Zero to 100
A Death Note fanfiction.
I don't own Death Note.
This is about an OC!
I realized that I had yet to put this on , so I should probably go about doing that… So here it is.
Not one person wanted him.
It was obvious from the day of his birth, when his mother refused to even hold him and told her sister to take him away, because she didn't want 'that disgusting thing' near her.
And so his aunt did, because she always did what her sister wanted… no matter what.
But it wasn't as if his aunt wanted him either… no, he wasn't saved by the wonderful aunt who swept in and saved him.
You see, his aunt didn't like men. She was the kind of woman who ran her house like a slave driver's – her 'daughters' were forced to study day and night, pass tests far too old for them, and be perfect at all times… she had some sort of grudge against males that extended to even family members.
Even unwanted family members.
He was given a room in the basement… a tiny, ten by ten area with a mat on the floor, a toilet in the corner, and a hole under the door for meals. Of course, this wasn't used very often… sometimes she would go days at a time without feeding him. Maybe she hoped he would just slip away during the night and she would have him out of her hair… she would probably leave his body down there, too. Let him rot away, smelling up her perfect basement. Or maybe she'd let the rats eat him.
After a while, he didn't even bother to get up. From his place on the floor he could reach the trays just fine and it wasn't as if they came in often enough for it to be a problem. He wasn't even sure if his legs would work, by that point… he was weak, tired, and unwanted.
She hadn't even taken care of him as an infant. He had taught himself to talk from listening to her and her daughters, but he only knew so many words… he had to teach himself to walk, to dress himself in the little bit of clothing provided, to use the toilet… was this normal? Did all children have to do these things themselves?
Then that day came… the morning passed as usual. It had been days, once again, since she had bothered to slip a plate of whatever under the door. He was hungry, tired, and just didn't care anymore… he had given up long ago.
Then the screams started.
Faint at first, he could hear them upstairs… but then they started coming down and he thought that maybe she was finally coming to do away with him. But then he realized that the screams were of pain and he heard a thudding, like the woman was falling down the steps.
Then footsteps… ones he didn't know. Heavy foot falls, like the person had metal shoes on. They approached the door and seconds later it fell off of its hinges, falling open with one very heavy kick.
In the dim light he could see the tall form of a man standing there, a long knife in one hand, dripping with fresh blood. The man's eyes were mad with rage and greed… he moved toward him and crouched down, almost like a child fascinated by a dead animal.
He reached out with the knife and used the tip to push the boy's hair out of his face… the child didn't even flinch. He was maybe six years old and not even a man with a knife scared him…
"Oi… are you dead?" The man asked him, grinning.
The boy's dark eyes turned to look up at him, but he didn't offer a response.
"Yeah," The man laughed. "You are."
He wasn't sure why, but for some reason, the man spared him… and not only that, he scooped the boy into his arms and carried him out of the blood-splattered house and away from his prison.
And it was only when they'd finally stopped walking that he was asked, "What is your name, kid?"
It was one thing, speaking to himself in the room… he had never spoken directly to a person before, but somehow he mustered up the courage and whispered, "Zasetsu."
The man made a face. "What a horrible name."
And it was.
The man's name was Takahashi, or at least, that was the name that he gave to Zasetsu. He refused to call the kid such a horrible thing, so instead he called him Setsu, or just Se. Zasetsu didn't call him anything in response.
He wasn't sure why, by Takahashi, for some reason, had decided to take him under his wing. Act like a father of sorts to this little boy he had never met…
Almost like he wanted him.
But Zasetsu new better. Not one person wanted him… he was just there as a way to get things. A tool to be used.
"You can manipulate people," Takahashi was saying as they stood in an alley, watching people pass. "Let them think they're getting what they want, but really, you're getting what you want. That's all people are good for… getting what you want." He grinned. "Here's your first lesson, kid."
Suddenly, Zasetsu was being thrown to the ground and the man was over him, pinning him down. The boy cried out in panic, not liking the feeling at all – he tried to struggle, but there was no point. Takahashi was almost three times his size.
"Get off of her, you pervert!" A voice called and they both looked to see an elderly woman approaching, swinging her purse at them. Of course it was an elderly woman… not much else to live for, not much time to live. If a rapist killed her, at least she'd die with some dignity, instead of alone in her apartment.
Takahashi shot her some curse words and took off, leaving Zasetsu alone.
"Are you okay, little one?" The woman asked, helping Zasetsu to his feet and dusting him off. She then gasped. "My, you look half starved! Where are your parents, little one?"
"Dead, obaa-san," He answered, hanging his head. It wasn't true, at least that he knew of, but they might as well have been.
She cooed at him and tugged him out of the alley, through the mess of people on the streets. It wasn't long before the woman was leading him into a less crowded part and to her small house, where he slipped off his torn up sneakers and was permitted.
It was the nicest house he'd seen… maybe it wasn't a mansion, but it was homely and welcoming. There were photos everywhere of young girls and their parents… her family.
"They moved to America a few years ago," The woman explained with a sad smile. "What is your name, little one?"
"Maho, Baa-san," He answered. She already assumed he was a girl, so feeding her a girl's name would appeal to her senses.
"A lovely name," She assured. "I think I have some of my grand daughter's old clothes here… why don't you take a bath and we can get you something clean to wear?"
A bath… how long had it been since he had been clean? Despite how excited and eager he really was, he shifted nervously and hung his head.
"Don't worry," The woman told him, placing a gentle hand on his forehead. "I wont let anyone come in."
Figuring this was an acceptable time, he nodded and let her lead him toward the bathroom.
Sometime later, he was clean and dressed in a little girl's dress-up costume. The woman apologized repeatedly for not having any normal clothing, but he was perfectly content in something that wasn't covered in dirt and falling apart.
She seemed amazed at how well he could understand things at his age as she taught him the proper way to hold chop sticks and what different types of food were while she cooked dinner. However she was saddened when she learned he couldn't read, even going so far as to promise him she would teach him if she got the chance.
She wouldn't and that was what saddened him most.
He liked her… Obaa-san. But she didn't want him… she wanted her grand daughter's back. He was a substitute. He would be thrown aside if she had the chance to see them again.
That was what he kept telling himself as they ate and she told him about growing up. The food was delicious, but he felt empty, giving her sweet smiles and nodding when prompted.
And when she finally fell asleep he got out of bed and went downstairs, unlocking the front door and pulling it open.
He stood by it while Takahashi entered and slaughtered the woman, destroying the beautiful house in his wake. He knocked down pictures as he searched for money, food, and anything he could sell. He destroyed beautiful carpeting and painting and broke the dishes they had used to cook and eat dinner…
All good things had to come to an end.
From there they managed to fool thousands. It went on for years… mostly elderly women, but at some points there were others. Zasetsu was taught to read slowly by those they killed and stole from, from those that they slaughtered… he never once did the killing, but he felt as if he had.
He might as well have.
At this point, not even God wanted him, he was sure.
When he was around nine or so – he didn't know his exact birth date – he opened Takahashi's bedroom door and found the man grunting to himself while his hand stroked up and down. Instead of being embarrassed, the man grinned and called him over, taking the back of his head in his hands and shoving him downward.
Takahashi didn't want him, either. He was just using him to get what he really wanted…
Let them think you're giving them what they want, but really, you're getting what you want.
It didn't stop there. Of course not. He learned of things that no one his age should know… and he learned that it was a much better way to manipulate someone. That with this tool he could not only fool old women with soft hearts, but dirty men who just wanted a quick fuck.
He supposed he was just some sort of glorified whore at this point.
He was eleven when it all came into play. He'd climbed out of Takahashi's bed during the night, disappearing from view. The man hadn't noticed, hadn't even bothered to look for him when he got up in the morning and stumbled over to the fridge to pull out a beer.
Finding that they were out, he called for the boy and opened the freezer to retrieve their cash, only to pause as he found it was gone.
"Sets-!" He began to growl as he turned, only to find the barrel of a gun pointed at him from across the room. His eyes went wide and he took a step back, knocking into the still open refrigerator. "Setsu-!"
Zasetsu didn't rely. In one hand he had clasped the wad of bills and in the other he was holding a gun that Takahashi hadn't seen before. Where had he gotten it… when had he gotten it!
"C-Come on, little buddy… what are you doing?" Takahashi laughed, nervously. When he got no response, he grew angry. "Oi! Put that damn thing down!" Still no response… his legs were shaking, now. "What is your problem! I raised you… I gave you my home, I taught you to live-!"
"I gave you what you thought you wanted," Zasetsu answered, his entire face void of emotion. "By, really, I was getting what I wanted."
Takahashi's face went pale with fear seconds before the bullet hit him between the eyes and he fell back. Blood began to pour down from his head, but still, Zasetsu didn't move.
He was frozen… empty and unloved. He didn't even lower the gun, not until the police showed up and hauled him away.
From there, it was the system. They called it self defense, seeing as both of them were still nude and they assumed he had been some sort of sex slave. They tried desperately to get him to speak, to find his parents, to find his home… but he didn't' have one.
He was unwanted.
Eventually, he was thrown into the foster care system and sent to home after home. They tried to put him into schools and he did the work he was told to do, but he still didn't say anything.
He was a little sick of giving people what they wanted, by then.
He must have done something they liked because one day an elderly gentlemen with a kind face appeared and asked him if he wanted to go to a place for special children. He didn't give a response… didn't even look at the man.
The woman apologized repeatedly but the man held up a hand and told her, "Don't apologize. He is who he is, even if you don't agree with it."
These words surprised Zasetsu and he finally turned to look at him in surprise. This man with his kind face… what did he want? What was the point in saying such a thing?
The orphanage – since that what it supposedly was – was in England. He didn't speak a word of English, but it apparently didn't matter, since a lot of the children there didn't. He was given classes on the language and he was even given a new name.
It was a strange process… he was sat before the strangest man he had ever met. Tall with pale skin and dark hair… he sat odd and pressed his thumb against his lips.
"I'm supposed to find you a new name," He informed. "Usually I don't get to directly pick names… I have to do this over a camera." After a moment, he seemed to realize that the boy didn't understand what he was saying, and so he switched to Japanese. "I am L. I am in charge of finding your new name."
Zasetsu didn't offer him a word.
"Would you like to tell me about yourself?" L asked him. "What do you like to do?"
Still, no answer.
L tilted his head. "I see…" It wasn't the first time, Zasetsu figured. He didn't seem all that put off by the silence. "You'll be stuck with a name you don't like if you don't tell me anything about yourself. Although I suppose you don't like your current name very much, hm?" The little boy frowned. "Zasetsu… wouldn't you rather have a name that you like?"
Slowly, the little boy nodded.
"Then why don't you tell me who you are?" L asked him, smiling a strange smile that made the boy's skin crawl.
Frowning still, Zasetsu was quiet for a few more moments, before he slowly answered, "…I don't know."
Now the man seemed a little surprised. The boy supposed that children would go off on what kind of moves they liked, or their favorite candy… Zasetsu had pretended to like whatever movie he would be shown and he would call any candy that was given to him delicious. Maybe they'd talk about their ambitions or their favorite colors… he wanted to be whatever someone wanted him to be at the time and his favorite color was whatever it had to be.
He didn't know who he was.
Slowly, L leaned forward and wrote something on the desk in a pen, upside-down. With a frown, Zasetsu read it aloud.
"Zero…" He whispered, tilting his head, before he looked up at the man once more.
"Are you insulted?" L asked him, carefully. "Zero is a very important number."
The boy leaned back, waiting for the other to explain.
L smiled again – that same creepy smile. "Without Zero, there would always be something. Always one, or two… or so on. Zero means that there is nothing. When there is no one in a room, there are Zero people there… if there was no Zero, every room in the world would have to have a person." He leaned back again, closing the pen, holding it between two fingers.
The boy looked down at the word. Slowly, he reached over and took the pen from the man, before he opened it once more and crossed out the word written. L watched him curious as he then wrote a large oval – a 0.
"Zero," He confirmed with a nod.
Zero… because not one person wanted him.
Zasetsu is Japanese for 'Setback'.