"Ryuzaki, I have a question," Taro asked.
"Yes?" The detective didn't look at Taro, but kept looking over the huge stack of papers in front of him.
"You had been the world's greatest detective before the Kira case came around, even if you weren't as well known. Then surely you must have heard of the people I killed, back in 2002?"
"As a matter of fact, I did."
"How come you never came forward then?"
"Well, there simply wasn't a case. By the time it came to my attention, the whole thing was over, and no one had actually died, so I figured it must have been some kind of hoax. A very big, complicated, pointless hoax, but still just a fraud. It seemed beneath me at the time."
Taro thought about that, "I guess that makes sense." Then he saw that Ryuzaki had looked up from his papers, and seemed deep in thought.
"But..." he finally spoke, "something about it piqued my interest. Perhaps it was because nothing about it made sense. People mysteriously dying of heart attacks, and then coming back to life. It was clearly impossible, and yet if it was a hoax, what could have been the purpose? People usually forget about those kinds of things, but I kept it in the back of my mind, puzzling over it, even as I left to work on other cases.
"A year later, when Kira emerged, I remembered that, and began checking into it immediately. Because of you, I was examining Kira's deeds long before he expected me to. Once I had verified the deaths, I became somewhat worried."
"Because there had been resurrections before?"
"Yes. I can deal with criminals, but if the killings really were the work of the supernatural, I felt sure that I would lose. Though I never let it show, that slight doubt shook some of my confidence during the early stages of the investigation, although I was only 5% certain that the two incidents were connected.
"Then, once we actually discovered the Death Note and how it worked, I felt somewhat relieved. If Kira did not have the power to raise the dead, there was less to fear from him. I concluded that the earlier incident must have been unrelated, and banished it from my mind. It is only recently, since my resurrection, that I pieced together the actual truth."
So, because of me, L was on the case fast enough to realize who Kira's first victim was, and if it weren't for that, he would never have even known where Kira was. That made Taro feel a little better.
"I just thought of something," Taro said. "Couldn't Light just use the eraser to keep coming back to life forever? I mean, he would have to be killed by the Death Note for it to work, but if he wrote his name down, he could always arrange for someone to erase his name later, so he would come back to life. What's to stop him from doing that forever?"
"His lifespan, most likely," Ryuzaki said. "I've talked with the shinigami, and he said that human beings are destined (for lack of a better word) to live for a certain time, whether they will die from a disease, old age, or an accident. This time can be cut short by the Death Note. I would presume that using the eraser would only restore whatever life that person had left when he died."
"That makes sense," Taro said. "So no matter what he does, eventually Light's lifespan would just run out. "That's good."
"It is, although he may try to use the strategy you mentioned to delay his final death. Either way, there is something he will need."
"What's that?" Taro asked.
"An accomplice," Ryuzaki informed him. "He will need someone to either bring him back to life, or to carry on his mission after he is gone."
Taro thought about that. That made things a lot more difficult. Instead of just waiting for Light to die, there would be more Kiras waiting in line. Is that how it's going to be, he thought. Fighting Kira after Kira in a never ending stalemate?
At that moment, the line to Roger, Ryuzaki's assistant, opened up. The two of them waited, but Roger didn't say anything.
"Hello?" Ryuzaki finally prompted.
"I'm afraid I have some bad news for you, L," came the reply. Taro paled.
The voice wasn't Roger's.
"Is there anything else left?" Sayu asked.
"Just some of the files," Matsuda said, looking over from the driver's seat. The two of them had been clearing all of the equipment out of Light's old apartment, the former headquarters of the Kira Task Force. Aizawa and the others had pretty much left it the way it was since his death, but Ryuzaki had ordered them to remove everything. When asked why, he had replied that he didn't want Light to get his hands on anything of value.
Matsuda felt really guilty about, well, looting the place. After all, he had worked there with Light for years. They had chased Kira from there, or so he thought.
There were some days when he still couldn't believe Light was Kira. That he had fooled him right up to the end. Then it seemed like the others had known all along. He felt so blind. Had Light really manipulated him, personally, so easily?
Of course, since Light was back, he had other things to worry about. Now he just hoped Sayu wouldn't ask for any details about her brother's death. That was the last thing he wanted to talk about, especially to her.
"Matsuda..." Sayu asked, picking up something from the floor of his car, "what's this?"
Matsuda gulped. "It's a manga."
Sayu glared at him. "I know it's a manga, but it says 'The Death Note.' The majority of the population doesn't know about the Death Note, so what is this?"
"I picked it up a few years ago," Matsuda explained, "a little while after Light-I mean, after the case ended. It was a possible origin story for Kira. Or so everyone thought.
"But I knew the Death Note was real, so I wasn't sure who had written this. I was sure that the name Ashirogi Muto was a fake, so that was no help. It was published before Kira died, but obviously it hadn't been him. So I kept thinking that someone else might know about the Death Note, but I knew if I told anyone it might cause a panic over nothing."
Sayu skimmed through the book, thinking. About her brother, who had secretly been Kira. About Taro, who had known about the Death Note long before anyone else had. And about Matsuda, who had known about this manga, but hadn't said a word.
We all have secrets, I guess.
"My husband must have written it," she said aloud.
"Yeah, look at this. It has the shinigami and everything, but it also has the eraser, which no one had any reason to suspect at the time, except Taro."
"Oh, you're right," Matsuda said, unsure of how to react.
"What was he thinking?" she wondered, shaking her head. "If Kira had found out about this, he would have killed him for sure."
"I guess Light wasn't that into mangas."
"But there's no way Taro could have guessed that. He didn't know Light was Kira."
"True, but see? It doesn't show his real name on the cover," Matsuda said. "My guess is he was really trying to lure Kira in." Then he looked at Sayu and saw the tears in her eyes. "What's wrong?"
"I just...wish he had told me," Sayu said. "On the same afternoon, I found that both Light and Taro had a secret life that they hid from me. And not just any secret lives, but Light was Kira and Taro used to have Kira's powers. I'm still having trouble taking it all in."
Matsuda bit his lip. Contrary to what everyone said, he really had matured a lot since the Kira case had ended, even if it didn't always show. He had once been attracted to Sayu himself, despite the differences in their age, and he wanted to comfort her and tell her that everything was alright. But they were both married now, and she was obviously vulnerable; if he wasn't careful, something might happen that they would both regret.
"I think you should talk to Taro about it," he suggested. "It's better to get all these feelings out in the open."
Sayu chuckled, drying her eyes. "I guess you're pretty good about expressing your feelings, Matsuda," she said.
Well, that wasn't exactly what he meant, but..."Yeah, I guess I am."
Matsuda looked at the road ahead and swore. "Oh, what's this?" It looked like a mob had gathered in the street. "Move it, people!" he shouted.
One of the people walked up to the car, and held up a piece of paper with a drawing on it. "Have either of you seen this man?"
Before Sayu could even glance at the picture, Matsuda snarled, "No, we haven't seen him. You people are obstructing traffic; you need to get out of the way!"
Without waiting for the man to respond, Matsuda sped off, angrily honking his horn at the massive crowd as he drove around them.
What was that all about, Sayu wondered. Then it was her turn to notice that Matsuda, despite making a big show of being annoyed, was shaking. "Oh man, this is really bad," he shuddered.
"What is?" she asked.
"Those people were looking for Ryuzaki."
Earlier that afternoon...
Yuu Sabanto logged in to her computer, and finally got the message she had been waiting for. It's about friggin' time, she thought.
The Kira forums had exploded about the cell that had mobilized in England. Apparently, they had attacked an orphanage that was run by L supporters, and Kira himself had given the kill order. Several of the followers had been arrested, but the mission had been a success. Sabanto was sure the cell she ran in Kanto would be called on soon.
What an honor. It was one thing to be in charge of spreading the word about Kira in Japan's most heavily populated region. In and of itself, it was ideal that it be done through a grassroots program, and not by an opportunist like Demegawa, or an airhead like Takada. Even after Kira's apparent departure, Yuu Sabanto and others like her had kept Kira's doctrine alive. No crime should go unpunished, and the punishment for criminals is death.
But when Kira returned, he had quickly made it clear that the cells would answer to him now, and were not to act without his permission. Immediately, all of the cell leaders had pledged their loyalty, and sworn to keep Kira updated on everything that went on in their region, so he could stay informed. Now he had started giving orders, and the attack in England was just the beginning.
Now, Lord Kira had a mission for her people as well.
The message supplied a description and sketch of L, along with the commend that he be photographed on sight. It also consisted of two addresses within the city, and the instructions to burn them to the ground. The target?
Getting out of the country was a lot easier than Light had expected. And when he arrived in the United States, Mr. Tollon was waiting for him just as he promised.
It went without saying that he needed to find some kind of permanent residence now that he was completely on his own. And considering that Carl Tollon was one of the millionaires who had promised most of his fortune to Kira's cause, it seemed like he would be willing to help.
Of course, he obviously hadn't told Tollon that he was Kira. As far as Tollon knew, he was a member of Japan's secret service, who was keeping in close contact with the pro-Kira groups in the United States, and had to be on-location. That way, he could remain locked away in his guest room, communicating with the cell members online, and the man wouldn't suspect a thing. Of course, it was almost a needless precaution; even if Tollon did think something was amiss, Kira had confirmed his identity when he ordered Tollon to offer Light Yagami board, and Tollon wouldn't refuse an order from Kira.
"Is there anything else I can do for you, Mr. Asahi?" Tollon asked, upon showing Light to his room.
"No, that's all for now. Thank you very much for letting me stay here."
"It was my pleasure," Tollon said. Then he closed the door, leaving Light and Justin alone.
This was the sort of moment where Ryuk would have made some kind of smart-ass comment. Justin, however, remained silent. He's a lot more reserved, Light thought.
Despite the fact that L was still alive, things were going rather well. Wammy's House had been taken care of, and L would soon find himself at the mercy of Kira's followers. Once he chose someone to be his proxy, he would be able to hold Japan with as much power as he had before. And once L was dead, there would be no one left to stop him.
Aloud, Light said, "This is perfect. From here, I'll be far enough away from L that he won't be able to find me. But of course, he'll have other things to worry about soon enough."
Justin nodded. "I guess so, Mr. Asahi."
It only made sense for Light to use a fake name upon entering the U.S. He had considered actually changing his legal name to Asahi; Justin had confirmed that that would change the name required to kill him. But that would take some time. Even though Light was becoming more and more sure that L (and whoever had the eraser) were not going to kill him, it made sense to come up with a quick countermeasure in the meantime.
Let's see...how to prevent oneself from being killed by the Death Note...
"Justin," Light finally said. "Could you go to the shinigami world for me? I need you to deliver a message."