Written in the present tense because there's cops and cop pieces are always written in the present tense.
DEATH NOTE (continues to own me and not the other way around)
Title: Burn Down (Misa)
Genre: Introspective + Suspense
Summary: Misa is caught up in an arson investigation.
Misa watches as the roof catches fire, bright flames not so much leaping as expanding toward the sky. It's night and the burning house is spectacularly beautiful. The street below has already filled with people. Misa can't imagine how the fire started until, suddenly, she can: he was smoking, she remembers, the cigarette a point of light though the window pane, before he was dead on the carpet with one hand clutching his chest.
She takes one last look through her binoculars and can barely see the corpse of Taketo Hayashi on the other side of the ruined glass. Half an hour ago Hayashi was a yakuza boss with twenty-two years left to live; now he's a blackened husk. What happens to all the extra years? she wonders. Me and Raito can't get them, so do they disappear, or are they still floating around somewhere?
She takes out her walkie talkie so she can tell Raito how hot the fire is, even from the next building. She wants to ask him what she should do, or if it's a problem that the man they killed together might not be recognizable tomorrow. Misa is sorry, she'll say, she did do what you said, it's just that she didn't think… But, and this is predictable in hindsight, there's no answer from Raito. The walkie talkie joins the binoculars in her bag; Raito has probably already disposed of his. Misa knows how paranoid he can be and doesn't think much of it. It's just another one of his quirks.
There's a clatter on the emergency stairwell. Misa watches that side of the roof, curiously. A policeman's head appears at the edge, glistening with sweat from his exertions and the heat of the burning building in front of him. He looks young and seems surprised to have found her here. Misa remains deathly calm as he approaches her, her glasses and new wig making her feel invulnerable.
"Excuse me, Miss," he says, "but did you see what happened?"
"You mean with the fire?" she asks. "I climbed up here to watch it. It's pretty, isn't it? I'm not in trouble, am I?" She looks at him worriedly, wrinkling her brow a little.
He shakes his head emphatically. "No, no, it's nothing like that. My supervisor told me to check around for witnesses. You wouldn't mind answering a few questions, would you, miss," he says, the last sentence a professional-sounding string of syllables that's not really a question at all.
Misa does mind, but she tries not to show it too much. "No, of course not. You're just doing your job," she says. She thinks the police are useless but smiles prettily for this one anyway.
He clears his throat. "Right. Ah, here's my badge." He fumbles in his shirt pocket before producing a not-so-beat-up officer's badge. "I'm officer Ryo Nagai," he says, but Misa already knew that.
"Rumi Maeda," Misa says, bowing. It's the name of another model at her agency, and she is proud of herself for using it. Rumi has hair just like her wig. Officer Nagai bows back, replacing the badge.
"Miss Maeda, were you here when the fire started?" he says, pulling out a pad of paper and a pen.
"No," Misa says, "I was on the street when I saw it. I climbed up here for a better view."
"About what time would you say you first saw the fire?" Nagai asks. "And what time did you climb to the roof?"
"Wow, I don't know," Misa says. "Maybe half and hour ago? What time is it now?"
Nagai checks his watch, twitching a bit when Misa leans over his arm to check with him. "Twenty to midnight," he says.
Misa shrugs. "I don't know, then. Probably half an hour."
"Ah. And did you see anything suspicious? Anyone who didn't look like they belonged in this neighborhood?"
Misa tries to look like she's thinking. She is very convincing; maybe she should've been an actress instead of a model. "No, I didn't see anything," she says. "Just the fire and the crowd. Is that normal?"
"For there to be a crowd? Ah, yes, it is. People like fires, especially at night." Officer Nagai is already putting away his pad when he thinks to ask, "Would you mind letting our photographer take a picture of you? You might not think you saw anything, but right now you're our best witness. There's a really good view of the house from up here."
"Sure," Misa says. She follows him down the fire escape, knowing that he can probably see up her skirt but not particularly caring. It's too dark to see much, anyway.
When Misa was twelve, she followed a friend out to Shibuya and was molested on the train. It was shocking, the kind of thing she thought only happened to foreign women. The two high-school boys standing in front of her caught and publicly reprimanded her assaulter. Then they threw him bodily off the train at the next stop and treated Misa and her friend to ice cream afterwards.
"Like this?" Misa asks, throwing her head back over her shoulder and striking a pose.
"Um," the photographer says. "Usually we just do a straight shot, and a profile shot." But he takes the picture anyway, and another with Misa leaning forward with her head cocked to one side. Then she half turns and pouts cutely in profile, and the photographer snaps few like that as well. He's starting to get into it.
"You're really good," he says, shutter clicking away. "You really know how to pose."
Misa giggles. "I'm a model," she says, and it's alright because she already gave Rumi's name and Rumi is a model, too. Never mind that if the police ever do follow though and look Rumi up for real, Misa is probably screwed. She doesn’t think they will, and so she doesn’t worry. If Raito knew, he would, but then Raito tends toward paranoia. He’d kill her if he knew she’d given the police false identification at the scene of a crime. That it’s a crime related to Kira just makes it that much worse.
The photographer has more than enough pictures by now, but he can't resist taking just a few more. Misa cooperates good-naturedly, hardly thinking about what she's doing. Inwardly, she is considering Raito and his abandonment of her tonight. She can't remember when he cut the connection, but thinks it may have been just after she told him Hayashi's full name, with kanji.
Killing Hayashi was a good move, she thinks, and not just because he'd been threatening revenge against Kira for his subordinates dead in jail. What's the point in only punishing criminals the police have caught? she thinks. The most dangerous ones are the ones still on the street.
She didn't hear Raito writing in the Death Note afterwards, but he might have still had the walkie talkie channel open then. Those things are more like toys than anything else, she thinks, even if they are high-tech and scrambled. Maybe he was still with her and she just didn’t hear it.
If he did cut out so soon, it probably means he's still using her. That he doesn't really care for her yet. Misa is disappointed, of course, but she is also optimistic. It is only a matter of time before Raito begins to truly love her the way she truly loves him. If she can just keep being helpful, and herself, then that should be enough.
The photographer eventually decides that half the department's film is enough. He jokes with Misa about improper use of police resources until Officer Nagai catches up with them. He wants to make sure she can contact him, so he gives her a small business card with the number for the Tokyo Police Department's arson extension printed on the front and his own extension scribbled on the back. Then he asks for her cell phone number.
It actually wasn't her mother, but her father who encouraged Misa to become a model. 'It's a good job for a single girl to have,' he told her, 'as long as you keep your clothes on. Models can do what they want. When you get too old, you can get married. Until then you should enjoy yourself.' Her father used his business connections to find modeling jobs and set up interviews for her. In the beginning her mother came with her on the trains, but only in the beginning. Her mother felt uncomfortable in unfamiliar neighborhoods, especially those with a lot of young people. Misa, who never felt unwanted no matter the circumstance, didn't understand her hang-up.
"Ok," Misa says. "It's ____" The number she gives is for the cell phone she paid cash for last year, under an assumed name. It's the number she's been saving for her next over-enthusiastic fan, but this is as good a use for it as any. Officer Nagai seems satisfied with it.
"I'll call you if anything comes up," he promises.
"Can I go?" she asks. "Or do I have to sign something?"
"No, no, you can go," Nagai says. "You're not under investigation or anything like that, so we might not even call you. Ah, if there's anything you can help us with, we'll call, and if there's anything you can remember, please call us." He bows once, and Misa bows back.
She turns to walk away, hears what might have been another "Ah", turns back. Officer Nagai is sweating again. She doesn't think it's from the burning building as the fire was already dwiddling before the fire department arrived, and that was a few minutes ago. They came late, as usual, and making what Misa considered to be too much self-important noise.
"This isn't for the case or anything," Nagai says, and he's looking past her as he says it, "but would you want to go out to dinner sometime? With me?"
"Wouldn't that be a conflict of interest?" Misa asks.
"Not if you're not a witness," Nagai replies. It isn't a threat, but an honest answer.
Misa honestly considers it, but in the end she has to shake her head no. "Sorry," she says. "I have a boyfriend."
Misa was assaulted by a fan, once. The God of Death Zayerasu saved her even though she hadn't believed he existed. He saved her life at the cost of his own; considering that his could easily have been thousands of times longer than a human's, that was quite the cost. Misa met another Shinigami within the year and this one, amazingly enough, offered to do the exact same thing.
It's a nice night, so Misa decides to walk one train station further than she has to. The nearer station is always too crowded on weekend nights. She'd been feeling a little down ever since she couldn't talk to Raito, but Officer Ryo Nagai's interest has cheered her up. She swings her arms a bit as she walks, and sings the chorus to a song she heard on the radio under her breath. Today went well, she thinks, even though she knows Raito would disagree.
Misa knows she has nothing to worry about. She knows it. What it all comes down to, is that everyone has always loved her. Never in her life has she needed a protector and not had one. Her parents, yes, but not her. Everyone is always on Misa's side, Raito included. He protected her from her grief, didn't he? He protected her as Kira when he killed her parent's murderer.
Misa is not stupid, but she is careless. She trusts that if she overlooks something, then other people will too. She makes plans on the assumption that they’ll succeed. She is slightly superficial and she knows it, but she knows - she knows - that most other people are too. Ninety percent of the time she is right, and ninety percent of the time it doesn't make any difference whether she's right or not. She trusts to luck. She trusts that if it ever gets to be too much, someone else will intervene.