Champagne Petals
by Edmondia Dantes

Disclaimer: Not mine.

AN: Genderbent AR. Yuri.

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- One -
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When Light Yagami is six years old, the chief suspect in a slave-trading ring shoots her father in the chest. The bullet misses his heart, her father survives the surgery, and the suspect gets away.

She watches her father wheeze in the hospital bed, watches her mother clutch his hand and mumble prayers, and tries her best to block out the sound of Sayu's sniffling sobs.

A tiny frown etches her lips and gets stuck there.

The bad guys aren't supposed to get away.

At age eight and a half, she stands her tallest and straightest, hands folded behind her back and chin lifted in childish arrogance.

"I want to be a police officer," she declares, and glares when the newly-minted chief of detectives laughs and pats her hair affectionately.

"That's a very big job for such a small girl," he says warmly, "grow up a bit first, won't you?"

She knows he thinks it's a passing fancy, knows that he and mother will chuckle over it later, knows that she is small and soft now, but she also knows that for all his intelligence, her father doesn't know her, not really, not beyond the accolades from teachers and other parents, not beyond all the ordinary excellencies of her life.

Light Yagami sets her jaw and vows to be extraordinary.

She asks for self-defense lessons at age ten, and they hand her a tennis racket instead. It's her mother now, she knows, worried about her health and safety, worried about her interest in the old college textbooks gathering dust in her father's closet, at the way she trails after cases and criminals and how obsessively she watches the evening news.

She swings the racket in her hand and narrows her eyes. The next day she crops her hair short with a pair of scissors filched from her mother's sewing supplies and leaves thick ropey spools of brown hair spilled over the bathroom floor, and doesn't clean it up afterward. It earns her a scolding, but later as she's chasing down balls and screeching across the court, she smiles at the feel of the wind on the back of her neck.

She quits tennis when high school rolls around, turning down endless club invitations with grace and polite coolness, all kind apology and a false smile that looks real. She turns down the boys and the occasional shy girl, still watching every move that she makes, discreet and lovely and perfect, and ducks gracefully away from her mother's worried frowns and her father's concerned stare.

She throws away every love letter but takes care to remember their names, and smiles at her sister's enthusiasm over every empty-headed pretty bit of fluff that can vaguely carry a tune. "Boys aren't everything," she chides Sayu, tapping the pencil to paper to drag her attention back to the math homework, "I'll think about them more when I'm at university."

Her parents think she's being responsible, and it eases their minds. They've been worried, she knows, but she plays the game well enough that she doesn't look like she's anti-social, just studious and reserved.

In the times that she's excused herself with promises of studying, Light locks herself in her room and spends her evenings staring blankly up at the ceiling.

Sometimes it feels like she can't breathe.

When she's sixteen, she lets a boy kiss her. The attention is nice, for a while, and the sensation is not unpleasant, but the boy is stifling in his sincerity, in his awe of her, and she turns him away three days later.

The next boy is attractive, she supposes, in the eyes of her classmates, and clever by a teenager's standards, and she sleeps with him once out of curiosity. The act is much more boring than she anticipated, and she feels disgusting by the time it's finally over.

The next one she picks is a girl, quiet and intelligent, and at least this time around things are less distasteful, less messy. It doesn't stop her from dumping the girl three days later, once she's figured out all she needs to know.

They don't understand why she has no interest in student council, in clubs, in anything at all, and sometimes it feels like she's beating her hands raw against a wall that no one else realizes is there.

No one's going to care what she does when her test scores are perfect, and since they already are there's no reason to try.

She's studying when she says she is, but it's never what the teachers assign, and if her future's supposed to be so bright, why is the world around her so dull and bleak?

When she's eighteen, a black notebook falls from the sky, and the world opens up before her.

She holds a pen lightly in her fingers, kills fourteen men, then carefully varnishes her nails, cheerfully explaining human standards of beauty to a curious shinigami, and what is and what isn't socially acceptable for a young woman of her age and social standing to be doing.

Ryuk laughs and it sounds like the world is tearing in two.

Light thinks she likes it.

AN: Expect the usual.