Hi all, I joined this community last night, and I only began reading Death Note five days ago. Here's something that plagued my mind until I wrote it. Happy new year!
Author: Luce Red
Series: Death Note
Disclaimer: Characters and situations are the property of Ohba and Obata, Jump and Shueisha
Type/Notes: General. This thing came out of nowhere but virtually wrote itself, with assistance from Barry Hughart. I'm new to this series and no doubt some OOC stuff will appear.
Summary: Afterwards, L talks to Raito.
What really surprised him most, L thought later, was how banal the entire Kira business was. Raito Yagami was a walking cliché: his perfect scores, his compliant attitude, and his secret megalomania.
Americans feared that their young people were bringing guns to school. The Japanese feared that their smart, quiet-mannered students were turning into part-time serial killers. Raito-as-Kira was the bogeyman in the collective Japanese consciousness of the twenty-first century: the embodiment of anxieties about the disenchantment of its people, and the cultural propensity for quick disposal of the undesirable. L reflected that it only needed Raito to confess to an addiction to video games, and the parody would be absolutely perfect. That air of militant vigilance and casual superiority was scarcely to be found elsewhere.
The final poetic stroke, L decided, would be the scene of Raito being led to execution, chained and cuffed, blindfolded, dressed all in white, his chin up and and his entire posture radiating an air of noble sacrifice. The entire rigmarole would be telecast nationwide, and two days later there would be mountains of flowers at his funeral, teenage girls would send to television stations their sobbing confessions of love, and social commentators everywhere would publish articles on how the youth in the country were expressing their sense of justice via homicide.
But luckily Raito would face no death sentence.
He had a chance to see Raito before he left the country.
Long months of incarceration had made Raito's pale skin paler, though his hair was still neatly trimmed, and framed his face like petals. He looked tired, but L fancied that that was the only weakness Raito allowed himself to reveal.
"You still haven't told me your real name," Raito said, his eyes seeming to burn with the intensity of a supernova. He had no need for insouciance anymore, not with him. His eyes had stopped tracking to the sides, an interesting phenomena that the others had speculated as a sign of stress, to L another mystery that Raito had been keeping from him.
"Remember when I said that you were my first friend?" he countered. He shifted in his chair, knowing that Raito was inwardly twitching at the way he had put his feet on the seat, at the utter disorder he represented.
"I remember," Raito said, a tiny line appearing between his brows. "Are you saying that you no longer are?"
L had to give him extra points for 1) turning this confrontation into a kindergarten 'I friend you, I friend you not' encounter, 2) willful misunderstanding of his intentions, and 3) the rapid mental calculation--surely reflex by now--to determine how he could manipulate the conversation to reveal useful information.
"I've always thought that criminals were boring," he said, watching Raito and realizing this could be their last meeting. Raito was slated for a slew of psychological tests, counseling, more confinement and would undoubtedly be released when rehabilitation experts determined that he was to be a productive member of society once more.
"What do you mean?" Raito asked, and L realized he had stopped talking.
"When I was much younger, I was intrigued by the idea of the perfect murder," he explained, relishing this last opportunity. "I soon discovered that it was incredibly easy," he said, "as you've no doubt found out for yourself."
Raito gave nothing away by the expression on his face. However, his knuckles tightened a fraction more, whitening between his handcuffs.
"What was more difficult was investigation of crimes," L went on. "There's the thrill of seeing how each detail locks in others, and that process is more intriguing than actually committing a crime of my own. That was how I got my start as an investigator. If you enjoyed manipulating everything from behind the scenes, I enjoyed digging into each clue to see what it could reveal about you."
Raito might be the only person in the world who was incapable of appreciating that. The crux of investigation, it seemed to L, was to reduce what was unusual into usual, uncomplicated human logic. Everything, every single detail in the entire business exemplified the absolute ordinariness of the criminal mind to the law enforcement mindset. The very extraordinary fact of Kira's killings was only propped by its everyday motivation for justice. Raito's manipulations were but an attempt to escape detection, his methods brilliant yet springing from the most normal of human fears--being found out.
But Raito could never see it in that way. Deep inside, he thought he was one of a kind. He was not one of the millions trying to make themselves be heard; he was Raito, and he had the world's attention in the palm of his hand.
Raito was unexpected only because everything about him was so expected. Naturally a teenage genius had hidden talents and depths. Naturally a successful, confident man could be expected to think that he had been raised to change the world. Naturally a popular young man who placed himself on the superior echelons of his world would think himself above the rules of ordinary mortals. Raito's background screamed "Pick me! Pick me!" to any casting director of the average disaffected teen film
Raito was extraordinary only because Raito was also Kira. Raito had obtained the country's highest scores, attended a prestigious university, and was widely envied as a teenage genius. Kira had, simultaneously, murdered thousands, plunged the world's criminals into panic, and set himself up in judgment as a god.
"Of course you are my friend," he said to the earlier question, after another lapse into silence. Unable to resist himself, he stood up to study Raito better. Raito looked scarcely older than seventeen, the age they had first met.
Raito looked up at that. "What's your real name, then?" he asked again.
L leaned over and whispered in his ear.
[Edited as of 3 January 2004, posted 4 January 2004]