Author's Note: This is my first one-shot and my first Death Note fanfic. The first half is basically taken from canon, the only difference is that Light doesn't announce "I win Near" to everyone in the warehouse. After the blue line is where the fanfic really begins. I thought it was necessary to provide some background, even for those who have already read the series. Spoiler alert to anyone who hasn't finished reading Death Note. Special shout-out to NoblemanNick, who really was the one who introduced me to both fanfiction and 99% of all manga that I read.
Light Yagami had always been an outstanding actor, but he needed those skills now more than ever in order to keep from laughing manically. At last, Near, the SPK, and the investigation team that had dedicated their lives to capturing Kira would die; he would rule his new world as a god, completely unopposed. In a way it was disappointing, he had expected more from Near.
"Whoever's outside," Light began, "have you finished writing down the names?"
"Yes, I have," Teru Mikami replied.
Every fiber of Light's being wanted to laugh, and the corners of his mouth began to curve up into a smile.
No, not yet, Light thought to himself. It's too early, I can't reveal the truth until it's too late for them to do anything, otherwise I might get shot and die along with everyone else. I won't declare my victory until they can't do anything.
"Isn't that a little strange?" Near asked as he looked up at Light. "Why does he answer your question 'have you finished writing the names' so honestly?"
"Who knows?" Light replied. "Maybe he's an honest guy, or maybe he thinks he's seen through your plot."
"What? Then we could be done for..." Matsuda said with undisguised fear in his voice.
"Teru Mikami, if you don't mind, could you please come inside?" Near asked the Kira worshiper.
Mikami looked up from the notebook after being called by name.
"Teru Mikami, I know that you've been passing out Kira's judgment," Near continued to say. "If you wrote down the names then there's nothing to fear, is there? You at least want to join Kira, don't you?"
"Teru Mikami?" Light called outside, "That's right, don't hide there; come inside."
At the call of his god Teru Mikami swung the door open and entered the warehouse.
Mikami, you did well. Light thought to himself as his most devoted servant approached him.
"God, I did as you commanded." Mikami said as he approached Light in reverence.
Idiot, don't address me like that. Or is he saying that because he knows they're about to die? If that's the case...
"How long has it been since you wrote down the first person's name?" Light asked, finishing his thought out loud.
Mikami looked at the second hand of his watch. "35, 36, 37..."
Three seconds left! Soon everyone will die, and I will become the god of a perfect world!
Light paused before announcing his victory. Near was vastly inferior to L, did he really even deserve to be the first to hear of Kira's triumph? No, Near would learn of his defeat when he felt his heart stop and collapsed onto the floor. Even he could not misinterpreted that message. Death would be Kira's messenger, and Near's would wonder with his last frantic thoughts how and where he went wrong.
Near continued to smile as the members of the task force trembled in fear, anticipating their imminent deaths.
"W-we didn't die," Matsuda stuttered as he stood trembling. "40 seconds passed and we still didn't die."
"Which is why I said we wouldn't, many times over," Near said from his seat on the floor.
It was time for Light and Mikami to be nervous.
"W-why won't they die?" Mikami asked, pen trembling in his hand. "G-god, I only did as you wished." He said, seeking mercy from the "deity" he had failed to serve.
Mikami... Light attempted to pull his thoughts together as he analyzed his current situation. This can't be. What the hell happened?
"Rester, Gevanni, arrest Mikami," Near ordered.
"G-god," Teru Mikami stuttered as he was detained by the SPK.
"Gevanni, hand me the notebook." Near commanded.
Gevanni did as he was ordered and delivered the notebook into Near's outstretched hand.
"Everyone, please look for yourself." Near said as he held the book open for all to see.
Mikami had written the following names starting at the top left corner of the notebook:
"The first four names are, without a doubt, the real names of the members of the SPK. The only person here without their name written down is Light Yagami. Mikami called you 'god' and said he did as you wished. It's settled," Near concluded.
Beads of sweat dripped down Light's face. "Tr-" he began to stutter.
"Trap! This is all a trap! Isn't it strange that names were written and Near was so calm? This proves it was a trap!"
"I already told you that I modified it so we wouldn't die didn't I?" Near asked.
"N-no". The one you replaced was the fake. The one Mikami wrote in was the real Death Note. "This is impossible. It's a trap. I don't even know that man," Light said as he appealed to the members of his task force.
Mikami sobbed loudly; his god had just forsaken him.
"Light Yagami, L, Kira. You lose. Granted, originally you would have won and I would have lost. You had Mikami using a fake notebook all this time, and you allowed us to see it and convinced us it was the real thing. You planned far enough ahead to think 'I will alter the notebook so they will tamper with the fake. Even if they take the fake notebook and write my name I will not die.' We did exactly as you predicted and altered the fake notebook. Secretly replacing the pages of the notebook so we wouldn't die and could use your missing name as evidence: that was my plan. Tricking us into taking that plan, replacing the notebook with a fake, and then sending Mikami to get the real notebook so he could kill us all: that was your plan. However, what I said in the begining, 'I modified the notebook', applies to the real notebook as well," Near explained.
Light looked on in a bewildered state of horror, trying to make sense of the nightmare he had landed in.
"In other words," Near continued as he picked up the Mikami finger puppet, "I altered the real notebook and the fake one. I only replaced a part of the fake, but I replaced the original with a fake of my own." Near plucked the tiny Death Note from the finger puppet's hands, revealing the word 'fake' on the other side.
No way. Light still couldn't see how his master plan had failed. How did Near discover Mikami's hiding place? How did Near know he was using a fake in the first place?
Light could only stare in his petrified state of terror as Near pulled a Death Note out from beneath his shirt.
"This is the real notebook. Gevanni made the fake for us in a single night. Whether or not we would make it in time for the switch was critical. Gevanni had the experience from switching the pages from the fake notebook, but replacing the entire thing must have been difficult. Still, he was able to make a perfect forgery; mimicking Mikami's handwriting as well as the material the notebook was made of."
Switching the real notebook with a forgery... he's lying, there's no way it could be done! The one Mikami kept was a fake. But it's the only explanation: the people whose names were written didn't die. Something's not right here...
"Because I touched the notebook," Near continued, "I've been able to see the Shinigami since you guys have arrived." Near looked directly at the aforementioned Shinigami and said "Shinigami-san, it is nice to meet you, I am Near."
"Heh heh," Ryuk cackled in reply. "Nice to meet you to, I'm Ryuk."
"Ryuk, up until today I was under the impression that Shinigami were hooded skeletons that carried around scythes."
"Heh heh, well there are those kind as well."
He's having a conversation with Ryuk, that means that he has the real notebook.
"If you look closely at the notebook you can see that there are pages that have been ripped out. Does that mean, if one were to write a person's name on a page that the would still die?" Near asked the Shinigami.
"Yeah, they'd die."
"Even pages that are ripped out are still lethal... I wonder how many people you killed and how many times you have decieved us using this method..." Near looked towards Light and pointed his finger in accusation. "Light Yagami, you are Kira."
This is impossible. Did Mikami betray me and join Near? No, Mikami would rather die before he betrayed me, that's just the way he is. Mikami always used the fake, there's no way-
"You're wrong," Near declared, interrupting Light's train of thought. Light was so distressed he began to entertain the idea that Near could read minds.
"It's all thanks to Mello." Near said as he picked up Mello's finger puppet. "Knowing you that's all you'll need to put two and two together, isn't it?"
Mello? Wait, could it be-
"Please pay attention to the page before the one with our names written on it." Near began, flipping the book open for the sake of all the non-evil-masterminds in the room. "This is the replica, but we wrote it exactly the same as the original. Look at the first line of the left page." Near pointed to the sentence Makami had written above his usual victims.
Kiyomi Takada: suicide by burning herself to death. January 26th 2:33 pm.
"When Mello kidnapped Takada Mikami took out the real notebook that he hid in a bank's safety deposit box and wrote Takada's name in it."
That idiot! Light silently cursed the man who continued to stare at him and pray for redemption. I told him not to make any move unless I ordered him to. It makes sense now, they followed him to the bank and discovered where he hid the Death Note. Light began making sense of this as Near finished explaining Mikami's mistake.
"Up until then we had been fooled into tampering with the fake notebook. Therefore we really would have lost if Mello hadn't intervened," Near concluded.
"G-god!" Mikami stuttered again after realizing his fatal error.
Mikami, it's true that you are loyal to me. I also said I was being watched and couldn't move. It's exactly as Near said, you saw an opportunity to act and took it, believing that you would help me. But I also said not to move the real notebook. Believing in your loyalty ended up costing me after all...
"Mello may not have thought far enough ahead to think Mikami would use a fake notebook, and it's probably true that he wanted to get ahead of me through his actions. Mello wanted to become number one and said that surpassing me meant surpassing L. But he knew I could never surpass L. Perhaps I lacked the dynamics and he lacked the composure... in other words, by ourselves we were not able to surpass our goals," Near said as he put on the finger puppets for himself and Mello. "But together we are able as L. Together," he said, holding L's finger puppet below the two, "we can surpass L."
Light Yagami, the man who had brought about the downfall of L and had taken his title, leered at the white-haired prodigy.
"And now, we have brought concrete evidence against Kira, who L was not able to bring evidence against, Kira who L lost to!"
Near glared at Light Yagami, the greatest criminal mastermind of the century. "If you can talk your way out of this, by all means, please do."
Light's mind had become a chaotic melting pot of rage, despair, broken pride, and corrupted morals.
I am Kira! I will become the god of a utopia! A world where the pure of heart can live without fear! Those who oppose me are the worst of all criminals! All who oppose me will be punished with death!
Light buried his face into his hands. Surely these people would see that he was right? Who could disagree with his justice? Already the world was becoming Kira's utopia. Light's entire being wanted to scream at his enemies, to teach them what divine justice truly is!
No! Light realized with a shock. These people have made their life's purpose the destruction of Kira. They would do anything, disregard the safety of the entire world to keep Kira's paradise from become reailty. Explaining to them would be futile. They have no desire, no chance at all for repentance. They will meet their end with my judgment!
Light breathed deeply and moved his hands away from his face as he remembered Near's challenge. "If you can talk your way out of this, by all means, please do."
Light suppressed another smile and wiped the sweat off of his head. Since you asked so nicely, Near...
"Near," he said out loud, his voice calm. "I'm very disappointed that you have chosen to make yourself my enemy."
Near set his finger puppets down and looked up. "You should have known from the very beginning I would never accept your psudo-justice. I could never side with you, Light Yagami, you are just another-"
"I an NOT Kira!" Light shouted before Near could finish his sentence. The proclamation echoed throughout the warehouse. He pointed his finger down at the head of the SPK. "This entire meeting was a setup: Near knows I'm not Kira, and he wants to frame me so he can take the title of L."
There was a cry of outrage from the SPK and a murmur of doubt from the task force.
Light turned his finger on Teru Mikami. "As I have said, I have never seen this man before in my life. He is obviously a member of the SPK that Near kept secret so he could frame me."
Teru Mikami's eyes widened in horror. "No! Please, god, forgive me! I-"
"Shut up, you lying bastard!" Light shouted at his exiled disciple. "You have nothing to do with me!"
Mikami hung his head and sobbed pathetically. If his god demanded his silence, he wouldn't say a word. Even if it meant being disowned by his deity.
Light turned his gaze back on Near. "It all makes sense now. The moment he said his life's goal was to surpass L I was able to determine his true motive." He sneered as he pointed towards the fake notebook. "Those probably aren't even their real names."
"But Light," Mogi began, "everything he says makes sense. Besides, he can see the Shinigami and those are our real names. That proves that the real notebook is involved. Do you have a theory that explains how they got their hands on the notebook?"
"No, but I'm not Kira! How should I kno-"
Light's hand shot to his mouth as if he were horrified, when in reality he needed to prevent himself from laughing hysterically. If they bought this...
"Near's possession of the notebook can only mean one thing: Near has either caught Kira or is working with him."
There was a cry of shock from everyone else in the warehouse, save for the ever calm Near.
Light gestured back to Mikami. Perhaps he will be able to make himself useful after all. "That man is most likely Kira or a member of the SPK that was able to make the Shinigami eye trade. If he is Kira, then odds are that he's being controlled by the Death Note as we speak. This way when he dies Near will be able to say to the rest of you: 'you see, Light Yagami really was Kira, criminals have stopped dying ever since we arrested him.' If he is a member of the SPK than he would stop murdering criminals whenever Near commanded him to. The fact that criminals haven't died on the 26th or the 27th means nothing."
"Light, you lying son of a bitch!"
Surprisingly, this shout of outrage did not come from the SPK, but from a member of the Japanese task force.
"Light, I'm 100 percent sure that you are Kira" Aizawa declared. "I left marks on the note pads in the hotel room where you and Takada would talk. You had ordered us to take out the cameras, so it could make sense that you were passing notes to avoid being overheard by the wiretaps. When I checked to pads to see if the marks I made were still there, I saw that they had been replaced with new note pads."
Aizawa, you bastard! You had to go and stab me in the back didn't you? I should have killed you the day you went to Near, then you-
Light stopped mid-thought as he was hit by yet another stroke of truth-twisting genius. He went to Near.
"Aizawa," Light said somberly. "How much did they offer to pay you?"
The question took the task force member by surprise. "What? Pay me? Who?"
"I think we both know what I'm talking about," Light said as he glared at Aizawa. "How much did the SPK offer to pay you when you went to see Near? The day you went was the day Near escaped America using money as a diversion, so it stands to reason that you went to Near looking for a larger paycheck."
More cries of astonishment from the task force, but Aizawa practically screamed bloody murder. "YOU LYING MOTHER FUCKER! YOU MURDERING SON OF A BITCH! YOU THINK I COULD BE BRIBED INTO STABBING MY FRIENDS IN THE BACK! YOU THINK I WOULD PUT A PRICE ON PUTTING KIRA BEHIND BARS!"
"The last time you had to chose between bringing Kira to justice and a pay check, you chose the pay check, didn't you, Aizawa?"
"I HAD A FAMILY TO CARE FOR YOU-"
"My father had a family to take care of too, Aizawa! But he sacrificed his job so they could live in a world where a murderous tyrant wouldn't set himself up as a god! Now he's dead! Kira has taken more from me than he has from any one of you. How do you think it feels that my own father wasn't completely assured I wasn't Kira until he saw my lifespan with the Shinigami eyes? How do you think it felt to spend month after month under L's microscope all those years ago? I want to find Kira more than anyone else in the room here, and now he could be sitting right in front of us!"
He turned to Ryuk. "Shinigami! Is Teru Mikami Kira? Answer me!"
Ryuk broke into a laughing fit. "I promised never to tell Kira's identity to any other human. Besides, watching you humans quarrel amongst yourselves is so entertaining!"
"You think this is a game Shinigami? Do you-"
"QUIT IT WITH THE ACTING YOU SON OF A WHORE! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU RIGHT HERE!" Aizawa yelled as he pulled out his gun.
However, before he could even aim at Light another member of the task force drew his weapon and jumped between Aizawa and Light.
"What are you doing Matsuda?" Aizawa said, tears in his eyes and voice horse from yelling. "Light's Kira, I know that for a fact-"
"Then way didn't you tell me?" Matsuda yelled, also with tears in his eyes. "Sneaking around behind everybody's back isn't something a detective does Aizawa! If you had real evidence you should have brought it forward! That's justice!"
"Don't you lecture me you idiot!" Aizawa screamed. "Move out of my way! I'm going to kill him even if it means killing you too!"
When Aizawa said this, everyone who didn't already have their gun drawn took out their weapon and aimed it towards Aizawa.
Excellent, Light thought, delighted that he could get this far simply by talking his way out. At this rate they'll end up killing each other.
"Put your guns down, all of you. You first Aizawa-san."
Aizawa looked towards the speaker, who along with Light was the only person in the storage room without a gun.
"But Near," Aizawa began, "we both know that Light's Kira. We can't let him-"
"Shooting at Light right now would be meaningless. Not only would you fail to hit Light, but you would injure one of your fellow detectives and get gunned down in the process. In other words, you might as well turn the gun on yourself and pull the trigger."
Aizawa gritted his teeth in despair. "The what do you suppose we do? You were the one who was suposed to bring hard evidence against Kira, right? Do something!"
Near sighed. "Everyone, Light is trying to twist words and emotions so he can distort the truth. His theory makes no sense if you think about it. If I had wanted the title of L, had the powers of Kira at my disposal, and had a member of the task force on my side, why wouldn't I just kill all of you? Look." he said as he pulled out a folder. "This file contains a variety of data concerning all of you, including your names and faces. I could have killed you any time I felt like it. I knew that the second L was Kira almost from the beginning, and I still didn't decide to kill Light. That's not the right way to do things."
"Right." Aizawa said as he put his gun away. "What do you have to say to that Light?"
"It means nothing. Maybe he didn't want anyone's death on his conscience. It wouldn't matter to him whether I was dead or locked away in solitary for the rest of my life. He could still frame me by stopping the deaths of criminals. He just said that he didn't like killing people, right? That proves that this is the kind of plan that he would use."
Near sighed and Aizawa looked like he was going to draw his gun again. Near stood for the first time and picked up the real Death Note and the fake notebook he had with him.
"It seems that we have reached an impasse. My evidence was able to be twisted and Light Yagami was able to lie his way out of a solid conviction. So, I propose," Near said as he took out a lighter, "that we destroy these notebooks so they can never be used to kill again!"
Before anyone could stop him Near used the lighter and both the Death Note and the fake were engulfed in flames.
"But you'll die!" Matsuda yelled as the notebook withered into ashes.
"I don't think so," Near began. "It is my belief that the last two rules written on the notebook you have: 'if a human who uses this notebook doesn't write a name within 13 days of using it' and 'if this notebook is burned, torn, or rendered unusable in any way than all humans who touched it will die' are fake rules Kira used a Shinigami to add."
When the notebooks were reduced to ash piles Near spoke up again. "See? They're fake. Light Yagami added them so when he volunteered for his own incarceration he would be cleared of all suspicion and to be sure that no one would destroy the notebooks that he would want to use later on." Near turned to Light. "I suppose you have an excuse for this too?"
Light raised his hand to his chin in thought. "I already agreed with you that the 13 day rule was likely to be a fake, and it would make sense that the last rule about destroying the notebook would be fake as well. I think the Shinigami who wrote this didn't want his notebook destroyed so he could continue using it or give it to someone else once the human using it died. The Shinigami said we were 'entertaining' so it would make sense that he would want whoever used the notebook to keep using it so things wouldn't get 'boring'. To be honest, it sounds a lot like the Heaven and Hell rule, which I always thought was created so the human who picked up the notebook could use it without fear of final judgement. It sounds like the kind of thing this Shinigami would do."
Ryuk cackled in agreement as he made a metal note to add the two fake rules to the notebook if he ever got the chance to do this again.
"Or the rule could be real, and neither of those two notebooks Near burned were the real one. He never proved that the one he had was real: just because he touched the real notebook doesn't mean he brought it with him. Near could have the real one back at his headquarters. Even if it was the real notebook he could have left a page or two back at SPK headquarters. For all we know killing us all could be his backup plan."
"Shinigami," Light began, turning to Ryuk, "would a page of the notebook still work even if the notebook itself was destroyed?"
"Yeah, it sure would," Ryuk said with a wide grin.
"That was the real notebook and I have nothing back at my headquarters. You can send members of your task force if you have any doubts," Near offered. "Now I ask that you destroy yours; I don't believe that there are any more notebooks like that in this world, destroying it will be one more thing that we won't have to worry about."
Matsuda looked towards Light. "I dunno, didn't Light just say the notebooks that Near burned could both be fakes? What if Near just wants us all to die?"
Near extended his hand. "Then let me touch it and burn it myself; that way if the rule is real I will die with the rest of you."
Damn you Near, Light thought. Not only does this give me no excuse to refuse you, but it also proves your belief in the rule, which means the notebook you burned right now was the real one. That means there won't be any notebooks left once you destroy this last one.
"Fine," Light said out loud. "Aizawa, give him the notebook. Destroying it can only be a good thing as long as we don't die."
Aizawa gave Light a dirty look, as if to tell him he didn't like takinng any kind of orders from him, and walked over to Near and handed him the notebook.
Near took the notebook in his hand and proceeded to light it on fire.
"Light Yagami, you no longer have any way to continue to murder criminals. I will settle for a stalemate: it was more than L could do, so in that sense, I have achieved my goal."
Near, you're a real thorn in my side, but nothing more. You're too childish; just because you would settle for a stalemate doesn't mean I will.
"Then we're finished here?" Light asked Near.
"Yes. It is obvious that I have failed to arrest you by using solid evidence, but I am satisfied for now because I was able to destroy the notebooks you used to gain your power."
"Glad to hear it. But I'm going to take you up on your offer to investigate your headquarters. Ide, Mogi, please accompany Near back to SPK headquarters. Aizawa, it is plain to see which side you have chosen. I will not allow you to come back. Maybe you can join the SPK as a full time member. Matsuda, you will drive me back to task force headquarters. Near, I hope that you were able to finish Kira. If it is because of you that there have been no deaths for the past two days, you have my thanks. It's a shame though; we could have worked together if you hadn't been so ambitious."
With that, Light Yagami turned and walked out of the warehouse into the early evening sun.
I underestimated you, Near. I expected you to die back there, but you managed to throw a wrench in my plan. You were able to limit my movements for a while and you were even able to destroy the Death Notes. But this changes nothing, Nate River.
As Matsuda drove Light back to headquarters Light listened to the sound of his watch's second hand.
I sent the two task force members I thought were most likely to place me under observation to the SPK with Near. That idiot Matsuda probably bought my story and wouldn't think twice when I went out of sight. And the first chance I get, I will cast judgment upon those who oppose me. Even though the Death Note is gone, I still have the piece of paper I keep with me at all times. Even if it means erasing the names of my previous victims to make room for new ones, I will finish what I started and bring about my new world! And who knows? Maybe Ryuk will lend me pieces of his Death Note when the new world's god offers him entire fields of apple trees.