The bullet wounds still bled into the nothingness; his heart still wished to pound out a rhythm in his still chest; he still felt the cold hands of death stilling his fingers and stealing the names from his mind. After all, what were the names, anyway? He no longer needed them. The names had been for Kira's benefit; what did a dead god need with words?

The blood stained his fingers with life, the life that had been purged from him. Covering his fingers in a drip of red paint, it was fascinating as it had never been when he had been human, when his heart had still thrummed in his chest. It was the red ink that had flowed through his fingertips so easily, without a thought to guide it, without the slightest encouragement.

The death god seemed disconcerted by his lack of attention. It twitched as if in expectation, waiting for Kira to surface once again; he ignored it, preferring to watch the drops of blood ooze out of his fingertip, staining the nothingness with that brief instant of life. The Mu did not appreciate the gift quite as much as he did, but well, it did not have his sense of humor.

"What do you say, Light?" the god of death asked, yellow eyes laughing madly. He blinked at the name, distracted. What good were names in nothingness, the name that did not belong to him? What was a name to him who had nothing but the blood in his veins? That name was no longer his to bear—why should he answer to it?

The blood, the ink, the death… oh yes, he remembered it well, when that name had been his, when the world had bowed before Light Yagami. Yes, he remembered the taste of death on his lips, the way it had ran through his heart like fire. He remembered the ecstasy, the lust, the power of the pen in his hands. How could he forget?

The blood dripped beneath him, falling past him, suspended by the lack of dimension and by thought, humanity dripping from his fingers. It was so very tempting to live once again, to feel the incessant thumping of his heart, to feel the wind and the sky above him, the earth beneath the soles of his feet. Mu was demanding, strict in its reality.

But the pen felt foreign in his hands, and his scarlet eyes had trouble seeing. He no longer remembered the words to give death, no longer remembered the names of the condemned—for what did they matter to the dead? The dead owned nothing, the dead wanted for nothing. What did he care for the world and the death note?

Mu was comforting in its lack of existence, in the lack of demands poured at him. Mu asked for nothing but his silence, his words spun away into dust. He could live with such demands. The world had once asked so much more of him; the world had asked for his youth, his love, his mind, everything he owned. Mu asked for what it gave—Mu asked for nothing.

The sight of blood was exhausting. He already heard the demands, the names he would write, the battles he would face. His hands ached from the future the shinigami laid before him. A mere possibility and already it had drained him—another detective to face, another battle for the favor of the people, the favor so easily gained and lost. The energy dripped away into the vast ocean of Mu.

The world would demand a physical shape, a body to encompass his mind and will, a fragile beating heart. Did he dare risk losing it again?

"No—I won't be Kira again. Once is more than enough."

Kira had moved past him. Kira belonged to the world of life and death. Mu did not accept such words among its rank; Mu didn't want Kira, didn't want his baleful eyes seeking justice, didn't want the scribbling hands that condemned everything. Kira could not reach him in the world beyond death.

"Ah, but come on Light, can you honestly say you're doing anything here?" keened the Shinigami. The whining grated against Light's ears; the blood still dripped slowly downward past reality, past existence, past memory and pain. There was an ocean beneath his feet and he knew very well that it would only take a thought before he would drown in it, sinking downward into the nonexistent depths, a single hand straining up towards the heaven he could not see. The scarlet eyes were blind to god.

Doing anything—of course he wasn't doing anything. He was nothing. He was Mu, he was the world in which the blood fell, he was the forgotten white that only the blind man could see, he was the absence of light. Nothing does nothing; it contents itself in its lack of existence, and nothing more.

"Why should I?"

The shinigami looked offended by the question, as if it should not belong to the being that had once been Kira's lips, as if it did not belong in the world made of nothingness—but the absence of light did not believe in action without motive. There was always a reason, even if the reason was nothingness itself.

Sloth was not such a terrible sin—far safer than his six brothers.

"Because you're Kira, because the human race, is dying without you—because you want to." The demon spoke with experience, and it was the nothingness that realized his folly. That argument only would have persuaded a being with a beating heart.

"Want. Yes I suppose I do want to, but what does that mean? Want is nothing more than a desire, and look where desire got me? I turned the world upside down for a whim, my desires painted the world with death. But now I am Mu, I am nothingness. I am the lack of existence, the silence between spoken words. I refuse to move for want again, I will not bow to something as fleeting as desire."

The blood was falling and it was going to fall, caught in the dimensions that did not exist, suspended eternally in its spiral downwards. Mu watched it fall, watched the single drop travel forever downwards, toward the humanity it had once been, reaching toward existence, toward the reality that held no power in the sea of nothingness. The death god looked out of place in the absence of light, his physical presence a beacon for all to see.

A god of death had no place in the world beyond existence.

"You are also Kira."

It wasn't a lie, he supposed. If he were to have a name, Kira would be as good as any. The mask fit him well enough, but it was no longer his mask to wear; it was no longer his face. L, Light Yagami, Kira—he had bore too many names, and he no longer needed their shelter.

"Ryuk, Kira is dead. He was shot down in a warehouse by a little boy and a god of death. And after all, who am I to resurrect the dead?"

Kira rested with the living, a ghost to haunt their mortal minds, baleful scarlet eyes watching, waiting for an opportunity to strike once again. The white porcelain mask was left forgotten on his desk, splattered with his dried blood, covered in a layer of fine dust. Time was nothing to Mu; it did not exist.

"It's a Notebook, Light, it's an inanimate object." The blunt answer was meant to make him smile, to earn his laughter, but he is beyond laughter, beyond death, beyond desire. He is not amused.

"Notebooks can be burned," the nothingness replied, shaping itself into a vague sense of irony, watching as the blood continued to fall. He remembered the fire licking at his fingers, the way it had glowed beneath him before fading into dust. Even the death note was composed of ashes.

"L would be disappointed." The shinigami was desperate, grasping at one final argument, his fear of rejection hidden behind his jagged grin, his knife-like teeth filling the nothingness. L, that name was just as dead as Kira; it did not belong in Mu.

L who died for a cause no one believed in, L who sold his soul to the devil so that he could see his reaper's eyes, L who stole revenge from the living in the form of a child, L whose grave was covered in weeds, L whose eyes closed on the world, L whose voice spoke of crime and punishment, L who rested beneath the earth, L who was nowhere.

L who died for pride.

"Yes, he would, wouldn't he?"

Author's note: Written because I got tired of Light saying yes to Ryuk, not to say it isn't done well sometimes but half the time it's terrible. Thus I decided to cut that short and well, Light actually turns Ryuk down for once. Shocking I know.

Thank you to my beta Scourge, thank you to readers (who will hopefully review), thank you to those lovely people who clicked the box and then realized it wouldn't feature Near or Mello and ran off into the other direction… Yeah that was nice.

Reviews are most welcome.

Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note.