Greetings my lovely readers! I'm so glad to see you back for the sequel!
So in this first chapter I go into specifics as to just what Light's injuries are. I've done quite a bit of research, as this isn't the last mention there will be of them. The internet, however, is fallible and some things may be incorrect or altered. If you notice that something isn't quite right, I implore you to tell me. I tried to be as accurate and consistent as possible and I want to write his injuries realistically. I've always been about that sort of thing. Any knowledge you have that I can use to improve the descriptions will be much appreciated.
It wasn't the best of times, but it definitely wasn't the worst of times either. Seven months ago to the day, I'd lost my sight and gotten a serious case of whiplash. Thanks to my psychotic ex-classmate I'd suffered a concussion, several cerebral contusions, and a herniated disc in my neck. I suppose I should consider myself lucky, however, that I didn't suffer from a depressed skull fracture or a hematoma. Either of which would have resulted in surgery in the very least or death at the worst with not much room for error in between.
I had taken the blow to my occipital lobe, damaging its cortex. I'd been very fortunate not to go blind from that first hit with the sink pipe. Cracking my head against the ground after perforating Keiton's trachea was the final nail in the coffin though so to speak. Whatever safety net I'd managed to fall into after the first hit was obliterated by damaging the same spot on the back of my head during my fall. That second strike resulted in my "Cortical Blindness" as Dr. Maki had called it- though I later discovered that this was the technical term.
Even though I had sustained serious injuries, I was assured that most people do come out of the condition with some degree of vision. However, there was a miniscule chance of it ever being perfect again.
Currently, I could classify myself as having Cortical Visual Impairment. Honestly, being able to see at all was more than a relief; I would take my eighty five percent visibility gladly.
It wasn't sudden, but my surroundings had been coming clearer over the past three weeks. When I had woken up the day my vision had stated to repair itself, it was nauseating. I only had some semblance of the light around the room. A few of the bigger moving things, like people, appeared as shadows only slightly darker than the backdrop of black I'd gotten used to. It was something like a charcoal grey this morning.
Nevertheless it was exciting and day by day it got even better. My progress finally seemed to be plateauing out though.
"Light-kun," Ryuzaki interrupted from beside me. "You're staring at the lights again."
I turned to look at him. This happened often; I couldn't help but seek out the lights in a room. It was a symptom of the visual impairment, but perhaps also a psychological desire not to return to the darkness I'd been a part of for months.
I straightened in my seat. "My apologies, I'll get back to work."
"The case has just been closed," he replied monotonously, making a line out of a pile of sugar cubes.
"At least I'm not hindering your efforts to save the world," I joked.
"You just need the right incentive." He paused in making a sugar pyramid and swiveled in his chair to face me. "Now that you can see and cover your own cases, I propose a challenge. The winner will be the one who solves the most cases by the dawn of October 31st- a whole week from now." A small smile played across his lips.
"That's how you want me to start off on my own," I smirked.
"It is not as if I'm tossing you into the deep side of the pool. You've been assisting me with cases for the last six months, the only difference now is that you'll have free reign."
"So what does the winner get," I questioned.
He examined a cube before placing it on the top of the pyramid. "When has bragging rights never been enough for you?"
He was right of course and if anything, it was the only thing he could offer that I would actually want. Our relationship was built on competition. To normal people maybe this wouldn't look so healthy, but really it's only a game. I maintain that there's nothing wrong with a little light-hearted bragging.
It came to me then what a great opportunity this was! There was one more thing he could offer me…
"Maybe so," I started. "but how about for every one case that the winner solves more than the loser, the winner gets to hear a story about the other's childhood?" This was so much better than bragging rights.
At first the only way I could get him to open up was to exchange stories with him. Tit-for-tat, eye for an eye, he called it- which was fair. Then it had evolved into calling up my family during dinner to ask for embarrassing stories or pestering Watari at four in the morning with questions about his formerly dewy eyed charge.
It was how I'd heard about the first time he tried to interrogate someone or when Watari had attempted to switch him to sugar free candy. His favorite of mine involved my mother regaling the tale of when the family had taken Sayu and I to Ōkunoshima when I had been twelve. For whatever reason, the image of me being mobbed by dozens of rabbits brings him great joy.
Upon hearing my amendment, he immediately swiveled back around to face his computer. Fingers hovering over the keyboard he said, "I believe I will ask your sister for a story this time. She does come up with the most unique things to say."
"It'll have to wait, Ryuzaki, because Watari has alluded to some very interesting things that occurred one spring when you were fifteen," I teased.
His eyes widened slightly, but he didn't turn to look at me. His fingers twitched closer to the keys. "Whenever you're ready, Light-kun."
With a mischievous glint in my eye, I prepared for a very sleepless week.
Yeah, we have a great relationship.
Despite currently residing in Canada, most of the cases we took were in America; October is a big month for violent crime there.
"I can't believe some of these people," I muttered.
"Real life is truly stranger than fiction," Ryuzaki replied, all surprise absent from his voice.
That's something you can say again. I of all people knew just how strange the world could be. Shinigami that like apples, notebooks that could kill with only a name and a face- I didn't even believe it at first. All that made everything else seem entirely within the realm of possibility; even when the 'everything else' was a cult supposedly sacrificing virgins in the name of Pagan Gods.
"This almost can't be anything other than a story," I told him.
"Cases in any other month won't be nearly this interesting," he conceded, sipping from what I've counted as his eleventh cup of coffee today. At this point he was really trying to make each cup count as our competition would be ending at dawn. Nearing 7pm, it left just under thirteen hours until we would tally our solved cases.
"I don't know if I should be comforted by that. At least the high profile cases tend to have a noticeable pattern."
"How so," he inquired, maybe hoping to stall the call I was about to make.
"In this case at least, it's as if there are similar isolated incidents all over this region of the country," I began to explain. "It's nothing local cops would be able to pick up because it spans across several South Eastern towns and states. The sacrifices are too similar in MO not to be connected. I'll admit, it was a good way to not get caught; by the time the FBI picked up the pattern, the sacrifices would have stopped and the perpetrators would have gone underground." I was getting ready to wrap this up and make contact with the police departments in multiple states. Today and tomorrow night would have seen the last of the sacrifices, and possibly the largest as they would fall onto Halloween and its eve. With my aiding the case it could hopefully be stopped in time.
I almost wanted each individual incident to count as a point in my favor, but that would be pushing my luck. Widespread as it may be, it was all one case.
A shrill beeping noise erupted from the device between our work stations signaling the coming of a new hour.
"The clock is ticking down, Light-kun," he teased. "Don't you have a call to make?"
I adorned a set of headphones and readied the microphone. "I want no background noise from you."
As immature as he could be, he wouldn't detriment the case by talking whilst I was making the call. The police would be under the impression that I was L after all. It wouldn't do well to ruin the illusion.
It was evident that the police were more than ready to end this case. There were no interruptions, which was a feat in and of itself, and thusly the call only took up twenty five minutes of my precious time. They eagerly soaked up every bit of intel I could give them and hurriedly went about wrapping this catastrophe up. My favorite cases were like this- the ones where there was no resistance. The contrary cases always made me feel like beginning every transmission with 'listen to every word I say and I will fix this'.
"Done and done," I voiced haughtily.
"That's good for you, Light-kun. I still find it cute that you continue to believe that you'll beat me." He shuffled his hand around next to him, presumably to find his own headset. I wasn't even remotely surprised when instead he pulled out a bag of mini marshmallows.
I was even less surprised when he turned in his chair to face me, stuck a hand deep into the bag, pulled out a handful and proceeded to cram them all into his mouth. It was how he taunted me, knowing that I found his eating habits to be more than disgusting.
My eyes narrowed at him. "You know, being blind wasn't all bad. At least I didn't have to watch you eat yourself into a sugar coma."
"Maybe you should focus your efforts on working instead of watching me, Light-kun."
I opened my mouth to deliver a scathing retort when the door to the adjoining hotel room opened and Watari emerged. Normally this wasn't a distractible action, as he appeared multiple times a day to deliver food, but currently he was empty handed.
"If you both would direct your attention to any major British news website," he instructed calmly.
Upon entering the site I saw that the most recent article had been posted three minutes ago, which would have made it Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 12:31am GMT. With the speed that Watari notified us, he must have been aware of it a bit sooner.
'Sex Ring Set Ablaze'
"Well that's not something you see every day," I offered.
"Indeed not," came L's monotonous reply. He was L in my mind now. While he may still insist on being called Ryuzaki, I could differentiate between the two. L was all business; he didn't mess around. Ryuzaki, though still remaining composed and calculating, was… silly.
At approximately midnight, a fire was started in an establishment in the Eastern part of London. From the pictures on the website, the building looked completely toasted. At the time they had been taken, the fire hadn't even been put out yet.
"Miraculously", as so the article put it, no one had been hurt; by the fire that is. More than two dozen of the profiteers and customers had been knocked unconscious and tied up outside the establishment. Some were more roughed up than others.
The former captives were mostly young women, though there were a few children of both sexes as well; a preliminary tally counted approximately nineteen heads. They had all been across the street watching the building burn to the ground while they waited for the police.
All that could be discerned for the moment was what could be witnessed outside the establishment. The victims were yet to be identified or questioned and no one had gone to investigate the inside of the building.
"This follows a string of vigilante work that has been occurring all over England these past few months," L brought up, breaking the silence.
This was the first I had heard of such a thing. "And you didn't thing to mention this before now?" I dove into finding more information about the so called vigilante behavior.
"None of our perpetrator's previous actions have been as bold as this. I thought that it was being handled internally," he explained. "I may have misinterpreted the situation." At least he had decency to look concerned.
"What's that supposed to mean," I demanded. "And why has this of all things caught your attention? Stuff like this happens constantly all over the world, no one has died; our perp seems to be of the Batman variety." Then it hit me. "Didn't you live in England at some point?"
"I did, and to answer your question- vigilante behavior needs to be nipped in the bud. Our perpetrator shows obvious signs of escalation. I cannot abide by people thinking that they are above the law. We don't want another Kira on our hands." He then turned to Watari who was awaiting instruction. "I suppose we should make for England," he directed, solemnly.
Watari nodded his affirmative and exited the room once more.
"This is nothing like the Kira case, Ryuzaki!"
"Yet," he started, "I've already failed to bring one vigilante to justice and it can't be allowed to happen again. More is at stake than my credibility, Light-kun." He got up from his chair and started packing his laptop. "When Kira wasn't caught, it gave others the impression that they wouldn't be caught either. The minor criminals still live in fear of Kira returning, but the serial killers, the true psycho and sociopaths of the world, the ones who can't control themselves and who would murder and rape and steal are doing so at an elevated rate. When they fly under the radar, they believe themselves invincible. The longer they go without being caught, the less they have to lose."
"So you're trying to send a message," I speculated.
"I'm trying to protect what is dear to me," he responded solemnly, rising from his chair.
I took this as my cue to pack my things as well; and by things, I meant my laptop and clothing bag. It was essentially a life on the road. I could only take what was necessary and that definitely did not refer to personal affects- photos especially. There was no way I could chance them being misplaced.
At any given time I had seven outfits to my name, a pair of shoes that I'd typically be wearing, a shirt and pair of pants to sleep in, and a comb. Excluding the comb, the laptop I used was the only personal thing I owned. There had been circumstances where all my clothes had to either be left behind or scrapped. Even though that had only happened twice, it was enough to understand why L only ever wore the same outfit. After having to abandon so many resting spots, it would grow tedious to constantly have to pick out an array of anything, and this way there was no personal attachment to the clothing. I found it hard to believe at first that one could be attached to something so inconsequential, but even when you can count your possessions on one hand, there is an innate desire to have something that is yours. It's why I store the comb in my laptop's case when it's not being used. The laptops are the only things we never leave our temporary fortresses without. Everything else can be bought and/or abandoned along the way.
We take comfort in what is safe and familiar. "Do you have something important in England, Ryuzaki," I probed.
He sighed. "This is 'need-to-know' information, Light-kun, and I was hoping you wouldn't need to know quite so soon."
He'd shared his 'special' contacts with me; amongst them were presidents and leaders of countries. This seemed different though. There was no air of flippancy to which he regarded this.
To give an apt comparison, I felt like the president of the United States about to be shown the big red 'nuclear war' button.
I stayed silent, waiting for him to speak again. I didn't want him to suddenly change his mind because I sounded too eager.
"The only place I've ever called home is in England," he started. "There are others there with that same regard. They are my legacy."
When he didn't elaborate further, I asked, "Your legacy?"
Watari conveniently chose this moment to emerge from his room and make his way through the suite toward the door.
Turning to follow, Ryuzaki said, "You shall see soon enough, Light-kun."
Happy Birthday to me… Happy birthday to me…
I finished this yesterday, but decided that today was as good a day as any to upload this new story! I hope you all like where you know it's heading. ;D