The room is an ordinary bedroom. It has a bed, and a bedside table, a wardrobe and a bathroom and a desk. And it's half-lit, because the mansion prefers it that way.
Light doesn't mind; he's used to it – used to living in it, used to working in it. Firelight, candlelight, and what wind-up torches people clung to until they sent their tiny ghosts to join the rest. Industry has far better things to work on than lightbulbs, after all.
There is a chair, too, thin metal legs and a hard wooden veneer, like a school chair from after the oil crash; he's sitting on it. The bed is wrapped in sheets and intricate knots that he tied himself, and all those beautifully symmetrical knots are immobilising a boy, and securing him to the bedframe. The boy looks almost exactly as Light did himself, all those years before – because seven, after all, is more than two. Perhaps the distinct insanities of their nineteenth year differentiate them.
All the old stories still exist, the ones from before, as it gets called, when it's mentioned at all. With no television, and precious few books that were brought along and then not burned in the depths of winter, storytelling's made a half-hearted comeback. All the same heroes, but only one enemy now – Kintaro and Momotaro, Goku and Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker and Pikachu all giving up their private battles to war with the siafu.
For his part, during the hours of observation, Light remembers the rabbits in Watership Down, how they'd been both human and inhuman, and specifically their peculiar method of counting – one, two, three, four, with anything more than that being hrair, or “a thousand”. Or even the Thousand, the rabbits' name for all the predators that hunted them. The magic number four; the tiny count of items most people can identify at a glance. Was that a coincidence?
Light wouldn't have dreamed of eating rabbit in Japan. He has now. He's done worse, come to that; far worse. It's why he's alive in the first place. His eyes fall, again, on the boy on the bed, who is either down in the fretful sleep that he drifts in and out of, or playing dead.
All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you...
Well, Light and Mikami have snared this prince quite comprehensively, haven't they? Is that what he believes, that the whole world's against him? Surely not. There must be some element of perceived public support; there's that very visible god complex, for a start, and what's a god without worshippers? He must believe he's loved, more than anything, and that the people who don't love him …
They'd be aberrations. A repressive, regressive force, to be eliminated... The idea is a horror, and yet, it's too familiar, that concept of a massive, faceless enemy. That's where the similarity ends, of course; it wouldn't be faceless, would it? The face, and the name; the notebook's intimidating power scattered the way the Chinese used to seed clouds – tankers of dust, spread across the the sky, and every tiny grain a death.
Is it possible to devise some treatment régime, some combination of drugs and therapy to lower the boy's mania, to stop the sadistic attacks he breaks into on a whim? To stabilise him a little, or a lot? Or would it just be cruelty – drugging him into a submissive stupor? Light's lips thin at the idea of it – he's seen far too many people who didn't need medication to make them that way, and the idea of being one himself, of seeing himself reduced to such a condition...
Not that the boy's current state is much to be preferred. As Light watches, psychology text open on his knee, the boy shifts within his bonds, and moans some incoherent denial. It's always this way, as if he can only keep his demons away for as long as his impenetrable delusions surround him. As if, lost in sleep without them, there's nothing left but a terrified little boy. All the world will be your enemy.
Perhaps, in that one respect, the two of them aren't so different.
[[OOC: For nardaviel. It's possibly a bit pointless and creepy-incoherent and NOT AT ALL CHEERING, orz, but it happened and so you may have it.]]