Grazhir :: Crossover :: FeS2: Add-Ons :: 03

03 Death Note

17062015-18062015

Death Note

“Dear God, hope you got the letter and, I pray you can make it better down here.” — XTC, Dear God


Derek did his usual screen and laser pointer routine, but this time two faces appeared. One was a young man with light brown hair, brown eyes, and taller than the average Japanese male. The other was a young lady with longish blonde hair and light brown eyes, and shorter than average.

“Yagami Raito and Amane Misa, both holders of a Death Note,” Derek said with a hint of distaste. “There are two insertion points for this one, should you chose to go. The first would be on or before 25 May 2004, when Amane first meets Yagami in person at his family’s home. The second would be 24 October when, after having previously relinquished ownership of her Death Note, Amane is reunited with Shinigami Rem, and not long before it all goes to hell.”

“Is it just taking these two out and spanking some Shinigami?” Harry asked. “Or is there someone we’d be saving in the process?”

Derek nodded and the screen image switched to two new faces. “L Lawliet and Quillsh Wammy. They both have multiple names, but for our purposes they go by L and Watari. L is the foremost detective in the world, easily solving cases, and has been doing so since a fairly young age. While not irreplaceable, the world would mourn his loss as a force of justice.

“Should the two human Death Note holders not be stopped, these two will most certainly die. That is in addition to the many, many others, who already have or will. Unfortunately, unlike you, master, Yagami and Amane do not have the temperament, maturity, or experience to handle that kind of power. Yagami slowly but surely loses most of his humanity and sends the world into a type of dark ages police state, and Amane is not much more than a puppet for Yagami.

“Her family was killed in front of her about a year prior to ‘current’ events, and Yagami, as Kira, killed the man in question after he was acquitted. Amane came into possession of a Death Note after she was attacked by a stalker and saved by a Shinigami who fell in love with her. That Death Note was collected by Shinigami Rem and given to Amane. Amane made a deal for Shinigami Eyes so that she could meet and thank Kira.”

“Hold up,” Tom said. “Shinigami Eyes?”

“Yes. My various reapers are able to see the true names of anyone they look at, as well as their lifespans. A mortal holder of a Death Note can trade half their remaining lifespan for a version of that power, though they will be unable to see the lifespan of a fellow Death Note holder. They also cannot interpret anything other than a name, as the encoding for the lifespan is beyond their understanding.”

“Have I been able to do something like that all this time and it’s just never come up?” Harry asked.

Derek smirked. “I may have forgotten to mention that detail.”

He shrugged. “Eh, it’s not like I’ve ever needed it in the past. But for shits and giggles, how do I activate them?”

Several minutes later Derek got back to his little PowerPoint presentation. “Now. Should you be seen by either Kira, they would only be able to see your true names, and not your lifespans. That would mark you, to them, as Death Note holders, and either as people to be killed or brought in as accomplices. Only Amane made the trade, though.”

Harry started laughing in delight. “Oh, this could be a lot of fun. For one thing, I can change my ‘true name’ as often as I want. Okay, what do these Shinigami look like?”

Tom made an unhappy noise at the new images. “That is disgusting.”

“Yeah,” he agreed. “What’s up with that, Derek? Why are they so icky?”

“They aren’t human,” Derek said. “You can’t hold them to human standards of beauty. And besides, Shinigami are forbidden to engage in sexual activities, either with each other or with humans. They do have a full range of emotion, though.”

“Damn,” Harry said quietly. “And I thought I was a sadist.”

“Yes, well, Shinigami Gelus fell in love with her, and sacrificed his life so that she would live. It is forbidden for Shinigami to purposely extend the life of a mortal. The Death Note Amane holds came from Gelus by way of Rem, and by giving it to her, Rem is attached to her in the same way Shinigami Ryuk is attached to Yagami.”

“But would they potentially mistake us for Shinigami?” Tom asked. “Despite having a human appearance?”

“Possibly. They have only seen Ryuk and Rem.”

“But I would imagine those two would know better,” Harry said, “and warn them. How much effective control do I have over the Shinigami?”

“I would prefer you leave the majority of them alone, but these two you can do what you want with. They have to answer to you as Master of Death. If you choose you can order them to play along with any deception and never even so much as hint at otherwise.”

“All right. How much control do I have, if any, over the non-deaths of mortals?”

“You can temporarily extend protection over L and Watari, though it would be more amusing should you not need to resort to that option. Your partner here is a very special exception, after all.”

“Okay,” he said briskly. “Time to hash out some ideas.”

*

After a great deal of discussion they finally made the transfer to the Japan in question, on 24 October 2004, after Rem had made contact with Amane. Because she had not touched or regained control of an actual Death Note Amane could not actually remember any of the events that Rem spoke to her of, but it was a decent enough starting point for Yuki and Tom.

Amane went to bed, leaving Rem to amuse herself. Yuki used what he knew from Derek to summon the Shinigami to him, in a park not far from the investigation team’s headquarters. Rem was more than a little shocked that anyone had such power, not to mention that she was presented with two humans.

“What is the meaning of this?” she demanded, which sent Yuki off into gales of laughter.

“How adorable,” he said. “Listen up, cupcake. You might have to answer to the ‘King’ of the Shinigami, but even he sits below me in the hierarchy. I’m sure you’ve noticed we don’t have any lifespan revealed to your pretty eyes. But hey, since I can tell you think I’m cracked, I’ll do this: sit!”

Rem found herself sitting on the grass a second later, an expression of surprise on her face.

“I can make you dance like a dodgy marionette, cupcake, so I suggest you don’t try my patience. Unless, that is, you really were planning to die in the next few minutes. Now, tell me why you made contact with Amane Misa. She relinquished the Death Note you gave her at your urging and has no memories of that period.”

“She is my responsibility.”

Yuki shook his head. “No, no. What you should have done was return to the Shinigami realm along with both Death Notes, yours and Gelus’s. You stuck around, and I already know you view most humans with contempt. Explain.”

Rem heaved a sigh. “In order to protect Misa, as I had assured Yagami that I would kill him if he placed her life in danger or attempted to kill her using his Death Note, I did as he asked and found someone greedy, forceful, and selfish to give Yagami’s Death Note to after he relinquished it. Misa joined the investigation and was helping by using her alleged status as the second Kira to get Higuchi to admit to being Kira.

“Unfortunately, Higuchi decided that, as she was a threat, having in all likelihood known the original Kira and the detective L, she would have to be dealt with. His plan for that was to get her to marry him, take out a large life insurance policy on her, and then kill her using the Death Note when she was no longer useful to him.”

“So you used part of a Death Note to get her to be able to see you again,” he said, keeping an eye on her thoughts to see if she would try to lie to him.

“Yes, with a small piece of paper I tore from Higuchi’s Death Note. She would have to touch one of the book covers to get her memories back. I explained a few things to her to help her with the investigation, giving her a hint as to which member of the Yotsuba Group was the present Kira.”

“I see. Why you persist in this affection for a mortal is beyond me, but I see. Well, let me tell you something, cupcake. I am extending my personal protection over the mortals you know as L and Watari. That means none of you Shinigami can kill either of them, not even in defense of Amane’s life.”

‘Understood, master,’ Derek chimed in.

“You know as well as I do what’ll happen if you do, because no matter what fantastical justifications you dream up in your head at this point, it’ll still boil down to her defense.”

Rem looked upset and her thoughts echoed that perception. “But I can still subtly lead toward Higuchi getting caught.”

“Of course,” he allowed. “That would still depend on the mortals actually managing to handle the situation. Though,” he said, idly tapping the side of his face with a finger, “I should probably mention that I have every intention of seeing Yagami and Amane die for their parts in all this.”

Rem launched up off the ground in outrage and went for her Death Note, then froze, realizing the inherent trap.

“I don’t recall saying it was all right for you to stand up again,” he said coldly. “Sit.”

Rem hit the ground again before she realized what happened.

“Yagami is turning into a sanguinary psycho with a marked lack of empathy, compassion, or even the ability to see the consequences of his actions, and is more than willing to sacrifice Amane and his own family members to keep himself safe. Amane is little more than a starry-eyed, lovesick pawn, thrilled for the most part to kill whoever Yagami wants dead if by doing so it would take the heat off him. Higuchi is even worse, amazingly enough, which is why I’m allowing you to make those subtle hints for the mortals to pick up on and capitalize on.

“How you act during all this will tell me just how Amane should die, either peacefully or horrifically.” He stopped for a moment, eyeing her intently, then sighed. “You still don’t really believe. Well. . . .” After a quick exchange of thought with Derek he took Tom’s hand and then gestured for Rem to stand up, then grabbed her hand as well. Then he shifted them straight into the Shinigami realm and released Rem.

“How did—?” Rem went silent as she considered the implications.

“Would you like me to summon every Shinigami here and have them act out Romeo and Juliet? Because I can do that if you’re bored. I’m sure your ‘king’ would make for a lovely Juliet, or perhaps an unimportant background character. Or are you satisfied that I have power over you more than just ordering you to sit like a damn dog?”

“Yes. I believe you now, much as I wish I did not have to. But I should not stay here.”

“True,” he allowed, and took her hand again before shifting them back. “So, go on and drop your subtle hints or make your reasoned arguments to Higuchi, but take no direct action against anyone. And I suggest you be circumspect when it comes to giving out true information about the Death Notes.”

Rem nodded and, after a pause when Yuki said nothing more, floated away.

Yuki shifted himself and Tom to the hotel room they had rented and then flopped onto the bed. “I really didn’t want to have to extend protection over those two, but I didn’t see how to get around it.”

Tom shrugged and sat down next to him. “It’s only temporary. Amane wouldn’t even be involved if Gelus hadn’t interfered, though I suppose I can conceive of how love would make someone act that way. It was still compounded by Rem giving his Death Note to the girl which, given that her parents’ murderer had been killed and her stalker died during his attempt, why Rem felt it necessary to hand it over. . . . I do rather wonder just how long her lifespan is considering that a Shinigami gave up the remainder of his to her, even if she traded for the eyes.”

Yuki perked up a little. “I’ll have to check. I still plan to kill her, of course, but it’s an interesting question.”

“You could always consider making a few changes to the rules,” Tom suggested.

“Oh? What were you thinking of?” he said, and rolled over onto his side so he could prop his head up on one hand.

“Well, I wouldn’t want to completely ruin the fun of such bored Shinigami, but perhaps something such as. . . . If a Death Note dropped into the human world is not reclaimed within a certain period of time, then the human holder and the Shinigami who last held it would be destroyed, and the Death Note returned to the king.”

“Hm. What do you think, Derek? I think that sounds interesting.”

Derek shadowed into the room and said thoughtfully, “Well, it is a compromise. It should prevent a situation such as Yagami Raito from happening again. But I would say, perhaps, destruction of the mortal human only if they had used the Death Note.”

Yuki sat up and nodded slightly. “Yeah. Just picking it up and investigating it shouldn’t be a death penalty. Nor should attempting to destroy it. I’m a bit iffy on whether or not if they use it just a single time, though.”

“Many would be curious,” Tom said. “I most likely would have tested one, though probably abandoned it in favor of a more personal approach. And, according to the rules we’ve seen, a mortal human who uses one cannot go to Heaven or Hell, so they’re being punished either way. Many don’t believe in such places, but I suppose they’ll find out the truth after death. If a mortal claims a Death Note, uses it once to test it or out of skepticism, then abandons it or tries to destroy it, then I see no reason why they couldn’t live out the remainder of their life.”

“I don’t think that’s too unreasonable,” Yuki agreed. “As you said, they’ll be punished either way. The associated Shinigami doesn’t have to appear straight away, and even if they did, nothing forces them to be entirely forthcoming about all of the rules or consequences.”

“How long?” Derek asked.

Tom pursed his lips and eyed Yuki, then said, “Yagami had killed dozens and in a mere week. An extreme example, perhaps, but let’s say . . . a month?”

Derek cocked his head to one side, then nodded. “Still sounds reasonable. It maintains free will to an acceptable extent, but still punishes those who would toy with Death Notes.”

“If you like the idea, I’m all for it,” Yuki said. “If someone is foolish enough to test one, realize it really does work and maybe even remembers this time period and the outcome, and still keeps using it, well, they deserve what they get. The only other option I can think of is for a mortal human using a Death Note to get a free ride for the first name, but thereafter loses a set amount off their lifespan for each valid name. The Shinigami who allowed it to happen and didn’t reclaim the book within a certain time frame should still be punished, though.”

“How many can be active at once?” Tom asked.

“Six. If more were to be dropped to the human world only the first six would function, but should one be reclaimed or destroyed, the next in line would activate for the holder. I think I prefer the first idea. True, with the second the mortal in question could write themselves into death in a matter of minutes, but that doesn’t seem quite as satisfying.”

Yuki shrugged. “I might disagree if Yagami had targeted someone I gave a damn about, but that’s a bit impossible considering we’re not even from the same dimension. It’s up to you, Derek. Actually, that does spark a question, though I expect I already know the answer. Can these books cross dimensions?”

Derek stared for a minute, then shook his head. “No. Yagami could not target a Yamada Taro of this dimension and actually kill someone in a different dimension because he was unaware that our example had died already.”

He nodded. “Just checking.”

“I will contemplate this proposed rule change and implement it after this event is concluded,” Derek said, then shadowed away.

“So basically,” Yuki said, “we watch this play out for a bit. I’d prefer both of them have claimed a Death Note before I do much, so that they have all their memories. No sense tormenting someone who can’t remember the deeds in question.”

Several days later Rem had maneuvered Higuchi into exposing himself to the plan concocted by L, Yagami, and Amane. The Death Note was retrieved and Raito got his hands on it while L was floored by the experience of having witnessed with his own eyes the sight of a Shinigami. Raito immediately, after recovering from having regained his memories, produced a piece of paper from a Death Note from a hidden compartment in his watch and killed Higuchi, thereby reclaiming the Death Note. He was, again, Kira.

A look into Yagami’s mind confirmed all that Yuki had already been told. The guy was a psychopath, worse even than Tom, with miniscule potential to choose otherwise. L was forced to officially release Amane; and Yagami, while escorting her from the building, whispered to her to go to a specific location to retrieve a lost item. Amane looked elated and rushed off shortly thereafter to do his bidding.

She retrieved the Death Note presently attached to Ryuk and read the letter inside left by Yagami, but was distressed to realize that she could no longer remember L’s true name, not after so much time and with having seen so very many names. She opted to trade for Shinigami Eyes again.

‘Rem would most likely not have made that trade a second time,’ Tom commented as they observed, safely hidden from Ryuk’s eyes.

‘I agree. She’s been trying to keep the girl alive, after all. Halving her lifespan again would be counterproductive. Speaking of which, the girl doesn’t have all that much time left anyway. Gelus was apparently too depressed to do much in the way of extending his own life. She’s lucky if she has a decade remaining at this point, which is a damn shame for someone so young.’

‘So she’s going to wait for a signal from Yagami, and she’ll move to eliminate L, and then Watari.’

‘Yes.’

‘So let’s go. Best to have a front row seat for the entertainment.’

For the purposes of the amusement he fashioned a fake Death Note and hung it off his belt with a strap. It would, however briefly, serve to confuse the people involved, especially with it worn so openly. They turned back so they could witness Yagami’s reaction to events and arrived, hidden by the power of Yuki’s Cloak, to see L questioning Rem regarding the Death Note.

Rem did not especially wish to assist any of them and kept giving unhelpful or vague answers.

‘This L has an amazingly structured mind,’ Tom said admiringly. ‘For a muggle to achieve this is incredible.’

‘Oh yes. It’s like a damn computer in there, all neatly-filed facts, statistics, percentages, and whiteboards with disparate information gathered together to see links.’

After rather a lot of discussion and questioning of a reluctant Rem, L finally offered up the suggestion that as it would be extremely unlikely that due process could properly convict Kira, they would probably have to force Kira to write their own name in the Death Note.

Rem, at that point, got the weirdest expression on her face, one of realization and frustration. It was then, after Yagami cast a significant look at the Shinigami, that Yuki decided to join the party. He revealed himself and Tom, smirking as Rem’s eyes widened, then giggled quietly.

Everyone spun around to see who had made the noise, then gaped at having been sneaked up on like that. Both L and Yagami noticed the fake book almost instantly. “Who are you? How did you get in here?” Yagami demanded.

In contrast, L reached over to check the camera feeds and was subsequently surprised when they revealed that the two had simply phased into view.

“You young people are adorable,” Yuki said.

“Who are you?” Yagami repeated. “How did you obtain that book?”

Yuki grabbed his fake book and waved it around, then tossed it onto the nearest desk. “Have at it.”

Yagami immediately reached over to run his fingers over the cover, then frowned when no Shinigami appeared in response. L did the same, but without the frown. No, he had an intense look on his face that bespoke rapid calculation.

“Oh, did I forget to mention? That one’s a fake. My idea of a joke. Hello, Rem, lovely to see you again. Been having fun with the little people?”

Rem scowled and looked off to the side.

“As to who I am, you may call me Fuse Yuki. My companion may be called Fuse Ango.”

‘Cipher?’ Tom said. ‘All right.’

“Called?” L said. “Then those are not your real names.”

“They are, actually, in a certain sense,” Yuki replied. “That is my name while I’m in this form. Rem can confirm that.”

Rem glanced over long enough to nod her agreement. “This is accurate.”

Yagami desperately wanted to test that statement out, but could see no way to do so without bringing open suspicion back down on his head. And Rem was not acting as he expected her to with the threat to Amane’s life; she was not killing L or Watari. Yuki smirked on pulling away from Yagami’s mind.

“How is it you do not have an accompanying Shinigami?” L asked.

Yuki grinned a bit psychotically. “Well now, that’s probably because I’m not one of you adorable little mortals, and I hold the original Death Note, the one that spawned all those used by the Shinigami.”

“And your companion?” L asked, sending a swift look at Tom.

“Oh, he’s not mortal, either,” he said cheerfully. “You can think of him as my partner in crime. We get into all sorts of trouble together. Meddling is such wonderful entertainment. But I’m afraid this tragic comedy you people have going on is fast coming to a close. You see, a few people have recently pissed me off and I plan to make sure they get what’s coming to them.”

Yagami scoffed. Disbelief warred with fear.

“So, consider this fair warning. Some of you have very little time left. Make what you will of it. Entertain us, why don’t you.” He laughed and Cloaked himself and Tom, smiling at the gasps of surprise that erupted from the men in the room.

‘Laying it on a bit thick, are we?’

‘Eh, why not? It’s fun!’

Tom reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose.

The room erupted into discordant babbling, but L and Yagami stayed quiet, obviously thinking hard. There was a brief lull when the fake Death Note fell apart into sparkles of light, but it began again anew.

Yagami finally faced Rem. “Those were their real names?”

Rem shrugged. “Yes.”

“I am going to test the thirteen day rule,” L announced, which caused yet more babbling and arguments, and Rem to look agonizingly frustrated.

A phone call came in on Yagami’s mobile and everyone was able to hear Amane say, her voice loud in her enthusiasm, “Misa did it!”

“You got that new role?” Yagami said quickly. “I know how much you’ve been wanting it. We’ll have to celebrate later.”

“But—”

“You deserve it,” Yagami said, cutting her off. “We’ve had some developments here, though, so I can’t talk right now. Come by tomorrow and we’ll make plans.” He broke the connection and put his phone away.

L stared at him sidelong for several moments, then repeated his earlier assertion.

Yuki and Tom left them to it, but he did tag several parts of their headquarters with listening charms, as well as Yagami and L.

The next day Amane showed up at HQ, and she and Yagami went off to “celebrate” her new role. Anyone with any sense could figure out what he had meant by that, but as both had officially been cleared—at least in the eyes of the investigation team—L could not overtly hinder either of them.

Yuki and Tom followed the duo. Yagami was sifting through plan after plan after plan in response to the evening previous. “I just don’t understand why it didn’t work,” he muttered.

“Misa did what you wanted,” she assured him. “Misa got the eyes back and remembered she had a picture of L on her phone, so she used that to be sure of his name. Misa wrote it in the book, took several pages from it, and buried it again like you said.”

“I have to somehow get you into a position where you can see those two men.”

“Huh?” she said. “What men? What do you mean?”

Yagami looked around casually, looking for eavesdroppers. Considering they were in a park that was, at present, rather empty, he did not look too concerned. But even Yuki was aware of technology that would allow people to hear anything they said from a distance.

He led her over to a bench under a tree and took a seat, letting his head drop a bit so that it would be harder for any observers to read his lips. Amane happily sat next to him. “Two men appeared last night,” he said quietly, not much above a whisper. “The spokesman claimed they were not mortal, and that he held the original Death Note. If you could see them, see their names, you could write their names. I was in no position to get pictures of them. But since you’ve been a part of the investigation team, maybe you could view the footage from the security cameras. L knows there’s a second book out there still, so it might not get connected to you.”

Tom snorted at that. ‘His whole plan was predicated on the idea that Rem would move to save Amane from L’s rightful suspicion, and kill herself in the process. Of course L will find a way to target her again.’

Yuki nodded, even though Tom couldn’t see it. ‘You see anything we need to change, or. . . ?’

‘No. It still looks fine. We let her get that look, one way or another, and she can try, and fail, and then you can write up the circumstances of their deaths. Nice and neat.’

‘Okay!’

Yagami and Amane showed back up at HQ. Amane was bubbly, but also concerned about the strange men Raito had told her about. Was there anything she could do?

L had a faintly knowing look on his face at hearing that, but allowed her to see the footage from the night before. Her eyes went wide, she gasped, and said how happy and relieved she was that none of them present had been harmed. She also thought the two of them were “very handsome”.

‘So he’s curious himself to see if we can be killed that way,’ Tom commented. ‘How cold. It’s perfectly all right if someone else uses a Death Note to kill someone and test his theories, but he won’t do it himself?’

‘Yeah. It doesn’t exactly make me think kindly of L, but whatever. He does at least use the justice system to deal with criminals and hasn’t gone all vigilante on them like Yagami has. All of this is very interesting, though, in light of my status and propensity to off people when motivation strikes.’

‘I’ll return the favor of that threat you once made,’ Tom replied, ‘and bitch slap you into next week if you lose your sense of humor and inherent kindness.’

‘Aw, you’re so sweet.’ He leaned over to give Tom a brief but heartfelt kiss. ‘We’ll keep each other on the crooked and wide, okay?’

‘Of course.’

Amane shook her head at Yagami ever so slightly. A peek told him that she was telling him they had no lifespan indicators, and that Yagami took that to mean they both really were holders of Death Notes, not that they were immortal.

Plans were hashed out regarding L’s insistence on testing the thirteen day rule—he had privately instructed Watari to find a convict on death row to do the test. Should the convict live their sentence would be commuted to life, and if they should die due to the rule, well, they were scheduled to die anyway.

Yagami and Amane went out to dinner that evening at an expensive restaurant. Yuki and Tom arranged to get a table in view of theirs, pretending not to notice they were there, or that L had managed to get watchers in place, as well. Yagami took the bait and prompted Amane, then said, “How about we set something up for later? I know you’ll be busy with that new role, but I’m sure you’ll have time to go out with me again.”

“You won’t be too busy with the investigation?” she asked, getting a day planner from her bag and flipping it open.

“No,” he assured her. “Maybe dinner again, though I suppose we can visit some amusement instead.”

She scanned the pages and said, “Well, Misa is free for sure in two days, all day long! Then Misa will visit her sister, and after that she has to be at the studio.”

Yagami nodded and tapped the page her day planner was open to. “Then hold the day for me, two days from now.”

Amane started writing. “Misa just knows you’ll think of something wonderful,” she said confidently.

Two days later Amane showed up at HQ to meet up with Yagami and make preparations to go off on their date. Yuki chose to appear again at that point, with Tom at his side, delaying their departure. Yagami looked both fearful and anticipatory when he saw them. Rem and Ryuk were both present, but the majority of the people on the investigation team could only see Rem, and she looked resigned. Ryuk, however, looked surprised.

“Hello,” Yuki chirped. “It’s getting really close to that time. Rem, Ryuk,” he greeted, then tossed an apple to Ryuk. The Shinigami caught it, sniffed it warily, then devoured it with glee.

L stiffened at the evidence that there was another Shinigami in the room. Yagami looked angry.

“So. Gotten any closer, L-kun?” he asked kindly. “I mean, I realize you have all these boneheads working on the team, hindering you, refusing to see the evidence right in front of their eyes, but surely you have something.”

Before L could say anything, one of the twitchier men on the team accidentally discharged his weapon and shot Yuki in the heart. Yuki looked down and dug the bullet out with his fingers, and held it up to inspect it, blood dripping everywhere.

Derek chimed in with, ‘I’ll take care that your blood tells them nothing, master.’ He sounded slightly peeved in Yuki’s opinion.

‘Thanks, Derek!’ he sent back happily.

Tom pinched the bridge of his nose and said, “You get shot far too often.”

He pocketed the bullet and grinned. “Eh, you know how skittish the mortals can be. But I’m perfectly fine. I’m sure it was just an accident,” he said, winking broadly in case anyone was feeling a bit slow on the uptake. “Like I said, getting real close to the dénouement of this tragic little comedy.”

L eyed him seriously. “Is the thirteen day rule even real?”

Yuki grinned again. “L-kun! I wouldn’t want to spoil your fun. Or Ryuk’s.” He produced another apple and tossed it over. “You want anything, Rem, or are you not suffering from addiction like Ryuk here is?”

Rem looked away.

Yuki pouted at the refusal. “O~kay!” he chirped. “I think Ango-kun and I are going to head out. I’m sure we’ll see you soon enough.” He clapped in delight at the upcoming deaths and made a squeeing sound.

Tom rolled his eyes and sighed. “I knew I shouldn’t have let you get all that manga.”

He pouted again before Cloaking the two of them.

L sent Yagami and Amane off, ostensibly uninterested in what they were up to. And indeed, despite the major coincidence of someone getting fatally shot, he still had no concrete evidence that Amane had done it, or Yagami.

Back in their hotel room Yuki wrote out the deaths for the two miscreants. It would be a mutual murder pact on their parts, and they would be kind to each other. Yagami because he was forced to, and Amane simply because. They each, before they wrote in each other’s deaths, drafted letters to the investigation team, indicating that they had instructed the Shinigami to retrieve the Death Notes and take them away so that no one else would be caught up with them. A bold lie, of course, but nothing L could ever prove in the end. Yuki would be taking them personally, as well as any bits of paper either had secreted, and would toss them back into the Shinigami realm.

They were found by a couple wandering the park early the next morning and a frantic call went out to the police.

Later on, with Yagami’s father devastated by the evidence that his son had indeed been Kira, and the other team members similarly gutted, saw L and Watari alone in one of the rooms. Yuki and Tom popped back in to say good-bye.

“Now, I’m sure this isn’t quite what you hoped for, L,” he said, “but it was my prerogative, and I chose to have them kill each other and leave behind evidence.”

“But not the books.”

“Of course not.”

“Who are you really?”

He grinned. “The Master of Death, immortal, and nuttier than a squirrel’s winter cache. Death alerted me to the situation here, so we hashed out a plan of action. Ango came up with some modifications to the rules by which Death Notes are handled, so those will go into effect shortly. True, it would still be possible for another Yagami Raito to happen, but they’re being limited to a month before being recalled, should a Shinigami get away with dropping one in the human world to alleviate their boredom.”

“And the thirteen day rule? I believe it to be a fake.”

“It’s fake,” he confirmed. “Yagami asked Ryuk to write that in to sow confusion and direct suspicion off him. Now. You two. I was under no obligation to save your lives, though I did. Amane wrote your name in her Death Note.” He produced it and showed L the actual page, so he could see more than just his own name written there. “Rem would have killed Watari in order to take suspicion off Amane. But, I extended my protection over you two for the duration of this event. Use that benevolence well, because it won’t be extended again. You are breathtakingly intelligent, L, but not infallible, and not above being outsmarted.”

L nodded, a bit reluctantly. “Limited? What happens to those involved?”

Yuki eyed him for several moments. “No, no. I already saved your life. Your continuing curiosity isn’t all that interesting to me. Just know that the Death Notes have been recalled.” He turned his attention to Watari. “As for you. . . .”

Watari looked a bit startled at being singled out.

“You really need to go easier on that heart of yours. Consider training up a replacement so you can enjoy your twilight years, maybe Roger. Take up a hobby or something. You’re British, so gardening, maybe. Stop stressing yourself out so much. Though really, why you like Earl Grey is just incomprehensible. Stuff tastes like cat piss.” He shook his head, leaned against Tom, and shifted them away.