LIGHT YAGAMI, SHINIGAMI IN TRAINING
Light soon realized the full extent of what L meant when he said, "I don't intend to let you kick back and relax." L would call on him at odd hours of the day to catch criminals or else to have lengthy discussions on the morals of humanity. If Light tried to avoid these summons, the chain connecting him to L would tense and contract, forcing him to report for duty.
However, this was a small price to pay. Light had lulled his opponent into a false sense of security. As far as L knew, Light had decided to be compliant, possibly even to just give up. L would be confident enough in his own powers of persuasion to believe that he had won Light over to his side of the argument. And that was exactly what Light wanted him to think.
Perhaps because he was now having Light's full cooperation, L was more lenient about letting Light wander around outside. This allowed Light to meet Suki – Light had discovered that nicknames worked wonders on a woman – even more often than he had first anticipated.
The time he spent with her was...enjoyable. Nevertheless, he could tell that she always kept in the back of her mind the reality that he could kill her at any time. Such a thought should have created tension between them; instead, Suki took it as an opportunity to make the most of her time with Light.
"I'll understand if you have to kill me," she told Light one evening. "But, because of that, I want to be as close to you as I can, while I can. Is that wrong?"
"No," he assured her. She rested her forehead against his neck. For a moment, Light wished he could feel her warmth; he wondered if she noticed how cold his skin was.
"Light..." she whispered.
"Oh, I was just saying your name. It's so...perfect. So fitting. In this dark world of corruption and cruelty, you have been the light which reveals the flaws that need to be removed."
Light let a partial smile show on his face. Suki knew just how to put his feelings into words. That was the thing he had grown to love about her; of course, not that Kira could ever truly love a mere human.
"Light, I think it's going to happen soon."
"The time you've been waiting for, of course. Your Death Note is going to appear soon; I'm sure of it. And then, you can destroy L and all of the others who refused to follow you."
"Really?" Light wondered. "And how are you sure of that?"
"It's just a hunch, really. Kind of like when you have a moment of deja vu."
"Is that so? Well, I'll pay extra attention in the near future."
Suki lifted her head so that her face was only inches from his. "Light?"
"When you get your Death Note, will you kill me?"
Light raised an eyebrow.
"Is that a request?"
"I want to do whatever it takes for you to win against L. If that means I have to die, I'm willing."
"I don't think I've ever met a human so ready to die."
"You've never met a human so dedicated to your cause."
She paused. "You didn't answer my question, Light."
"As long as you're willing, does it matter?"
"It would be somewhat reassuring to know."
"Well, then, let me reassure you."
Light leaned forward and kissed her. He could feel Suki's heart race as she embraced him in return. After a long moment, he pulled back slowly.
"Does that help?"
Suki sighed. "It's not a definite answer, but I suppose I won't get anything clearer than that, even if I ask nicely. That would go against the way you are."
This time, Light genuinely smiled. How? he thought. How can you understand me so well? Even L, who could see my very thoughts, could never understand me as you do.
Even though Light had felt less prone to sleeping recently, when he returned to L's HQ late that night, he flopped onto his bed and fell asleep within minutes. Suki's words echoed through his head.
Your Death Note is going to appear soon; I'm sure of it. And then, you can destroy L and all of the others who refused to follow you... When you get your Death Note, will you kill me?"
Light woke to L shaking him.
"Light! Light! Get up, now!"
Reluctantly opening his eyes, Light saw a look of surprise and - was that fear? - on L's face. As his senses returned to him, Light's fingers brushed something. When he looked at what he had touched, his heart skipped a beat.
It was a Death Note. His Death Note. Light picked it up gingerly, as if he expected it to crumble to dust any second. L whistled in amazement.
"Quite a sight to behold."
Light stood, clutching the notebook to his chest.
"I don't care what it looks like; it's a Death Note. All that's important is that it works...and that it's mine." As he held it close, Light could feel its power surging through him. Yes, he thought, it's mine. Now, I can finally take my full revenge on you, L.
"Yes, "L replied, "It is yours, and that leads us to the climax of our game, doesn't it? A pity, really; it was so entertaining."
"Sorry to spoil your fun, but, as they say, all good things must come to an end."
"Indeed." L's tone conveyed skepticism, but Light did not betray any further sign of his true intentions.
"So, then, L..."he said calmly, "How can I officially end this?"
"Hmm," the detective pondered for a moment, and an idea occurred to Light: Had L purposely not planned this stage of the game? Did he intend to keep Light as his lackey? That thought infuriated Light, only increasing his determination to defeat his enemy.
"I don't know," L said at last. "To be honest, I didn't think this far ahead, since I had no idea how much time I would be given to work with you."
"But, surely," Light reasoned, "With your superior level of intellect, you wouldn't need much time at all to convince me that your point of view is the right one."
L tilted his head; his eyes gleamed with tension and suspicion. "Are you trying to flatter me, Light? That's either very generous of you, or very stupid."
"Hopefully the former," Light replied, momentarily showing half a smile. "Since you haven't thought of a way to finish this game, it's a good thing I have."
Light took a deep breath; from here on out, he was betting everything on this.
"I've been...in contact with a girl, Akasuki Arisu. She is an avid follower of Kira, so I have a feeling that she can help us decide who will win our contest."
"I see..." L thumbed his lower lip in thought. After a few moments of silence, L looked up at Light with his black, penetrating eyes. "Alright, then, Light. Go and get this Akasuki, but...leave your Death Note here...with me."
Light's fingers clenched around his notebook, but he handed it to L and walked calmly from the room. Once he was out of sight, he ran – downstairs, out the front door, and along the streets – until he reached Suki's apartment. When he knocked, she responded immediately.
"Light, is something wrong? You normally don't call at this time of-"
"I got it, "Light explained. "My Death Note."
Suki's eyes sparkled with excitement. "Really? Where? Can I see it?"
"L has it at the moment," Light grumbled, "but...Suki, now's the time for you to help me, just like you've wanted."
She gulped and met Light's eye without fear. "I'll do whatever you ask of me, Light."
Light smiled, took her hand and lead her back to L's base. When they entered the investigation room, L was swiveling in his throne-like chair, dangling Light's Death Note in the air with two fingers, as if it contained a fatal disease.
"You're back sooner than I expected," he noted coolly, swinging the notebook back and forth like a pendulum. Looking at Suki he added, "Well, she certainly is a young little thing, isn't she? I didn't know you went for that kind of girl, Light."
Suki blushed, but Light gripped her hand and faced L. "She's just an obedient believer in my old way of life; it's only natural for her to follow me around some."
L bobbed his head in halfhearted agreement. "So, then, Light...what is you ingenious plan?"
"Give me my Death Note back."
"Not until you tell me your plan."
"I'll tell you when you give me my Death Note."
"Your plan first."
Light gritted his teeth; he hadn't expected this hiccup, but it wouldn't really matter in the end. He could allow L to revel in his position of power for a little longer.
"It's simple really," Light explained. "If I had changed, then I'd destroy that Death Note. Since I haven't used it, I haven't even come into full ownership of it yet."
"But, even if you destroyed it, you could always go steal the one that Near has."
"No, I couldn't. When we swore on Ryuk's Death Note, all the aspects of our contest were made into a contract, forcing us to follow through on our promises. If I destroyed that notebook, I'd be admitting your victory, which would prevent me from killing ever again."
L remained skeptical. "I suppose... I must admit I have seen evidence of changes in you for the better, but you're clever enough to fake that."
He paused. "I will only surrender if you have a way of proving to me that none of my words have affected you, that you will go to any lengths to remain Kira."
Suki tensed. Light remembered her words: I want to do whatever it takes for you to win against L. If that means I have to die, I'm willing. She knew what must be done, and she was ready.
"You want proof?" Light asked playfully. "Hand me my notebook, and I'll give you some."
L hesitated, then sighed, as if to say, "In the end, will it even matter?" He tossed the Death Note across the room, and Light caught it easily. Letting go of Suki's hand, he pulled a pencil out of his pocket and flipped open the notebook.
"What are you going to do?" L demanded. "Killing any common criminal won't be enough for me. If you truly want to be Kira, you have to be willing to kill anyone, everyone. Could you really live with such guilt?"
L looked up from the blank pages of his notebook and smirked at L. "What do you mean? I'm already dead, aren't I? Living with guilt is no problem. I'd ask you how you'll be able to stand there and let me kill someone, but I'd only have the same argument thrown in my face."
"So...who are you going to kill, Light?"
"According to your reasoning – and it's correct, for once – I have to be willing to kill anybody. Well, I am." He paused. "Why else do you think I brought Suki here?"
L's eyes widened. "You would kill your own follower? Someone you have confided in and trusted?"
"Why not? Suki knows what I'm willing to do, and she's happy to help me."
L stared at Suki in disbelief.
"He's right," Suki said calmly, smiling defiantly at L. "Light is going to beat you right here, and I going to help him do it. I have the honor of securing Kira's victory, giving him full dominion over this world so that he can transform it."
L floated off of his chair and hovered in front of Light, trying to comprehend his enemy, to understand.
"You can't," Light responded to L's intent gaze. "No matter how much you mull it over in that oversized brain of yours, you cannot begin to understand me and my goals. You were a worthy opponent in life, I'll give you that, but now...you're worse than pathetic. I won this final round so easily, it makes me laugh."
"You haven't won yet, Light," L noted. "You haven't written her name, and until you do, there's still a chance for you to reconsider."
"I'm going to, don't you worry!"
"Are you? I can't help but feel that you are close to this girl, closer than you've ever been with anyone. Even though you say I can never understand you, and maybe you're right, this girl is different. She does understand you...and you love her because of it."
Light felt an unbidden lump form in his throat. What nonsense was L spouting now? He, Kira, love an average, normal, lowly human being! The idea was absurd, inconceivable...and true. He did care for Suki more deeply than he had for anyone in his life, and part of him was screaming, pleading, Don't kill her! There has to be someone else! Anyone else!
"There..." L smiled. "I can see doubt in your eyes, Light. What are you going to do?"
Light's eyes flitted around the room, desperate for an answer. What was he going to do? At one point, he noticed a clock that read 8:54. Finally, his gaze landed on Suki. She was crying silently, and the sight made Light want to tear his Death Note to shreds.
But then, he realized something; she was still smiling. Her eyes shone not only with tears, but also with pride, determination, and acceptance. Finally, she spoke in a quiet voice.
"It's okay, Light. Do it; it's okay."
Light's hand trembled as he held the pencil an inch above the page. Suki walked in front of him slowly, passing through L's hazy form. She placed her hand on Light's wrist and willed him to touch the tip of the pencil to the paper. Even with tears streaking her face, Light knew this was what she really did want; and that was enough.
Light's hand steadied. He gazed into Suki's eyes, taking in their radiance for the last time. Then, he dragged the pencil across the page, forming characters, words, a sentence.
Akasuki Arisu will die painlessly at 9:00 A.M. today.
L let out a long sigh. "You...actually did it."
Light glared at him in defiance, but the words came out shakily. "Was there every any doubt?"
"You've beaten me."
"Yes, I have."
L looked at Light with pity. "I had hoped I could change you...but it seems that you are a demon after all."
"That's right!" Light yelled. "Now...get out! Leave me alone! Never come back, you hear me!"
L backed away, and his form began to fade into smoke.
"I still think you'll have some regrets at the end of this, Light."
"I'm a god," Light retorted. "Gods don't have regrets."
Only the ghost's face remained distinguishable from the mist of his dissolving spirit.
"Is that so? Then...why are you crying?"
With that, L vanished.
Light looked at the clock just at the hands rotated to 8:59. He trembled so violently that the Death Note slipped off of his hand and onto the floor. He stared at Suki, silently begging for her forgiveness, but she smiled warmly at him and wiped his eyes with a caressing hand.
"Oh, stop that, Light. It's okay. Nothing can stop you now; that's what's important, right? You can create our new world. I only wish...that I could have been there to see it."
Light watched the tortuous seconds pass: 50, 51, 52...
He pulled her close to him, stroking her hair with a quivering hand. 53, 54, 55...
She wrapped her arms around him and kissed his cold neck, whispering words of comfort and reassurance. 56, 57, 58, 59...
Even after the moment had passed, Light remained in the same spot, holding her. Finally, he dared to look.
From the peaceful expression on her face, she could have been sleeping. For so long, she had wanted to help Kira, and now that she had been given that chance, she was content. Light kissed her forehead and laid her gently on the floor. Unable to control himself any longer, Light threw his head back and screamed, trying to convey an agony more painful than any death.
Ryuk showed up eventually, but nothing he could say would comfort Light. Finally, the shinigami decided to return to his own world, saying he would be back when Light stopped being so boringly depressed and made the human world fun again.
A long time after Ryuk was gone, Light picked up his Death Note. Once he looked at this extension of his will, he knew what he needed to do. As he stood, he felt his inner fire blazing anew. Suki had sacrificed herself so that he could continue his calling, and he would not let that sacrifice be for nothing.
Police were baffled when criminals began to die of heart attacks once again. Citizens demanded to know why their governments had lied to them, resulting in widespread riots. Chaos began to consume entire nations. Throughout the panic, there was one name on everyone's lips: Kira.
As he alighted on the rooftop of a burning skyscraper, he surveyed the carnage around him. It was like looking at a wheat-field ripe for harvest. Only by burning the guilty could the truly innocent be purified, and now, his plan was finally reaching its fruition. Like a conductor leading an orchestra, he wrote names in his notebook, reveling in the screams coming from the crowd below as people dropped dead like the animals they were. The cries of pain were soothing to him, every new voice in its agonizing last moments adding to the fear the humans would have of him.
He remembered that someone had once said it is better to be feared than to be loved. In his case, he believed the phrase needed amending. When you're a god of justice in an unjust world, he thought, your only option is to be feared, so you might as well enjoy it.
Love. It was a human weakness, an unnecessary emotion. He had only needed to feel it once to know all of its joys...and pains. Now, he would never love again. All that remained was his goal, and that was all that was important.
He felt the presence of another shinigami even before it landed next to him.
"Whoa," Ryuk said in awe. "Looks like you've been busy, Light."
"Indeed I have," Light replied, giving his fellow demon a smile fitting of a god of death.
"I'm glad you're back, Ryuk. You're just in time for some of your favorite entertainment."