a/n: This one-shot is pretty ancient—2009, 2010, I'm thinking. It was meant to be a full on multi-chapter fic following Sayu after the series, but it never came to fruition. This can pretty much stand on its own anyway. Thanks for reading!

Cute Name

Dawn sets on his old home. Ugly, orange dawn. Choked and still, like the day it all ended, came crashing down on his head. Makes him shiver to think of it, really. But he doesn't hate them.

He is free.

He is forgetting gradually. He is too peaceful to hate.

He tried; he visited the white-haired boy who wore pajamas all the time. Thought about letting the kid touch his notebook, but decided against it. Wasn't in the mood to explain the point of the whole thing. He was content just staring at the kid stacking towers like a short order cook would stack flapjacks. He decided, by seeing the boy do this nearly for 4 or 5 hours on end that he would just leave him alone. He wasn't hurting anyone, and it didn't appear as if he got any real enjoyment out of Yellow Box. The boy wasn't laughing to himself. His name waved joylessly atop his head there in quirky, red lettering, almost an invite.

Yet in the end it didn't matter, and he didn't know why.

She matters. She's probably the last thing that will ever matter to him. After her he'll be forever empty, stuck roaming the earth, continually wondering if he should drop it or not.

Ryuk would probably laugh if he heard that even after all this time, he still watches the news.

Gradually, Kira's grip on things begins to wane. People begin to belittle, push, shove, humiliate again. Rob, mug, beat, molest, rape again. Someone rebuilds the Mafia. Corruption settles comfortably back into the seats of corporations and public offices around the globe.

Matsuda, Mogi, and Aizawa are still in the NPA, carrying on, as they've done before. Near stacks his tarot cards, Ryuk eats his apples, Sachiko cleans and cooks, and Misa drowns herself in a bathtub.

Sayu lies in bed all day, Sachiko and her wheel chair on beck and call, able to live and breathe and eat and still salvage something out of this life, but never, ever wanting to.

She reminds him of Kevin Spacey's dream girl bathing in a bed of roses in American Beauty, so alluring and so melancholy. She lays there on her bed as if it were the sphere of everything, no need to move because her bedroom already encompasses infinite space.

He floats above her, peering at her from different angles. After a while of doing this, it becomes apparent to him that she is the one who's floating, and not he.

Paralyzed, yet in the air, dreaming.

What are you thinking? He wonders.

He sees her do nothing day in and day out. The highlight of her day is taking a 'walk' with her mother every crisp morning and once more in the evening. That isn't any way to live.

The life she lives is no life at all.

He has the power to change it. He can give her a life with more meaning that was ever possible without him. Frankly… she'll be most important woman on Earth.

Then the idea he gets is so tempting, the prospect of the entertainment it will provide so tantalizing, he actually drops the notebook. It flops onto her bed with a sudden slap.

Sayu starts in shock and her head bumps against the headstand. She looks around her room, eyes darting everywhere. She inches toward the edge of her bed where the notebook lay, reaches out with trembling fingers. The notebook's cover is etched in words she can't understand. That probably scares her even more. He waits.

The touch of one finger is all he needs.

She taps the notebook and shirks back, as if it might burn. After a few seconds, she realizes it isn't acidic nor is it going to grow teeth and bite her, so she carefully opens the front cover and reads the first rule.

The human whose name is written in this note… shall die.

Sayu's breath hitches.

When he manifests, his hands close over her mouth and she falls back. Sachiko is downstairs, so he knows he has to calm her quickly before she screams.

"It's alright." her muffled yell dies off with a whimper. "I'm not gonna hurt you."

Her muffles are too loud, so he puts a spidery finger to his bony teeth, hissing through them. "Shhh…"

Her eyes are wide with fright. He tells her, "It's fine. I won't hurt you… unless you scream. If you keep quiet, you'll live. Do you understand?"

Sayu nods.

"I'm going to let go of your mouth now. Remember… one peep… and you're pushing up daisies."

Sayu nods once more, her eyes watering.

He takes his hand from her mouth and she takes in a deep drag of air.

"Now, before we get down to business, let's get the introductions over with, shall we? My name… is Raito. I am a Shinigami… a God of Death. That there's my notebook. I went to great pains to get it, so take good care of it. With great power… comes great responsibility."

"B-but why… Why did you choose me?" Sayu squeaks.

Raito smiles. About as much as a skull can smile. "I noticed you looked a little bored."

By the way her brows knit, he can tell she's deliberating hard about this. Her eyes are darting as if chasing different trains of thought. Finally, she says, "I… had a brother with that name. But you can't be him… can you?"

"Do I look like him?" his eyes glow.

Sayu shakes her head fearfully. "No…"

Raito tilts his head, seeing her name hover above her dark hair. The numbers below her name have decreased, which can only mean she's going to accept his proposition, though she has no idea what's in store—and what's in store is something a human being with any decency wouldn't wish on anyone. Fortunate, perhaps, that Shinigami needn't concern themselves with the idea of decency, or other such vanities.

"So… Sayu, huh? Cute name."