I am nowhere that I recognize. Nor do I remember why I am here.

I cannot seem to remember anything, actually.

What is my name?

There appears to be some confusion on that score.

I said that I do not know why I am here. So why do I feel as if I am waiting for someone?

Whoever it is, they have not made an appearance so far. Not that I can see.

And I do still see.

There is a line of potential candidates. That is how I consider them. Why? Because there is no other way I can think of to relate with these souls. They are colorless. They are voiceless. They might as well not exist. All they do is walk on by, somewhere off to the side. Coming in from one end of my field of vision, and going out the other.

I am lying on my back. There is no ground. This place is unrecognizable because there is nothing to recognize, now that I think of it. Just white. Nothing else. Perhaps this is nothingness. And if so, then the only place to exist is the place you are at the time. You create the only space available. There is nowhere else to be other than where you are. I suppose that explains why I cannot get up, or move in the slightest.

Perhaps I am dead.

And so are they.

But if that is the case, then why am I the only one not moving? Why are they passing me by?

Those black shadows watch over them.

They possess shape and form, but there is something definitely inhuman about them. Are these things guides? Shepherds of the afterlife? They seem to do nothing but patrol the line. Why remains a mystery, since none of their charges ever seem to step out of formation or even realize they can.

Am I in Hell?

How long have I been here?

Whom was I meant to meet? And what stopped me from meeting them?

I wish I knew for certain. These are my only thoughts, until finally…

Something happens.

One of the people in line notices me.

He looks at me for a time while shuffling by. Our eyes meet. He knows me. I know him.

He is not the person I am waiting for.

Then I see him look over at the shadowy figures. They do not seem to have noticed his unusual behavior.

Almost as if reaching a decision, he then walks out of line and crosses over to me.

Hello, I want to say, but nothing comes out.

He kneels down beside me. Behind him, I notice the shadows have taken note of his absence and are agitated. They come flying over on wings of stygian hue.

It is then that my sole acquaintance speaks to me. The first time that has happened since I have been here.

What he says is this:

"I've thought about it. And I can only conclude one thing. It's the watch."

Before any more words can be spoken, the wraiths descend and draw him away, their fingers patting and pawing at him in a strangely admonishing manner. He leaves without further incident, turning his back on me and walking off without sign of agitation or interest. There is something almost embarrassed about the way they handle him. But in the end, he rejoins the others and goes beyond my perceptions.

That seems familiar.

After this, there is just more waiting. No time, really. Only the passing of grave phantoms leached of all meaning and purpose and life.

I know I should be bored, but even that will not come here. I feel nothing in this non-zone of disassociation. Is anyone ever going to explain this to me? Don't I deserve at least that much? If only because I know that given the option, I would be curious.

Oh well. Maybe the time just isn't right yet.

Would whomever I'm looking for please give me some sign when you arrive? I wouldn't want to miss it when you do.

Is that a joke I just made?

I'm not laughing.

Do I no longer have a soul?

Hold on…

Someone's coming.

One of the shamblers looked at me, for only the second time ever. He just took a step out of line. This time, the attendants were ready. They swooped in almost immediately, alighting to stand in his path. The specters loom over him in a way I can only describe as menacing.

Suddenly he looks up at them.

They both cringe. And I can see why.

His eyes are red.

Maybe they communicate somehow. If so, it's clear who comes out on top. The wraiths stand aside, and he approaches me.

It's for certain. THIS is the man I wanted to find, back before I…

I died.

I'm dead.

My reason for being here is beside me now. Strange. Other than the eyes, I'm not getting much else. It's a man, but is he young? Old? What nationality? For some reason, I'm certain it's the same as my own, even though it's hard to tell anything from those gleaming crimson orbs.

Why was I trying to find you?

I try to ask, but nothing comes out.

"I can see your name. And more."

That's him speaking now.

"Not anyone else. Just you."


What does that tell you?

"That can mean only one thing. You are not dead."

I beg to differ.

"Not completely."

What does that mean?

"I came over here because I saw your name, and thought I recognized something. I wanted to ask you how we knew each other."

We don't. I never got to meet you. I only wanted to. That much I know.

"But I don't have to. I remember now. It just came to me. We heard it together, around the beginning of all this. But he never told me everything about you."


Can you help me?

"If I heard it at the beginning, then we must soon be approaching the end."

He leans down then, and places his hands beneath my body.

What are you doing to me?

Why are we here?

Tell me, please.

He does. He tells me all I need to hear. Just two words. Leaning in, he whispers to me…

My name.

And I am…


The man lifts upwards, straining. I feel how heavy I am, and try to help. Fighting, challenging, that's what we do. I'm screaming as I do, because something is pushing against me, so much weight, I try to get beyond it. Together we can do it. Together! He pulls, and I push. My arms come around him, without feeling, but I know he is there! The name, that's what I needed to remember, and he was the only one who could see it, with his eyes. It feels like roots are being ripped away from my limbs, and I am astonished to realize that I can feel once more. I'm almost there, and then…

With a howl, I push upwards, and the tomb comes open.

I am still in the nowhere place. Upright now. Our arms are around each other, like we are embracing.

He looks at me then, and it suddenly occurs to me that his eyes are kind. And tired. Even though they are not human. This is what you call a fatherly expression. I suppose this man is my father, because he has given me life once again.

My eyes are opening. I didn't even realize they were closed.

Then he whispers to me once more.

"Please. Put an end to it. I know you can. You are the only one who can destroy Kira."


I know who that is, and so I say his name.

When I do, my new father's face crumples.


The world in white fades away, then, and him along with it, leaving me looking up at…

The stars.

I climb out of my stolen grave, breathing for what seems like the first time in years. The pill bottle falls from my hand. This place is old, from before the wars. A sign tells me that it might be renovated soon. How odd. I thought for sure no one would think to look for me here. It seemed like the cleverest solution.

The date on the sign is 2005, but it looks rather outdated.

How long have I been dead?

They counted down, in their heads. Down to the very last second.


The four members of the Kira Task Force flinched, an involuntary cry coming from Matsuda. Across the way, their counterparts from the Special Provision for Kira remained outwardly calm.

"Near, it looks like 'L' wins."

He made his pronouncement.

And nobody died.

Light Yagami blinked.

The man with the Death Note looked around him. "Oh, God."

Someone behind Light whispered incredulously, "We're not dead." He did not turn to see who it was.

"I believe I stated several times that we would not." Surrounded by bodyguards, the monochrome child genius Near smiled triumphantly at his rival. "Capture Mikami," he then ordered.

Two of the SPK dashed forward, wrestling the slight maniac's arms behind his back and cuffing him.

The Death Note fell to the ground.

"Gevanni. The notebook."

It was odd how one side of the room seemed to be frozen in stupefied amazement, while the other side was doing all the work. Perhaps that meant only a single group really knew everything that was going on here. At any rate, it was one of the Americans who carefully retrieved the tattered black writing pad and brought it over to his crouching commander, who was all of thirteen years old.

The two teams assigned to capture their world's murderous overlord squared off, each in possession of a killer sheaf of parchment.

Standing between them, slightly removed from his underlings, stood Light Yagami, the man who had assumed the mantle of 'L', World's Greatest Detective.

Near glanced down at the opened Death Note briefly, then inverted it for all to see. "Everyone please take notice."

All of the Japanese policemen scanned the pages from across the room. Even at this distance, they could read the names clearly spelled out on it.

Nine names.

One of them was missing.

"The first four," Near proclaimed in his soft whispery inflectionless voice, "belong to myself and the members of the SPK. I'm sure you can recognize your own names. All except for one."

That slack face with its piercing hawk-like eyes focused in on the handsome young Japanese who stood petrified before him.

"You, Light Yagami," Near murmured. "Mikami spoke to you as God, and you admitted out loud it was over. I believe that is all the proof we need."

The older man gave a start, astonishment written all over his features.

"No, hold on, this is a trap, I've never seen this man in my life, why do you think he was addressing me?! And what I said before was that 'L' had…"

Before he could finish his explanation, Shuichi Aizawa moved up behind and placed a hand on the chief of detectives' shoulder, a pair of handcuffs in the other. The rest of his crew remained dumbfounded at what they were seeing.

"Give it up, Light," he spoke, a world of remonstrance and perhaps even pity in his tone. "Near clearly won here. There's nothing more for you to say that can convince or deceive us."

With that, he began to place the shackles on his superior officer and confirmed murderer, who stood there still and dumb as a statue.


It was Matsuda who said it.

And for that, Light was very, very glad.

The most infantile member of their taskforce peered across the room, looking very puzzled.

"That's not my name."

Aizawa stiffened, along with everyone else in the warehouse.

"What?" he asked.

Touta Matsuda, the junior detective, glanced over at him with wide eyes and pointed.

"That's not my name," he repeated.

Everyone looked. There, written in clear precise letters on the page was the name…

Touta Natsuda.

A misspelling.

Aizawa stared blankly, disbelieving what his eyes were clearly telling him. Then they traveled over to the right, just a little bit. Written beside the other name was his own.


Aizala Shuichi.

Even the kanji was off.

He swallowed in a dry throat, and beneath his grip the flabbergasted police officer felt his captive relax.

Near's eyes had, against all reason, gotten bigger. They looked to be the size of donburi bowls in his prepubescent countenance. The shabbily dressed master detective whipped the book around and held it straight up before his face, staring at the words written there in ink that had still yet to dry.

Anthohy Carter. Steqhen Loud. Holle Bullook.

Slight misspellings in all of the members' names.

Even his own.

Note River.


This made no sense.

"What is the meaning of th…?"


Another one of Yagami's colleagues shouted. Hideki Ide was his name. He too was pointing at the Death Note.


Ten pairs of eyes snapped once more to the same spot. Before anything more could be said, Near whipped the book back around and stared at it fixedly. The entire page before the one bearing their appellations was completely filled with names and dates, all inscribed in a very crisp efficient manner. There was virtually no space left between the words, so that none of the paper would go to waste.

There, written between a properly spelled former US president and a convicted financial con man, was the name Liqht Yagami.

LIQHT! With a 'Q'!

The date and time written beneath it was for today. Approximately five minutes ago.

All members of the American special investigative unit stared down at this perplexing mystery, even their avowed mental superior and leader.

"It's spelled wrong," Gevanni croaked dumbly. The muscle-bound sidekick flinched as his handler's hard agate eyes snapped accusingly up at him. "I… I never noticed," he whispered. "I was so tired last night, and it was the very last page, I just never put it together, it sounds almost Swedish, I had just written down thousands of names in another person's hand, I wasn't actually reading them, I never knew…." His voice trailed off.

While they remained spellbound before the wealth of elementary penmanship mistakes, LIGHT Yagami turned his head and studied the black-garbed prisoner held by his burly Western jailer.

"Why did you write only my name yesterday?" he demanded in a faint, uncomprehending voice.

Mikami kept his eyes rooted to the floor.

"Because that is what God told me to do," he proclaimed.

Light stirred, and glanced behind him to where Aizawa still kept a hand on his shoulder. As if realizing what he was doing to his captain, the astonished public servant hastily withdrew his grip. His cheeks turned red with shame and embarrassment. There was confused regret written all up and down his body, and his jaws worked soundlessly, as if he had been robbed of the ability to speak. Before him, the young genius gave a slight nod, as if to reassure him. Or perhaps to promise they would have a long talk about this later, he couldn't tell. Then Yagami once more turned his attention to their prize.

"Why did you misspell all of our names?!"


A slight grin worked its way up the man's lips.

"Because that is what God told me to do!"

And he chuckled, before hanging limp once more.

Light watched the madman carefully for a few seconds, as if trying to determine some deeper meaning behind his words.

Then he blew out his breath, and ran a hand through his chestnut locks.


Across the room, the little boy remained scrunched up on the floor, gaze darting all up and down the pages of the Death Note. His lips were moving slightly, like he was speaking to himself. Near's head went slowly off to one side, then the other. He seemed to have relapsed into the professional calm that was his trademark pose, but briefly, every now and then, a slight twitch caused one shoulder to jerk slightly. Then a little later it happened again.

"Near!" Light yelled in a loud voice.

The person in question shot his head up. That same vapid face looked out at them, and the mouth kept right on opening and closing. He looked for all the world like someone who had just completed a jigsaw puzzle only to find there was one piece left. Or perhaps a space with no corresponding tile. Beneath the surface of the child's mask, where one of the most extraordinarily gifted minds the world had ever known resided, there seemed to be a battle being waged. And neither side knew how to win.

Light Yagami regarded him coolly.

"Near, I don't pretend to know what is going on here, or how you're involved in it. If this man is part of some elaborate set-up to trap me, I fail to see how the plan was meant to be executed, unless you honestly expected me to come right out and reveal that I was Kira in some smug proclamation the second before we were all meant to die. Don't take this the wrong way, but doesn't that seem a little… childish?"

The only child in the room continued to regard his chosen opponent with an inscrutable gaze.

Light waited patiently for a response. When none seemed to be forthcoming, he gave a desultory shake of his head, then turned back to his teammates.

"I want that black-clad character taken into our custody," he informed them quietly. The men under his command lost those looks of befuddlement that had been smeared over their faces for the last few minutes, seeming to find themselves and their purpose once more at his words. "We'll interrogate him, and find out what connection, if any, he has to Kira. Get the notebook as well, that in and of itself is evidence that he is more familiar with our case than any civilian should have a right to be. Once we've ascertained…"

"You can't have it."

The inheritor of the title of L straightened up and turned back about to regard his challenger.

Near watched him from beneath lowered brows. There was nothing in those cold black orbs. Not hate or fear or joy. The body they inhabited might as well have been dead for all the emotion he portrayed at this point.

"Excuse me?" the Japanese investigator inquired politely.

"This Death Note is ours," the social misfit returned in terms of equal civility. "We made it. In a single night. It's a fake, Light Yagami. Didn't you realize that?"

"No, I didn't," his associate replied truthfully. "When he came in, I thought he might be Kira, so how could his Note not be real, then? And when that fell apart, I was too surprised at the spelling mistakes to really consider the validity of their medium. But your compatriot there mentioned something about not noticing my misspelled name last night in those pages. Now that I think about it, if you or someone else concocted this fake Kira here, then naturally he would have been supplied with a fake D…"

"He is the real Kira!"

The explosion of anger was not marked in any way by a change in the albino's features. The agents around him jumped, taken aback by this unexpected display of frustration from their autistic administrator. Whereas Light's people appeared to have once more banded together behind their fully-functioning leader, the members of the Occidental agency now put some space between them and the shaking savant, who more than ever looked to their eyes like a child. Near could feel them distancing themselves from him, but the information barely registered within his massive brain. That inner conflict from before was spilling out now, able to find no armistice within his head and thus seeking a new battlefield on which to parlay or continue their engagement.

"Your accusations only serve to reveal your own complicity in this affair!" Near called out loudly. "Trying to cast doubts upon our veracity, while at the same time taking advantage of something no one expected, is clearly meant to obfuscate the truths which have been made evident on this day!"

"Oh, really," Light crossed his arms scornfully. "And what truths might those be?"

The white dwarf jabbed a finger at him. "You are Kira! Both L, Mello, and myself all came to the same conclusion based on accumulated evidence. It is the only viable explanation for everything that has occurred! Nothing else makes sense. This man is obviously your subordinate, whom you have carefully kept from meeting directly at any time in the past…"

One of his brigade seemed about to speak up at this pronouncement, but Yagami silenced him with a gesture, then turned back to listening to Near's rant.

"…in yet another attempt to conceal your true agenda. You might have been able to divine our intent here somehow, but you are forgetting one crucial fact: we have the real Death Note in our possession! And your own team is in the same position! You will never be allowed to come near enough to these implements of mass murder to use them ever again, Light Yagami! Your reign as Kira has come to an end! Not even the shinigami behind you will be able to change that fact."

From the corner of one eye, several people saw the rumpled scarecrow Ryuk bare his teeth in a perpetual grin and snicker grotesquely, blood-red pupils staring out at them with the grim certainty of a crow before a massacre.

"In addition," the orphan ingénue continued, "we have one person in our custody who is bound to offer proof as to your involvement." His accusing finger swung about to settle on Mikami. "We will not relinquish him to your custody! Once he has been subjected to the American style of interrogation that nation is so widely known for, there can be no doubt that a man of his flimsy character and obvious mental fragility will quickly be stripped of any secrets no matter how you might have warped his thoughts. Another thing you forgot…!"

Light stifled a yawn, Ryuk laughed louder than before, and Mikami gave a gasp, head snapping up like a whip.

He remained that way for a moment, face aglow with some indescribable rapture, and then pitched face-forward to the ground.

Nine sets of eyes trained on his limp form.

Standing with his hand still at his mouth, Light Yagami's eyes slowly closed tight, and his jaws snapped together with a pronounced click.

"Jeezus Kerist Almighty," he growled from between clenched teeth. "Do not… do NOT TELL ME…!"

The American agent looked up from beside the body. "He's… dead."

Several groans of exasperation came from the Japanese section of the room.

"Again?!" Kanzo Mogi exclaimed bitterly.

A few people glanced over at Light, who was now massaging his temples furiously. Others turned and looked at the death god hovering ominously behind them. At this, Ryuk raised his hands defensively.

"Wasn't me!" he muttered.

When their accusing glares did not falter, the spiky-haired harlequin sniffed and began scratching his armpit. "Right, sure, blame the shinigami in the room whenever somebody croaks. You people are such a bunch of racists, you make me sick." He then spread his wings and flew up to crouch on a ledge, observing the humans like a skeletal gargoyle.

Following this display of otherworldly huff, the second L stopped rubbing his scalp and let his hand drop back to his side with a sigh. His gaze swept over the storage space, as if memorizing all the contents for future codification. Then glancing over at his allies, Light made a dismissive gesture with his eyes. Nary a word of protest was made. Each man looked exhausted by the tense drama they had been forced to endure today, with apparently nothing to show for it. They all knew: somewhere out there, Kira no doubt still lived, in possession of a Death Note. A third Death Note yet again. All their efforts had ended in failure once more. It was practically becoming routine for them.

As their Oriental counterparts began to file off, Near lurched to his feet.


He made a signal, and every American in the room pulled guns and trained them on Light Yagami. Almost immediately the Japanese reacted in kind, their weapons emerging to fix upon one of the SPK. Light did not move.

Instead he slowly turned his head and met the eyes of the opposing team's brain trust.

Neither of them spoke aloud.

But it seemed as if they knew what the other was thinking. Everyone else in that warehouse and even the place itself disappeared, and they stood alone facing off in a pitch-black void.

The conversation could have gone something like this:

What?! What are you going to do, you snot-nosed European punk? Are you going to shoot me? Gun me down? I'd like to see you try!

You're Kira. I know it.

You know it? You KNOW it?!! Let me fill you in on a little secret: EVERYBODY knows it! There's not a man or woman in that room who DOESN'T believe deep down that I'm Kira! My good friend L convinced each and every one of my men of that idea long before you lifted your bleached-blonde head! He didn't do it with evidence, or tricks, or even conviction. He did it with the sheer inescapable fact that IT WAS TRUE! They didn't want to admit it, any one of them, because then it would have slighted my father's name and revealed that they had been letting me foul them up for years without anybody being able to prove it. But what other explanation was there?! You know about Sherlock Holmes, right? 'Eliminate all the logical possibilities, and then the illogical, however implausible, must be true!' How implausible was it that they would not only find Kira, but invite him into their group to help them catch him?! It was brilliant! It was daring! IT WAS L!

I'm not going to lose to you, Kira.

Sit on your thumb toys and rotate, you thundering retard! Has it bothered to penetrate that socially-stunted melon of yours that no one WANTS me to be caught?! That they actually BENEFIT from the world that I am creating? No, of course not. And you want to know why?! Because you don't LIVE in our world! You're a worthless little idiot-savant who couldn't tell shit from apple butter if his life depended on it! You sit in an insulated box all day, playing with toys and solving insolvable puzzles! You don't interact, you don't suffer, you don't struggle and fail and laugh and scream and fuck and weep and dream like we do. You're not a human being, you're a device! A calculator! A set of preprogrammed databases and constraints, where if we humans plug in enough information you're bound to come up with the right answer no matter what! Only problem is, NOBODY WILL BELIEVE IT'S THE RIGHT ANSWER! You're the twenty-first century's very own Cassandra of Troy! You're always right, but the people in charge don't accept it!

You're going to pay for L, Kira.

I AM L, YOU MISERABLE LITTLE TURD! I took his name and his title away from him the same way he did Coil and Danuve. I beat L! I WON! And you, you self-important abomination, you practiced riddles and word-games and deductive challenges with a bunch of other unwanted orphans for a few years and beat them all, and as a result of that, you thought you were equipped to match wits with the most prodigious revolutionary intellect this world has ever seen? The one even L couldn't destroy?! I'VE LIVED MORE THAN YOU! I'VE DONE MORE, I'VE FELT MORE, I KNOW MORE! HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY HOPE TO CHALLENGE A PERSON WHO CAN KILL PEOPLE JUST BY THINKING ABOUT THEM?! DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT POWER MEANS?! IT MEANS I'M NOT JUST A HUMAN ANYMORE, I'M A GOD! A GOD, DO YOU HEAR ME?!! A GOD!!!!!

No. You're not. You're a crazy infantile murderer, and I'm going to put an end to you if it costs me my life. I haven't got the evidence yet, but I will eventually. If I can't kill you here, then the same applies to me. I can't be touched by you. You can't possibly think of everything.

And I suppose you can?!

More than you, I guarantee it. This is only the first of my sorties against you, but I promise it won't be the last, Kira.

Yeah? Well, we'll just have to see about that, NATE RIVER!!

It was around this time that Light turned and began to make his way towards the door leading outside. Several pistols still trained on him, but without a confirmation from Near, none of them were able to fire. The boy was the only one capable of matching Kira. They knew this. And because of his awesome mental abilities which they all held in such high regard, it had become impossible for them to act without his consent in this situation. They were as critically dependent on Near as Mello's Mafia connections had been to him.

So while their target moved, the unspoken talk continued.

You didn't know we made the switch with the real Note. Don't even try to deny it.

Why should I? It doesn't MATTER, don't you see? No, I didn't consider that it was possible you could actually make a picture-perfect copy of something that wasn't even crafted in this dimension, so that the person who owned it wouldn't be able to tell the difference under a magnifying glass. But so what? I didn't consider it, because it's a STUPID trap! Did you really think I would fall into something so cliché?

It won't be the last, I told you.

Oh my goodness, you did! You honestly thought that I was going to risk everything on a brainless toady just to have some spectacle that I could laugh at! Of course, it all makes sense! You're just a stupid kid! This is all 'Saturday morning cartoons' to you! You're such a novice to this game that you believed that great minds think alike, and therefore since you were willing to risk your life by coming to this meeting, I would too. Do you know why they say great minds think alike? Because according to great minds, anyone who doesn't think like them is a MORON! And that's what you thought! Deep down, you convinced yourself that you were smarter than me! Just look at the little toy you made of Kira, it's meant to demean me! No, I didn't see your switching trick coming, because I never planned on any of you dying here at all. You thought I was going to risk myself to have the chance to kill you all in one fell swoop.

And you did.

WRONG! I told you, only one person was meant to die today, and that's Mikami. I wrote his name down days ago. You see, the one thing that truly bothered me about L's death was that I couldn't do it myself, when I hoped from the beginning that it would come to that. I missed out on that satisfaction. So this time, when you made your ridiculous little challenge to meet here, I realized it was the perfect chance to get what I wanted from you: your FACE and your NAME! I didn't really have to know what you were planning. If I could only convince you that you had won with whatever trick you had up your sleeve, then you would be willing to reveal both to me, to show off how confident and superior you were! So I told Mikami: write my name earlier, but misspell it! Then, when we have our face-off, once you arrive, slightly misspell all the rest, but just enough for me to guess the right name on my own! You didn't realize it doesn't work unless you get a person's name exactly right, because you'd never dare to sully your hands with murder enough to experiment. But I did! I learned all the secrets of the Note, ones even its original owner didn't realize! And you yourself gave me my victory! You took off the mask! You turned the Death Note so that we could all see it, certain that afterwards my men would turn on me and I would be powerless. And now you're going to die for it, Nate.

My name is meaningless. I've already destroyed you in this very room. There's no more ways for you to kill.

You think having those two notebooks will stop me? I have plenty of strips remaining! I could be driving back to my home, chauffeured by one of these nitwits you tried to turn against me, and casually write it down. Or I could wait a week, a month, a year if I wanted to! You'll never know when you and your team will die, but I promise you this: the last one to go will find themselves inextricably compelled to place the Death Note you stole in an envelope and mail it back to me. And my team will experience exactly the same occurrence at some point! It only takes one, after all. I might even make it you, River. Won't that feel wonderful, to obey your God in his first and only commandment to you? To know that all your vaunted intellect was reduced to you being a mere courier to my reclaiming what belongs to me by divine right?

I'll destroy it before that happens.

Go ahead. The other one will still come back to me. My rule will continue.

It won't end with me. The next generation of L will rise to battle Kira.

They'll die trying. Just like you. It's already too late, as Aizawa said. Kira has won.


Oh? Then why not pull a Hamlet on us? You know you're going to die, so you might as well do what you were too cowardly to accomplish before, because you were afraid of facing the consequences. Just order your men to shoot me. Come on, it'll be fun! Tell them to murder me, do it! See if they'll obey you to that extent. We can make it an experiment, to test their loyalty. You don't even know me, it'll be a kick to watch my bullet-riddled body dance to your tune, won't it? Then you can tell yourself what a great genius you are, outsmarting Kira with your guns and dumb apes whose only ambition is to get their boss' job. Won't that make our dear departed L ever so happy, to know that he left the world to your clumsy, violent, brutish child hands?

The only one here who disgraces the name of L is you, Light Yagami.

I knew it. You can't give that order. It's not in you. But you know what, Nate? One day you'll be sitting down to your sugary sweet cold American breakfast cereal. You'll dip your little plastic spoon in the milk, and while you're raising it to your lips, one of those people there who dotes on you so will slip that heavy Desert Eagle pistol they're all sporting out of its holster, but the barrel to the back of your head, and blast a nice hot .50 caliber bullet into your brain. And while you're tasting your own gray matter in your mouth, the others will walk up, and I'll grant their fondest wishes too, letting them all shoot big fat bullets into that curly dome they all secretly despise. Once they've emptied the clips, they'll put one more into the chamber, place the guns in their mouths, wave goodbye to the old world, and usher in the new one with a BANG!

You are totally insane. Everyone else in the world recognizes this, why can't you?

What I am, Nate River, is alive.

His fingers reached for the door handle.

And in the end, that is all that counts.

Near then gave a signal. And the Americans…

…lowered their guns.

Kira had won.

The door opened onto a magnificent red sunset that lit the face of Shiva incarnate the color of fresh hot blood.

The door swung wide.

The person standing outside the warehouse, who had been listening to everything said for the last ten minutes, opened it.

Standing inside that building, his arm outstretched, was the face of Death himself.

When the woman saw him, she clenched her fist and drove it into his gut.

The killer doubled over, gasping and coughing. His attacker pushed him back inside, slammed the door shut, spun his body about and kicked him in the back of the knee.

Kira fell. His hands struck the pavement, and seconds later he felt a gun pressed against his back.

"Don't move," a woman's voice spoke firmly.

None of this made sense.

Over half a dozen different firearms now trained on the lady holding a gun on Light. Despite wearing a black baseball cap and dark glasses, her voice gave her away, and her figure showed through the jeans and leather biker's jacket she had on. None of this affected their determination to fire upon her if necessary.

"Ma'am," Hidechi eyed her down the length of his pistol, "Drop the weapon and place your hands where we can see them."

She quite thoroughly ignored him.

Light made his move, then.


Before he could continue, a black boot crushed down on his neck firmly. His sentence was cut off in a strangled grunt of pain. No further vocalizations came from the hostage. He was too busy wondering just who the hell this was.

And how he could use her.

"Light Yagami."

His captor was speaking once again, claiming all of his attention.

"I hereby place you under arrest for murder."

Everyone else in the room was staring at the pair of them now. Like this day wasn't already full of surprises.

From still under the yoke of her high-heeled footwear, one eye cracked open, and through teeth grinding in pain, he managed to gasp out a word.


A gun still trained on him, and even more on her. But at this statement, the woman reached up and flicked off her glasses.


The cap came off next, and a mass of gleaming onyx hair fell down past her shoulders. Two black holes stared down at him with a dearth of pity normally only found in a professional executioner.

Beneath her gaze, Light's face went the color of a corpse, matching the whites that were now visible around his bulging eyes. A choking intake of air was all the sound he could muster.

There, holding a gun on him, stood Naomi Misora.

In the rafters, a shinigami cackled to himself.

"Well, now," Ryuk mused. "Isn't this unexpected?"

To be continued…