Author's note: I just realized that two days before I started this it was Light's death, and I can't believe I missed a date as important as that. So this is making up for my lack of promptness in a tribute to the one and only murderer of Death Note.
Thank you to my beta, Scourge, who will freak out when she sees yet another fruitless one-shot that she has to edit. Thank you to readers whoever you may have been, and thank you to those of you who click the review box at the bottom of the page. You know you want to.
Beta's Note: Only six others to edit. :P
Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note.
The Notebook was not the beginning. Even as he watched it falling from the heavens, a golden apple painted black as night, the words 'Death Note' glinting in the sunlight, he knew. He had been watching for it, his golden eyes waiting for that moment of divine intervention. In that silent moment, he had known that the notebook was meant for him alone.
Only he saw the descent, only he felt its faded black cover, only he read the golden writing. To say it was the beginning of the madness, the desire, his death… would be a lie. Because he knew to watch for it, he knew to look for the signs—he had been waiting for the excuse, a blackbird whirling downward, fluttering in the breeze, broken wings struggling to stay aloft.
Flipping through its pages, he saw the world he lived in—a painting filled with shades of gray, each blending into the next, a hazy shade of winter. He saw himself wandering through that world's indistinct shadows, his fingers blue with the cold, his mind numb with the icy chill, unaware of his slowing heartbeat. Death would come silent through the snow, his eyes dark as only a god's could be in that world. He would have smiled, his prey falling easily into his arms, his dark cloak warm with the light of an imagined heaven.
Suddenly, the lines straightened themselves; the gray disappeared and only black and white remained. He saw the true shape of his world through his newly painted eyes; he saw the darkness that he had previously glanced over. Shadows of ink he formed them into names, tucked them away in the Notebook for safe keeping—and the world became sharper still.
The contentment disappeared and only cold ambition remained. He was the painter; his pallet filled all colors, the colors his world had lacked: Sorrow, agony, joy, wrath, anger, lust, and something that resembled happiness. So many colors, so many shades he had never known to exist before that moment.
It was the only heaven he would ever know, the only light of paradise he would ever see. There was no divine punishment to await him, no glimpse of heaven or hell—only nothingness for him. It was the price of seeing the world, seeing the colors, of separating the shades of gray from one another. His world was a star, alight with passion, with death and anguish, but anything was better than the winter he had been trapped in.
They liked to say that corruption came from the Notebook, that the lust for death came from its ashen pages. They liked to believe that he had been happy, that he had been kind, that he had been a good man before it fell into his grasp. They liked to believe many things about him. They loved the colored glass the lies were made of.
They had not seen the boredom in his eyes, the hidden anguish; they had not seen the desperation. They had only seen the talent, the raw talent that had consumed him, the talent that had destroyed him. For what is genius without a medium? What is a painter without his colors? What is a weaver without his thread?
Perfection, they had said, he was perfection in human flesh. Young, beautiful, intelligent, wealthy…. They had not seen his eyes locked on the window's reflection, watching as a notebook fell from the sky. They had not seen the way his fingers held a pen, even before the Notebook, as if they were waiting for the means to bring death to the world. They had seen his shadow, bright and luminous, but they had not seen his face.
It was not their fault; after all, his mask was so cleverly crafted. It fit perfectly, no flaws on its painted features. They were only human—they could only see the golden surface, they could only hear the bell-like quality of his voice. They could not hear the words.
All his life, from the moment of his birth, he had been ready for the Notebook, for the Shinigami—had been ready to open his eyes and paint the names in scarlet letters, had been ready to weave the tapestry and cut the strings. And so he laughed in the shadowed room, the Notebook open upon his desk, his golden eyes watching the winged shadow, the imitation with death with its golden eyes.
"I've been waiting for you, Ryuk."
The nightmares were not caused by guilt. He knew that. He would wake up, sweat pouring down his face, eyes dilated, heart and breath racing through the night, Shinigami's dark laughter pounding in his ears. The moon would look down on him, god's watchful eye shedding light upon his ashen face. Slowly, his mind would return to bitter reality and the terror would fade back into nothingness.
He dreamed of an apple in his hand, his reflection in its crimson surface; he stood on top of the world. The city rushed beneath him; the night illuminated his people, their rushed movements, their panicked expressions. The wind buffeted him, whipping his hair into his eyes, dragging him towards the edge of the building, struggling to cast him into the streets far below. The moon cast a golden light—it was a dimmer version of the sun hanging above him, watching him carefully. In these dreams, he was no longer Light Yagami. He was no longer any human. The memories of humanity slipped past him until he could no longer recall they even existed.
The stars trickled into being, turning through their set patterns; a thousand fireflies danced before his eyes. He was Kira in these moments, gazing down at his people, a people who lived in fear of their wrathful god, a people who constantly saw death's white hand moving against them.
He was Prometheus, bringing light unto the world, placing it in their fragile hands—a gift, he said. They had not wanted the flames, the light; it burned their fingers if they held it too close. Its beauty was not for mortal eyes. They feared him for his gift of fire, for his gift of light. They hated him for the world they saw through its dancing light.
Bound in golden chains, hated by the gods on high, he watched his people—his miserable, starving people whose eyes were filled with hatred and fear. Somewhere in the distance, high above the noise of the city, a clock began to tick. One… Two… Three…
His eyes closed. He lifted the apple to his lips, took a bite. It tasted of knowledge, sin, pain, agony; it tasted like the death he cast out so easily. The apple fell, rolling away from his feet, towards the edge of the building, so close to falling. One small kick and it was gone, spiraling downwards, down, down, down.
A bell began to toll—the funeral bells that so often played through his mind. Kyrie eleision, they cried through their mournful chimes. They prayed for the salvation of his people, his frightened fire-bearing people; they prayed for the apple that fell from his stiff fingers.
He walked towards the edge, his golden eyes wide with horror as he saw the multitude of faces staring up at him. The funeral bells reached their crescendo—the requiem for the masses, for their burned flesh, for the dark illumination he had brought them.
He stood on the edge. The wind rolled over him, a wave of grief and sorrow. Humanity stretched below him; only the elements stood above. No man should have been able to reach such heights. The air tasted of immortality, of the apple lying at his feet; it tasted of the ink splattered across his hands.
His eyes reopened but he did not see; the colors were gone but the shades of gray could not return. Neither god nor human, he stood at the edge of the world, his mind filled with white shadows.
The bells stopped tolling; the world went silent; the clock stopped ticking. He spread his arms and took the step into oblivion, nonexistent wings taking flight.
He screamed. His room filled with darkness; the sweat poured down his face. A Shinigami howled with the laughter only he could hear. It was not guilt that plagued the mind of Kira—it was humanity's mournful eyes.
The rain thundered from the heavens, crashing to the pavement like the bells he heard in his nightmares. Somewhere a star was falling, the world was ending, a great man was dying. Standing on the roof of the world, Light saw the detective, shoulders hunched eyes on the ground below—such a familiar scene, a reflection of himself teetering on the edge of the abyss, the grief and torment burning through his mind.
White shadows, dark light.
Even then the silver chain connected them still. Unseen, it bound them together, past life, past death, past the colors, past the fearful eyes, past the screams, past the toll of the bells, past the lies they told one another. Prometheus' golden chain. His punishment came not from divine hands, not from the blind god—no, it came from the mortal with the raven's eyes. And Light knew that paradise and the inferno existed in that single gaze, in those obsidian eyes that asked him why.
You know why. Don't you understand? You know as well as I do. Don't lie to me. Don't toy with me. Don't play with me. You will never understand what I am. This is why you lost; this is why you are falling. This is why you are going to die. This is why I killed you.
He spoke of funeral bells. Yes, Light heard them—he heard them every morning. When the dawn's light painted the world, he heard them; he heard them when no one else bothered to listen. He heard the earth's dirge. It was the price of becoming a god; to be immortal was to hear the woes that humans were so deaf to. Light knew of death.
You have no idea what I suffer. You have no idea how many masks I possess. You have no idea how many sacrifices I have made. You have no idea how cold it is from where I stand. You have no idea how dark the world is, how pointless it all seems. Don't take my faith.
He asked about lies, about the lies Light told, about the truth he no longer believed in. Light Yagami was a lie, so carefully crafted, a reflection of what could have been, what might have come to pass. But Light Yagami had existed only in a realm of fantasy, the ideal, the dream he lost at the sight of the Notebook falling into his hands.
Don't you know I had no choice? The end justifies the means. The world is cruel. Life isn't fair. Why should death be any different? Don't steal my victory from me, don't steal my illusion, don't steal my light.
There were no last words, no final statements of glory—only a body in his arms and the sound of his own screaming. Screaming for the world he lost, screaming for the nightmare he lived, screaming because it wasn't worth it. The raven's eyes were closing, growing blind to the world they had once analyzed so carefully. Kira's smile locked in their core, the last image they would ever see.
You are no better than I. You look betrayed, as if it is I who have betrayed you. I told you, I warned you. You should have known better. I am a man of my word. What is a god who fails to keep his bargains? It is only fitting that you should die in my arms. After all, I did promise.
It was not Light Yagami who held L Lawliet in his arms, the cold, pale L Lawliet whose heart had long since stopped beating. It was not Kira who screamed in agony, whose golden eyes seemed to convey all the sorrows of the world. There was no mask now, no name to bind him, no truth to hold him. And he was dying; he felt the inferno, he felt the warmth of heaven, he felt the earth. He was everywhere and he was nowhere, he was nothingness.
Was it anything like what you imagined? Are you happy now, L Lawliet? Look what you've done—my mask has come undone.
It was a shadow of Kira who returned, a shadow of Light, things that used to be but no longer were. He stood, a new mask in place, his eyes filled with the sight of corpses; and he felt the emptiness in his soul.
Do you feel better, now that you know my name?
His world was a blur of color, so similar to the gray world he had once lived in—but he couldn't go back to that place, couldn't go back to that time. Light Yagami was gone, and Kira was the shadow cast by light. They were both weary; they each watched the Notebook, the passion gone from their veins.
Misa wouldn't understand, couldn't comprehend the look of defeat in his eyes. He was winning, after all—and wasn't that the point? It was all a game, a game to be won or to be lost, to be played between the gods of justice. He wanted to laugh, he wanted to cry because it was true. It was all a game. That's all it would ever be, all it had ever been—Light Yagami playing a game with himself.
And the world worshipped the sight of his cruel shadow; they bowed down before the might of his fountain pen. Their fearful eyes filled with the light he had given them so long ago—no, they were not grateful. They would never be truly grateful as he had intended, as he had wanted them to be. They sang his praise, they clamored for his approval; it was sickening. He had never meant to become their idol.
He laughed because it was all too funny, the twist the game had taken, the path it had chosen to unfold. It was hilarious because he knew, he could see how twisted it was, how far he had strayed from that vision he had once had. And it was too much. He laughed because he had to keep trying, had to keep moving; it was more than winning or losing now, it was his life. He was so close to the edge.
Just one little push…
He had lost everything to the game—his family, his future, his life, his love, his death, his friend; everything had been taken from him, the fee for crossing the river of death… his life taken from his immortal hands. And what did he have left? A Notebook, left lying open upon his desk, the ink running through the pages like blood. He had nothing; his people had nothing. Only a promise of death.
But death stopped for no man, and he had to keep moving, he had to keep trying, because the light was somewhere. That dream was still out there and he had to reach it. He hated them. He hated them for loving him, for despising him; he hated each and every one of them. They weren't worth it, they would never be worth it. He gave them fire, he gave them light, and they weren't worth the golden chain that bound him so tightly.
They weren't worth the boatman's fee. They weren't worth the lies. They weren't worth the death. They weren't worth the years. They weren't worth the world he tried to create for them.
But he could not stop, because if he stopped he would surely die.
He was falling through time, falling through death. His heart had stopped and his mind gone blank. Somewhere, a funeral bell was tolling. Somewhere, a detective was watching, rain soaking through his clothes. Somewhere, Light was laughing—laughing because he had known, he had known all along that it would come to this.
I don't want to die! I don't want to die! I don't want to die! I don't want to die!
It was painful, far more painful than he expected. Nothing like the emptiness he lived with; nothing like the emptiness he will become. Betrayal, he was betrayed by the fact that he could feel more pain than he already has.
I DON'T WANT TO DIE! I DON'T WANT TO DIE! I DON'T WANT TO DIE!
And the world was so bright, filled with all the colors he imagined—and it's so painful to see because he knew it wasn't real, that it can never be real. And that in itself was dying. A murderer, they called him a murderer, and that's what he was now—nothing but their murderer. Left to rot, left to condemn, tucked away in the history books, forgotten.
I… I… don't…
The ground was cold, colder than he would have like. He couldn't speak because he had lost his voice; his name was tucked away in the black note's pages, another set of letters, another pool of ink. A murderer, a name—he was not a god any more.
He died with his eyes open, watching as the sun set, as the world turned away from his fingertips, as his life fell to pieces.
Author's note: There it is, my tribute to Light Yagami, which is sadly late. Oh well. If you've made it to the bottom of the page, you might as well review. Tell me what you think. OOC? Depressing? Bad? I'll never know unless you tell me.