DEATH NOTE (Doesn't belong to me.)
Summary: Light and the investigators talk Law
Genre: Character analysis disguised as ideological debate.
Warnings: Post-chapter 59 fic, so, SPOILERS.
Additional warnings: Dialogue-heavy, not an AU.
"But I thought you were…"
"That's beside the point!"
"But-" Matsuda, unable to finish his thought, reached for the newspaper lying on the table between them. Aizawa was faster.
"I haven't finished reading yet," he said, and opened the paper with a snap. Matsuda made a face from the other side of the headlines. Mogi, perched awkwardly at the counter with a stool and coffee mug much too small for him, gave Light an apologetic glance, as if to say you'll have to forgive my companions.
Light taped a finger against the keyboard, resolutely ignoring them all. He was considering strategies. The most important thing now was not subside into a holding pattern: as in chess or tennis, any move that did not actively strengthen his position gave his opponent a chance to strengthen his. The key was not always to attack, but to continually create situations from which a successful attack could be made. Complacency…
"Aren't you finished reading yet?"
"If you'd let me read I would be!"
Complacency was his greatest enemy now. It was true that L was gone, but that did not mean that there would not be other enemies. Of course, had L still been among them he would never have dared to do what he was doing now--researching, from his own computer in his own apartment and in full view of the other investigators (minus his father, who was away on business), ways to reinforce his position as God of the new world. He was being very careful about his contacts with the underground cults, and careful to mask his offensives as research…
"And stop tapping your foot! If you want to read so badly, go buy your own newspaper!"
"What? I'm not!"
But it was hard to be careful, wasn't it, when he had absolutely nothing to worry about anymore. Light sighed, closed the window on his computer, and almost wished for a challenge.
"What is it?" he asked. He nodded politely at the newspaper.
Matsuda squirmed a bit, possibly because he had, in fact, been tapping his foot. "Ah, nothing! We were just discussing, um…"
Aizawa was obviously uncomfortable as well. Light didn't much care, but he suspected that the situation was wearing on the older detective. For months there'd been no progress on the investigation other than what Light himself had announced, which had to be hurting Aizawa's pride as a professional detective; he was resentful, irritated. Right now he was sitting on the couch in Light's three-room apartment, his feet braced against the coffee table--he was certainly making himself comfortable, wasn't he--reading the newspaper during "business" hours. Aizawa always seemed to be on the edge of an outburst these days. Light considered him through repectfully lowered lashes. Of all the investigators, Aizawa was the most likely to betray him.
"It's an article on the new justice system," Aizawa said, eventually. Light hid his smirk behind his coffee. War is won in a series of small victories.
"Yes?" he said.
"The politicians"--Aizawa said it as if it were a dirty word--"are trying to use Kira as an excuse to cancel the judicial overhaul. They say members of a jury will be subjected to unacceptable emotional distress, and that Japan will be better off under the current system of nothing but trial by judge."
"But you don't believe in juries either!" Matsuda said. "Really, I don't see why you'd consider it such a big deal…"
Light, startled, realized that he hadn't known that. He'd assumed…no, that wasn't right. He hadn't ever thought about it. He hadn't wondered what Aizawa might have thought about this or that new law. He didn't know anything about the man's family, or what he did when he wasn't haunting Light's apartment. He didn't know a thing about Matsuda or Mogi or Ukita, either. Perhaps he ought to…
Oh, wait. He'd been confusing them for L, for a moment. He knew their names and faces and they ways they'd react to whatever he told them; that was more than enough.
"I don't," Aizawa was saying. "We, the professionals, put criminals in jail, and I don't think a bunch of idiots should be able to take them out again." He slammed a hand against the table, for emphasis. Light winced at the way the movement disturbed Matsuda's forgotten cup of coffee. The last thing he needed was stains on the wood. "I just don't like that our country's leaders are allowing themselves to be manipulated by a terrorist!"
Matsuda had that look in his eye. "But juries are the wave of the future! All forward-thinking countries have them!"
"Justice is not a fad!" Aizawa roared. Light winced again, in sympathy for his table.
"What do you think, Light?" Mogi interrupted. He was very carefully turning his empty cup over in his hands.
Light smiled, beatifically. "I think we should have juries, of course. I believe in the ability of the Japanese people to accurately assess a person's guilt or innocence, and in the importance of following a procedure that can be universally acknowledged as fair and just."
And that was the end of the discussion.
Light was walking home in the rain, a bag of groceries under one arm. Ryuk hovered over his right shoulder, laughing dryly at some private joke.
"Hey, Light, what do you really think about that stuff today?"
Light stopped at a corner waiting for the light to change, well away from the road so that he wouldn't be splashed the next time a car passed by. "I didn't think you were interested in human things like the justice system," he said. The light changed; he stepped out carefully into the street. He disliked shopping, especially in weather like this, but Misa's schedule as a popular model sometimes made it necessary. The rain formed a curtain between him and everyone else, cutting off sound and vision; for once he felt as if he could speak to Ryuk normally. He kept his voice low only out of habit.
Ryuk laughed again. "I'm interested in you."
Light suppressed a visceral shiver; again, more from habit than any real need. He didn't have to consider his words.
"Of course I believe in the jury system. I'm here to punish criminals, not innocent people."
Ryuk kept laughing; Light didn't get the joke.
Additional Sources: Article about strategy in chess and fencing.