[I've never published anything in this style before, so please review and let me know if it worked out. All comments appreciated. I...didn't intend for this to be split-personality, but it kind of came out that way, apparently. Oops.]
Light is Kira—
No; Kira is Light—
Kira and Light have a funny way of coexisting.
At first there was only Light (or so he thought), and he was lonely. When he smiled, it was like plastic flowers in a broken window. Totally alone in a sea of people whose faces have looked the same for years, sometimes he closed his eyes and wondered if dying could really be all that bad after all. His world was bleak and grey and insufferably, inescapably dull, a world where justice was nothing but an abstract concept, where criminals were treated better than their victims, where if there was a point, he couldn't see it. He hasn't been able to see it for a long time.
And then there was the notebook, and there was Kira.
Light didn't hesitate. "Get out."
"Wait." And Kira offered him visions of a perfect world, visions of smiling, happy people and no crime anywhere. "You and I," said Kira, slinging a friendly arm over his shoulders, "we could do it. Between you and me, we'll pull it off. Imagine it. A perfect world! And us running the show. Won't it be grand?"
All his secret wishes given life. The world rid of the evil that bred despair, consumed all. No more crime. No more pain. No more suffering. No more turning on the news and hearing only of tragedy. No more listening to his father sigh and wonder when it would end. No more watching his mother fret with worry when his father stayed away for days at a time. No more silently asking the world why nobody was doing anything as the seconds ticked on by. No more evil.
No more evil.
Light was tempted. He let Kira stay.
Kira resembled a shinigami more than a human, despite the fact that he looked much like Light did. It wasn't that his hair was blood-soaked red (which it wasn't) or that his eyes glowed crimson (which they didn't) or that his skin was deathly pale and stretched taut (which it wasn't). Just something in his eyes. Just something not quite right. Just something unsettlingly familiar.
No, Light didn't trust Kira, not at all, but Light, silly little naïve Light, didn't want to be a murderer. Murder was wrong, murder was evil, and by simply analogy, if Light was a murderer, then Light was evil.
And Light didn't want to be evil. Gods weren't supposed to be evil.
"Here, take it," he said, tossing the notebook to Kira. Kira's eyes gleamed as he caught it, the ordinary black cover never seeming more conspicuous. "But we're still doing this my way, okay?" Light amended hastily. The other man nodded and smiled. For a split second, Light wondered where he'd gotten the idea that smiles were supposed to be good things. But never you mind, never you mind, there's a world to build, you know, and only one lifetime to do it in.
And then the whispers began…
"Let's kill that man," Kira said, gazing at Raye Penber with his red-but-not-red eyes.
"What?" said Light. "Why?"
"To get to L, of course," Kira replied.
"We can't kill innocents."
"Sure we can! They're in our way, so they have to go."
(no more pain)
"They defied us. They defied justice. They defied the protectors of this rotten world. We're practically gods and they defied us."
"Oh, come on. You want the perfect world, right?"
"And L is a threat to it, right?"
"So if we want the perfect world, we have to get rid of L, and to get rid of L, we have to isolate him, and to do that, we have to kill Raye Penber. Besides, what's one life, twelve lives, against the safety of billions? Simple logic, see?"
It wasn't. But Light stayed silent.
With twelve less innocent lives in the world (but then, what was innocence, Kira wanted to know? Aren't we all guilty?), Light sat with his chin on his chest, muttering to himself. There was
(no more evil)
a file open on the table next to him. It was a case file for man called Yoshio Yamato, murderer of five, who walked free due to lack of evidence. Moments ago he had been walking down the street and marveling at his good luck. Now his glassy eyes were wide and staring and seeing nothing. Soon, he told himself. Soon.
"That Misa girl," Kira said, twirling a fountain pen in his long thin fingers like a weapon. "We can use her and kill her later."
"Why?" Light said absently. His eyes were fixed on the TV. A news report was airing about a man who raped and murdered seven women only to escape police custody. His body was currently cooling somewhere in a dark alley.
"Because she's the second Kira, of course. She'll be useful for a while, but nothing we can't get rid of later."
"Okay," said Light.
Wolf in sheep's clothing, he thought,
(no more suffering)
L was a topic Kira was fond of discussing.
"I hate him," he fumed.
"Uh huh," Light replied, flipping open the morning paper.
"Ask me why."
At which point Kira would completely fly off the handle. "Why? Why? He asks me why. Well, for one thing, my oh-so-perceptive friend, he's L. And for another—" It was at this point that Light would stop pretending to listen and turn back to
(no more crime)
the newspaper. The headline article was about a woman who beat her three year old daughter to death while the girl's preteen brother watched. Light looked between the paper and the ranting Kira and back again, and tried to decide.
Silly, naïve Light was a born liar. He'd been lying since he was just a child, lying with his neat appearance and sweet temperament and big round honey-brown eyes, lying with his good grades and honest face, lying, lying, lying until the mask he wore had ceased to be a mask. They called him brilliant, a prodigy, the golden son, and what could he do but lie and tell them that he was? It was much easier to be perfect than to be human, and Light found that being perfect came more naturally to him anyway.
Light was a lying liar who lied and he lied best to himself. But even he had limits.
Kira glanced up. "Yeah?"
Kira laughed. "Pah. You wouldn't last five minutes without me."
"Leave and take your notebook with you."
The laughter abruptly ceased. "Don't you get it?" Kira asked, still chuckling humorlessly. "You can forget me, but never get rid of me. Never. You and me, we're the same, two sides of a coin and other cliché stuff like that. You're the one who's not using the notebook, that's all."
"No," Light said levelly. "You're a murderer. I'm just an honor student."
Kira laughed again, and he laughed and laughed and laughed, and he was still laughing as he left.
It didn't take him long to come back.
"Do you get it yet?" Kira asked flatly.
Light listened to the pouring rain outside and tried to ignore the phantom at his back. Somewhere in another world entirely, the investigation was still being led, the consequences of Higuchi's capture and death being discussed. The realization struck deep within him like the tolling of funeral bells.
(Ryuzaki, the bells. I can hear them now, Ryuzaki. I can hear them.)
"I have no idea what you're talking about." His voice was steady.
Kira snorted, then smirked. "Fine. Think what you want," he said. "I don't appreciate you trying to get rid of me, though."
Light stared at the floor.
"I'm not going to let that happen again, you know," Kira remarked, scribbling something into the Death Note. Light thought he spotted a few l's in the name.
"Okay," said Light.
(no more pain)
Sometimes, Kira would hand him reports, statistics of falling crime rates, wars that have been stopped, countries which accepted his brand of justice. Light would nod and agree that yes, this was all very wonderful, of course it had been a good idea, yes, Kira had been right all along. Later, he would wonder what the people he was supposed to be protecting thought about Kira's regime. He never asked.
So much death.
So much death.
Light's—or what was left of him—life was a shadowy blur now, all faded images and half-felt regrets, and in the darkness he wonders when it would end. The answer arrives like a lightning bolt in the dead of night, electrifying his nerves with the sudden realization that his father was dying. How had that happened? He wasn't supposed to die. No, no, he was supposed to survive for the birth of Kira's world, he was supposed to see how everything was better now, and if he could believe, then so could Light. He couldn't die. No, no, he couldn't.
But he was.
"Let me talk to him," Light said frantically, the most animated he had been in years. "He's my father. I love him."
"You should really stop doing things like that," Kira said mildly. "Nothing good ever comes of it." And then, then it was too late.
How had that happened?
The raw force of the grief and anger crashed down on him like thunder on his heart, his latent hatred now full force and painful to bear, because this was monstrous, this was horrible, all of it, every single second of it, and if he endured it any longer he had no doubt that he would die. He grew very quiet
"That's it," he said softly. And Light left silently, barely noticed by Kira or by anybody else (because Light was a liar, but Kira was an actor on the grandest stage of all). Somewhere in the distance, a whispery sigh, a grey figure fading. Then nothing.
And there was only Kira.
And Kira was happy.
He laughed a lot at things that weren't funny. If Light had been around, he might have asked him why.
Everything was perfect and wonderful and anybody who thought different was dead or dying. The thought made Kira grin in a way that even his shinigami found disturbing. After all, he was the savior of the world. He was judge, jury and executioner, but especially that last one; he didn't pay much attention to who he killed lately. Humanity was all the same now, even more dreary and petty than before, but he would save them all the same, even if he had to kill every single one of them to do it.
After all, he was god. He was Kira! He could almost taste his bloody world now (it tasted like apples), and the memory of Light had long since faded, (because after all, Light was just a detective for the NPA, just a mask Kira wore sometimes when it pleased him, no one worth mentioning, no one like Kira), and tomorrow at the warehouse there was no possible way he could lose (why, the very idea!).
And suddenly his perfect world wasn't just crumbling, it wasn't there at all (why couldn't he see it? Why couldn't he see it?), and he's lying in a pool of his own blood, writhing in agony and goddammit it wasn't supposed to be this way,and it hurt, everything hurt, how did this happen, how could it happen to him? And as the god's oh so very human heart is seizing up and sputtering out, he's screaming because—
—I DON'T WANT TO DIE—
—and suddenly, there's Light again. He's barely a wisp now, just a speck of nothing, just a human who wasn't supposed to exist anymore. But he's standing right there and there's nothing in his eyes, only steel, only acceptance.
Kira screamed and cursed and writhed and died. Light watched with his softsharpshrewdhuman eyes and smiled his plastic smile. And there was only Light.
But Light had long since gone.
[Note that I did NOT intend for this to be a split-personality take at all. It cheapens such a wonderfully convoluted character to just blame it on a mental disorder and run, no? This was more of a struggle between human and nonhuman and past and future than good and evil, all within Light's mind. If that makes any sense. And finally, big thank you to Aish Sheva and troubadour12, beta readers and really awesome people.]