"The world is like a clock. Putting in an extra gear does not fix it; it's not always that easy. Often times that gear becomes trapped as it is dropped in, finding itself lodged between gears, and the watch stops altogether. Like a stone I was thrown into another world. As I fell I did not see the ripples I myself made."

Light Yagami first noticed her presence as a whispering of papers in an artificial breeze. As if a book had been left open carelessly behind him and its pages revealed what it would to any who cared to pass. Later he would reflect that there should have been thunder, lightning, a crash, an explosion, something of monstrous proportion to signal what had truly happened. Yet, there was nothing only that subtle noise and the faint whim to turn and see what book had been left open.

Having been writing in the notebook he only spared a casual glance behind him and yet once the image registered his pen stopped. Sitting behind him was a girl, between fifteen and seventeen judging at a glance, with blue eyes that seemed a bit too large and red-gold hair loosely tied back.

She blankly looked back at him, her eyes blinking once or twice, she seemed to focus on something and tilted her head. Then her eyes grew slightly wider and her face seemed to pale as something in her memory registered and triggered recognition. He had never seen her before in his life.

For a moment they simply stared at each other without masks and without illusions. Him with the notebook so casually open upon his desk and her sitting there hands in lap clenching the fabric of her shirt tighter. What lies they might have said died as they looked and saw their own naked reflection in the eye of the other. There was no mistaking it.

She ran first attempting to dart past him and through the door. She fumbled vaguely with the lock looking behind her to watch as he rose out of his chair and threw himself after her. It was a desperate gambit at an illusion of freedom; they both knew she had nowhere to run.

So when he dragged her away from the door (her fingernails tearing at the wood and her screaming all the while) and tied her to the computer chair (kicking and struggling) her efforts were only vague and half-hearted. She had lost even before she bolted from the bed.

Light sat himself on the bed across from her and watched through half-lidded amber eyes as she in turn watched him. Distantly he noticed Ryuk hovering above him, a cold shadow borrowed from another world, he could also hear his laughter.

"So then, who are you?" He asked in a voice that harbored the reshaping of plans.

She blinked looking stunned and then looked around and back at him, "I…I…I… I really don't know why I'm here and I'm very sorry and this is…" She trailed off her eyes widening slightly as she took in the fact that his position had not changed. There were no illusions left for either of them.

It was strange how in a single moment both decided that lies were useless and that pretenses would get them nowhere.

"Who are you?" He repeated from the same seated position with the same expression.

"I haven't thought of a name yet." She said softly in a stunned voice and then her eyes growing wider she leaned forward desperately and said louder, "I'm nobody, nobody important, nobody you would ever know! Really, I'm just, I'm not even supposed to be here!"

I haven't even thought of a name yet, that put things nicely into perspective. She knew about the notebooks, the names, and that was almost everything.

He couldn't help but smile slightly at that, "You know everything already, don't you? You hardly even glanced at the notebook, all you had to do was look at my face, I think you know exactly who I am. You're a terrible actress."

She leaned back in the seat and tried to scoot it farther back, "Listen, just listen, I don't even know what I'm doing here. I have no idea why I'm here. It doesn't matter if I know who you are or not because I won't be here long because this is a horrible horrible nightmare and I will wake up any…" She trailed off and her face paled as she took in more surroundings and the fact that the room had not changed.

He stood then and walked over toward her standing above her. He lifted her chin so that she would look him full in the face. "Let's dispense with the games, alright? Since you've already made it this far."

She tried to look away but her eyes returned, "Games… I really don't know what…"

"Of course you don't." He responded evenly, "Who are you?"

She took a deep breath and exhaled, "Just a high school student, that's all." She closed her eyes and muttered silently with pale and twitching words.

"I too, am just a high school student." Light commented drily causing her eyes to open in a flash of terror. "Who are you really?"

"No, really, that's it. That's all." She insisted desperately, "I… There's nothing I can even think of to say!"

Despite the desperation there wasn't much struggling for freedom. Instead she just blinked and watched him as he stood above her not yet making her move. It was as if, while she was talking, she was playing another game entirely in her own mind. She was calculating, thinking of what to do where to go, and while she did so she had ceased to be in the moment. Desperation, she had already decided, would do her no good. She was probably right.

She was right on another count as well. She did appear to be just a high school student. Someone perfectly normal, nothing to look twice at, it was only the setting that presented the jarring image. She was only odd because she was out of context.

"Who sent you?" He asked looking at her through narrowed eyes. It was possible she was working on her own but anyone this reckless reeked of being someone else's pawn. Still, he couldn't think of anyone who would have known he was Kira in order to manipulate him.

"No one, I mean… No one I know." She paused and took a breath, "I really have no idea why I'm here. One minute I was somewhere else and then I was… Well, you saw… I don't…"

He cut her off, "Am I really supposed to believe that?"

Her face paled and she stilled only looking at him. It was a few moments before she said, "Yes."

"And why's that?"

"Because nothing else makes sense." She insisted in a shaking voice, her eyes drifted to the notebook and she continued, "You haven't had it long enough… No one outside of the Shinigami realm knows who you are and no one in there cares right now. You haven't been around long enough for anyone to care, not really, not yet. And why would someone send me, I'm too young, too inexperienced. I'd make a terrible spy."

His eyes narrowed and he lowered himself so that he was looking at her from her eye level, "And do you care to tell me how you know that?"

She shook her head and whispered her answer, "Because you didn't insist that L did it and because you haven't tried to kill me yet."

He stood and walked back to the bed and said with his back turned, "Kill you. That's a bit extreme. You know saying that makes me believe, well it makes me think that I should have reason to kill you. Do I?" He looked over his shoulder and then faced her sitting down once again.

She seemed to be at a loss for words in her sheer terror. Finally she managed to say quietly swallowing heavily in between words, "No… No, I, no… It's too risky. There's no need. You'd have to do it by hand and… There'd be nowhere to put me and… You won't do it. It's not worth it."

(Though in that moment they both must have pictured her slit throat gleaming from the light that reached through the cracks of the dumpster where he had stashed her body.)

"No, I won't." He agreed solemnly.

In that moment of silence Ryuk had shifted between them, peering down at the girl, beginning to cackle. He looked at Light in expectation but did not interrupt. His wings like canopies stretched over them both covering their faces in invisible shadow.

"You're right," Light continued after a small amount of time, "It's not worth killing you, as you put it, at least not today."

Her eyes had become steadily blank so that they only reflected his own face and that of Ryuk in front of her. She looked steadily ahead unseeing and unwilling to show any expression on her face. He couldn't help but wonder whether or not she was relieved or if she was wise enough to understand she had only bargained for a single moment of her life.

Light began to smile as he continued, "If you work for someone else I have no doubt that they will be stationed around the perimeter. As you said disposing of you would become tricky in that circumstance. You aren't wearing a wire, there's no cellphone, nothing has been recorded thus I have more incentive to let you live."

She still did not move, simply sat, staring at him with a face like a doll's. No thoughts present on her face so as to present him with nothing to face but a brick wall and an empty mask.

"However," Light continued, "I highly doubt you are working for anyone. Only someone working alone, in desperation, would attempt something as idiotic as you have today. No one would risk a spy so casually. I entered this room twenty minutes ago, the door has been locked since. The lock has not turned, there have been no steps on the staircase, the window is closed and also locked."

She said nothing but expression returned to her face a certain wariness that was less terrorized than before but still spoke of nothing but fear.

"You're in the wrong place at the wrong time but that doesn't excuse you. I think you and I both know that you won't be leaving until I decide just what to do with you."

He stood and untied the clothes that had been used to strap her to the chair. They fell wrinkled to the floor and dazed she sat there looking up at him with confused eyes. They narrowed slightly and she asked, "How am I supposed to stay here? What are you going to say to…"She trailed off and watched as he walked past her and toward the door.

His hand touched the silver handle and he turned to look at her with solemn eyes, "You're an exchange student from the United States. The student who was supposed to house you did not check with his family. Left alone at school I took pity on you and said that my family would be happy to house you while you remain in Japan. It would be dishonorable to abandon you now."

He opened the door and motioned for her to exit. She stood slowly on shaking knees, she brushed off her jeans as if to remove some invisible stain that had settled itself while she was tied to a chair. Her eyes watched him warily the whole time. She walked toward him slowly he looked down at her feet.

"Take off your shoes. They should have been downstairs already but in your haste to see me you clearly forgot, don't make my carpet any dirtier than it has to be." He said shortly.

She nodded and hastily did so clutching them in one hand as she made her way past Light. He closed the door softly behind them and followed her down the stairs watching her tense back as they descended.

It was that moment that he felt he saw her best. Later the vision of her would become muddled in too many emotions and lies to be clearly visible. She was best remembered as the nameless stranger who had arrived from nothingness and was travelling quickly to that same destination with only a few moments to spare for being in places she didn't belong. Anything more than that quickly became unrealistic and faded into the background as she stepped past him.

Nightmares ended. Nightmares got to the point quickly, there was only a small build up, the monster did not present himself only to have tea and a conversation. The monster did not make plans. The monster simply killed you, and that was the end. He slammed you on a table and drew a knife out to let you watch it gleam and then he brought it to your neck and you died. Nothing more. Nightmares did not continue at the dinner table with only the vague pit of terror in one's stomach.

In a dream the demon had no time for waiting and formalities such as dinner with the family were usually avoided for the sake of time.

She was beginning to suspect she was no longer dreaming. When she had stopped dreaming she didn't know (or when she had started for that matter) she only knew as she sat next to Light Yagami and across from Sachiko Yagami and Sayu Yagami that she was no longer dreaming and that reality had ceased to go away when she stopped believing in it.

She had thought it was an odd dream in the beginning, (why Death Note?), but she had been convinced that it couldn't be real. Light Yagami wasn't the usual choice for a villain, he lacked a villain's sense of dramatics and terror, but he was terrifying. He had no knives, no guns, no blood on his hands, but he was just as dangerous and just as terrifying as the rest of them. And just like any other monster he would kill her if she gave him half a chance and half of a reason.

She was riding the tide of the dream at the moment, making no movement, just waiting as it bore her along and letting it take her where it would. Whether that was to a dark alleyway, a warehouse, or Yagami's dinner table was for fate to decide. She was so sure that she would say something wrong and she would be eliminated only for opening her mouth. And he watched her out of sideways glancing brown eyes that categorized her and dissected her and left her in labled boxes.

It was more likely that it was a dream, too many things explained themselves, but it was the worst dream she had ever had by far.

"I thought she wasn't arriving until later," Sachiko said and admonished her son, "I'm sorry we would have made you more welcome if we had known you were here."

Outside the sun had just begun to set. The family was preparing for dinner and she was sitting in the middle of it all silent as a stone.

Light Yagami looked down at her with narrowed eyes apparently abandoning his own explanation for whichever one the family prepared, "Apparently the date was lost in translation, she arrived today, I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier but I didn't know myself until I got to school."

"Still, they could have given some warning." Sachiko said mildy, "I don't even have her room prepared yet." She shook her head as if greatly disappointed with the magical exchange program that only existed to provide explanation for her random appearance in their lives.

She hadn't known deus ex machina could prove so thorough even in a dream. Her dream had made up its own exchange program just so that she could have a place in her favorite serial killer's home. It made her feel so special.

Sayu smiled and asked cheerfully, "So, how do you like Japan so far?"

She turned her head and stared at the younger girl blinking and wondering what she could say. Sayu's face fell as she continued to say nothing be nothing. Eventually she said, "It's nice, it's… different though. I'm tired right now, from jet-lag."

She looked at Light then; watching him. He looked different in person. After that first initial shock of realizing just who he was she had begun to notice small changes. He looked more real in person, lines less definitive, and eyes that revealed almost nothing. His eyes seemed to cave in on themselves as if someone had painted many layers of watercolor on top of each other until all the layers began to bleed together. He glanced at her with those same eyes, only a slight hint of amusement showing, before looking back at Sayu.

Sayu nodded slowly accepting the explanation, "Yeah, I've heard jet-lag is a real bummer. You'll get over it though, and then we'll have to give you a tour of Tokyo! It's great, you'll love it!"

"Yeah," She said softly, "We'll have to do that."

It wasn't going away, no matter how much she told herself it wouldn't last, it wasn't going away. It was such an odd conversation, such a normal conversation, as if she herself wasn't even there. She was elsewhere, watching, not kicking, screaming, fighting, running like she should have been. They always run in dreams, as if it helps, because its instinctive but she couldn't run and so she was stuck alive and in terror.

Sayu looked at her brother, "Hey, maybe Light will come too! It's so hard to get him out and about sometimes but now that you're here…" Sayu went on but she tuned the girl out instead thinking about everything.

She wondered what they thought her name was. She wondered whether it was European or some stupid Japanese name that didn't suit her or perhaps if it was her real name. Or maybe she was supposedly from Wammy's and had a pseudonym that also didn't fit her, something like Myth or Nepenthe or Rainbow. She wondered if she would find out, if they would tell her, or if they would just leave her in the dark until the dream ended.

She was in Death Note. She couldn't tell if it was the manga, the anime, or something in between. She had been transported instantaneously; without trigger and without ornamentation. She had found herself sitting on Light Yagami's bed staring at Kira and having no idea what she was doing there. Kira had tied her to a chair and then had released her with a smile.

Kira should have killed her. She should be dead. But she wasn't, and Sayu Yagami was talking as if it was all perfectly normal. Light Yagami said nothing, he just watched her, as if trying to decide just what she was.

She should be dead.

There were fan written stories about girls who entered Death Note. They were found by L and they declared that they knew everything and helped the great detective win the day. They were quirky, witty, and often times very beautiful. They had great senses of humor and soon enough L would fall in love with them, sometimes Light would as well.

In the real Death Note those girls would die. Faceless girls lying head down in the gutter, having been too careless, too loud. It would be so easy to slip.

She wasn't one of those girls. She wasn't from Wammys, wasn't a psychic, had no special powers, or great intellect. She didn't feel particularly charming and in the instant she had arrived she had known that no lie would help her stop him from seeing straight through her. She had stared into the eye of the dragon and had been paralyzed by it. It was so easy to slip, so easy to be careless, so easy to think you know everything and pay for it with a bullet to the head.

She should be dead. She should be dead. Oh god, she should be dead.

"Hey," Sayu interrupted looking slightly annoyed, "Are you even listening to me?"

"Sorry," She responded without thinking, "Sleeping with my eyes open I guess."

She should be dead.

After a single conversation Naomi Misora died, even after all her precautions, she died. If he really had to Kira could kill with just a smile. It was thought that Kira couldn't kill with his bare hands but she had her doubts. He never had to before, it was just easier if you had a notebook, but she thought that if he had to he would. Light Yagami would kill his family if he thought he had to.

She should be dead.

"Sayu, I think she's tired. She should probably get some sleep." Light said saving her from yet another of Sayu's dubious looks.

She looked at Light then, nodding dimly, not thinking that the man who should have killed her already had offered her an out, "Thanks." She said and then made her way past the table.

Distantly in the background she heard Sayu say, "Man jet-lag must do some crazy things to people."

2/1/2018 Author's Note: To those of you about to read this for the first time, hello, welcome. First, if you haven't abandoned this story already for daring to feature an SI I have a few warnings to you. While this story presents itself as a cat and mouse realistic take on an SI in truth it's more of a deconstructionist fic. This means that at chapter 25, what you thought was a thriller, will turn into what many consider postmodern pretentious garbage. If this isn't your cup of tea, consider this your fair warning that I perhaps should have offered the first time around when writing this fic but overlooked doing.

Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note