Chapter 5: The End

Naomi left the church and began driving. Though she wasn't trying to hide, she didn't stop for days, not until she reached a small town in Hokkido where her grandparents owned a summer cottage.

She loved that cottage, with its thin paper walls and creaky floors. It was the backdrop of her favourite childhood memories. It was one of the first places she had taken Raye on his first trip to Japan to meet her family.

She remembered the summer friends of her youth, who's names were lost in time, that she had played with, sharing cherry popsicles. She remembered showing off her engagement ring.

No one was there now. No one would ever know that she had been there. The food that she ate from the freezer would not be missed when the summer rolled back around, and she hid the trash. She dropped her rental car in a ravine, and let salt water, rain, and landslides claim it. She didn't want to see or talk to anyone for any reason.

For her final days, Naomi lived in something that was as close to peace and happiness as she could feel. The Voice was not silent, he was never quite kind, but somehow it was still familiar, and no longer howled for revenge. She took little walks with it, through the hills and brush, seeing no one, breathing the air of forests and beaches.

In the mornings, just before her dreams faded, she felt joy, and could almost imagine Raye was in the bed with her, still sleeping.

But it couldn't last.

She planned when to end it, though she felt like she could go on like this for a few more weeks, because she wanted that control. Her dignity demanded it.

She planned where to end it. On a beautiful little tree, deep in the woods that she used to hike out to and have picnics under, when it was 20 feet shorter.

Thirteen days after Light Yagami had written the name, he was back in Tokyo. He made his way back with the help of promises made to his thoroughly useless and somewhat malevolent dark guardian angel.

He never even bothered to ask, "Why didn't you do anything?" He knew that it was because of two things. One, it was interesting. And two, the numbers above his head were not approaching zero, and the shinigami had no reason to kill him with his own note - the jester still had a few good jokes in him.

But the bell? Was that just Ryuk playing around, or did he mean to scare her? Light didn't think about this, because he wished for the latter and suspected the former. And, since his numbers weren't up, something would have stopped her from killing him anyway.

Light could never tell anyone close to him about what happened, and that was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because he never had to face anyone knowing about it (except for one person/thing, or (worst of all) pitying him. A curse, because he had to shoulder the burden alone, and he didn't know how to handle the alterations made to his mind and body that he didn't ask for or want. He couldn't get up the nerve to touch himself for a long time. He hid the scars on his back and they faded to rusty brown, and remained as slightly reddened, raised flesh.

Sometimes he had nightmares about it. On some nights, other people that he killed came back to hurt him. On others, L and Naomi fused together into a chimera that tortured him. Sometimes he dreamed that he was in a pool of blood and the shinigami just smiled at him.

He tried to block it out. To twist it into something different, try and believe that she was in love with him… Believe that it was a dream, or that he had wanted it in some way, or that it had hardened him, and made him stronger.

But he couldn't block it out, and it hadn't made him stronger. Only meaner and more wary.

Thirteen days after Light Yagami had written the name, Naomi was haunted by her sins no more. But the stain of the punishment that she inflicted lasted on and on.

The End