XII: The Boss
The ride was uneventful, as far as traveling-under-duress car rides go. Mogi spoke very little, and that suited me just fine. I was calmly and efficiently guided to Aizawa’s place.
Aizawa sat like a king on a plain chair behind a plain desk inside a plain room. His hair was arranged in a neat but practical style and his clothes were expertly tailored without being obviously fashionable. He was the very picture of the modern new-old riche, the type to spend the extra dollar to make his style that much more unobtrusive, just to show that he had no need for money’s excesses.
“L. Sit down.” It was more of a command than a measure of hospitality, but I obeyed pleasantly. “You look like shit. What are you, 20? 60? I can’t even tell anymore.”
I kept my tone mild. “Somewhere in that range. I didn’t think you cared.”
Aizawa grunted. “I don’t. I’m just not used to seeing someone like you self-destruct.”
“What do you want, Aizawa?”
He leaned back in his chair. “That’s the question, isn’t it. I could give you a long list of things, but in the end it all boils down to the fact that I want what you’re looking for. I want Kira gone.”
I inwardly groaned. Everything else that day had been about Kira. Why be surprised that Kira was involved in this, too? “What makes you think I’m looking for Kira?” I asked instead.
“I have my sources, the same as you have yours,” was all I got for an answer. I wasn’t too upset at the evasion; there was no use denying something Aizawa knew. I had just been curious as to where the leak had occurred.
“I assume you've been hurt by Kira’s power?” I said, not assuming it at all.
Aizawa looked at me in complete shock. “Don’t tell me you believe in that Death Note nonsense.”
I did my best to remain bland and impassive—it was the best way to infuriate Aizawa, and thus the best way to get him to reveal information. “I don’t have the facts to disprove it.”
Aizawa ground his teeth. “Kira is a fake, L. His only power is the power to frighten weak-minded people. While everyone was running scared, I did a little investigating myself. Do you know how much the rate of death among my associates has risen?”
I was tempted to point out that if Aizawa hadn’t kidnapped me, I would be determining that number right then. Instead, I just asked, “How much?”
“Three percent, averaged over the past five months. Negative two percent over this past month. Kira isn’t killing anyone; he’s just taking credit for it.”
I raised an eyebrow. “If you don’t believe in Kira, then why do you want him?”
He steepled his fingers and leaned forward. “Frankly speaking, L? Kira is bad for business. My people are leaving me. Associates are refusing to participate in transactions. If this keeps up, soon—“
“Soon the city will be free of organized crime?” I finished for him.
“Soon I will be forced to resort to Yotsuba’s methods in order to stay in business,” he corrected me.
“What are you suggesting?”
“Discredit Kira.” He said it as if it were the simplest thing to do.
I looked away. “I don’t have the evidence to do that.”
“Does it matter?” He smirked; I must have looked surprised. “It looks like you’ve forgotten that you’re L
. The famous justice-will-prevail never-been-wrong L. You don’t need the evidence. If you say Kira’s a fake, people will believe it.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Name a price.”
I honestly thought for a moment. It would be an easy way out of this case, and out of my impoverished lifestyle. Then again, if that were what I really wanted, I could have given in years ago. “I can’t do that,” I repeated.
He looked disappointed but resigned. “I thought you’d say that.” He reached into his coat pocket. I tensed for a moment, but all he withdrew was a small business card, which he passed to me. “Hurry up with your investigation. I’m doing one myself. If you get any—“ he pointed a finger at me “—any
information about Kira, call me at that number. I’ll do you the same courtesy.”
I slipped the card into my pocket with little intention of ever using it. “I’ll keep that in mind,” I said as I stood up to leave. Aizawa nodded at Mogi to escort me.
“L,” he called after me, “I never liked you. The way you act, your selective morality...all of it.”
I contemplated simply agreeing with him. Instead, I said, “I have always felt comfort that, if there has to be someone in your place, at least it is someone like you.”
As Mogi escorted me out the door and to the car, I could hear Aizawa grumble, “Saying such things with a straight face....”Next chapter