The smoke rose from the rim of her gun and the blood had begun to reach the toes of her boots. Her hands were shaking and the gun shivered madly in her hands and now the blood surrounded her boots, was moving past her, toward the drain.

She could see the mist from her breath, a constant fog as she breathed in and out heavily, trying not to breathe in the smell of death, just breathing, tasting the air in horror. The gun dropped from her hands, the blood covered it instantly. She reached down hesitantly, her fingers shaking desperately.

She picked up the gun, the blood covered her hands. It was there now staining her boots the puddle growing as it slid down the drain and away, running like a river through her boots and down the drain. Down the drain and out of sight but not out of mind.

She felt that she should say something, some final parting word, but nothing came to mind. It had all already been said, hadn't it? Besides, it'd be a waste of words anyway, he had already known before the bullet had even flew out of the barrel.

She found that his blood said enough for the both of them.

Later that day she found herself speaking to the young man's ghost. He sat in her apartment with dark circles beneath his golden eyes, his auburn hair hung in front of his eyes, and there was a bullet hole in his chest the blood dripping from the wound. He appeared not to notice the hole or the blood stain that was now growing on her carpet; he only looked at her with a slight smile that almost seemed apologetic.

She took the seat across from him a mug of coffee in hand and although she had just returned home she realized that he had been waiting for her. Outside the snow was gently falling and the setting sun had painted the sky a hazy shade of violet.

He spoke first, "Hello Naomi."

His voice was softer than she expected it to be, not rattled by the hole where his heart should have been, his hands gripped the arm rests on the chair loosely and he looked away from her and his eyes caught the glass watching as the snow floated downward.

"Of course it would be snowing today," He commented lightly, "I had a feeling that it would be snowing on the day I died."

She didn't respond only took a drink from her mug tasting none of the coffee and tasting all of the blood.

"Out of curiosity what did you do with my body?" The young man asked still looking out the window as the blood ran down his chest and onto the floor, she looked at the stain curiously wondering if it was a ghost as well.

"I threw it in the river." She said.

He turned to look at her and nodded slightly as if he expected nothing less, he smiled slightly and then sighed, "Personally I would have preferred if you burned it but…" he shrugged, "I suppose it was a subject we never breached."

"You're not real." She said, wanting to clarify the conversation before he could say anything else. He raised an eyebrow at this statement and shifted his body so that he was facing her.

"Not at the moment, I'm a hallucination produced by guilt and fear at the moment, but twelve hours earlier I was real." He smiled at this as if this statement somehow made all the difference.

Naomi nodded, glad they were on the same page.

"How did you get rid of the blood?" He asked suddenly.


The young man nodded and watched her for a moment, she watched her coffee mug her fingers tapping the ceramic idly and listened to the clock ticking in the background.

"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked leaning back in his chair his eyes glowing as they sometimes did from behind his auburn hair.

"No." She said curtly not looking up at him but instead imagining the violet light playing off of his pale features as the snow continued to fall through the thin glass of her window.

"Lying is not your forte, Misora." The young man said lightly a smile in his voice and somehow even though she wasn't looking at him she knew he was watching the snow as well.

"I'm not lying." This time she did look at him and was caught again by how the light played off of his skin illuminating the hole in his suit jacket and the blood that had ringed its way around it.

She got up then taking her coffee with her and returning to the kitchen, taking a second mug out of the cabinet and starting up the coffee maker all the while aware of those golden eyes on her back.

"You know I had a feeling it would be you who pulled the trigger." He said lightly his voice ringing sharply in her ears.

"Why's that?" She didn't turn around but his eyes were glowing all the same.

"L Lawliet was the obvious choice, after all he told me on national television that he was going to watch me do the hangman's jig, very nice of him." There was a slight pause before the voice resumed, "You, though, you never said you were going to kill me, I don't think you felt that you needed to. Did you Naomi Misora?"

"Was that his name?"

"No, it was just the thing that killed him." Light said casually she could almost see him examining his fingers in mock interest, "You see what makes you different from him is that you're real, he was just a couple of fake names strung together until it formed something moderately human."

"And that's why you're dead?" She asked.

"Partly, that is one of the reasons why at this moment my body is sitting at the bottom of the river tied to a couple of cement blocks and being nibbled on by fish." He paused as if hearing her distress, "Too many visuals?"

She said nothing, the coffee was done, she turned back and brought him a mug. His smile was charming, that innocent high-school boy smile that he had given to them so long ago. It had been years since she had seen that mask.

Outside the sun had set and what was once violet light had now deepened into indigo, the street lamps glowed like small captured stars and the stars above, the true stars, had been blinded out of existence.

"Misora Naomi,"

Those were the first words that introduced the path that would lead her to both gun and ghost. They were said by a man with a crooked back and raven feathers for hair, the man called himself L and although she had never seen him before somehow she was not surprised that it was him.

She stood dressed in black, her eyes two pieces of coal that had yet to be burned sitting in the fire place. Although there were others in the room she only had eyes for the man with the hunched back, the one who held out his hand to her hesitantly and with a childish smile. She took it and shook it once. She didn't smile.

She wasn't sure whether to call him L to his face so instead she began, "What name are you going by?"

"You can call me Ryuzaki."

That's how it started, that was the beginning, and although she hadn't met the man she would one day kill under her smoking gun barrel looking back she knew that this was the moment she took her first step toward damnation.

There she sat, her dark hair falling down before her eyes as she spoke every word, every suspicion, every theory that had been curdling inside her stagnant mind. They looked at her as if she were some goddess to be worshipped, divine light filling their star struck eyes as they ate up every word she said.

Kira was on the bus to the amusement park, Kira sent in a man to hijack the bus, the man died, Raye's identity was revealed, he didn't use a fake name, Raye died and the others too, Kira won the battle but he did not win the war.

Raye Penber had been following Yagami Light.

Revenge was simple then, when the target was only a name and a face, when the target didn't look you in the eyes with an expression that told nothing and everything at the same time. He was only a strange name and a delicate face; she didn't have to worry about spilled blood.

"You're not going to leave, are you?" She looked at the man seated next to her on the bus aware that the people around her took no notice of him or her, she looked across to him and he smiled back at her as he sometimes did.

"Well, Naomi, I'd say that's up to you." He gave that boyish laugh that suited his mask so well, the charming laugh, that short hearty chuckle that did not belong to a mad man.

"Why? Why is it up to me?" She spoke softly aware that words spoken too loud would attract stares and then they would notice the empty seat beside her and the sharp look of hatred in her black eyes.

"You know why," He said curtly his impatience flashing in his golden eyes, "I'm not real, I'm a product of your guilt, I'm here because you killed a man that you actually liked and somewhat admired…"

"I never admired you." Her voice cut through his words but his impatient look remained the same.

"Then why am I here?" He asked, "Why am I still here? It's been days Misora, and frankly your subconscious isn't very happy with you right now, it's very difficult to produce an illusion so convincing as this one."

She paused her eyes narrowed, "You may be real."

"Perhaps," He smiled, "But that's for me to know and for you…" He trailed off and leaned in close his eyes turning from gold into the color of his dripping blood she saw the reflection of her horror in those eyes and he smiled, "That's my girl."

He leaned back and turned his head to look out the window, his eyes no longer visible, she turned her head from him and watched the others on the bus, watched as they chattered and shuffled. Dimly she heard him say in a casual voice, "I believe the next stop is ours."

He looked young, younger than she thought possible, he sat there in the chair his eyes a steady amber as he watched the white screen in front of him. Before he had smiled and looked proud and strangely happy but now that expression was gone and only dim wisps of thought remained visible. He was thinking, truly thinking now, and he had let the mask slip and while she couldn't see him she could see something other than what he seemed to be.

He was never truly visible though, the closest one could get to seeing his face was in moments like this, when he was staring at the screen listening to the words and his face became blank and emotionless. The rest were only masks.

His name was Yagami Light.

She hadn't said anything to him, only shook his hand distantly, looking at him as she did so and seeing those joyful golden eyes. Only there was something lurking behind the joy when he looked at her, and it was only as she watched his blank features and his steady gaze that she realized that it was amusement.

She had amused him.

She was sitting in the park simply looking out before her with a blank gaze and an empty expression, her ears though, her ears belonged to the young man with the bullet wound in his chest and the smile on his lips. The blood had long ago stopped dripping but she never had managed to clean it out of the carpet.

"I remember you once told me that I should never go to trial," he said casually, he liked to speak to her that way now, casually as if they were friends and all secrets between them had been laid aside as if they were nothing. "That stayed in my mind long after L had died."

She didn't answer him, she hadn't answered him for a while, she wasn't sure if it was pride or hope that made her deny his very existence but she did it all the same. He might still leave and if he didn't leave she didn't want to acknowledge that fact to his face.

"You said that we had nothing against me, that all we had were a few lackluster theories that sounded very pretty at a distance but had no weight, no evidence. Even after the notebook you insisted that I could not, and would not go to trial, because we had nothing." He paused and looked away from her toward the people in the park a thoughtful expression on his face.

"You were right, you know. A trial would have accomplished nothing."

Her hands began to shake but she would not look, she would not permit herself to look, to look was to acknowledge his existence and acknowledge the fact that she had killed him, she had killed him in cold blood. She had taken him behind the chemical shed and shot him then threw him in the river with a pair of cement shoes.

"I would have walked and I might not have had the notebook afterword but…" He trailed off then smiled, "I would have found a way."

Yes, she knew that, somehow Yagami Light would have found a way to go back to the way things were. There were other notebooks to be found other shinigami to bargain with, that wasn't the end, he would have found a way back.

"The trouble with you, Misora, is that you never mistook the Kira case for being about morals," his voice assumed a sharper edge, "You had no problem with hypocrisy or with blood on your hands, I don't think you ever truly believed in justice or in our precious system of law, you believed in vengeance."

He sighed and stood, "And you took it before anyone could offer a second opinion, didn't you?"

He changed. He was different then he was before. Something in his eyes had flickered, something had died.

It was as if he had been rewritten and suddenly he wasn't Light Yagami anymore, he was something else. He was a stranger who had been locked into a cell because of circumstances he could not recall, the stranger wore Light's face like a mask twisting it into expressions that never should have fit.

L noticed it. He frowned as he watched the monitor as if sensing his prey slipping away from him, slipping just out of reach. That was all it was to him, something slipping away, he couldn't see the horror of it.

She did.

Perhaps she was wrong though. Perhaps the horror was that this innocent man was now innocent and it didn't matter, because in L's eyes he would always be guilty, he would always be Kira. The horror could be waking up in a strange world with your hands and ankles shackled by silver handcuffs. Maybe that was it, but she didn't think so.

L had Light Yagami's father hold a gun to his son's head and play Russian Roulette. The stranger couldn't tell the difference between a real bullet and a blank, not that the state of the bullet mattered, they were both going to Hell anyway. From one murderer to another.

What a show it was.

That was the first time she allowed herself to think on what she had to do, watching the monitors, watching those terrified dead eyes. She allowed herself to think that she would have to kill this shell, this dead thing that had once been Light Yagami but was now something else. She would kill this young man whether or not he was the stranger, an innocent bystander left in Kira's wake, because it didn't matter whether the bullet was real or not.

L wanted to play Russian Roulette, sometimes with a gun and sometimes without. She wanted results.

The blood was all over her apartment and the ghost wouldn't leave. He sat in her chair and lay on her bed and watched her with his patched eyes. Even as a ghost it was clear that he had been rewritten too many times, he had wiped his mind clean and then had tried to write back in the things he had forgotten. It worked well enough, but there were times when she would look into his eyes and see the stitches holding him in place.

Light Yagami, Kira, and now something else, something with pale eyes that screamed nothingness. She could see straight through him, and that always made him smile. He would look at her with those golden eyes that had sunk to the bottom of a river and he would smile as if nothing else mattered.

Only the haunting, only so she wouldn't forget that she had killed God with a bullet and a blindfold.

He followed her to the police meetings because she stayed there for some reason and he laughed when Matsuda asked why she washed her hands so much.

She'd look at Matsuda, grey eyes blazing, and she couldn't help but think that it should have been him with the gun in his hand.

He seemed to know because the words were screaming in her eyes and she was smiling even as the warm water cascaded over her hands, pounded down on the stains that would not come out until her hands were little more than bones. He seemed to know because he didn't ask again, he only looked away quickly as if it didn't matter.

Because it didn't.

"Ryuzaki, you can't do this to people!"

The stranger said that sometimes, as if he had the power to change L's mind if he said it enough times. The stranger, she thought, could be incredibly stupid. The Light Yagami she had seen briefly, the one through monitors and half-hearted handshakes, that man had been dangerous. This man, this man who had stolen Yagami's face, he was little more than Ryuzaki's toy.

"Ryuzaki, you can't just pretend that no one else matters!"

But Ryuzaki could and Ryuzaki would because Ryuzaki was a dirty liar who had been cheated out of his prize. He wasn't pretending either, to him the stranger that wore Light's name and face was little more than a disappointment, a cheap replacement for the real man.

But the man who called himself Light didn't know that, and he didn't seem capable of figuring it out either.

She tried to tell him once, looking him in those doe's eyes and thinking about his blood on the pavement. She sat across from him as he sat diligently before his laptop, thinking it could save him if only he typed fast enough. She watched as his fingers flew, chained as they were to L and L's will. The pity was that he didn't even know, he just thought he did.

"You should stop typing."

He looked at her then, for the first time perhaps, because even the stranger hadn't found her interesting enough to stare her in the face. He had looked her over, passed her by, because to him Ryuzaki was all that mattered. And that was kind of sad.

His mouth opened as if he wanted to say something, respond the way he would to L or to Misa. Something in her eyes must have silenced him because he closed his mouth and just waited for her to continue.

She was aware that L was looking as well, that L was staring at her with his owl's eyes and that his own fingers had stopped typing, tied as he was to the man who called himself Light. Let them both see, it mattered for both of them.

"You're not thinking," She paused when he opened his mouth again to interrupt and shook her head, "you're not even trying to think. You just think that you are, because you can't tell the difference. What did you do to yourself, anyway?"

"What do you mean? What are you talking about?" He had the gall to look offended as if she had said something that should have been left unspoken. Even L had been wise enough to not touch that, as if he saw no point in it and it was all worthless anyway, he knew that Light would return one day. All he had to do now was babysit the stranger.

"You know what I'm talking about, you haven't always been like this. You're not Light."

His eyes narrowed thinking he had found another Ryuzaki, another doubter, another obstacle to be fought against as he struggled to claim the identity he hadn't earned. He didn't know, he just was silly enough to assume he did.

"I'm not Kira."

"I never said you were Kira, I said you aren't Light."

Perhaps it was about then that he realized how alone he was, that it was only his interrogators who remained with him, the rest going home to dream of better days. Only him and the people who didn't believe, who would never believe, those who saw through the mask he wore.

His eyes were burning, his rage kindling as he realized he couldn't convince her either; a betrayal of faith that was so very childish.

"Light was cold and dark," she said as she looked him straight in the eye, "Light was a thing of destruction, you're not."

L said nothing, only watched, curious perhaps as to what Light might say in response. Light's hands were shaking, his knuckles white as they gripped the keyboard, and his face struggled to remain calm and inexpressive. His eyes though, his eyes were beacons, and the rage was only growing.

"I don't know what you're trying to say," he said finally, his voice shaking, "but don't."

She looked at the computer and the lists they had compiled, the desperate lists created by desperate men, and she sighed. In her mind's eye she could see the blood dripping from the monitor and onto the floor.

"I'm trying to say, that maybe Kira can kill in ways other than heart attacks."

And she left for her empty apartment.

"Did you love him?"

It was Matsuda who asked her when he found her standing above Light's grave, white roses in her hand as she looked down at the dull tombstone. He had been standing there as well, and she could see the red rings around his eyes.

The ghost had wandered off in the grave yard looking at her with annoyance when she insisted on coming to visit the tombstone, saying that it didn't matter since his body was at the bottom of the river (or ocean) now anyway. She had said that it was her decision and that if he didn't want to come he could bleed on someone else's grave instead.

He had walked away, hands in his pockets, whistling some tune she couldn't recognize, his blood dripping on the grass as he went.

She turned away from the sight, knowing that Matsuda would never see it and that it didn't matter anyway. Light was dead and they all knew it, whatever he had been.

Her first reaction was to say no, to only give him a single letter response and let him live with it as she had lived with it. She wasn't sure why he was there, it wasn't the anniversary or any particular date just the day she had broken down and decided to make the amends she could. The ghost had laughed when he saw where they were heading, he had laughed so hard that tears had streamed from his eyes, he laughed until he couldn't laugh anymore.

And when the laughter had ended he asked if she had finally decided to apologize.

Her answer to that, of course, was no.

Instead she asked Matsuda something else, "Why did you ask me that?"

He looked at her then, his cheeks turning red as if suddenly embarrassed at his assumptions, because they must have been assumptions. He looked away, out to where the ghost had walked away, towards wherever the detective's grave lay; she had never memorized that path.

"I just thought… You were always with him, back then. He would always talk to you, you were… close…" Matsuda reached for words and found them missing because the word love suddenly didn't fit anymore. He tried to shrug but his cheeks flamed instead.

Naomi stared at the dirt beneath her, the flowers still in her hand, not quite sure what to say.

"Yes, we were close." She said.

"You know… I miss him too, he didn't deserve this… Whatever this is, I hope that someday they'll find the body and the one who… the one who did this."

Naomi smiled and began to walk away, dropping the flowers as she went, "I think they will, someday."

The stranger was fascinated by her, she wasn't sure why. Perhaps it was because she presented a problem different from Ryuzaki, she wasn't out to prove anything, to him or to the world. She already knew, so his pleas and determination meant nothing to her. She couldn't be argued with because she presented no argument, no great hypothesis or percentages, she presented him with nothing and let him deal with it.

Eventually he started to ask why.

"Why do you think I'm Kira?" He asked her one late night as they worked together. The blue light of the computers only made him look less human, less real, a stranger wearing a stolen face with those wide child-like eyes. He blinked them at her in frustration, as if this truly vexed him and had bothering him for quite some time.

She hadn't mentioned it to the others, only to him and to L, he had watched for that. Afraid that she might say something he didn't want to hear, but that was L's style not hers. She didn't need their approval or disappointment, she needed Light Yagami dead.

She frowned as she typed looking at the list of suspects, the patterns, the Yotsuba company gilded in blood. It was almost too easy, too obvious, but that didn't matter because it meant nothing whether it was real or not. It was the situation that counted.

"I never said I thought you were Kira." She spoke softly her fingers typing and highlighting, searching for a likely candidate among the eight, but in her eyes they were all false. There was only one Kira, and he had drifted away from the world leaving only a shell of himself behind to cope.

"You do though, think I'm Kira. You haven't told me why." He cocked his head to the side and looked over at Ryuzaki who was strangely silent, as he usually was when Light probed Naomi for answers.

It was just like L to trust her judgment but show no sign of appreciation, he never liked to admit that he could use help.

She was not looking at him rather looking at the screen, she was thinking about how she might best approach this topic. He was right, she hadn't told him, she had expressly not told him anything useful and he had noticed.

"It's complicated."

She could hear him sigh and grit his teeth, perhaps more frustrated than with Ryuzaki, his focus diverted momentarily from the fact that he was no longer a person only a toy that Ryuzaki clung to via handcuffs. She was a shade compared to the feeling in Ryuzaki's accusations, she was passive, she hardly existed in his realm and he pursued her because of this.

"I'm sure you can explain." He said, his eyes narrowed and fuming, as if she had no right to hide from him.

"You were convenient." She turned from the screen then, her words unintentionally bitter, "You were everywhere you needed to be, you fit so easily, how could I not think it was you?"

Ryuzaki had once said something similar, but he had been hiding behind a camera and a monitor, Naomi was face to face with the man that had once been a dragon. He had replied then, that he was being framed, but Naomi had to ask why anyone would bother. Why would they place the blame on him when it was so much easier to hide in the dark where she couldn't find them?

"That doesn't prove anything." He said stiffly, his eyes looking more frightened that they had in the cell even, because that had at least been his own intention.

"Convenience isn't enough, is it? It was also your eyes and your smile." She looked to Ryuzaki knowing that he had seen what she had seen and that they were both on the same page as far as the stranger was concerned.

"My eyes! That's enough to call me a murderer?" The man who called himself Light stood abruptly those doe's eyes blazing, his soul torn in half by this admission that nothing he did mattered. It wouldn't change things, it was the bullet that hadn't been in his father's gun that day, it hadn't made a difference in the end.

"Sometimes. You've changed anyway though, you can't see it now."

There had been an investigation after he disappeared and it had lasted long enough. Every day the ghost had watched with interest, laughing at their discoveries and looking at Naomi all the while with accusing eyes.

Eventually there was a bodiless funeral, the ghost said that it was awfully ironic if you thought about it. After all, to think that Kira wouldn't even have his body stuffed into his grave like the ghost that he was. Of course, at that time only Naomi knew it.

There was grief but there was also a sense of relief. The tears coursing down their faces was false to a point, because they all forgot him eventually, just as L knew they would. They moved on, they lived, and eventually they would die and not see him again. Naomi didn't cry at the funeral and it was the young man with the blood on his shoes that held her hand.

It had been like that for a while now, Light holding her hand. Sometimes she couldn't help but think of him as Light not the ghost or Kira even but Light as if that was all he had ever been to her. Just Light, nothing else.

Light sat with her in the dark when everything smelled like blood and smoke, when the river was lapping at her feet and she wished she could jump in. He held her hand and sometimes he smiled at her, sometimes he meant it.


His eyes changed, they drifted between what they had been and what they were, Light Yagami was a shifting thing. He couldn't wear one face, he couldn't be one man, he had to be twenty. It was still him though, still Light holding her hand at his funeral.

He understood. He wouldn't forgive or forget but he understood.

He would have done the same.

He never stopped asking, he never stopped, it was like he was dying of it. He had to know, because she wasn't L. He had dismissed L, dismissed him and his doubt. Although he would never admit it and he would never stop trying to redeem himself somewhere in the back of his mind he had decided L didn't matter, and when he looked at L it was as if he was already looking at a corpse.

When he looked at L something in his eyes died.

He hadn't decided to kill her, she was different from L. She was the outsider, someone who had been indirectly affected by Kira, someone he had not intended to hurt. Her opinions were that of someone looking through the window from a high tower. She could see the patterns lost on those who cared and those who wished for things they couldn't have. She didn't believe in wishes anymore.

She wasn't L, to him that made all the difference.

He talked to her, even with L beside him, he tried to connect with her. Try to find why she thought the way she did, because there must be a reason she saw a guilty man in his stead. She thought he had missed the point.

"Why did you join the Kira case?" He asked one day, surprising her a little because she had assumed he knew. It seemed that everyone knew, they were always looking at her oddly, because so far she was the only one who had lost anything to Kira. She was the only one who had reason to kill him.

This time there were others there, and they all turned to watch as she answered. More interested than they should have been, about what she would say to the young man, and how he would react afterward.

"My fiancé died, we were going to be married last spring."

"I'm sorry." He said automatically and for a moment she thought he might have meant it, but he didn't because he didn't remember killing Raye with his own name, how could he mean it?

"He was one of the twelve FBI agents sent to follow suspects, he and the others were killed by Kira." She explained casually, as if it no longer even mattered to her, and in a way it didn't. Raye was dead anyway and now she would never have that spring wedding.

The boy's eyes narrowed because he knew what was left unsaid, that it was his fault and yet it caused a grim smile to appear on his face, Kira was returning to his eyes not through knowledge or death but through suffering. L was destroying what was left of Light until there would be nothing left but that scarred and jagged face beneath, the face hidden behind the stitched clay mask he wore.

"Is it purely revenge then?" He asked, his eyes dancing.

She never did manage to answer that question. All she knew was that she had wanted to say yes but somehow that answer never came.

"You're getting worse." The ghost, Light, noted one night after the usual round of nightmares.

She sat in the kitchen beside the table the coffee staining the air, she breathed it in afraid of what other scents might haunt her memory. The ghost stood in the doorway, his face hidden behind shadows but she could see the doubt in his eyes.

"I'm fine." She didn't look up from the table as she said this, only sat and breathed willing the image of his body to be gone, his body slipping from her fingers slipping away into the river.

"I killed thousands, and I slept soundly, because it meant nothing to me. My death should mean nothing to you."

But it didn't.

Somehow along the way, between the bullets and the blood Light's death had turned into something more than revenge, more than just another dead body. Light had become something that meant infinitely more than Raye and she had destroyed that, as if it were nothing. Her hands were shaking.

"I'm fine." She repeated softly, hesitantly, and he stepped into the room. The words drifted like smoke.

Somehow along the way she had forgotten what he was, beneath the masks and the lies, she had looked past him and accepted the face he had given her because that face said they were friends. They were, but that wasn't important. He could be kind, he could be interesting, and he could provide a meager attempt at light when she had nothing else left anyway. He could, when he tried.

There was a day though, when the false pretenses were removed and she faced him face to face yet again, the shifting dangerous being that he was. His eyes had changed, no longer quite so bright and defiant, but cold and ancient and filled with blood.

(Something must shatter, something must break…)

She was not there in the helicopter with him, she wasn't there when it happened, but she could see the results in his eyes and his hand upon the notebook's leather casing. It was in his eyes, a demon in his pupils, laughing behind those golden irises as if it had all been for nothing.

An innocent man had died that night, and his name wasn't Higuchi but his name wasn't Yagami either, he had only borrowed it for a short time. He was Naomi's friend, he had understood the need for redemption and revenge, but now he was ashes and dust and there was only a shell of him left.

This new Light was different than the last two because the stranger had not been obliterated completely from his soul, something of their past life remained and when he looked at Naomi sometimes he would smile.

She had to remind herself that it didn't matter because something had to be done, he had to be stopped before it was too late, before it was too late for everyone, not just for her.

It was all slipping away from her, and she felt as if she were only watching as it all spiraled out of control. She could see it now, slipping out of her fingertips like morning fog, and Yagami Light laughing up at her with scarlet eyes.

But sometimes he would look at her and sometimes he would smile like nothing had changed.

She'd wake to the scent of blood and death and in the darkness he'd hold her hand like it meant nothing at all. And for a few moments it did.

L died, Watari died, Aiber died, Wedy died, Higuchi died, and the others she had forgotten had died as well.

They attended L's funeral hand in hand, heads bowed, the wind blowing through their hair and wiping their tearless faces. There were few words but then what was there left to be said; the sunset said more than enough.

She didn't look that day; she left with the others, because she didn't need to see. She didn't need to see anything.

It was alright, because she had already decided that she wasn't the hero, she didn't need saving or to save, but he wasn't the hero either so it was okay. It was alright. It was alright. She had already decided, and it didn't matter that no one cried over L's grave.

"Do you remember what you said to me that morning?" Light asked her, they were standing on the bridge, the sun had set and the snow was beginning to fall. She felt the eyes of the streetlamps on her back and she smiled at the question because he was trying to distract her again.

"No." She said softly her arms on the railing of the bridge looking down at the sloshing dark water below.

"You said that you had something important to show me." He began drawing up beside her and turning his collar to the white flakes that were descending ever so slowly.

"I said that it would change your life."

"You took my hand and drew me down the corridor."

"Your hand was cold that morning."

The snow began to fall more thickly, obscuring the water from view and the street lamps reflections little more than dim stars in the chaotic reflection of the sky.

"You hit me over the head when no one was looking."

"I used my gun."

"You dragged me out of that building and into a car that you left waiting. You drove."

"I drove to a place where no one would look."

"You took me blindfolded to a yellow warehouse."

"I didn't say a word."

"I had nothing left to say."

"I put a bullet through your chest."

"You didn't want to put it through my head."

"I took you to the river."

"You threw me in without looking twice."

"I came back."

"I came back, too."

The snow became a curtain and soon they could no longer tell their words from the stars and the streetlamps.

"I just wonder," Matsuda said standing before Yagami Light's empty grave, "I just wonder when people can stop dying. Where does it stop?"

Naomi Misora looked at him with haunted gray eyes and spoke softly, "I don't know."

Author's Note: Behold the end of the very long guilt-trip, congratulations Naomi Misora, you are now insane. Also this is my LightxNaomi serious fic, notice the distinct lack of romance, this is about as romantic as my serious fics get... It's rather sad, it seems happy, normal, fluff writing is beyond me. Thank you for reading, reviews would be nice.

Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note