Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note.

A/N: My wonderful fanfiction wife The iPod Addict gave me this idea. It's a really good thing, because I had no more ideas, and I had barely written anything since December (original or fanfiction), which, for me, is like being constipated. Which sucks.

Warnings: Language. Also violence, crude sexuality, sex scenes later, disturbing themes, probably drugs and/or abuse...

Also. This is not a fluffy story. There will probably BE fluff, but don't expect to be happy when this fanfic is over. If you've read Beautiful Disaster, you know that I am not afraid to kill off main characters. That is your warning. :)

I fired without hesitation and, of course, the bullet hit its mark between the man's eyes. It was not the first time I had shot someone, but it was the first time it had been under the category of 'initiation rites.'

As Matt would have said, access granted.

The man crumpled to the floor, no time to even scream, and I took a step back so that he wouldn't bleed on my boots. These were the only boots I had that matched my leather, and if this fucker decided to stain them with his damn bodily fluids, I'd be forced to shoot him again to prove a point to the guys who would soon be my men. Not that they knew that yet.

It was a particularly brutal, crude rule in this particular branch of the Mafia. Any traitors or prisoners or just anyone they were plain bored with got put in a cell and left there until there was a new recruit. Then, the newbie (here, me) and the prisoner were put in a little room together. The newbie was armed, the prisoner wasn't. The newbie is told to shoot. It was about pure brutality for this test, not skill- basically, can you accept the order to kill an unarmed person, weak from time spent in a cell? If the answer was yes, then you pass. If it was no, or you miss, you're both killed.

Of course, the newbie doesn't know that he'll be killed if he misses or refuses. That would defeat the purpose. Fear is a great motivator, but when your goal is to test someone's cruelty, you can't let them know that their own life is on the line. I only knew because I actually have a brain and thought about it. Dozens of people try to get in, and none come back rejected. Either the Mafia has started accepting every scumbag who waltzes by, or they're smart enough to kill the failures.

The Mafia definitely doesn't just accept any schmuck that needs a job, and they're definitely not stupid.

So I saw through their test. Knew it before I even came, so, even though I knew I'd be killed if I said no, the test still tested what it was supposed to. I had happily, knowingly, freely, and willingly shot a weak, unarmed man who begged me not to kill him. Yes, the test proved that I sure as hell was just the kind of cruel that they were looking for.

At the sound of the gunshot, the door opened. Through it stepped a big man in a purple shirt with a wretched gold chain around his neck. He was bald and had a narrow beard. I knew then that the gun only had one bullet, because there was no way he'd ever let me have an advantage like this.

"What's your name?" he asked. He had a deep, smooth voice. He wore sunglasses, even though we were indoors, probably as a prevention measure against Kira. People were starting to whisper that Kira needed someone's face to kill them, and some people thought that wearing sunglasses would prevent it.

Fuck that. If Kira was a god, then he didn't need to know our damn faces. And if he was a human with some kind of power and access to the internet, then sunglasses weren't going to do anything except make you partially blind, putting you at a pretty huge disadvantage right away against the things that were going to kill you more imminently than Kira.

This guy had to be the boss, though. Assuming he wasn't an idiot, he would want the only one with that (perceived) advantage against Kira to be him. He would hope that the minions (whose rank I was just about to join) would have their faces pasted all over the place, so that they'd be killed long before he was. If nothing else, they would serve as a warning that he was next.

"Mello," I finally answered. I put on my best 'dead eyes' and I saw him restrain a very tiny smile.

"Mellow. Must be fucking annoying to have an emotion as a name. Adverb, isn't it?"

An adjective and a verb, actually, but I sure as hell wasn't gonna give the man a grammar lesson.

"Yep," I agreed boredly, holding out the gun. "Only gave me one damn bullet. You want it back?"

"It's yours," he said blandly, but I could tell he was impressed that I knew there was only one bullet. There was a two-way mirror in this room, so he would have seen that I never opened it to check. "Consider it your first day's paycheck."

Like we'd be getting paychecks in the Mafia. But whatever, it was better than my current gun. Not that I wouldn't carry both, of course.

"I'm Rod Ross," he told me. "Your boss's boss's boss. Don't get too excited- this is probably the last you'll ever see of me, unless you manage to go awhile without getting shot." His face told me he wasn't joking, and I wasn't at all surprised. "Follow me."

He turned around, assuming that I would follow. At one time, that probably would have insulted me. By this point, though, it was better than the other things I had had to do to get this far. I was still trying to get the taste of that other guy out of my mouth. In comparison to deepthroating some old, wrinkly fag, following Rod Ross didn't even approach insulting.

I followed him through a ton of old, marked-up corridors, grafitied gratuitously with penises and the occasional pussy, random tits and colorful, illegible signatures. The floor was cement as well, cracked and stained with what could only be blood.

He kept walking until the corridor opened up to another room, which was about the same except for a small pit of zebra-striped couches (which hurt my eyes) in the center and the technology that lined the walls. Matt would have had a field day. The room seemed to be lit only by these computers, which gave the place a dingy, soiled appearance that was probably exactly what they were looking for. There were a few whores walking around, who I had a feeling were complimentary, and one guy was actually being ridden on one of the couches. I seriously did not need to see that.

I sensed Ross looking at me, so I double-checked what my face was up to. Still blank, still dead. Excellent. It rarely failed, no matter how I was really feeling or how surprised I was. I looked at my boss's boss's boss expectantly, awaiting orders. He was so much taller than me that I had to look conspicuously up, since he was right next to me.

"You get used to seeing that," he said, indicating the prostitute and the man under her, "after you do it a few times yourself."

I analyzed him to figure out the correct answer. That was one thing I could do that Near never figured out. Because I actually have emotions, I can almost always figure out other people's. The albino ice-sculpture-of-a-sheep Near was hopeless in that situation. Which is why I should have been L, but that was inconsequential now. I'd found my own way to capture Kira. It was just significantly less legal than Near's way, but luckily I didn't give a shit about that particular aspect of this job.

I figured out the correct answer, then gave it. I laughed darkly. "I don't give a fuck." I crossed the room and flung my ass onto the couch adjacent to the two, crossing my legs on the dilapidated coffee table and flinging my arms out over the back of the couch, as if I owned it. I looked around, pretending to admire my surroundings. It was good tech, but I had grown up at Wammy's. This shithole in the ground couldn't compare.

I could feel waves of approval from the direction of Ross, and he walked comfortably until he was standing next to the people fucking, which was the most natural way to be in front of me. He saw that I had the power this way, so he kicked the preoccupied guy in the leg and said, "Glen, move your ass. We have a new recruit."

It was a testament to Ross's authority that 'Glen' actually pushed the hooker off of himself and moved. Blueballing at its worst. He didn't bother to do up his pants, instead just grabbing the girl by the wrist and yanking her off the floor (where he had shoved her). He dragged her out of the room, where I can assume they finished up.

My attention, however, was on Rod Ross. AKA, the boss of this branch. AKA, the man whose position I would one day hold, if I had any say in the matter. Which I did.

He sat back and smiled at me for a while. I could see right through him. It was such a basic technique that I was tired by the fact that he expected me to go for it. He was going to wait me out, make me talk first. That would give him the power.

Unfortunately for him, I had nowhere to be. Not today, not tomorrow, not the next day. He, on the other hand, probably had a home to get back to. Possibly a family. A wife, or at least a woman. He probably had hobbies other than sitting across from me, while I had nothing and no one. He'd need to eat eventually, and I had chocolate bars in my pants. He was clearly a meat and potatoes kind of guy, who was used to eating when he was hungry and exercising to keep his muscles as enormous as they were. Me, I starved myself on a regular basis. The terrifying, brilliant, corpsey looking I'm going for demands it, and self-loathing makes it easy.

I would definitely win a sit-out.

He must have sensed that because, after a while, he spoke. He stretched and smiled wider, as if he just happened to be done staring at me, and finally said, "So it's Mello. You seem smart. I'm sure that by now you realize you've passed the test."

I bit back a comment about how observant he was proving to be. I could be sarcastic to him when I owned his ass. Instead, I just nodded lazily. "Yessir."

"Got somewhere to be tonight?" he asked.


"No family? Friends? A woman?"

Family dead, friends left behind, and sure as hell no women. "No sir."

He leaned forward. "We've run a background check on you."

Well duh. Like they hadn't already known my name when they asked.

"There's nothing," he continued when I just stared at him. "And when I say nothing, I mean you don't exist. Which either means that you actually don't exist, or that you've been operating under a fake name for at least five years. Either way, we have no complaints. So. Since you have nowhere to go tonight, how about your first job?"

I didn't even acknowledge that he was speaking, just making my gaze burn into him. I wanted my boss's boss's boss to be afraid of me. Even my parents had been afraid of me. Only one person in the world wasn't, and I had ditched him along with the others two years ago.

But it could be hard, I thought as he stared back, unflinching. This dude pissed ice cubes. These people had seen a lot. Seen a lot of shit a whole hell of a lot scarier than me.

For now.

So I simply stretched, smiled like a cat, and said, "Of course."