It had been less than 15 minutes after he watched the death on the news, and Aizawa had already received a phone call. The voice on the other end was an older man's, he recalled hearing it once before.
"I'm calling on N's behalf. If you haven't already seen the news, a man just died of a heart attack during a live broadcast."
Aizawa was annoyed. Why couldn't Near call him himself? They'd met face to face once before, and it's not like he didn't know his voice either.
"Yeah I saw it. If you're calling, it must mean Near thinks it's serious."
"Indeed. Since it only occured moments ago, an autopsy has yet to be performed. However a quick scan of our database revealed the news anchor, Makino Tsutomu, had no preexisting medical conditions. In fact he was in perfect health for a man his age. He shouldn't have had a spontaneous heart attack."
Aizawa's palms began to sweat.
"Are you saying he thinks it's a death note?" He slammed his hand onto the desk.
"Yes, that was his immediate conclusion. He's deduced the killer has only recently obtained the note, this is most likely their first kill."
"And he wants us to handle it instead of doing it himself. Is that what you're going to say next?"
"Correct. It was not a nationwide broadcast, only to the Tokyo area. Furthermore it was Makino's first broadcast of the day, and his name had yet to be mentioned. It can be reasonably concluded the killer lives in the Tokyo area."
"Right, sounds believable to me."
"Considering you and several other members of the NPA have not only dealt with the death note but were also critical members of the Kira investigation, N would like you to reassemble what's left of the Kira task force and begin your investigation immediately."
"Fine then. Anything else?"
"N requests regular updates on your progress, we'll provide you a means to send them to us. Until further notice, don't expect any more calls. Goodbye."
The line clicked, and Aizawa heard dial tone. He sighed and leaned back in his chair, wiping his sweaty palms on his pants.
"Critical members, huh? Yeah right. Near said it himself, by the end we were irrelevant. Just there to keep Light fooled, and I'm pretty sure we failed at even that."
He reached over and picked up the name plate on his desk.
"Deputy Director… I didn't earn this."
Following former Director Yagami's death and the conclusion of the Kira investigation, all the members of the Kira task force had been given special honors for their service. However, with the Director dead a new one had to be appointed. With a recommendation from Near himself, Shuichi Aizawa became the new Director of the NPA.
"Chief… if only you were here."
He got up and fixed his badge, then walked outside the office. The sound of ringing phones and voices permeated the floor.
"Chief!" A voice yelled.
Aizawa looked over, scrambling down the hallway was Touta Matsuda.
"It's all over the news! Did you see it?" He asked Aizawa, trying to regain his breath.
"Yeah, I did. Even got a call from Near's assistant. And don't call me that! Aizawa is fine."
"Sorry." Matsuda rubbed his head, "What'd they say? It must be serious."
"Go get Ide and Mogi, then meet me in my office as soon as you do."
Matsuda blinked, "Chief… is it…"
"Do what I said and move! I'll explain when they're here."
"On it!" Matsuda ran off back down the hall and disappeared.
Aizawa sighed and went back to his office. He sat down and rested his face in his palms. A few minutes later, Matsuda showed up with the others.
"Have a seat." Aizawa said as they shut the door behind them. The two others took a seat, Kanzo Mogi, and Hideki Ide.
"What's this about, Aizawa?" Ide asked, crossing his arms.
"I'll be frank. I just got off the phone with Near's assistant." His head hung low. "Someone out there has another death note, and they've used it."
An audible gasp emerged from the others.
"How can we be sure? What did Near say?" Ide shouted.
"Keep your voice down, don't want the whole department to hear this."
"Right, sorry." Ide mumbled.
Aizawa sighed. "About 25 minutes ago a news anchor was murdered on live television. All evidence points to him being killed by a death note, and the killer is somewhere in the Tokyo area. You 3 and I are to reinstate the Kira task force effective immediately."
"Hold on chief!" Matsuda said. "Is Near helping us? He helped us catch Li- Kira… the last time!"
Aizawa frowned. "No, he's not. At least not at the moment."
"Why not?" Mogi asked, having said something for the first time.
"He thinks this new 'Kira' is inexperienced. I can't say for sure yet, after all they've only killed one person that we know of so far. We don't know anything about their motives, whether they're trying to emulate the original Kira, or if they'll even continue to kill. With our luck they may even get scared that the notebook actually works, and stop using it."
"So, where do we proceed from here then?" Ide asked.
"I'm afraid we may just have to wait."
"Wait? For them to kill again?!" Matsuda asked.
"I'm afraid so. One kill doesn't give us anything to go off of. We'll have to use more of their killings to piece together information, if we can."
The group was silent, all of them hanging their heads in defeat.
"Chief." Matsuda piped up from the back.
"I do have one idea of where we can start."
"What's that?" Asked Aizawa.
"It's been a while, and may not work. But it's a page from L's playbook."
January 29th, 2011
"You're up awful early for a Saturday." The shinigami said, yawning.
Rokuro was laying in his bed, flipping through the pages of the death note. "I couldn't sleep. Kept having nightmares about a certain demon."
"Heh. I have no idea who you could be talking about." The shinigami chuckled.
"I was hoping it would all be a dream," Rokuro sighed, "But looks like it's real."
"Well you could always give the note back," said the Shinigami, "and then you'd lose all memory of it."
"I'm afraid not." Rokuro said without looking up.
"It says right here.
'Losing memory of the death note by passing the ownership to another or by abandoning ownership will only occur when someone is actually killed using that death note. You will not lose memory of the death note if, for example, you merely owned it and did not write down anyone's name.'
Since I haven't written any names, and don't intend to, I'd retain my memory of it. Although I'd no longer be able to see you, which I do find to be quite appealing."
"Hey, watch who you call ugly pal."
Rokuro chuckled, "Says the shinigami with a skull for a face."
The shinigami sighed, "Guess you have a point. You've really taken to reading those rules haven't you?"
"Well since I've decided to hold onto the notebook, I felt like it's a good idea to understand how it works." He said. "Even if I don't intend to use it, I could very well come across someone else who has one. Especially since you seem to be scheming."
"Heh. Guess there's no use denying it. Yeah, I've got a little scheme going. You didn't think I'd just drop these notebooks willy-nilly and hope everything works out, did you?"
"Of course not, which is why it helps to be prepared."
The shinigami meandered over and bent down to eye level, "So, you've read most of the rules. Any catch your eye?"
"Why do you ask?"
"Just curious!" The shinigami straightened his back, "I'd be more than happy to clarify anything."
"It says right here,
'A god of death has no obligation to completely explain how to use the note or rules which will apply to the human who owns it.'
So why so eager to help?" Rokuro furrowed his brow.
"Well, I uh," the shinigami scratched his back, "I just agree with what you said! It may be good to know the rules. Besides, it says I have no obligation, which doesn't mean I can't help if I want to!"
"You're a horrible liar."
"You obviously want me to know how it works because you do intend for me to meet others with notes."
"Got me there." The shinigami shrugged. "But you're wrong about one thing."
"And that is?"
The shinigami leaned closer and whispered, "I'm actually a very good liar. Don't doubt that."
Rokuro instinctively leaned back.
"Is he.. is he trying to make me second guess?" He thought to himself. "Did he want to seem like I'd caught him in a lie? No, he admitted it. He must want me to be wary of him, he's trying to intimidate me."
Rokuro sighed, "Alright fine. I would like some answers, if you can do that."
"Sure, go right ahead."
He flicked through the several dozen pages of rules before stopping.
"Here it is.
'You cannot kill humans at the age of 124 and over with the death note.'
"Huh? Pretty much explains itself. If they're too old, they're immune."
"But why? And why that age? I can't seem to find a solid reason. Besides, I looked it up and the oldest human recorded was only 122. And they died almost a decade ago."
"Hmm." The shinigami scratched his chin. "Look kid I don't make the rules, the shinigami king does that."
Rokuro shut the book.
"Think about this, let's make a hypothetical scenario. Over the last few centuries, the average human lifespan has increased exponentially. Let's give it a hundred more years. Who's to say humans won't live to the age of 200, or even longer? Humans may even become immortal someday. What would that spell for the shinigami? They'd slowly run out of people to kill. Sure, killing just 2 humans could easily give them another hundred years or so. But eventually it'll become that much harder. And worse, boring."
"I hadn't really considered that, you have a point." The shinigami pondered. "And being bored is worse than death, in my opinion."
"Let's take it a step further." Rokuro said, looking out the window. "Let's say we're now a thousand years in the future, and humanity has advanced to the point of science fiction. It's crazy to say, but we may all live in robotic bodies at that point. It's possible we even stop procreating. The shinigami and death itself become meaningless."
"Uh.. you're getting a little existential here kid."
"And what about the shinigami king?" Rokuro turned back to face him. "Does he have a death note? Must he also write names? Is it possible even he could die too?"
"No clue, but that's a decent question."
"You're not getting the big picture." Rokuro sighed. "Where did the king even come from? Did god create him? Is he the biblical 'angel' of death? The death note clearly says,
'The human who uses this note can neither go to heaven nor hell.'
So god must certainly exist. Does satan as well? The shinigami king certainly doesn't fulfill that role, all of you seem neutral toward the notions of good and evil."
"Is this.. still a question?" The shinigami seemed to sweat a bit.
"No, just thinking aloud really." He sat back down. "I read that,
'Even the original owners of the note, the gods of death, do not know much about the note.'
Which I also took to mean most of you either don't know or don't care about the rest of the afterlife."
"Listen, kid, I love philosophy as much as the next guy but if you're done here I wanna watch some TV or something. I'm bored."
"Okay, one last thing."
The shinigami sighed with dread, "What is it?"
"The god of death must at least own one death note, that death note must never be lent to or written on by a human."
"You said this was yours, right? Was that a lie? Do you have another stashed away somewhere?" Rokuro's eyes took on a bravery he'd yet to display.
"No, I don't." The shinigami said with the same cold blank expression he usually carried.
"But it says here-"
"I know what it says. That one isn't a hard rule, more of a suggestion."
"A suggestion huh? It says NEVER, seems pretty hard to me."
"Well by that, I mean it's not something the king will punish you for. You punish yourself really."
"A shinigami gets their lifespan by killing humans. If they lose their note, or give it away, they no longer have the ability to do so. If it's their only note, they can't even kill the human possessing it to get it back. And there's no telling how long it could stay in the human world. Even if the human who owns it dies, they could easily arrange for it to be passed onto another. Without a way to retrieve it, and no death note of their own, a shinigami will be stuck waiting for their inevitable death unless they find a way to get it back. Which is pretty hard to do at that point."
"Ah, I see…" Rokuro cupped his chin, "But there are other things you could be punished for?"
"Yeah, some. The worst of all is killing a human without using a death note. That's instant death for a shinigami. Which leads to what I said earlier, without a notebook it could become extremely difficult for a shinigami to ever recover."
"Got it, so shinigami can die if they break certain rules."
The shinigami's eyes seemed to widen a bit, "He… did he do that on purpose? No, he's too stupid for that." He thought.
"Well that's enough questions, I'm tiring myself out." Rokuro flopped onto his bed and put the note under his pillow.
"Oh yeah, you wanted to watch TV. The remote is on the desk. You can pick things up, right? You're not a ghost."
"Hmm yeah, fine." The shinigami picked it up, turning on the TV and flipping through the channels.
"Let's see here… sports, boring. Sitcoms, nah all reruns. Maybe a game show…"
For a brief second, he flipped past a news station.
"This is a message to Kira."
Rokuro sat up straight, "Turn it back!"
"Huh?" The shinigami looked at him, "Why? It's not for you, it's for that imposter Kira guy."
"Doesn't matter, I want to see!" He flew out of bed and slid in his socks over to the TV.
"Fine." He flipped back to the news.
On screen were two men, both sharply dressed. The left one was clean shaven, with curly blonde hair and a piercing gaze. The right one was slightly taller, rugged, and had a crew cut.
The left one began to speak, "To Kira, the new Kira, we will catch you. We know where you are, and our investigation is already closing in on Tokyo. You're nothing but a copycat, a fraud!"
The right man spoke up, "My name is Trevor Weightley. And this is my associate, Noah Cunningham. He is the ace detective known as N, the successor of L!"
Their names scrolled across the screen in typical newscast font. Rokuro glanced at the shinigami, his cold stare was locked on the television. He didn't so much as move an inch.
"Know this," the left man spoke again, "Justice will prevail. Kira, we will catch you!"
"Heh. If Kira falls for this, there's no hope for him." The shinigami said.
"Hmm? What makes you say that?"
The man continued, "We are working fully in cooperation with both the FBI and the NPD, in short time we-"
The man stopped, and clutched his chest. He groaned, and with a quiet sigh his eyes rolled back and he fell face first into the desk. The second man got up, taking a step back.
"Oh god, oh - AHH!" He slumped and fell to the floor motionless.
"Heh." The shinigami chuckled, then broke into full laughter. "HAHAHAHA! What an idiot! He fell for it! The old Kira would never have been deceived by such an obvious trick!"
Rokuro was stunned, two more people killed on live television right before his eyes.
"A trick? What do you mean? They're dead!"
"I told you, just keep watching."
He turned his attention back to the screen. The display flickered for a moment, and went white. The NPD logo displayed wide, and a grizzled voice came on.
"Kira, well done."
"Who's that?" Rokuro asked.
"Shut up and watch!" The shinigami growled.
The voice continued, "Those two men were not detectives. They were violent criminals scheduled to be executed later today. This was an experiment to verify our suspicions. We were correct, you reside somewhere within the Tokyo area. Furthermore we've confirmed your method of killing as well. It's only a matter of time before we catch you. Turn yourself in now, and you may be lucky to only receive life in prison. This concludes the broadcast."
The screen went blank.
"So, they were trying to figure out where Kira lives?"
The shinigami had yet to move, staring still at the screen, "Oh, that's not all."
"He's actually dead?" Trevor screamed, recoiling back from Noah's body.
"Mister Waitley, calm down, please." Matsuda bent over to help him to his feet.
"Y-you guys better pay me triple if you want me to keep quiet!" Trevor said as he stood up, "I was told we'd both play dead and fake a heart attack, but look at him! That's not fake!"
"I know, I know, please calm down." Matsuda reassured him, "You've done us a service here." He looked over at the body, now being wrapped in a bag. "What we said was true, Noah was a convicted murderer. He killed a family of 4 in cold blood, you don't need to feel bad about his death."
"You had me sit next to a real murderer? I thought he was another actor!" Trevor fell into a roller chair and put a hand to his head. "Shit man… I'm gonna need therapy."
"With what we'll pay you, you can afford it." A gruff voice said, it was Aizawa coming to check on things. "Talk to the officers over there, they'll get you squared away." He looked the other way, "Matsuda, come with me."
Matsuda hurried alongside him. The two went into a closed board room off to the side, Mogi and Ide were waiting for them. The two sat down.
"Well," Aizawa said gravely, "We've confirmed our suspicions. This Kira does indeed have a death note. And because we used a fake last name for Trevor over there, we also know they do not yet have the shinigami eyes."
"All thanks to Matsuda." Said Ide.
"Oh, I don't deserve all the credit!" He blushed, "I was just doing what L did!"
"But it was your idea to have the second man, wasn't it?" Said Mogi, "Pretty smart to test for the eyes. Even if it was risky."
"It paid off, and that's what matters." Said Aizawa.
"So where do we go from here?" Asked Ide.
"I think we should-"
An officer barged in, "Sir! A phone call!"
"Dammit we're having a confidential meeting!" Aizawa stood up and slammed his fists on the table.
"Sir, it's N!"
The table grew silent.
"Transfer the call to the conference line in here, we'll take it in private."
Aizawa sighed and leaned back. The phone in the center of the table rang, Matsuda hit the speaker phone button.
"This is the Deputy Director." Aizawa said leaning back forward.
"Director, I just saw your little television stunt. To put it lightly, I am not happy." Said a scrambled voice.
"What do you mean? Near, we confirmed your initial findings. And we discovered the killer doesn't have the shinigami eyes. I consider that a step toward."
In a small room, Near sat away from his computer. In front of him was a large mound of coffee creamer cups, stacked in a pyramid. He took one and placed it on top, meanwhile using his foot to tap the button on the nearby microphone on the floor.
"I'll be frank, I'm not quite pleased with you using my likeness. I see that as a serious breach of trust. L was willing to do that, but only because he felt it necessary."
Aizawa glared at Matsuda, maybe they had gone a little too close to mimicking L.
"I apologize, the task force deemed it necessary. But I acknowledge we should've consulted you beforehand." Said Aizawa.
"What's done is done," said Near, "If I wasn't preoccupied with another case then perhaps I would've read the briefing files sooner. To remedy this, I'm sending an associate of mine. His name is F."
"F?" Asked Aizawa, "Is he one of L's disciples too? We haven't heard of him before."
"Not quite, although he did stay at Wammy's house for a time." N flicked a cup. "He's not a detective per se, like us. He's more of a resource man."
"The hell does that mean?"
"Ground work, Director. He's a man of many talents and he should make an efficient representative in my place. That being said, I have another issue to discuss."
"You mentioned the goal of your experiment was to ascertain whether this Kira has the shinigami eyes. It seems you believe this was a success. Am I correct?"
"Are you saying it's not?"
"Think for a moment, if you were Kira." N fiddled with a small toy and placed it at the base of the pyramid. "Let's say you do already have shinigami eyes. You witness the broadcast and notice one of the men has a false name. It's only a slight misspelling, but it catches your eye. Why is it misspelled? Was it a simple accident, or is it a trap?
To this Kira, there are 2 scenarios.
Scenario A: The police do not know about the death note.
In this scenario, a simple misspelling means nothing. Killing the man will not give you away. Not killing him, perhaps out of caution, reveals that he was acting. This Kira will then ask themselves why he was acting. Thus alerting them to the fact that the police are aware of the note, and on the lookout for the shinigami eyes.
Scenario B: The police do know about the note.
In this scenario, killing the man immediately reveals that Kira possesses the shinigami eyes. Whereas not killing him will yet again confirm the police's knowledge of the note, and that they are looking for the eyes. The act of sparing the man will fool the police into believing Kira does not have the eyes."
The faces of the men at the table were grave.
"Have I made my point?" Asked Near.
"I believe so." Aizawa said.
"We have no way of positively knowing whether this Kira has the shinigami eyes. If they do, no matter how you look at it, allowing the man to live has given Kira an advantage. We have learned nothing, and there is a 66% chance Kira has gained insight into our investigation. All thanks to your foolishness."
"Hey!" Aizawa banged the table, "We were just investigating like you said! If you'd step in and help then maybe we could make better progress!"
"I'm aware. I told you already that I'm sending someone to do just that."
"He should be arriving in a few days. He'll meet with you soon after. Until then, please try not to act so recklessly. Goodbye, Director."
The phone clicked, and the line went dead.
The room was silent, Matsuda was the first to speak up, "Well chief, what now?"
"I told you not to call me that."
Aizawa buried his face in his hands. He felt defeated, it was one setback after another. Even back in the old days, L was the one doing all the heavy lifting. He'd been the first one to ever suspect Light, the only one for a long time. Aizawa himself and the others had even defended him for such a long time. He wouldn't let it happen again, he'd make sure of it. This time they'd catch Kira, they'd make a difference.
"Hmm hmmhmmmm…" the man hummed as he walked down the streets of the Shibuya district. It had been a pleasant Saturday thus far, nice weather and a lovely meal. All in all, he was content. He checked his watch, it was still early in the day and he wasn't quite ready to head home yet.
He fixed his tie, combed his hair back with his fingers, and walked over to a bench to sit down, laying his briefcase on the ground beside him. He glanced over at the woman next to him. She was attractive, probably mid 30s, no wedding ring, long beautiful black hair wrapped in a braid. He inhaled deeply through his nose, catching a whiff of her pleasant aroma, she smelled like strawberries.
He turned toward her, putting on a smile. "Excuse me ma'am," he said in his usual smooth voice, "I couldn't help but notice you're also enjoying this fine Saturday morning on the town."
She turned, a little surprised. "Oh, yes, it's quite a lovely day."
"Indeed it is." He said, leaning back and spreading his arms on the bench. "If only ever day could be this nice. It's a shame, I wish I had someone to spend it with."
"It definitely would be a nice day for a couple to go on a date." She said rather shortly, scooting an inch away from him.
"By the way, may I catch your name?" He asked, leaning in a bit and pulling a scrap of paper from his breast pocket. "I bet it's as gorgeous as you are." He smiled.
The woman stammered a bit, and blushed. "It's Hoshi, Sonoda Hoshi."
"Mmm Hoshi, a beautiful name." He said writing it down. "Written with the kanji for star?"
"Y-yes, that's right."
"Well then, Sonoda Hoshi. Might I ask if you'd enjoy accompanying me this fine day?" He said as he reached his hand out toward hers.
She stared at him, perplexed. Obviously she would never go with this strange man. But the more she looked at him, the more attractive he seemed. His sensitive demeanor, good looks, and sensual voice. A feeling washed over her, and her cheeks grew redder as she took his hand.
"I'd love to." She smiled.
"I knew you would." The man said as he stood up, leading her with him down the street. On a corner by a convenience store, he stopped and tossed a wadded scrap of paper into the garbage. He held her hand tighter, pulling her in and kissing her cheek. The two continued on their way, happily strolling down the street like two lovebirds before disappearing around a corner out of view.
"Sonoda Hoshi. January 29th, 2011. 5 PM. Earlier that day she meets a handsome stranger, and accompanies him on a date. Later, they return to his home, where he proceeds to kill her. Terrified, she does not resist."