• It didn’t take long to find the building Mello had taken Takada. You could see the flames from the highway. The gravel spun beneath my tires as I pulled up and lifted myself from the seat, clinging to the open door as firemen sprinted past me, gushing fire hoses held tightly in their hands like giant snakes, basilisks. The heat radiating from the shattering stone and cracking wood prevented me from getting any closer, but it didn’t matter. I could see the truck with “transport” melting off the side parked in a caving hole in the church like building. The door had come unhinged and an indistinguishable blob lay length wise along the truck bed, a body roasting in the flames like a marshmallow held above a campfire. I knew what had happened. Ten minutes...I’d been out raced by Kira...And lost another family member because of it.
    A fireman asked me to please step back so as to protect myself, but I refused, choosing instead to sit on the hood of my car and debate leaping in to the rising flames myself. Their smoke clogged the sky, blocking out the sun. I gazed up at it, an aching in my chest I had promised myself to never feel again, yet here I was. Alone again...
    Everything around me moved too fast. None of them cared. None of them knew him. They all just saw him as a criminal, someone Kira would have annihilated eventually anyway. If there was an investigation, it would be small and it would be led by Light, by L, by Kira. That thought more then the others stung at my mind. Barely reaching the edge of my car in time, I hurled over the side. I hadn’t eaten in two days and the stomach acid scalded my throat and I leaned back after the jerks had subsided, feeling more consumed by the flames, inside and out. No tears infiltrated my eyes. For once, they let me wallow in unhappiness and despair without the annoyance they brought with them.
    “Oh no...Mello...” The familiar voice caused me to look over my shoulder.
    Standing with her right arm spread across her face as if to hold back the heat I eagerly welcomed, Lidner exited her car and gaped at the murder scene before her, her wide eyes following the clouds of smoke as they rose into the sky to meet the sun. Her black, trim suit seemed foolish in the flicker of the flames as did her straight cut, short blond hair. The heat waves flapped at it, causing it to whip as if blown by a strong summer breeze. Another vehicle pulled up, and this one carried with it enough horrible thoughts to make me slide firmly from the hood and storm towards it’s passengers, Light Yagami, Aizawa, and Ide, as they ascended from their comfortable seats, amazed, but not sympathetic of the scene disappearing amongst a flurry of murderous flames before them. If they were saddened, it was for the loss of Kiyomi Takada. I lifted my fist, more then ready to shatter Light’s handsome face, his calm and overpowering demeanor. Lidner got to me first.
    “S, S stop it. Calm down. Stop it.”
    She was strong, it was one of the reasons Takada had assigned her to be her new bodyguard, but even with all her strength, she still struggled to hold me back. Rage and pain could motivate a person to do horrible things, miraculous things, and seeing Kira before me, smirking furtively at the destruction he at least played a role in, if not orchestrated, was more then I could stand. Lidner forced me back, slamming my lower back into the front of her car and holding my sight.
    “Lidner, let go of me!” I yelled back at her, thankful for all the chaos around me.
    Firemen were far too busy to bother taking a second glance at us arguing. Light and the other members of the Japanese Task Force spared us a long stare however and I clawed at Light, a fury I couldn’t recall ever feeling seething over and consuming my reason, my logic. For a moment, I was Mello, all action, no thought.
    “S, calm down!” Lidner screamed over the raging noises around us.
    “He deserves it. I’ll kill him. He killed Mello! Are you just going to let him walk away from it?” I roared at her, seeing in her the same pain I felt, but unable to comprehend why she wasn’t embracing the rage like I was. She just stood there, horrified, saddened, but not eager to enact revenge. She actually attempted to stop me from doing what Kira had earned through all his “acts of a god”.
    “You’ll be just like him, S. You’ll be killing because you think it’s right, not because you had to. Now stop it!
    The sound of splintering wood, growing flames, rushing water, sizzling features doused with cooling liquid, the shouts of firemen, attempting to understand each other over the roar of the world around them. The stench of burning wood clogged my throat and I gagged. Lidner saw it as an attempt to kill Kira again and eyeballed my gun warily after seeing my fingers flickering around the grip.
    Her fingers dug into the skin of my stomach as I made another made dash for Light. Ide placed his hands on his gun and I tapped my own holstered on my belt. One shot, one quick bullet, and Kira would suffer the same fate he’d imposed on others he deemed “wicked” or simply felt threatened by.
    “Stop this.” Lidner ordered and then she decided to play dirty. “What would L say!” Damn you!
    My whole body seemed to go limp and I fell to my knees, fingers now digging into the soggy dirt and grass, punching at the ground. The flesh stretched across my knuckles began to tear and blood collected in the craters I’d made. I’d lost another one. Another member of my adopted family gone, taken by Kira. There he was, standing triumphantly before me, just beside his car and two members of the Japanese task force. One shot and I’d never loose another one. One shot and it would end. Death was too easy, too painless for him, but I couldn’t bear the thought of letting him run free. He’d say “I understand”...
    Mind blank, my fingers wrapped around the cool hilt of the gun dangling from my hip. Lidner spotted the action a second later as I lifted it, the end aimed at Kira’s heart. A new approach to the term “heart attack”. My finger curled around the trigger, ready. Somewhere in the distance, something hard connected with a rock and my head jerked forwards. Darkness encompassed me and I surrendered to it, too exhausted, emotionally and mentally, to fight the black light’s embrace.


    “What is it, Mr. Rogers?” I asked, watching concerned as the wrinkled, old operator of the orphanage Near, Mello, and I grew up in. Watari had left him in charge as he did every time he joined L on a case.
    Though L had been keeping me informed on the workings and progressions on the case, it’d been about six months since I’d last heard from him. I wasn’t worried. L had a tendency of fading from public sight and during those periods, he returned to stay with me in the mountains, but whilst he was working on an assignment, our communications were never definite or defined. Growing up, L had been absent from my life for two years at one time and then appeared at our home, Watari in tow, asking how I’d been. That was just the way L was and I wouldn’t have changed him for anything.
    However, Mr. Rogers had me slightly shaken and fearful. It wasn’t like him to call and demand I fly across the Atlantic to the orphanage to meet with him. To not tell me why swerved completely from Mr. Roger’s character. Usually a kind and gentle man with a habit of fiddling with his glasses, he looked old for the first time as he sat at his desk before me, the laughter of children wafting in from the playground outside. I fidgeted in my seat, pulling at the hem of my dress and twisting my legs. He was so quiet.
    I hadn’t seen Near or Mello outside on my way in. Were they in trouble? Has something happened to them? The thought caused me to crane my neck to look out the window. Mr. Rogers ignored the movement, lost in his own mind. Finally, after minutes of me fretting over my friends, I couldn’t take the silence any longer.
    “Mr. Rogers...has something happened to Nate and Mihael?” I asked and he lifted his head.
    “Hmm?” Oh, of course. He never called them by their real names.
    “Excuse me, has anything happened to Near and Mello? I didn’t see them on my way here and Near’s usually in the bedrooms working on a puzzle and I don’t see Mello outside playing soccer so you can see how I’d assume...” I trailed off as Mr. Rogers stood, sighing.
    “No, no. They’re fine, but they’ve left, a few months ago actually.”
    “What!” I shouted, half rising from my seat as Mr. Rogers stared at his bookshelf, refusing to meet my gaze. “Why?”
    “Mello left about two weeks before Near. While I can only assume Mello left to accomplish the same thing, Near has been working on the Kira case along with the FBI and CIA.” He answered, hands curled by old age shaking as they opened a deep green bound book.
    “The Kira case?” I repeated, head spinning. But... “But L’s working on that case. If he needed help, why didn’t he ask me first?”
    Mr. Rogers didn’t answer for a long time. He flipped through the book, eyes not taking in what he saw, and then replaced it on the shelf, returning to his desk. He sat down with a grunt and laced his fingers together on the desk top, still not meeting my gaze. As he showed no sign of responding, I continued.
    “Why didn’t you tell me when they’d left? Someone should have.” He inhaled deeply and began.
    “L told me not to tell you more then you needed to know. He would not have considered that information necessary.”
    The way he phrased his last sentence, it unnerved me. “He would not have”... That meant Mr. Rogers hadn’t spoken to L. He was operating on interpretation and what he believed L would have told him to do. And how could he consider not telling me of Near’s and Mello’s departures? I had as much right to know as L.
    “Why not? Necessary for what? They’re my friends. If they go running off to help L, I should at least be told, if not allowed to go with them.” Mr. Rogers sighed once more, turning to gaze out the window.
    “Mello and Near needed to have left before I asked you to come here. That is why I waited so long. I had to be sure they were beyond your immediate reach.”
    “Were you afraid I’d try to stop them? If L prefers their assistance over mine, I’m sure he has good reason.”
    That didn’t appear to be the response Mr. Rogers has wanted. The despair in his face, his entire body, was overpowering and it threatened to drown me in it. I twisted once more, bringing my legs under me and grasping the arm rests of the large chair I had found myself in.
    “That was not the reason behind my hesitance in calling you.” He stood up once more and stepped over to the window, the light from the sun high in the sky outside illuminating his face, erasing every wrinkle and fold of the skin.
    “Then, what was the reason?” Why was it so hard for him to say? Near and Mello weren’t hurt. They were helping L solve the Kira case. They were probably in Japan at the moment. What could be so horrible?
    “I waited...I waited because you are L’s heir, not his successor and I didn’t want you, and neither would L have, to attempt to follow L’s footsteps.”
    My mind came to a halt. I shot up from the seat, hands shaking at my sides. Realization flashed across my face, I saw it reflected in Mr. Roger’s glasses. He watched me sadly as I backed away from him, shaking my head back and forth.
    “No, no...It’s not possible.” I stammered, mind, an instant before so full of questions, now completely blank, numb. “You’re lying. Tell me you’re lying.”
    “I’m not.” He confessed, tears making his eyes sparkle.
    “How! When!” No answer. “It was Kira, wasn’t it?” When he refused to answer again, I dashed forwards and grabbed him by the collar, bringing him closer. “It was Kira. He killed L!” His eyes changed, his entire expression altered when I grabbed the front of his shirt. Someone had had the same reaction before me and done the exact same thing. Mello. Mello had reacted so aggressively to the news, just like me.
    “That is the conclusion Near has drawn, but we can’t say for sure.” I released him, reeling backwards and tripping into the chair. My knees swayed left to right, uncontrolled and doing what gravity and the wind asked of them.
    “But, how? No one knows his name, at least, no one in Japan. And he only let the task force see his face. How is it possible that Kira got to him?”
    My mind was racing once more, digging for a possibility. It was an act. L had tricked everyone into thinking he was dead. But why have Mr. Rogers lie to me about it, go along with the joke? It was a cruelty L wouldn’t inflict upon me, no matter how dire the situation. But then, that must mean... No, it wasn’t possible. L was too careful, too intelligent. He’d managed to capture criminals that had eluded even the most impressive detectives, had assisted on hundreds of unresolved cases, saved countless lives. One man couldn’t have gotten to him. It wasn’t possible.
    My thoughts turned to the e-mails from L, the updates on the case. The suspects were few and far between. The Japanese police had been under suspicion at one point in fear of a leak, someone who was Kira working at the station. FBI agents had been called in and they’d begun their secret investigations of the police force and their families. A few days later, they all died, all twelve of them dead by heart attacks. Kira... He was somewhere in the police force. Raye Penber, an agent, exhibited strange behavior before he had died, throwing two families imparticular in to suspicion: Chief Soichiro Yagami’s family and the Deputy Director’s family. After investigating both families, L had concluded that Light Yagami was the one most likely to be Kira, reaching seven percent at the best of times. L later joined Light at his university, informing him that he was L and that he suspected Light of being Kira and he began slowly investigating further. Then the second Kira had arisen and Light began helping the task force. Shortly after that, I’d lost contact with L. His last e-mail via Watari had revealed suspicions directed at a model named Misa Amane who seemed to at least know Light. Could he be Kira? I was certain L wasn’t wrong in his suspicions. Light Yagami was Kira and had managed to kill L.
    I stood back up, determined and focused, the shock of loosing my father figure replaced with a fierce desire to see Kira, Light, locked up in a cell for the rest of his life, where I could gaze upon the face of the murderer and know I beat him, that I’d won where L had been defeated. He’d pay. Mr. Rogers watched me, concerned, but I bowed in respect, preparing myself mentally for a long flight to Japan and an even longer time hunting down Kira.
    “Thank you for telling me, Mr. Rogers.” He looked astounded. “Please let me know immediately if you hear from Mello or Near. Please tell them that I would like to help however I can in their investigations.”
    And with that, I left Mr. Rogers standing aghast and alone in his office, the sound of a soccer ball being kicked against his wall swirling around him. Despite my request, I never heard from Mr. Rogers again. His voice faded from my memory until only a blurred image of what he had looked like remained. L, Mello, Near, and then Serenity had left his orphanage permanently. He let us leave and never tried to call us back.