"I'll come to see you in a few days," Light said. "I promise. But don't contact me before I come. I'll be very busy. Do you understand? There's been a break in the case."

"I won't call you," she promised, and he leaned down and kissed her forehead, smiled.

"Be a good girl," he said gently, but there was something strange in his eyes that made her stomach curdle a little with uneasiness.

That had been three days ago, and she had been a good girl, not calling or sending messages or anything, just sitting on her couch eating strawberries and watching an American soap. But she started to get nervous. What if he was hurt, or in a hospital somewhere, and they hadn't known to call her?

She stared at her cellphone through three episodes of Sex and the City before she dared to open it and dial Light's personal number. It rang once, and went straight to the message machine. You've reached Yagami Raito's cell. Please leave your name, number, and a brief message and I'll return your call as soon as possible. Beep.

She closed the phone, tapped it against her leg. He probably just had it turned off so that it wouldn't interrupt whatever he was doing. He was probably just working longer than he'd thought he'd have to, and couldn't call yet.

Misa dialed again and left a message. "Hi, Light! I know you told me not to call you, but I'm getting a little worried…when is Light coming home to his Misa-Misa? Love!"

She stayed awake all night, watching her phone on the coffee table and waiting for it to ring. The next morning, she called again. Still only the message.

"Light? It's Misa. Call me…"

"Light? Where are you?"

With still no answer, and the hours ticking by, Misa paced back and forth in their kitchen and looked at the number now in her screen. A private work number, Light had said, and emphasized that she was never to use it unless there was a severe emergency. He'd repeated that so many times that she was almost scared to use it now, but this was a severe emergency, right? Her Light was never late. Not even a little. And better that he was angry than this continued and confusing silence.

She pressed send and held the phone to her ear, holding her breath. It rang once, and she breathed out when it rang twice. Now all he had to do was answer. At least this one was on. He was probably only working, as she'd first thought, and they'd needed him a little longer…

Please leave a brief message.

It wasn't even his voice, just an automatic, robotic one. The phone beeped for her to start talking, and she just held it to her ear, breathing, as though any moment he would pick it up and say in his mellifluous voice, "Hello?"

Misa hung up the phone, fretting even more.

She slept uneasily and restlessly in the living room, just in case he came home, with the TV on. Hideki Ryuga was singing about lost love and broken hearts, and Misa might have cried a little, but made sure she wiped the tears away so Light wouldn't know when he came home.

He still wasn't home the next morning. It was February 3rd, nearly a week after Light had told her he'd come by when he was finished with the case, and he hadn't called. No one had called. She knew that he had to keep it secret, but who else could she call, who else could she find out from where he was…maybe he needed her. Maybe he was sick or hurt.

Misa's head came up, abruptly, as she thought of someone who might know if he was all right, at least, and where he was if – (though she knew he hadn't, she knew) – if he'd left her. She reached for the phone again and opened it, dialed the number she remembered with shaking fingers.

What was his name again? Matsuda? He might know where Light was. They'd worked together, she knew. Sometimes he'd come over to their house for dinner. Misa thought it was cute because he always blushed and stumbled over his words, but Light had been less patient. Light was always less patient, especially with people he thought were stupid. Like her.

The phone rang three times before anyone picked it up. "Hello?" she said, brightly. "Is this – Matsui?"

"—Matsuda," the voice on the other end corrected her, and it was shaking a little with – something. Was he drunk? Well, it was a Friday night. "It's Matsuda – yeah, who is this?"

"Misa-Misa," she said, keeping her voice bright and cheerful, even if she could feel the worry mounting. Why did he sound so – unhappy? Had something happened? No, no, someone would have told her if something had happened to Light… "How are you, Matsuda?"

"Um," Matsuda said, and his voice quavered a little more. "I'm – all right, Misa…what're you calling for?"

"It's about Light," she said, and found her own voice failing a little, some of the worry showing through. "He said he'd be back a couple days ago, but he hasn't called, and isn't answering any of his cellphones…Misa just wanted to know if you knew-"

"—I'll come over," Matsuda said, suddenly. "I'll – be right there. Bye," and the other end clicked, the dial tone coming on. Misa stared at the phone, feeling her stomach clench.

~.~

She answered the door a half hour later. A car out on the street had another shadowy figure in it, someone she couldn't see through the tinted windows. Matsuda swayed against the doorframe, his eyes red-rimmed and bleary. He looked up at her, and she could see the tear-tracks down his cheeks.

No, she thought, no, that's impossible.

"I'm sorry," he choked. "I'm so sorry," and she felt her knees crumple and her head hit Matsuda's shoulder and her heart tear into two perfectly equal halves, but she never heard herself scream; knew she would never hear herself make any sound again.