Pairing/Characters: Near, Ryuk, mentions of L, Light, others
Summary: Near learns that any dealings with shinigami inevitably lead to destruction.
Author's Notes: A rough idea for an alternate ending. I need help making fonts look right on this site. Argh.
As Yagami Light drew his last breath, Near flicked Kira’s pimple-faced figure and watched the toy roll end over end.
Game over, Kira.
A sharp scratching followed by a gasp made most of them flinch in the eerie quiet. Ryuk was laughing, the sound an unholy mockery of mirth. He straightened to an imposing height before Near felt Ryuk’s eyes settle on him. He made himself watch the shinigami passively as he approached.
“To more interesting times,” he said when he reached Near, as if toasting him. Ryuk’s fingers uncurled, but rather than dropping his pen, something white and square hit the ground. Near picked it up only to find it was flexible and rubbery, like… an eraser? He looked up the mile and a half to Ryuk’s grinning face.
“You might find that comes in handy.” Ryuk said so softly that only Near’s straining ears could hear him. Ryuk’s eyes fell to rest on the notebook for a moment before he bent his knees. With a leap, his wings unfurled and carried him through the warehouse roof, his deranged cackle lingering in the air.
“What was that?” Restor was the first to react. Near ignored him and slipped the eraser into his shirt pocket, where he could feel it bump against the Death Note next to his chest.
“Take Mikami to the nearest station and call a coroner.” He gave his orders and gathered up his toys, piling them in the mask he had worn.
The Japanese team could take care of removing Yagami’s body. Near wanted to visit the Kira investigation team’s makeshift headquarters in addition to L’s former facility. Yagami had another Death Note hidden somewhere and Near intended to confiscate it as well.
They weren’t safe in anyone’s hands, and he would see to their destruction himself.
He nodded to Restor and the older man moved to his side, waiting for further orders as both teams started sluggishly moving again. The only one standing still was Matsuda, pistol in one hand and his eyes on Yagami’s body. Aizawa walked over to him, resting a hand on Matsuda’s shoulder as he said something inaudible. Matsuda shook his head, swallowing visibly.
Near spared a moment of curiosity for the nature of Matsuda’s relationship with Yagami before starting to turn away. The motion must have caught Matsuda’s eye for he looked up. Even with the tears in his eyes, Matsuda’s disgust and mistrust was palpable. Indifferent, Near turned away and headed for the door.
He was disgusted too. Yagami had no right to cheat and die before he could be executed. Near might have solved the puzzle but without a loser, it wasn’t as satisfying to be a winner.
As he left the building, his steps made the eraser in his pocket thump-thump a steady rhythm against the Death Note.
_ _ _
Flames licked hungrily over kerosene-soaked pages, blue tongues of fire curling around the edges. This fake Death Note had borne Near’s real name in Mikami’s precise handwriting, and it needed to be destroyed.
The real ones, however, could not be. Near held the Death Note that had been locked up in Yagami’s apartment, and the other was in a safe to which only he had access. He leisurely flipped it open to a page he had studied many times.
What had to be L’s true name glared at him from the crisp pages, the handwriting particularly bad here as if the owner had been in a hurry. Mr. Wammy’s name was scrawled above it as well.
Near pulled the eraser from his pocket. It was folly to trust anything that shinigami gave him, and Near had no interest in entertaining him in any way, but he was curious. Curious about more than just this eraser, if it was anything other than a stupid prank.
Yagami might have lost the war but he had won the battle by dying before he gave up all of his secrets. He had learned most of them from the “traitorous” members of Yagami’s team, but he didn’t know everything. Near didn’t know all of the notebooks’ rules and the shinigami had only given him an eraser. No explanations, no secrets, no clue as to why any of this was done.
Near liked puzzles, however, and this puzzle was still incomplete given all of his unanswered questions. Maybe if he used the eraser, the shinigami would reappear, and he had questions for Ryuk.
He hesitated over Wammy’s name. The older gentleman hadn’t hidden his real name because of his position as head of Wammy House, but L’s name had been a mystery to everyone. After idolizing the man for most of his life, maybe it was respect that made Near expunge every trace of L’s greatest secret.
_ _ _
Mikami was dead.
He had died yesterday, in prison, still waiting for the courts to decide whether or not to execute him.
Near received the information as if he hadn’t expected it, nodded, and went back to constructing towers of dominos in L’s old investigation headquarters. Restor waited overlong for any response beyond that before sighing and turning away. It was only him and Lidner now that Gevanni had returned to the States. This eerily deserted building and the constraints of working outside the States without support were taking their toll on his meager team.
They didn’t know he was still decrypting the fragments of data that hadn’t been deleted. The Kira case was not solved and he refused to stop until he knew how everything had happened. Lidner and Restor had already moved on after feeding the media a plethora of misinformation, content to leave the messiest case in world history behind them.
Only Near wouldn’t let it go. The eraser had done nothing at first, and the shinigami had never reappeared. Near hated feeling cheated, and there was only so much he had learned through experimentation.
“We’re going to get dinner.” Lidner’s voice came from the doorway as she shouldered her handbag. “Do you want to join us?” Lidner hadn’t given up on trying to get him to socialize yet. She was probably just asking out of politeness now.
Near refused with equal pretense at decorum and continued building his towers, pondering the data he had pieced together that morning. The door clicked softly behind the two agents, plunging the headquarters into silence again.
Near had never minded the quiet. It made it easier for him to think.
Hours later, when the world had narrowed to deafening silence and the rows of dominos stretched across the entire room, Near felt the first stirrings of weariness. It was growing harder to think at his normal rate of efficiency, and the atmosphere in the building had gone from contemplative quiet to dead quiet.
Perhaps the Christians’ rapture had occurred and stolen them all away. Perhaps a nuclear or biological attack had killed everyone in the city, if not the world. Right now, he could have been the only person alive, still toiling away down here, unaware of what was happening in the outside world.
Near set down the domino that he had been holding. Maybe it was time to stop.
A rasp made him pause in the act of yawning. It might only have been his ears popping with the motion but he held still, listening for the sound again.
There were soft footfalls on the stairs leading down to this level. He cocked his head, listening harder. Lidner and Restor had no reason to revisit him and anyway, neither of them shuffled like that.
Eyes widening, he realized that somehow, an intruder had gotten in. He was mostly hidden behind the walls of dominoes, but they were a poor defense against someone smart enough to break through the numerous defenses in this building. He inched backwards, mentally reviewing every item in this room, frantically trying to come up with a weapon or an escape other than the stairway.
The blood in his head was pounding so hard that he barely heard the door click shut.
Either the intruder was standing still or he was moving too quietly for Near to hear. He edged along the wall, still hiding behind the dominos. If he could peer around the edge of the wall nearest the door, he could slip out if he had a clear path. Then he only had to lock the door behind him and pull the fire alarm to get Lidner and Restor’s attention.
Near was not an idiot. He knew he wasn’t up to a gunfight or hand-to-hand combat, but his team was. Inhaling slowly to quiet his racing heartbeat, he strained his ears, listening for anything before he peeked at the door.
Breathing. Someone was breathing just inside the door, the sound ragged enough for his ears to pick up.
Near held his breath and pulled his hair back to present as small a target as possible while he leaned around his only defense. If he was seen, that was it. He had to run after that.
Just as he started to lean, there was an explosion of noise. Near threw himself backward and scrambled away as fast as he could, ears ringing. There was a patter of dust and chips of sheetrock hitting the floor, and Near saw the bullet hole in the wall near him.
“You have some nerve.” A male voice snarled in Japanese, the noise raspy and inhuman. “You should have cleaned out that weapons locker and disabled the infrared sensors. They led me right to you, Light-kun.” The laugh that followed made Near’s hair stand on end.
The intruder thinks I’m Yagami? Near froze, his mind going a million miles per hour. It can’t be…
Near blinked and suddenly he was there, stepping around the fragile wall. Time stopped as Near took in the bare feet, jeans, long-sleeved shirt, all caked with filth and dirt, grass caught between the toes. Streaks of mud covered almost every inch of that blank face and plastered down the dark hair, but Near knew the contours of it like he knew his own reflection. The eyes were wide, deranged and bloodshot against the darkness of the smears of soil. The mouth was moving, and Near tried to read it over the sudden roaring in his ears as he was knocked backward.
“Checkmate.” It said, and the last thing Near saw was that hardened expression melting into one of surprise.