seem to faze him in the least as he pulled it completely out and held it in his palm.
"Dont move," he commanded, and leaned forward and with a firm but gentle motion, pushed his own eye into my empty socket.
It was like a spit-second painful connection, but after a few moments, I saw that half my vision was reddened, and I could see Ryuk's name hovering over his head. I looked at Ryuk, confused. What he had told me didnt say anything about him giving me anything in return.
"It's precautionary," he said, noticing my expression. "It's in the Master's general directory of the Slave Note. If I give you one of my eyes, I can see everything you see, and hence, I'll know where you are at all times. Also, it's a stronger bond between Master and Slave. I gave you the equivalent of what you sacrificed; it will let others know not to touch you."
I nodded, not knowing what else to say. Ryuk turned the pages of the Slave Note until it reached the very end, where there was a blank line and a circle underneath it. Ryuk handed the pencil back to me.
"And now you sign," he said. "Go ahead and write it in Japanese if you want, it recognizes all languages." I took the pencil from him again and took a needless breath before signing my name on the line. Ryuk in turn bit into his thumb with his sharp teeth and pressed it into the circle, and when he withdrew his hand, I saw a smudge of black liquid. I didnt know that Shinigami could bleed...or was it even blood to begin with? Before I could ask, the book in my hand melded into a black mass before changing shape, becoming a round shape that as soon as the black mass faded, I saw was a collar.
Ryuk took it out of my hands and fastened it around my neck. "And that's it," he said, leaning back and staring at me with one large yellow eye.
"You're my Slave now."
Days, weeks, months, and then eventually, years went by. I found myself outside the general Shinigami area where all the other Shinigami would hang out, and was looking down into a portal to the Human Realm. After living here, I could definitely see why Ryuk had grown bored of this place; I was just thankful he would take me with him on his escapades to the human world.
Aside from hanging around him wherever he went--as limited as those places were in the Shinigami Realm--Ryuk decided that it would be funny if I dressed like him. He put me in an outfit nearly identical to his, only it looked new and less decrepit, and instead of black, it was white. I didnt really mind it much, but it was a little tight for my tastes.
I learned that in the Shinigami Realm that there were decent Shinigami--like Rem had once been--and there were also a few less-than-reputables. More than once over the course of the year, while I was allowed to roam the realm alone, I had gotten a few lewd looks and one Shinigami had even made a physical pass at me. It scared the hell out of me, but just seconds later, Ryuk had flown in like a bat out of Hell and had gotten into a literal fistfight with the other Shinigami, and effectively kicked his ass all the way to a trial with the Shinigami King. He was found guilty and sentenced to five hundred years without a Death Note.
I still dont know to this day whether or not Ryuk had done it for me, or if he was just pissed that someone had dared to touch his property.
Though, even better than watching a Shinigami bitch brawl, Ryuk would often take me on extended trips to the human world. I found out about a month in that he needed me on those times; with only half of his sight, he could see the lifespan of a human, but I had the eye that saw the name. So on occasion when we went to the human world, he would find a human, and I would tell him the name, how it was spelled or characterized, and he would write it down in his Death Note. After the fact, we would find the nearest source of apples and snitch a few to go eat in private.
On that note, I found it amusing that since becoming Ryuk's Slave, I had developed an almost insatiable craving for apples. Nowhere near as a fetish as his, but still pretty strong. The first apple I ate--one fresh from an apple tree in America--had me hooked. It was nothing like the apples I remembered; it was like a breath of air after holding my breath for a long time. It was that good and I still dont know why. One look from Ryuk's amused face told me that I could never say anything about his apple addiction ever again.
I then thought to just a few weeks earlier, when out of the blue, Ryuk had picked me up (I had been playing a gambling game of Bones with Deridovely and Gukku, two of Ryuk's friends--and I was winning) and flew out of the Shinigami Realm and into the human world, all without a sound. I just held onto him, knowing that dead or not, if I let go, then I would fall. I didnt have wings, and it would hurt upon ground impact. He just quietly carried me across the tops of familiar buildings that I eventually recognized as Tokyo. I gave him a questioning look, but he just flew a little lower and passed them all over until I found myself in my old neighborhood, then then to my old house.
Ryuk slid through the walls of the house and set me down. I looked around, noting that almost nothing had changed here since I last saw it. I saw some pictures on a table and saw that they were of me in my younger days, when I was still alive. I saw pictures of Sayu, and from looking at a particular one, found some sense of how long I had been gone. She was all grown up now...and married. And she had children now. Two little girls. I smiled sadly. I felt happy that she had found happiness.
I heard a sound and turned in time to see Ryuk fly up into the ceiling to vanish upstairs. I followed him--taking the stairs--and saw more pictures up on the wall. I deducted before I had even reached the second floor that Sayu and her family lived in the house with my mother. It was confirmed by the time I reached the top of the stairs when I saw a cute little hand-painted sign on what used to be Sayu's room that said LIGHT AND KISA'S ROOM.
...I had paused and stared at that sign for what seemed like eternity. Sayu had named one of her daughters after me. Quietly, I slid through the closed door into the room and looked around. From what I saw, both of the girls were about seven or eight years old. One side of the room was covered in cute stuffed animals and bright colors. Art supplies littered the floor and there were children's manga all over her bed. The other side of the room, on the other hand, was much more neat. The bed was neatly made, the color were in soft pastels rather than bright florescent, and all the books and toys were neatly put away in their proper place. The only thing that seemed to be hastily thrown out of place was a backpack, which was tossed on the bed. Over the head of the bed, in a neat hand-painted print, was the name LIGHT.
I had to smile. My namesake took after me, alright. I looked around for a moment more before sliding out of the room and turning to the door that was once mine. I wondered what Sayu had done with it after all these years. I walked in and froze.
Nothing--and I mean nothing--had changed. Everything remained undisturbed since the day I had died. All these years...they had kept it up, and dusted and cleaned and made sure everything was as it always was...
A loud crunching sound snapped me out of my thoughts as I looked over and saw Ryuk reclining on my bed with an an apple core in his hand and his mouth full of apple. He tossed the core into his mouth, chewed, swallowed, and grinned at me.
"I've been watching this place for awhile now," he said, putting his arms behind his head and reclining on his back. "Your little sister got married to her sweetheart in college, and your mother gave them the house. And even all before that, both your sister and your mother have kept your room the way it was as a shrine to you. After she had her twins, she constantly told them about you. About how smart you were, about how rightious you were, and about how if you hadnt died, about how great a detective you would've been." He turned his head to look at me with his one eye. "...Even without the great God of Justice...without Kira...your family has thrived and expanded and are happy with the way things are."
As Ryuk spoke, I felt my left eye water up (my right eye never did). I wiped at it, feeling my soul--my entire being--twist with guilt. I knew what Ryuk was trying to say. He was trying to say that I never did have to go as far as I did to make anything right. I almost snorted. Some neutral observer he was. I looked around, touching my old furniture with nostalgia, and turned around in time to catch an apple hurled at me. Ryuk just gave me a grin and ate another one in his little stash, gesturing for me to join him.
I sat on the bed next to him and bit into my apple as I silently contemplated everything I just saw and heard that day. And then I realized something.
It was my birthday that day...
I snapped my head up when I heard Ryuk coming up from behind me.
"I knew you'd be here," he said, grinning broadly. "I didnt even need that eye of mine you have to see that..." I just shrugged and looked back at the human world.
"I was just thinking," I replied. I felt him sit down behind me.
"I know," he said. "Deridovely and Gukku are looking for you. They've been up my ass for the past hour, demanding where you are so they can play you in a rematch for those five apples you won in your last bet."
I laughed softly and shook my head. "I won them fair and square," I said. "And they can take that to the bank." I heard Ryuk snort.
"'S what I told them," he said, chuckling. "But they're too lazy to take a trip to the human world to go get some for themselves."
"That sounds like them," I said, drifting off to my own thoughts again. There was a bit of silence before I felt something drop into my lap. I looked down and saw a shiny red apple glinting up at me. I smiled and took it, rolling it between my hands rather than eating it right away. "...Ryuk...?"
From behind the gluttonous crunching of his own apple, Ryuk made a sound that let me know he was listening. I contemplated my apple for a few more moments.
I heard Ryuk swallow. "For what, the apple?"
"No.." I rubbed my thumb over the waxy skin of the fruit. "...For giving me the choice to be here."
Ryuk was silent. I didnt hear a thing for the longest time, but then I let out a surprised sound when his arms slid around me from behind and pulled me to him, pressing my back to his chest. I could practically feel myself blush, even though I was dead, and my apple dropped from my hands. Ryuk held me there, not letting go.
"...You are welcome," he finally replied, his voice taking a tone I'd never heard before. I leaned my head back against his chest and picked my apple back up to just hold it. "...Light...I've been thinking for awhile now..." His voice became so soft I could barely hear it. "...I was thinking that I could look into the Shinigami laws and rituals...so that you could stay here...but not as a Slave."
I could feel my left eye water up again as he spoke. I reached up to wipe the tear away and then hug his arms with mine.
"...I'd like that," I replied. I looked back to the human world again before looking at my apple, seeing Ryuk's reflection in its surface. Ryuk's arms tightened around me slightly.
"...So do I."