There is nothing like being around two of the smartest people in the world to make you feel stupid. (And how dumb is that? A lit nerd who hates math or a math geek who hates reading is still considered smart, but if you're not fond of either you're just some dumb blond ditz not fit for intelligent conversation?) But if there was one area in which Misa excelled, it was in reading people.
The first time she ran into Ryuzaki, there at the college, she watched Light's eyes slide sideways and knew she had competition. She was also pretty damn sure Light didn't realize that yet. But she was too busy trying to memorize the foreign letters floating above the detective's head (and here she'd thought L was some kind of code name) to put on any kind of show.
There was a time and a place for that kind of an act.
The first time she met Ryuzaki (but it wasn't really the first time, was it?), he snapped a pair of handcuffs shut on himself and Light, much to Light's annoyance and everyone's indignation. Misa put on an indignant act with the best of them (which really wasn't hard - she was annoyed; if she'd known Light was into that kind of thing, she'd've tied him to the headboard ages ago), even trotting out the old "pervert" line, not that it fazed Ryuzaki in the least.
But she could tell he wasn't lying when he said he wasn't doing it because he wanted to, just like she could tell that Light was.
Half of her wanted to beat the shit out of Ryuzaki when he and Light fought. The other half of her just wanted them to do it already. (Even if she did want Light to herself - and she did, she did - the sexual tension between those two was getting ridiculous.) Besides, with all those cameras around, she was bound to find a good recording somewhere.
On second thought, that might be why they'd abstained. Either that, or they really were that clueless.
(Then again, Light was a very determined lady's man, and Ryuzaki, despite some of his more acerbic comments, probably treated sex as an interesting theory. Maybe they really were that clueless.)
Or they were both weirdly masochistic.
Misa put on her well-worn ditz face and watched from the sidelines.
All Misa could think, after Rem told her what she really was, was that she was very glad she was an actress. She'd never have been able to look at any of them - Light, Ryuzaki, or the police officers - without giving the game away, otherwise.
The chain between those two was getting awfully slack. For two so self-contained guys, the mere foot of space between them was the equivalent of Misa's hanging off of Light, and she knew it.
(Light is Kira; you're the second Kira. Light is Kira; you're the second Kira. Light is Kira…)
Misa was glad she'd had a lot of practice at "blank and bubbly"; she was fighting down a wave of nausea as it was.
Light told her, later, how it happened. How they'd gone after Higuchi, and he'd gotten his hands on the Death Note again. How L had decided to test the notebook, and Rem had killed him to save her. How L had collapsed in Light's arms. How he'd had his final epiphany just a little too late.
(Kira never called him Ryuzaki.)
Light sat on her couch and told her all this with a triumphant, cruel grin, and Misa smiled and gasped and cried and cheered at all the right spots, and stared at Light's glassy, shocky eyes and knew, better than he probably ever would, just what damage he'd dealt himself.
In the years to come, Misa knew, she would remain devoted to her Light (and boy, doesn't hero worship feel a lot like love, she thinks in her more honest moments), but as she watched Light's heart break and his sanity slip, something buckled inside her, too.
(He'd never know. As Ryuzaki - and oh, she hadn't lied when she'd called him her friend, and his death would still haunt her, ironically perhaps, until her death - and Misa herself knew, between her and Light, she was always the better actor.)