DEATH NOTE (isn't mine)
Title: The Comtemplation of Former Investigator Aizawa
Spoilers: For chapter 40
Summary: Aizawa broods on the Kira situation in a way that's completely out of character.
We, that is, those of us who followed Director Yagami that first time because we trusted him even if we didn't trust the nameless Interpol agent he'd allied himself with, all had an emotional investment in Doing the Right Thing. Even Matsuda, who at times sympathized with the enemy, felt it; the Director himself, who had from the very beginning been unwavering in his stance against Kira, immovable like Kamakura's 90-ton Daibitsu Buddha, must have felt it even more strongly. We joined the so-called "Kira Task Force" out of duty, if not to the police force that had delegated away its responsibilities then to Country or perhaps some higher ideal which was at once more nebulous and more absolute: Justice.
I often wonder if there was some specific instant when that idealism vanished. At what moment did we cease being in the Right and begin, slowly, to approach Kira's own ambivalent moral ground? Nameless L, I believe, has always been an inhabitant of that twilight world, but there must have been a time when we could have turned him down, checked at least temporarily his more unconventional suggestions. We did not have to bug the Director's house, for instance. Certainly we did not have to confine under the most squalid and emotionally trying conditions an unrelated young girl and the son who, I am now sure, was more upright even than his father. More upright than the Director, and I shall never be able to think of that man except by title. I cannot speak for the others, but had I known then the way in which the entire sordid affair was to end… but then, one is always clever in retrospect. The story is short, and dreadfully unpleasant.
We first met L in his own sphere, on what was either the seventh or eighth floor of the Second Regency Hotel. A bizarre young man, of indefinite age, he stood awkwardly but moved fluidly. The first things one noticed were his eyes - insomniac eyes which beyond their obvious intelligence seemed sullen, as if some dark flame were slowly suffering asphyxiation under the pressure of heavy black irises. He had wild black hair and wilder habits and was comfortable with anything, I think, but our own presence in his room.
We and he would work together, often awkwardly, toward the capture of Kira. Almost always it was L who initiated our best offensive strategies, and in that sense his support was invaluable. It was L, too, who suggested those plans of which the Director openly disapproved, but to whose implementation he was invariably forced to agree. L once arranged for the surveillance of police headquarters, I recall; not just cameras but also microphones, and positioned in ways that were clearly illegal and could easily have lead to the release of sensitive information (to say nothing of their probable effect on station morale). Vague suspicion of an informational leak in no way justified such an obvious breach of protocol, but I, and the other investigators, protested hardly at all beyond our initial defensive reactions. That was the effect L had on us- the way in which his absolute sense of Justice infected and warped our own perceptions of morality. His actions as time wore on would only become more outrageous; they culminated, as I have said, in what many would consider torture.
If I cannot remember the action which began our descent into unethical methods, I can at least remember that which ended my own involvement in them. It was October, I believe, and the Director's son had just been freed from his handcuffs, although he was still effectively under house arrest. Far from being condemnatory, Raito was openly grateful for his release from conditions he should never have rightfully had to endure. Furthermore, he unstintingly and without prejudice aided our efforts in the capture of Kira, uncovering the first concrete lead the case had ever seen. L, far from being grateful, was petulant and suspicious. It was then that I resolved to have nothing further to do with the investigation- for if Raito, who was so obviously and earnestly innocent, could so easily be deprived of basic human rights, in what way was L's investigation any better than Kira's projected regime? Kira at least punished only the guilty.
When an avenue of escape presented itself, I took it - I'll admit that I was not without other, more selfish motivations for withdrawal. However the circumstances arranged themselves, I felt after my release as if a great weight had been lifted from me. In no way, however, did this lessen the humiliation I felt upon hearing, recently, of the conclusion to the case.
Kira, the psychic killer of apparently monstrous intellect who for an entire year effectively held the world hostage, has been revealed as nothing more than a trivial coven of corporate lackeys. A group of eight, with the interests of the Yotsuba Corporation in mind, have in that a year committed endless murders for no more reason than to cover up their own selfishness. I have heard this on the news and around the office and have, despite my great and deliberate distance from the Task Force, felt vicariously the shame of having for so long been thwarted by, not a genius, but a petty collective. I know now that L, far from being a genius, was never much more than an eccentric voyeur. The shame of the Task Force is my shame as well, but I have washed my hands of it and do not care anymore.
EDIT Very late addendum, because it's been bothering me. Though I alluded to Borges and plagiarism when I posted this, I failed to state clearly:
The story structure of Former Investigator -- a short introduction foreshadowing doom, followed by the introduction of a shady character, then a summary of horrible events, concluding with the narrator's disavowel of all involvement -- is lifted from Jorge Luis Borghes' short story Covered Mirrors, published in English in The Aleph and Other Stories (though my copy is from Collected Fictions).
Additionally, the lines
But then, one is always clever in retrospect...The story is short, and dreadfully unpleasant.
The shame of ____ is my shame as well, but I have washed my hands of it and do not care anymore.
are from this story.