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27 August 2009 @ 02:09 am
The Furance Room [Ryuk & Nu] [Near]  
Title: The Furnace Room
Character: Ryuk & Nu, Near, and Light makes a very weird appearance
Fandom: Death Note
Genre: Supernatural, Suspense, Mystery
Rating: PG
Word Count: 3,438

A/N: There's some canon-distorting but not a lot. Believe it or not, this was inspired by Resident Evil 5.


The Furnace Room

 

THE river was long stolen, lost and forgotten,
Oil-licked flames crawling over faces
Gathered, hurried, from dust
Dust to ashes—ashes to dust.
There breeds hate, veiled
Among the reeds and reefs,
Coral (corralled by starlight prisons)
Bright, a-shudder, the turning light.
At the helm of the ship, he falls
Into oblivion, to beyond.

 

Walla-walla
River sings
Sweating blood
Skin acid
And baked mud
Walla-walla
Rushing over
We are caught—

 

We are trapped, left no escape,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah (to the king)
In this hullabaloo.

 

[parts in prophesy]

 

 

In Mu there was a solitary spot, covered in fire, a spot forlorn and barren (seeds dropped from the womb) that no one visited. The shinigami from their perched thrones positioned higher than cliffs and castles in air laughed as human(less)-souls wandered and retreated and never crossed The Spot.

 

Plangent was the poison sung, inferno as insidious truth, doors locked shut: no entrancing exits, slammed tight the existing entrances.

 

Hanging overhead, fattened and inebriated off staked bets and necrophilic wine, the shinigami gloated and joked that no one will ever be stupid enough to step there. And then, he arrived. And they all gasped in collection as he became a particle, a thread, and disappeared.

 

Onto The Spot.

 

The god of all gods (who still had access to Mu) watched as scorching irrigation lashed the white shrubbery, emancipating them from death—from nothing. From nothingness, emerged the foundations of life. Matter was recycled was infinitely cyclic was in each and every.

 

This was the birth of Prometheus, Atum, and Shiva.

 

Even death was not so innocent and fugacious. Even death had a beginning and ending.

 

--

 

Ryuk, curious and jaded, once asked Nu what was the substance that made the death notes (and intrepidly, quietly implied who forged the first book). She shrugged and dismissed his question as trivial. It didn’t matter to them. Every creature and thing had a purpose in life (and death) and theirs was to kill.

 

The symbols and tiled panes of purpose were arcane and ludicrous. For all their purpose-declaring they served no purpose themselves. Like a discarded map or dysfunctional prophylactic, they were rendered pointless.

 

Useless.

 

Burdens, not gifts.

 

Nu had explained to him long ago that the world was really quite simple to understand. It was like a puzzle and all the pieces were interchangeable. When one person died, he was replaced (old body dispensed). And from his broken corpse, a new entity was created.  

 

Nu understood Mu better than anyone else, better even than the Shinigami King. But she would always smile mysteriously and refuse to disclose exactly what she knew.

 

Mu was the origin of all death notes.

 

“The books are made from everything and nothing, Ryuk.”

 

He shook his head and left. Paradoxes were philosophical swamps reminiscent of humans and their pathetic attempts for immortality. In death, philosophies died along with their masters. Death was equal, death was indifferent.
 

--

 

Through a thin glass-pond, reverse the air and liquidize the earth, a soul was reincarnated. Sometimes, it became a human again, and other times, it surfaced in the tangible world as a separated stone (made to fit onto the grand mosaic whole).

 

In an instant: pores open, limbs drop, caught up in cosmic collisions with sparks flying past.

 

In this instant, a small, petty man strived for one last chance at greatness.

 

--

 

Nu was there when the first fires came, when they swept up a stowed away pile of death notes in one giant undulating wave. She was young then, naïve and optimistic and thought she could save the books—the only things shinigami still thought “worthy”. Moved her slug-body and snake-tail toward the roaring blazes, tried to salvage any remains she could gather.

 

And then, the laughter came. Rising in power from the books’ core, the laughter ran shrill to low and hung in the air ominously. The laughter engulfed the field, smothering the flames (saving themselves and Nu too).

 

She heard them speak in multiple voices, gushing in wails. They spoke of the past and what will come. They muttered predictions of divided spheres, and immediately, they vanished after that. No sounds heard, no undead paper dolls swallowed by fire. The pages, carried by surreal winds, scattered to the four corners—the whispers of soot treading close.

 

“But that happened thousands of years ago.”

 

Ryuk smirked. “Ain’t no guarantee they won’t come back.”

 

“There hasn’t been anyone that stupid or delusional enough who died since.”

 

“Well, then you better get acquainted with Light Yagami.”

 

“The human you called master?”

 

“He wasn’t my ‘master’. He was just someone I thought would show me some interesting sights in the human world. If anything, I was his master. Am I right?”

 

“Right and disastrous. You should learn to behave like a real shinigami, Ryuk. It’s an invitation for calamity.”

 

“A bunch of long words, Nu, never pictured you for an intellect.”

 

“Light Yagami is a lowly speck. He is a fool intent on a fool’s dream.”

 

“Heh. What does it matter? So what if he fails like the ones before him? As long as he goes out with something showy, I’m satisfied.”

 

Ryuk cast the dice and made a bet. Nu scoffed but agreed. They will wait it out, to see what would happen if—

 

He reared his ugly head, eyes lit up in incomparable delight. Far away, underneath a blood-eyed skyline was the explosion of wonders, expansive and encompassing. It stretched from The Spot (the gritty, gutted center) to worlds beyond.

 

It reached high-dosage heavens and hallucinating hells.

 

And then arrived the announcement from the shinigami king, alerting them with caustic cacophony deep down—bellowing out orders. In a flash, Ryuk and Nu were gone.

 

--

 

The shinigami king summoned them close, bid them to come before his wispy smoke head and clawed feat. The chains spiking from his back clanked violently. Nu bowed in veneration, Ryuk cackled and offered an apple.

 

The king took it, eyed Ryuk with a condescending eye, metallic clashes resonating in the stale hall. He issued them an assignment, blinking lies and fostering intrigue.

 

What Nu foretold actually happened (Light Yagami really was a purebred idiot). But this time, she was ready (interested) and knew what to anticipate. And so, she agreed to keep watch and record the events for supernatural history.

 

Ryuk was still all smiles when they departed from Mu.

 

--

 

They received the news Monday morning, sipping over the last dredges of tea or roughly ground coffee. Chief Aizawa slammed the new reports down, face already puffing up, and demanded to know what the hell they have been doing.

 

The rest of his department sighed, looking aside or averting the glare. Hesitant. The fires were strange, but they already deduced them as arson then set the problem aside with the other accumulated wastelands of dead-end files.

 

“What exactly have you all been focusing on? Four months now, eight deaths, and zero suspects. Tell me that I’m not working with a bunch of monkeys.”

 

“Chief, calm down. We’re doing the best we can.”

 

“Then do better.”

 

“Well, what’s to do with Near on the team?”

 

“Matsuda, how can you still be joking?”

 

“I’m just saying, Chief, trying to lighten up the atmosphere. Near will crack this case in no time. All we have to do is watch the little genius at work.”

 

“Yes while you sit on your ass and get fat.”

 

“They’re low-fat doughnuts, try some. I swear they’ll rock your world.”

 

“Matsuda, I don’t have time to—Near, what is it?”

 

Near swiveled around, chair grating and creaking, thumb pressed to his mouth, and blinked at them. In his other hand nested two finger-puppets, one blank and new (to be transformed into a human’s caricature) but the other was painted with yellow and orange flames. Near fitted a slim index finger into this one and tapped it against the wall.

 

He played the vision to completion in his mind, conjured the sticky sap sensation of having your bones melt into magma as you tried to flee. First the legs, then the neck. The key to knowing was understanding the victims (then the killer and his methods and means).

 

“I predict there will be another attack on the 21st exact.”

 

Aizawa’s jaw simply dropped in astonishment.

 

--

 

“Are you sure this is good, Nu?”

 

“You worry too much. I know what I am doing.”

 

Ryuk sighed and watched as Nu set up the fireworks (literally). Fangs protruding in a grotesque rictus-smile. They were being cautious, going under the cover of night even though humans would never notice them, all dumb, blind, and stupid. Because life naturally was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.

 

Hobbes was right: the original misanthropist (he did them proud).

 

March 21st crept in slowly. Precisely on the dot, there was another spontaneous combustion. This time, an old warehouse ruptured all of a sudden at night. Sent charred wood and smoked cement pebbles high into the air. No one nearby but the commotion was great and that got the police’s attention.

 

Roosted above them, like saints or the final vowel of an illicit battle cry, Ryuk and Nu watched with apt devotion as the humans scrambled to douse the fire and examine the rubble. They pried apart oxidized window-beams and floorboards.

 

“Isn’t this cheating?”

 

Nu chuckled. “Certainly not. We are shinigami; we kill. This is what we were made to do.”

 

“I just never figured you to do what you’re told.”

 

“I’m not.”

 

“Then how’re you—”

 

Nu was gone. Ryuk followed her a second later, flapping large black wings, elongated body trailing behind and barely still attached. He looked down and could have sworn he saw the oddball looking at him, piercing glare (curious) and a head full of blue-white hair (like an old ninny granny).

 

Ryuk shrugged. This was not his war. He was merely a spectator, just languorously lazing around while Nu finished whatever she was crazy in the mood for.

 

On the opposite side of the street, a man passing through arbitrarily died of a heart-attack.

 

--

 

“I know what’s causing the fires.”

 

Hal frowned, a scathing admonition jumping to the tip of her tongue. “If you get it wrong, Near, there will be more deaths. Fire is not something to toy with.”

 

“Have some faith in me. I have thought over this carefully, and—yes it seems impossible—but the evidence supporting it…”

 

“Stop talking in riddles and grow up.”

 

“I would but then I’d deprive you of your single joy in life, chastising me.”

 

“How about you get up and do some detective work?”

 

“Hal, please don’t be so melodramatic. I have everything under control. I am thinking.”

 

“Think faster. You said that another fire would come in three weeks. You were right, but how could you have possibly known that?”

 

“Easy. There was a pattern. The attacks’ dates change according to a sequence, the Fibonacci one to be completely accurate. Rather boring, if you ask me, but to each his own I suppose.”

 

Hal tapped her toes, displeased but grudgingly admitted he had a point. That’s the trouble here, you see. Near was always right. Briefly she entertained the notion of kicking down his Tarot Tower, one gloriously swift motion and the columns and bridges of cards would disintegrate. And there toppled over the Arc de Triomphe.

 

“Then the next one would be on the…34th? That’s not a date in the calendar. Unless…”

 

“That’s right. The ‘extra’ days are carried over. So the next death will happen on May 4th. I’m afraid our perpetrator isn’t very creative, elusive but somewhat conventional.”

 

“Perfect then. So what’s he going to do next? How do we stop him?”

 

“Never assume it’s a man, Hal. You of all people should know that.”

 

“Near, shut up.”

 

“My apologies. But if I were you, I wouldn’t be wasting time with me, I’d be tailing Yamamoto from now on.”

 

“You suspect him?”

 

“Please, don’t get so excited. I don’t suspect him of being the arsonist or the murderer for that matter, but I do fear for his safety. He will be next.”

 

“Oh really? How did you come by this enlightening piece of knowledge?”

 

“Always the skeptic, Hal. It’s just a guess but a good one. The people who have died so far have had surnames beginning with ‘R, Y, U, and K’ with each letter repeating twice. Every single one of them can trace ancestry of some sort back to the Ryukyu Islands. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that the next target will have a last name starting with ‘Y’. Yamamoto fits both criteria.”

 

“That’s a shot in the dark. There could be a million people fitting that description.”

 

“True but Yamamoto has another special characteristic. He knows the identity of the killer.”

 

--

 

May 4th was a bizarrely chilly night.

 

Yamamoto arrived home, kissed his lovely wife good evening, and ate dinner with his family. His daughter (just turned three) chattered away with the fluidity of experienced old-wife gossips. He smiled as she rattled off the events of her banal, little life, and thought: this was bliss, this was the apogee of a heroically good life.

 

He had a stable job (though the recent killings were more than perturbing), and a beautiful family who waited eagerly for his return every night. His wife asked him how was his day, honey? And he replied cordially, pushing up the glasses, a mischievous shine glistened off the glass.

 

“Would you light up a fire tonight, dear? It’s been so cold today even though it’s already May.”

 

“Of course. I’ll get right to it after dinner.”

 

“Wonderful! By the way, did I tell you what happened this afternoon?”

 

Yamamoto picked up his chopsticks and plunged into his dinner and hummed a chirpy tune to himself. This was paradise on earth, surrounded with loved ones and eating a hearty meal. He couldn’t ask for more even if he tried.

 

--

 

“Are you sure he’s the one?”

 

“Don’t you trust me, Ryuk?”

 

“No.”

 

The house erupted, screams emitting from inside, no way out. They had sealed all the doors and placed a curse on the grounds.

 

--

 

Hal trekked through the ashy dust searching for a body, something, anything.

 

She sighed, taking a step back, gazing the whole picture with astute, frigid eyes. There was something wrong here (not just the augured death—deaths). It was like she was desecrating a church, ramming a rod into the pope’s face.

 

This made the tenth in sequence, fifth in name.

 

“It’s such a shame.”

 

“Chief Aizawa…what are you doing here?”

 

“I came as soon as you called in. I never thought it’d be Yamamoto.”

 

“About that, Near says that it’s because he knew the identity of the killer.”

 

“Impossible. He would have told us already otherwise.”

 

“Perhaps he didn’t know how to or didn’t even know he knew.”

 

--

 

“Are you going to send them the rest of the message?”

 

“There’s no need. They know the rest. The little one, at least, and he’s the only one we need to be concerned about.”

 

“Whatever you say, lady.”

 

--

 

Near broadcasted the news personally: they will be heading for the Ryukyu Islands that weekend.

 

No one was convinced (save for Near) but they had no leads and a gut feeling was better than the empty one of waiting for more to be slaughtered. He warned them not to say a word, even to their families. And above all else, obey the instructions he listed without vacillation.

 

Sunday night, they disembarked the plane; weary and chary from the ride. Matsuda stretched, yawned wide and loud. And Chief Aizawa was stoic as ever, the ideal soldier.

 

“This way please, everyone.”

 

They followed Near past the five-star-rated hotel, the lesser three-star one, and even past the bed and breakfast. Up the hill, single-lined and irate, they marched till they reached a metal shack. The ancient steel paneled walls rattled as Near unhooked the bolted door, sending a whoosh of stagnant, rotting air into their nostrils.

 

“Welcome to Headquarters.”

 

And there went tilting up his peculiar sarcastic smirk. In they walked to the heart of stuffy hell itself. Hal coughed, a miniature seizure shooting through her spine. This one will be next.

 

--

 

“What is the one thing that can extinguish fire?”

 

“Water?”

 

“Dirt?”

 

“No. Itself. Without air, fire suffocates. Trapped inside a box long enough, it’ll go out with a whimper.”

 

--

 

For a sublime mêlée behooving the Christian God or His hoofed nemesis, Near prepared for the revelry an hour in advance (a monumental time squandered). The others talked in hushed tones among themselves, wondering what was going on and had Near really lost his mind. Except for Hal, she stayed silent.

 

(a reticent lass was ill boding for victory)

 

(a caveat for the cavalier cavalry?)

 

Hal stared straight forward.

 

They slithered through the holes in the filthy dirt floor, merging shadows with the fading lights of sunset. Cumbersome and gauche, they settled comfortably among the humans and heard the explanations and conjectures fated to be wrong.

 

“It’s good to see you again, Ryuk. Although I can’t actually see you in this light. Say hello to your friend there for me.”

 

“Near, who’re you—”

 

“Quiet, Matsuda. You’re interrupting our guest. So it really was you this time. I thought you learned that humans were quite boring and ordinary after Light.”

 

Ryuk sneered. “Not at all. They’re as dumb as ever!”

 

“Very clever, I’ll give you that. Ryukyu begins with ‘Ryuk’ doesn’t it? Next time, try to be even more clever. I had fun though.”

 

“So you all think you won?”

 

“Not us, only me. I’m only interested in solving the game, but they actually want to incarcerate a criminal. Unfortunately for them, you just can’t be caught.”

 

“Oh you got us at last. I’m shaking. What’re you gonna do now?”

 

“Nothing. We wait.”

 

“For?”

 

“For your friend to summon him, or ‘it’ now I should say. It’s very ingenious, so much that even a mortal can tell it’s quite a feat. Was it hard for you, Ryuk?”

 

“Eh? I don’t know what you’re babbling about.”

 

“Egging the fires on. It’s true, what they say, that fires burn by themselves, no help needed….as long as there’s oxygen.”

 

“Nope, don’t got a clue, don’t care.”

 

“I really would rather ask your friend, if I could. I highly doubt you were the mastermind with these….experiments.”

 

“What makes you say that? Think I’m stupid?”

 

“I never said such a thing. But something like this is phenomenal. How did you convince him to do it?”

 

“Convince who, Near?”

 

“Chief, please wait just a bit longer. All of your questions will be answered shortly. Tell us, Ryuk. We’re dying to know.”

 

“Heh, you can’t make that brat do anything. Chose the path for himself, one last chance at being god. Control issues, you know.”

 

“But how did he do it?”

 

“Ain’t nothing to tell till you’re dead too. That can be easily arranged. I always carry a backup with me.”

 

“Is that so. Why did you kill Yamamoto?”

 

“He saw us.”

 

“So did I.”

 

“But you we needed. Enough whinin’, you ready?”

 

“Do what you must. I have all the answers I need now.”

 

With nightfall came the final act. The fire of Prometheus gave life and eradicated it all the same. Locked inside the room, the humans watched in horror as the walls glowed ominously and started heating up rapidly. In the den of voles, the valve switch steamed into gear.

 

Near sat complacently as the others banged on hot metal, searing off flesh, desperate to escape.

 

--

 

In the hospital, Ryuk kept unhealthy vigil as the doctors performed surgery. Removing dead skin and stitching up wounds, cooling the scabby messes, the physicians worked quickly with superlative skill (the reward of insomniac years and droning studies).

 

As he expected, everyone lived though battered and burnt and thoroughly pissed. Nu kept to her word (munching on his apples, Ryuk wept resentfully). She called the “experiment” off, delivered a message to the king, and declared that they will be returning soon.

 

The human world was no longer a place for shinigami (killed themselves off just fine and dandy) or death notes. Obsolete and unwanted as the avengers of death. But what the humans never fathomed was that death notes didn’t—couldn’t—die. And one day, they will all be absorbed into the black-cloth spine one by one.

 

Ryuk flicked a claw at the interlacing intravenous tubes (Near moaned in his sleep). The kid drove a hard bargain, but he drove it home.

 
 
 
You Can't Take A Picture of This It's Already Gone: light perfect worldstk316 on August 29th, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was good. Really good.
Anything with the Shinigami and more specifically, the Shinigami World, are always to my taste.
I MUST: Death Becomes Themsabriel75 on August 31st, 2009 01:20 am (UTC)
Quite delightfully clever... and the literary illustrations a very nice touch.

Do believe that I would have been pissed but there's no way in Hell I would have missed the drift of Near's thoughts and sure as heck wouldn't have bothered to burn skin over it. The boy's called genius not for nothing! Although can I say how very amusing the way you described their panic... subtle but descriptively apt.
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on August 31st, 2009 01:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :D

I'm not too fond of Near, so writing him in anything but a cynical light was rather annoying on my part.
Nana Banana: Near Is A Ladyspeaky_bean on September 1st, 2009 05:34 am (UTC)
Interesting story! As usual, I love your style. Your vocabulary is so unexpected and clever, it makes everything you write a joy to read. This was great, especially the interaction between Nu and Ryuk--I love how serious and traditional Nu was, and Ryuk was just...Ryuk. Anyway lovely work.
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on September 1st, 2009 05:36 am (UTC)
Am surprised you are online! :P

Thanks, BB. :) I love anything shinigami.
Nana Banana: Support Bacteriaspeaky_bean on September 1st, 2009 05:40 am (UTC)
I got my Internet back at 10 PM! Whoohoo!

Yeah, the shinigami are awesome. I pretty much suck at writing them, so I admire anyone who can!
Noordarklight90 on October 6th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
Sheer excellence.