Author's note: "Kira kira" means sparkling, glittering, or shiny. Also, no Death Note.
The last rays of sunlight were disappearing in Kabukicho. Reasonable people knew to be out of this part of this city long before dark. In fact, reasonable people did their best not to venture into Kabukicho at all, and if it was absolutely necessary, they never, ever walked through a darkened alleyway.
Which was why this idiot was such fine pickings.
Koga Nao had been looking for a vulnerable target for an hour or so now, but he could hardly believe his luck as he swaggered confidently down the alley, leering. He couldn't see the idiot too clearly in the dim lighting, but he could see the wide eyes, locked on his. The guy didn't move as Koga approached, apparently scared into stillness. Stopping a few feet away from the man- early to mid twenties, a typical goody-two shoes business man, from the look of his suit- Koga smirked.
"Why don't you give me your wallet and that fancy watch, and you can scuttle on home without any broken bones," Koga suggested in a low growl. That growl had always made lesser people bow to his will, and he expected nothing less now... but the guy didn't move.
Koga squared his shoulders, then brought up his fists. "Don't be a hero, tough guy, come on. I'll rough you up if I have to."
Still the man did not move. He was frozen, eyes wide and staring straight at Koga, one hand in his pocket and the other hand clutching a briefcase, a faint frown creasing his face.
"I warned you." Koga raised his right hand and sent it into an arc, right for the man's immobile face, with a grunt-
And then a sickening crunch and a scream, as he broke his hand.
"Fuck!" Koga cradled his hand to his chest, stumbling backwards, then forwards again as he peered at what was most definitely not some stupid businessman who had taken an ill-advised short-cut on his way home.
From a foot away, even half a foot away, the man looked completely real, but up close, Koga could see that it was a fucking painting. He felt disappointed at losing a target, but mostly embarrassed and enraged- how could he have been so stupid as to punch a wall, for God's sake? And who the hell put this painting here, anyway? It was completely stupid!
Koga backed up again, gritting his teeth against the pain. If he ever found out which idiot had put this thing here, he'd kill him. Then Koga froze in his movement. He did a double take that would have been comical, if his face hadn't still been contorted in pain. He moved left slowly, then right slowly, then shuddered, because the painting's dark eyes were fucking following him.
Cursing, Koga stumbled away from the painting of the man in the alley, preparing to find a clinic that wouldn't ask too many questions. He didn't see the writing on the wall nearby the man, which asked boldly, "Would you do it, if you knew someone was watching?"
Light Yagami had been bored.
That was probably the root of everything. He was simply bored- bored of this corrupt world, with people ignoring the problems that were so rampant all around them, bored of pretending nothing was wrong, bored of doing nothing. Looking around the city each day, seeing grime and filth and crime, and people simply accepted it all as a fact of life. Life was supposed to be beautiful, but by ignoring the problems and letting them grow like an infection, these people were allowing the world to become ugly.
So Light had decided to do something.
He could have volunteered at a homeless shelter or at a school, but things like that rarely made a difference. One teenager contributing his time wouldn't make a dent in the problem, and Light had never been one to engage in futile struggles. That was also the reason he didn't try to persuade his father to let him help with more cases. Light's father only asked Light for help when he was both stumped and sure that the case would not present a danger to him. Apart from those circumstances, his father never talked directly about his work, and he would never let Light aid him more regularly.
Light could have hacked the NPA's computer system and solved cases on his own, anonymously, but he didn't want the NPA to discount his findings just because they came from an anonymous tip which knew things that no one but the police was supposed to know. Doing something like that was a sure way to get the police on his tail, and while Light wasn't above doing something like that if it was really necessary, he didn't want to have to resort to it.
He had thought long and hard about what he could do to change the way people thought. What could one person do, let alone one teenager? People would never take him seriously...
Unless he was anonymous. He never had to show his face. But what would he do?
He considered his goals. He wanted to make the world a better, more beautiful place. He wanted to make people more aware of their surroundings, their actions, and the problems that they contributed to by allowing them to remain there, the problems that people ignored... If only there were a way to put it in people's faces, to make sure that they couldn't ignore it.
Light had seized on that thought.
Yes, that's what he would do- he would show people what was wrong with the world, and do it in such a way that they would take notice, and not simply shunt it to the side like everything else. The first thing that came to mind was a computer virus, but he discarded that idea quickly. It was too malicious and easily traced to warrant teaching himself how to create viruses. It had to be something that people would see every day, but that would also cause them to stop, to pause and think...
Light thought about what he saw every day. Neon lights, and crowds of school kids and business people, litter and graffiti-
Light considered it. It was plausible. People saw it every day, stared at it while waiting for the train, passed it on the way to work... And the police rarely concerned themselves with graffiti artists, unless they caught someone in the act. If he could design graffiti that would make people pay attention... What would make them pay attention? What made people behave?
Other people, of course. People behaved better when there were other people around them, because they were afraid of being judged. So if Light could make people feel as if they were being judged for ignoring the world's problems, it should get people to behave better. And as for calling everyone to attention, he would just have to make sure his graffiti was unique, out of the ordinary- and he knew just the thing.
Light had always been absurdly skilled in everything he ever undertook. When he was younger, his parents had noticed the ease with which he handled school work and endeavored to keep him entertained and make him a well-rounded person by funding lessons for him in the arts. In less than a year Light had mastered ballroom dancing, the piano, the violin, and painting.
Eventually, Light had become tired of having his spare time eaten away by lessons in things he could teach himself, so he had feigned determination to study for 'increasingly difficult' school subjects. After a time, his parents gave up the whole idea of the lessons, but Light had never forgotten anything he learned. In particular, he had been incredibly good at realism. His paintings were so detailed and realistic that it was as if someone could just reach out and touch them. His mother still had a painting of his of a sewing cabinet, and more than one of her friends had reached out to fiddle with a spool of thread, only to discover canvas beneath their fingers.
Light had never painted humans in such a way before, but after a few weeks of determined practice, he had mastered it. His graffiti would not be just graffiti- they would be living spectators, watching and judging all who passed by them. And, just to make sure his meaning could not be misunderstood, he would include a message.
And so Light planned his actions. He still had to be careful how he went about it, more so than anyone else. He had to plan the locations of his paintings, observe the times when those places got the least traffic, and make sure that there weren't any surveillance cameras around that would record his crime-
Because it was a crime, and Light knew all too well what would happen if he was caught. It wasn't just that he would be slapped with a heavy fine. He would have a criminal record, ruining his chances for a scholarship to To-Oh and entry into the police force. And, considering the fact that his father was the police chief, he would probably be disowned, too. If nothing else, it would make family dinners a lot more awkward.
So Light had to do this, but he also had to make sure that he wasn't caught. He arranged a series of disguises- a schoolgirl, a businessman, a businesswoman, and a yakuza flunky. Each identity had its own set of clothes, wig, and, the part Light was most proud of, intricately painted mask. Each mask had the same level of realistic detail that the paintings would have. While Light had no intention of going out and painting in the daylight, he also had no intention of taking any chances. If anyone were to come upon him, even if he were in disguise, he couldn't risk them getting a good look at him.
After that, all that had been left for Light to do was obtain the paint. He bought some of it, in disguise but without the mask, but most of it he scavenged from trash bins behind hardware stores. He didn't want to be seen buying too much paint, lest he be recognized, and he couldn't keep paint cans lying around his house without suspicion.
With a month and a half of planning and preparation, Light had deemed himself as ready as he could be. He left the house on the evening of November 8th, informing his mother vaguely that he was going out. She had accepted this with a nod and a fond smile. Light had entered a restaurant bathroom as himself and emerged as a businessman with black hair and a neat suit and briefcase. (He had to be careful about where he changed, if he didn't want to be noticed- someone was sure to notice a woman walking out of the men's restroom, or vice versa.) He had left the restaurant and walked to an alley in Kabukicho, where he painted his first guardian.
Two nights later, he painted another. The first had taken him some hours, but each time he painted he shaved off some time and became more skilled. It was only a matter of time before someone discovered the graffiti, and from there the news and awareness would spread.
The news never figured out which of the paintings was the first, because they didn't discover their existence until there were already ten in various alleyways around Tokyo. Light was sure of this, because he watched the news carefully for any mention of his work. As the goal was to get people to pay attention, he of course had to monitor what worked and what didn't.
The first story aired in late November.
"In local news, some odd graffiti has been showing up in Tokyo," Light's stomach jumped, and he forced himself to keep a neutral expression, pretending to be only vaguely to the television in the other room. He looked up from his coffee with a carefully amused, curious expression when Sayu jumped in delight and ran into the living room.
"What is it?" He asked mildly, following his sister into the living room and feigning only mild curiosity. In truth, Sayu's reaction was intriguing—she shouldn't be wandering into any parts of town where she would discover his graffiti. He was also positive that she didn't know anything about Light's involvement.
"I heard a rumor about this at school, it is sooo cool," Sayu gushed, flapping one hand at the screen. "Come on, Light, check this out!"
"It's graffiti, Sayu," Light said plainly, though his mind whirred into motion as he picked up his coffee cup and settled on the couch next to his sister. Of course. Light hadn't been paying much attention to rumors, but news of his graffiti was sure to spread through word of mouth first. If it had reached Sayu's school this soon, then word must really be flying. "And it's illegal, so don't glorify it."
Have to put up a good front, Light thought, amused at his own antics.
"This isn't graffiti," Sayu defended, pointing to the screen. "Look at it!"
Light obeyed, humming. It was his third, he registered. This one had proved more of a challenge, because children had irregular features. "It's alright, I guess." He paused, then said, in a tone that he knew would push Sayu's buttons, "For graffiti."
"From a distance," a young female reporter was saying, glancing admiringly back at a figure of a woman and child holding grocery bags, "the graffiti looks like real people. It's only when you're very close that you can make out the skilled brush strokes..."
Light hummed again, this time disapprovingly. "Just because it's skillfully done doesn't make it right, Sayu."
"Oh, shut up, Light," she grumbled. "You sound like Dad. Just because you never have any fun doesn't mean no one else can."
Light quashed the urge to defend his father, partly because the woman was talking again, but mostly because his father had slept at the office last night, so caught up was he in work.
"But that's not all," the reporter continued, and the camera directed itself to a space of wall next to the painting and zoomed in to show the message there. "Each painting has a similar message: Would you do it, if you knew you were being watched? Slightly disturbing, don't you think, Sato?"
"Disturbing indeed, Kouya. Do the police have any idea who's behind this odd graffiti, or why?"
"No," Kouya replied. "It's difficult for the police to find graffiti artists unless they catch them in the act, and they are quite busy dealing with more dangerous criminals. The police department did say, however, that graffiti is a crime no matter what it looks like, and that vandalism like that results in heavy fines."
Light shot Sayu a smug look, but Sayu, expecting it, hit him with a pillow. Light grabbed it, and because Sayu refused to relinquish her grip on it, she tumbled off the couch when he gave it a good tug.
"Graffiti is often gang related," Sato pointed out, and Kouya frowned a bit as Sayu picked herself up off of the floor, whining.
"I don't think that that's what this is about, Sato. I think, in light of the message, the person responsible is trying to make the world a better place. Reminding people of their consciences."
Good, Light thought smugly. It's clear, then. Everyone will be able to figure it out. They'll pay attention.
"Ah-ha!" Sayu exclaimed, triumphantly gesturing with the pillow that was still clutched in her hand. "Take that, big brother!"
Light did not retort, but waited to hear the other newscaster continue.
"Through graffiti?" She asked sceptically. "This person is trying to remind people of their consciences and make a shining new world through graffiti?"
Kouya laughed good-naturedly. "I suppose it is a bit ridiulous."
"Thanks for that report, anyway. Now let's go to the weather..."
Light raised an eyebrow at his sister condescendingly. "You were saying, Sayu?"
When Light did a search for news articles on his graffiti a few days later, he found a small group which had dedicated themselves to finding and documenting all of his work all over Tokyo. To his mild embarrassment, they had dubbed him "Kira Kira", after the remark by the reporter that he was supposedly creating a 'shining' new world through graffiti. It was a tongue-in-cheek name, although thankfully most of them had shortened it to simply "Kira".
Light had, of course, considered signing some sort of pseudonym for the graffiti, but had decided against it. Signing it made it too personal- it wasn't supposed to be a work of art for which he was recognized, but rather a social commentary which caused people to pay attention to themselves. That Light's work had gotten enough recognition to warrant people giving him his own name showed that his plan was working.
Light created an account on the forum and did some digging, to see how far people had come. It wasn't much, but the stirrings of awareness were there. Once people got over the shocking detail of the graffiti, they would turn to the message it presented. They would take notice. A few people were already starting to stir things up by interpreting the messages, commenting on the social problems that had sparked them, and they agreed. The next natural step would be organization. Soon, they would begin to work to correct the problems that they saw in the world.
Or so Light hoped.