Death Note Fan Fiction ❯ Chapter Three ( Chapter 3 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
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Champagne Petals
by Edmondia Dantes

Disclaimer: Not mine.

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– Three –
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« Hello, » Light says to the scruffy stranger after the exam is done, making sure her skirt is falling smooth and soft to her knees, tilting her chin a fraction to the left to let the slanting afternoon light hit her face in a way that makes her look soft and vulnerable, even though the fluorescent lighting glaring down from above plays hell with her complexion. « I couldn’t help but notice that you were looking my way a few times during the exam. Would it be rude of me to ask you why? »

« You’re very pretty, » the stranger says, voice a low contralto, « and therefore more pleasant to look at than anything else in the room… and you kept glancing back at me. Why? »

« You’re very interesting to look at, » Light says, and isn’t lying, isn’t preening, either, because she’s used to flattery but this is different somehow. She casts a glance down at the worn jeans, the loose top, the hands with the nails bitten down low, then back up at the calm, expressionless face. Makes her judgment and takes a risk, because her instincts are screaming and if she’s right, well. « And you don’t adhere to normal social standards for a girl. Why? »

« Why should I? » the stranger asks, not at all surprised, not at all taken aback, and Light lets her lips curve into a soft smile, looks right into the blazing intensity of her dark dark eyes.

« So that I can properly invite you to tea, » Light says, and the girl chuckles, deep and throaty, like a man.

« There is a decent cafe two blocks down the street, » the girl says, « and they have very good parfaits. »

Light blinks slowly, eying at her from the top of her ruffled hair to the soft curl of her bare toes. Unexpected. Which is… nice. « …parfaits? »

« According to all of the manga that I have read, it is what girls here eat when out with one another. I would assume that you prefer coffee, and was planning to eat yours in your stead. »

Light blinks again. Considers. Thinks how much she doesn’t like sweet foods, anyway. « …how’s the coffee? »

« Quite good. »

« Let’s go, then. »

« Yes, let’s. »

The girl stuffs her hands in her pockets, and she’s never been inclined to touch strangers, so Light’s not quite sure why she reaches out, but when she links elbows with her, it feels as natural as breathing. The other girl glances down, back up again, and smiles, an odd, sharp little thing that’s a little feral, a little awkward, and she’s not sure why, but it makes her take a step closer, a little amazed and a little wondering, because she’s never done this before, never once tried to play sweetness instead of grace, never tried to be cute and ingratiating, but this isn’t that either, this is just…

They’re of a height, and a gait, and and out of the corner of her eye she catches a few familiar faces in the crowd, but there’s nothing there that she needs to see, not really. Certainly not any more, with the opposition so close and so shameless, because even if she’s just a decoy, she’s already so much better than the ones that came before, just in the quirk of her smile, and those watching from behind the cameras already know her imaginary preference for slim, boyish girls. Every other kind of pornography she’d found made her feel sick, but the artistic kind, all folded silk covers and soft, pleased smiles, no artificially shaped or inflated bodies, no dyed hair and no makeup, she could stomach that, could appreciate the beauty in it, and if she’d discovered a preference for a one type over another, that was just a consequence of the girls she’d had before, and meant nothing.

Maybe not nothing, she thinks, glancing at her from beneath the veil of her lashes, pleased when she’s immediately met with an open, returning stare. It’s different and it’s strange and it’s clearly a threat, ridiculous and bold and startling, and she’s a little surprised that she’s feeling so much delight, but taking the first step forward is refreshing, and a little more time with a dangerous stranger is a necessity that just happens to be a thrill, that’s all.

It would have been an educated guess, all conjecture, because to anyone on the outside a girl like her would never associate with a girl like this, except that’s she’s already three-quarters certain that’s she’s perfect, and though it bothers her a little that she’s so transparent, ignoring this perfectly baited trap would be even more suspicious.

It’s a little terrifying that she’s being found out so quickly, but Kira wouldn’t be so reckless, and that’s exactly what she’s counting on, because Light Yagami the teenage girl has never been impulsive, but then again, she’s never met someone like this before. It’s perfectly reasonable to think she’d be attracted to a girl that was hand-picked for her, that she’d inquire as to the attention in a situation where it wasn’t warranted, that she’d respond to a lure so perfect.

Kira would avoid the obvious trap, or be too arrogant to recognize it, or too cautious to make a move like this, so this is the perfect way to throw off suspicion, and besides…

The girl lifts a sneakered foot and shoves the door to the outside open, hands still buried in her pockets, and Light giggles and presses just a little bit closer, because she’s playing on instant attraction and because she likes it, the smooth grace of the motion and the girl’s complete lack of self-consciousness in the face of all the staring.

Forget the rest. This new threat is unlike anything L’s thrown at her so far, and she’s utterly charmed by the new twist in this dance.

* * *

« Ryuuga Hideki, » she says, blank-faced and incongruous behind a parfait so elaborate it’s nearly spilling over the edges of the glass, and Light blinks, startled by the blatancy of the lie. It’s brilliant, really, and she makes a mental note of it, to be a little more careful, to tuck those moments when her breath freezes away into something more incongruous, like surprise or confusion or indignation, and maybe skepticism’s the way to go, since they’ve gone this far to track her, to narrow it down to just the kind of girl that might be strange enough to catch her eye.

She isn’t pretty, not in any conventional way, but there’s something beautiful about her strangeness, the casual confidence in her slouching step, and Light remembers watching the other girls in her class, the gossip and the drama and the ridiculousness of it all, the pointless chatter and the vicious backstabbing, but she also remembers the closeness, the friendships that stretched from childhood and all through high school, the tight little cliques that she never fit into and never wanted to, pairs and trios that she’d never once been able to understand, a prospect of a kind of intimacy that made her feel vaguely nauseous.

She stares across the table at the now-barefoot girl dangling a chocolate-drizzled wafer from between thumb and forefinger and wonders why she doesn’t feel sick at all.

« You don’t look much like a pop star, » she says, watching the curl of her tongue and the curve of her lip, wondering why the disregard for hygiene and proper manners is making her smile. « And all appearances to the contrary, you’re not a boy. »

The girl’s lips quirk in an odd little smile, and that might be why she doesn’t mind, because everything about her is so interesting, impossible to categorize and dismiss, impossible to ignore. « You don’t look much like a source of illumination, » she retorts, and spins the spoon in her fingertips with a peculiar sort of grace before sinking it into the pile of ice cream and syrup with evident delight.

Light chuckles faintly, stirs the silver spoon in her cup with a practiced hand. Real silver, the cafe far more expensive than the ones near her high school, and she’d be a little more worried about the cost if she weren’t sure the bill would fall straight onto the shoulders of the enemy, and just because this heaps more suspicion on her shoulders doesn’t mean that she minds the preferential treatment. « Yeah… apparently I was a pretty hard birth, so I’ve always kind of suspected that mom was stoned out of her mind when she named me. »

« My father wanted a son very much, » the girl says in reply, « he had his heart set on the name Ryuuga. A little thing like the child’s sex wasn’t going to stop him. »

The coffee is imported, black and strong, and she watches her devour both parfaits in quick succession, suspicion and delight curling a soft tangled knot deep in her belly, and they talk of the world and politics and schoolwork and Kira. Light finds herself a little startled when the servers quietly brush in and leave dinner on the table, all her favorite dishes but not quite to the point that it’s being obvious, and there’s an odd flutter in her belly that might be dread or nausea or a quiet thrill at the flirtation. Ryuuga watches her with that odd little smile, drawls a lazy, « I guessed, » and she laughs and tells her she’s creepy and wonderful, and calls the waiters over to order the most expensive and elaborate dessert on the menu, and insists on paying in cash for it, no matter the size of the bill.

It is, as it turns out, a very big bill, and her student budget isn’t what it once was thanks to that little TV, and the radio, and Light blinks over at Ryuuga, then waves the bill at her with an embarrassed smile. « I can’t do anything right lately, » she says, careful to project awkward clumsiness as she launches into the story of her last disastrous date, a boy she didn’t even like and a desperate desire to just be normal, of her suggestions for a love hotel and then her panic at the thought of following through, and is very careful to dance around the subject of why, averting her eyes and wrapping her arms around herself and barely touching her after-dinner tea.

Ryuuga smiles at her, wide and guileless like a spy or a liar or someone deadly honest. « Yagami-kun is very pretty, » she says, and Light doesn’t even have to feign the blush, because she’s been told that a thousand times by a thousand people and it meant nothing, but Light also has a feeling that Ryuuga isn’t just saying that because she finds her appearance to be aesthetically pleasing.

« …can we be friends? » she asks, staring deliberately down at the tablecloth, at the cooling tea and the crumbs scattered across expensive china. « I don’t–I’ve never done this before, and– »

« Yagami-kun is very pretty, » Ryuuga repeats, and passes a sugar cube across the table, like a secret or a promise or both, and Light hesitates a moment before she reaches out to make the trade, exchanging her own sugarless cup of tea for something she’s sure isn’t going to sit well on her tongue.

The sugar cube crunches in Light’s teeth as Ryuuga makes a truly magnificent face at her sip of tea, and she passes the cup back with a loud « Bleh! » that makes Light giggle like a child.

By the time they finally leave the cafe, the sky is black beyond the city’s glare and the air is cool and crisp. When she finally checks her phone, there are two voicemails from her mother wondering where she is.

They part at a street corner, trading cell phone numbers and emails and soft, deadly glances, and Light squeezes her hands one last time and steps back under the glow of a streetlight and watches the girl slip into the night like a dream, or a hallucination, or a ghost. Once she’s turned the corner Light tilts her head back and grins up at the sky, giggles a little and spins a pirouette while her shinigami looks at her like she’s crazy.

It’s three in the morning when she finally makes it home, and she slips off her shoes and tiptoes upstairs with an easy grace, resigned to the teasing Sayu will heap on her head in the morning.

She wonders if her mother will guess that she was out with a girl.

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« She’s a part of the investigation, isn’t she? » Light says to Ryuk and the ceiling, flopped back on her bed, still a little giggly, still a little giddy, more than a little thrilled with what she’s found her new opposition to be. « They found me quick. »

« Gonna kill her? » Ryuk asks, and that’s as much confirmation as anything else.

« And give myself away? No way… besides, she’s too much fun. »

It’s a little like terror, a little like nausea, this feeling, but at the same time it feels like she’s finally starting to breathe. She’s meant for this. This is her fight, her battle, and she’s going to change the world, and it’s going to be glorious.

« Say, Ryuk? »

« Yeah? »

« You think I should have kissed her? »

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Chapter Two
Chapter Four