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You and I

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There were moments when Light was sure he'd blacked out, nothing else could account for the sudden presence of a large cart full of pastries. He supposed he shouldn't be surprised, given the detectives insatiable sweet tooth; and the fact that Watari was his enabler for this particular addiction. Light found himself wondering, not for the first time, how L must have been raised to have such a love for sweets. Was it that he wasn't allowed them growing up? Or had he been allowed too many, and had no desire to eat anything else?

These weren't the questions Light should have been asking himself about Ryuzaki, but he asked them anyway. There were many perplexing things about the strange, yet oddly beautiful man who was currently picking out a chocolate covered strawberry. He bypassed a few to pick up one, as though that treat were the king of all the others. It's balance of fruit to chocolate was superior to its neighbors.

He raised the berry to his lips, he sucked on the chocolate in the same way he usually sucked on his thumb, and then he bit. Light found himself transfixed, for reasons he wasn't quite sure about. There was no reason for him to feel any attraction to this eccentric detective. The man had handcuffed them together, after all. Handcuffed them because even after he'd detained Light for 50 days and put on some ridiculous show where his father threatened to kill him, he still believed that Yagami Light was Kira.

Yagami Light had never been so offended in his life.

It was true that he couldn't remember much from before the detainment. It was as though a large chunk of his life after high school was missing, or rather, it was a blur. He couldn't remember how he'd started dating Amane Misa. He groaned, Misa was coming in for a date. He hated the woman, he hated their dates. There was a nagging voice in the back of his mind that told him not to break up with her.

He was going to ignore that voice.

In all his thinking, Light hadn't realized that he was still staring at L's lips; furthermore, he hadn't realized that L was now staring back at him.

"20 percent, Light-kun." The detectives voice pulled Light out of his reverie and he blinked at the man, who had replaced the strawberries with his thumb once again, though there was a small smirk on his pouted lips. Light swallowed the dryness in his throat and dragged his tongue over his lips.

"Hmm? What was that, Ryuzaki?" He forced himself to focus on the detectives dark eyes instead of his mouth. His eyes held less temptation, though they were an endless window into his thoughts and he could tell his mind was working overtime. Those black eyes narrowed on Light.

"You have been staring as I have eaten three of these strawberries, Light-Kun. Would you like one?" Light declined with a shake of his head, "As I suspected. I can only assume that you are plotting my death, as Kira, therefore my suspicion of you has risen. Do you accept this?"

There was a silence and L reached out to pluck another strawberry from a particularly difficult place amongst the others. Light smiled to himself as he found himself once again lauding the detective for his thought processes. That was one of the things that wasn't a blur from before; he could still remember that L was smarter than everyone else, and that had his own special ticks. The thumb sucking should have been distasteful and uncomfortable - Light found it endearing. The sign of a true genius.

"Your mind astounds me, Ryuzaki-San. You are by far the only intellectual equal I have come across, thank you."

The cart seemed to vibrate as L's hand jumped from its spot on the strawberry, his jaw fell slack as the stacked cake stands filled with chocolate covered sweets began to tumble. L didn't move, however, his hand stayed outstretched, his eyes unfocused and distant. He was surprised by Lights statement.

Light stored that piece of information for later review.

"Ryuzaki-San, Light-kun, Misa-Misa is here!" Matsuda called out through the headquarters and it was Lights turn to become unresponsive. The announcement seemed to snap L out of his transfixed state and he tugged Light behind him as he bowed to Matsuda and signaled Watari to let the girl in. He pulled Light to the room that he'd deemed the 'date room'. Light hated that room; in fact he hoped that after today he'd never have to step foot in there again.

Misa shuffled into the room, sighing as cute as she could. Light closed his eyes and breathed deeply to center himself. He had to get rid of her. He couldn't take her presence anymore, she was doing nothing to help his case. He clearly wasn't Kira, and she could have been the second Kira. Though, he didn't think she was smart enough to accomplish that.

"Oh, Light-kun, you look so handsome today." She giggled and plopped down onto his lap. He heard L stifle a laugh, "And Ryuzaki-San, you're here too."

"Misa-chan, you know I'll be here for every date until I decide Light-kun isn't Kira."

"I know, I know," Misa said, leaning in and kissing the tip of Light's nose, L laughed again, "What did my favorite boy and my not favorite boy do today?"

Light sighed deeply at being addressed like a dog and shifted uncomfortably beneath Misa, "We investigated. Like always." 

"Light did most of the work today, I was distracted." Light side eyed L who was staring at the two of them intently, "Though my investigation begins now." 

"Oh, you're so funny!" Misa laughed and playfully pushed at L, he seemed startled by this; it was Lights turn to stifle a laugh. L caught it and his eyes narrowed on the younger man. His heart started racing at the eye contact. He was in the middle of tilting his head, some meaningful exchange was happening at this moment when Misa began to wiggle on his lap.

"I just miss my Light so much!" Her voice was far too loud, perhaps she'd noticed the exchange between Light and L, "Maybe I could get a room here, then I can see him whenever I want! I could even help with the investigation and clear his name."

Light caught L's eyes again, his own were wide with panic, but L seemed mischievous. They both snapped their attention back to Misa, who hadn't noticed their silent exchange and was instead checking off a list of all the things she'd need to bring with her when she moved in.

"Misa-Chan, that is a-"

"No." Light couldn't take it anymore. He wasn't sure if L was about to agree, but he couldn't take having her around all the time. Not when he was trying to get close to L and prove his innocence.

"And I would need new shampoo, I can't use the ones here-"

"Misa," Light interrupted, "I said no."

"Huh?" Misa leaned back, her eyes already filling with tears she sniffled and brought her hands up to her chest in fists, she was bound to throw a tantrum.

"I'm sorry, but I don't think you should come back here anymore." Light stood, effectively forcing the now sniveling girl off of his lap, "I think we should break up."

"Break up!? Light-kun! But I love you!" She was begging, her hands out in front of her, pleading with him, "Don't leave me!"

"I'm sorry, I don't love you." Light turned and walked to the door, L hesitated behind him, but he yanked the chain, dragging the other man out.

They sent Matsuda and Mogi in to deal with the mess that was Amane Misa, who was shouting down the hall about how Light and L were going to regret this.

Light paid her no mind, tugging on the chain that bound L to him when the detective hesitated in the hall. 

"That was cruel, Light-kun," L said, waiting courteously until the two of them had shut themselves in their shared bedroom before he said anything. Light was not paying attention, he was resting against the wall, his eyes were closed and his mind was reeling.

"I'm free of her, no more inane conversation! No more superficial plans!" He wanted to laugh, he was so gleeful.

"18 percent."

"Huh?" Light opened his eyes and looked at the detective who was staring at him, when their gazes met, he turned his back.  

"18 percent."

"Ryuzaki - it was at 20 earlier." Light huffed as he stared at the detective who'd settled himself into a chair, his knees up to his chest, he was typing something into his phone.

"I know." He was smiling, Light ignored the flutter in his chest and let his exhaustion overtake him. He collapsed onto the bed, not bothering to remove his shoes.

In the middle of the night he was vaguely aware of someone taking his shoes and socks off, before the bed beside him dipped down and he felt a warmth press into his side.

The detective was child-like, it probably made him feel safe to have someone next to him while sleeping.

It was only day four of being chained together. But it was already getting interesting.

Chapter Text

It wasn't that he particularly minded the act of cuddling, in fact he never knew how comforting it could be until it happened. The first time was an accident, he'd climbed into the bed the night that Light broke up with Misa and it shifted just enough under him that he found himself tumbling into Lights side; it was so warm that couldn’t be bothered to move, so he stayed there. Light didn't seem to mind, either. He didn't shift away or tell the detective to get out. In fact, he never mentioned it at all. 

It had been five nights since that incident. Each night L found that he slept better beside someone. Though he was unsure whether this would apply to sleeping next to anyone, or just Yagami Light, he wasn’t sure. He would have to perform an experiment at a later date to figure that out. For now, however, he just knew that he definitely slept better and when he slept better, his mind worked better. With a more functioning cognitive powerhouse, he would be able to work the Kira case to its fullest extent. 

It was on this day that L received two pieces of evidence for the Kira case. Though she'd been dumped by Light, they still had Matsuda working beside Misa, she wasn't allowed out of his sight. However, in an effort to prove himself, Matsuda had fumbled his way into the Yotsuba office building and was almost killed. Was practically killed. But the idiot got something right, he was able to prove that they were working with Kira. 

The second piece of evidence came from Light himself. He said that he didn't want to hide anything from the detective because he firmly believed that he wasn't Kira. 

He divulged that his memories were not completely in tact. 

"Perhaps when the power of Kira leaves you, it takes your memories with it." L offered no other semblance of hope for the younger man. When he'd expressed this idea, Lights face fell and his defenses dropped, he allowed himself to look his age, and for a moment, L felt bad for him. 

He shook off the sentiment quickly as he could not allow personal feelings to get in the way of his work. So what if Light was his first ever friend? That didn't mean that he couldn't arrest the man for murder. On the contrary, it meant that when it came down to it, he would have to arrest Light for the Kira murders. He would have no other choice. 

Hopefully Light would surrender quietly. That is, if Light ever regained his memories. 

L watched as Light made himself lunch and he shuddered at the amount of spices he was putting into it. 

"Where is the frosting?" L was hovering over the younger man's shoulder. Again, Light didn't seem to mind. He simply laughed and kept chopping his ingredients. 

"Normal people eat normal food, Ryuzaki. One cannot survive off of sweets alone." That's where Light was wrong. L had survived off of his sugary treats since Wammy's. 

"Watari makes me a variety of cakes and sweets daily. I'm still alive."

"I said normal people, you're not normal." He'd turned while stuffing a piece of the green pepper into his mouth. L found himself too focused on the piece of vegetable entering Lights soft mouth and he had to tear himself away. His mind was reeling, he needed to stop paying attention to this teenager and start paying attention to Kira. He didn't want to stop to think about the fact that he'd just made them into two different people. 

It was the first time his mind hadn't automatically connected Light with Kira. If he hadn't known better, he would have sworn that he saw Light smirking as he turned away. L cleared his throat and sighed deeply, being sure to put on his mask, his personality that let him hide his true face.

"I am happy to know that Light-kun understands me.” He started it out as a sarcastic comment, but when his eyes met the teenagers again, the softness he found there somehow opened a door, “I am not now, nor have I ever been normal. There are those who have tried to change me, but once they realized they couldn't, they moved on." L wasn't sure why he was confessing so much about his past to the teenager, he supposed that was what friends did, talked about their lives. He knew Light would not ridicule or mock him, he probably felt the same.

"I understand. My father often tried to force me to involve myself in clubs and other group activities growing up. He realized that I worked better alone. I've never been one to maintain a large group of friends. I work better by myself." Light was adding the last of his vegetables to the pan, L needed to close the flood gates that were being opened, he did not wish to talk about his life before Watari had found him.

"Where did you find that food,” L suddenly exclaimed, “I wasn't aware we kept anything other than cakes." Light seemed to sigh as L changed the subject. Was that disappointment the detective observed? It couldn't be. Light would not want to know so much about him, impossible.

Unless he was Kira, then he would want to know everything about the detective, he'd want to try to find a weakness. L wasn't going to let that happen. 

"Watari purchased it for me. He said that as long as I'm chained to you, I'll need to survive. He realizes my stomach is not as refined as yours."

"Watari is an excellent helper." 

"He's more than that. He reminds me of my father in a way. I think there's more to him than meets the eye." If only Light knew the extent of the depth to Watari. Again, L couldn't divulge any information on the man. He couldn't endanger someone who'd raised him into the man he now was. 

Though, if Light was Kira, Watari was already in too much danger. 

L’s mind was almost sent into an endless spin of doubt. He wanted to believe in Light, he wanted to arrest someone else for the Kira murders, he wanted to place that blame on a different person, someone who wasn’t Light. He’d finally found someone who could match his intellectual prowess and they would undoubtedly make an amazing investigative team. However there was the little spark in the back of his mind reminding him that Light was dangerous, he could be Kira, there was too much of a chance of that for L to be able to trust him. However that didn’t stop a different part of his brain from wanting to.

"You're troubled." Light was no longer looking at his mix in the pan, but was instead focused on the detective. His amber eyes seemed to burn into L. 

"I'm always troubled." 

"It's more than your normal troubles, Ryuzaki." The intimacy of that statement only served to bother L more, he huffed and shifted so that he didn't have to look at Light. His thumb found his mouth and he let his hair shield him from the younger man. 

"Have you finished making your disgusting food yet, Light-Kun?" He barely glanced over his shoulder at the younger man who was holding his bowl, his smile was unidentifiable. Was he humored by the detective? This was troubling news. 

"Yes. We can go back now." Light followed along after L and the detective may have grabbed a bag of marshmallows on his way out of the kitchen. He ignored Lights snigger. 

When they reached the main task force floor, Soichiro was already sitting at a computer, obviously researching something. L respected the man greatly, and he would hate to see him break down if his son did indeed turn out to be Kira. The devastation would likely kill him. Perhaps that's why L was always so quick to call Light "Kira" around his father. Preparing him for the possibility that his son was the supernatural murderer. 

He still believed in his son, however. L wished he could believe in something the way Soichiro believed in Light. 

He believed in justice, but only in the sense that he was the sole person who could properly bring it to those who defied the laws of their country, the laws of the world. Above all else he believed Light was Kira. 

There it was, perhaps he did believe in Yagami Light, just in a significantly different way than his father, in a different way than he wanted to. 

That night, after everyone left headquarters, he wasn't eager to go to sleep. He'd been sleeping too much, he was behind in the investigation and perhaps that had been Lights plan all along. To make the detective comfortable so that he would not be able to guess what was going to happen next. It was difficult to plot against a person that was currently handcuffed to you, but L would try to do it anyway. He sent a secret message to Watari, asking him to add a bit more coding to the program that would activate in the event of his death. He then asked him to create a fake one that would be found on the computers at headquarters, in case someone tried to delete his final message.

He could feel the clock ticking beneath his skin as time went by. With every second that passed it was as though there was someone chipping away at L's defenses, as though there was someone leeching the life from him. He knew that person was Kira, what was becoming unclear, however, was if Kira was currently chained to him. 

"Ryuzaki-" Light stretched and he felt the chain tug as the teenager lifted his arms above his head in an over-exaggerated movement that left L struggling not to watch the sliver of skin that peaked out from beneath the other man's shirt.

L replied with a non-committal grunt and kept his eyes glued to the screen. If Light could see that he was paying attention in his peripherals, he didn't let on. 
"I'm tired, it's time to go to sleep."

"It's barely 1 am. Have you not realized that I'm a night owl?" L did look at him this time, being sure to keep his wide eyes fixated on Light’s face. Though it's not as if that helped. The man had exquisite features, the soft lines still showed his youth and easy life. Though there was a certain hardness around his eyes that L had yet to figure out. 

"An owl would be the best animal to describe you, yes. I have noticed this. However, I think it would be mutually beneficial if we both went to sleep." Light had a small smile on his face, his eyes were caring. L could not believe how patronizing he was being, it wasn't as if L were a child that needed coddling. He already got all the caring he needed from Watari. 

"You can sleep in your chair, it's comfortable enough and if you lean back, it's almost like a bed." He averted his eyes, unable to look at the teenager anymore, he needed a distraction or he'd surely fall into those amber eyes. 

"L," Light said, the detective flicked his eyes over to the young man, surprised, he squeezed his eyes shut; had he discovered that the only way to get the detective to comply was by using his actual name. It's not as though Light knew L used his real first initial, "Come on. You can continue working in the room. The chain is long enough, you don't have to lie down. I just need to sleep." 

He was calm when he stood, he didn't tug, nor did he force L to stand. He simply waited patiently for L to give up; it bothered the detective to no end. It would have been better if Light had punched him, he would have liked that more. It would have been easier to handle. Kindness and patience were not two things the detective was used to. He relented eventually, when Light kept standing beside him, his hands shoved into his pockets, the chain wrapped around his wrist so that the distance between them was smaller than it had any right to be. 

With a sigh, L stood and he pushed past Light, heading to their shared room. Light followed with what L was sure was a huge smirk on his face. However, when he chanced a glance back, Light was looking down at his feet as they walked along, no trace of a smile to be found. 

That was satisfying, yet terrifying all the same. 

They settled into the room, L sat in his chair and Light laid in the bed on his stomach, he was facing the detective and would not look away. L ignored this and simply huddled himself in the chair, a stack of papers in his hands, he was looking at other possible suspects who had a connection at Yotsuba. 

"Thank you, Ryuzaki." L looked up from his papers, confused. He stuck his thumb into his mouth and tilted his head. Light breathed out a small laugh. 
"Are you really so tired that you're thanking me for letting you sleep? Light-Kun should be worried about his health, I think." It was a deflection, one Light saw through. L was uncomfortable with gratitude. 

"I was bored," Light said, rolling onto his back and staring at he ceiling with his hands underneath his head. L felt safe enough to look at the boy again, he wasn't looking back at him and it was easier not to get lost in his eyes, "Before this, before you, I was bored. My life was dull. Now, it's not. It's like I'm seeing colors for the first time. So, thank you." 

He said nothing else, but merely turned over and went to sleep. L shook off the compliment and the flurry of mixed emotions that surged through him. 

In a matter of minutes Lights breathing evened out and L could no longer focus on the task at hand. He reluctantly stood and walked to the bed, falling into place beside Light. He didn't roll over right away, he left the space between them open. He fell asleep feeling cold and incomplete. 

It was only day 9, and L could already tell he was in trouble.

Chapter Text

Light awoke to the sun streaming in through the window. This was his first sign that something was off. They were usually up before the sun rose, L was always eager to get started on the case, every day since they’d been chained together, he’d awoken to the detective sitting in the chair across from the bed, staring at him, his eyes wide with excitement, practically bouncing with pent up energy. Not today.

Today Light felt the warmth pressed into his side and he turned to find L was still asleep. It did something to the center of his chest, it was a feeling he wasn’t very familiar with, but it was a feeling that had become more common since he’d felt the metal clamp around his wrist two weeks ago. He slid out of the detective’s hold and stood at the edge of the bed. A normal person would wake up the person keeping them from going to the toilet first thing in the morning, but there was something about how peaceful L looked that Light did not want to ruin.

He sighed and sat down on the floor with his back to the bed. It was lucky that the detective had chosen such a long chain to tether them, they had a lot of free range with the slack and he was able to sit on the floor comfortably without having to hold his arm in an odd position.

Light picked up the laptop that was sitting on the table beside the bed, opening the live feed they have been receiving from the Yatsuba headquarters since the previous day when Wedy installed the surveillance. It was a normal enough business, he was sure that he’d impressed L with his impression of him the previous night; the detective just didn’t know how to express his delight. That must have been why he still believed Light was Kira. He couldn’t actually believe that, could he?

Light found it hard to pay attention to the screen in front of him and closed it, setting the device aside, he tried to recall the missing parts of his life from the last year or so. He’d graduated high school and begun going to Tu-Oh, which was where he met L. When did Misa pop into the picture? She was just there one day, his memories of meeting her were gone. She’d shown up in his life, already hopelessly devoted to him, and he had no idea how it had happened.

She’d called him daily since he broke up with her, but he refused to answer. L answered a couple times, each time he had questioned her about Kira, he even gave her a mission. That made her happy. They sent Mogi to supervise her, which was good. Perhaps Misa would fall for Mogi and he could be rid of her once and for all.

He allowed his eyes to fall shut and he breathed in a deep gulp of air, trying to center himself. He pinched the bridge of his nose, having become frustrated with his own mind. Sure his social skills and other such things had failed him through the years, but his mind was always his number one greatest achievement. It had never let him down, and now that there were chunks of his life missing, he had never been angrier. Or more terrified.

What if he was Kira?

“I’m not a murderer.” Light whispered to himself with a sigh.

“Are you trying to convince me, or yourself, Light-kun?” He hadn’t heard L get up, but the detective was hunched over on top of the bed, staring at him. Though there was a certain sadness on his face; it was a look that Light was beginning to understand exactly what it meant in relation to himself.

“I’m not sure I know anymore.”

“If you could have your memories returned to you-”

“I’m not Kira-”

“Hypothetically, if you could retrieve your memories, would you?” Light almost began to regret telling the detective he'd been missing memories. It was as though a red flag was hanging above him constantly that only L could see. On the flag it said I AM KIRA. He hated that imaginary flag. 

“The way I feel right now? I would love to have the gaps in my mind filled once again, I feel like a failure.”

“But?” How was it that L knew him better than anyone he'd called a friend before? Even the girls who'd gone after him in his school days hadn't understood him in this depth. 

But, though I don’t believe I am capable of cold-blooded murder, I am afraid of learning the truth. If I was Kira, and now I’m not, I wouldn’t want to put myself back into that mind set.” L had somehow managed to work his way onto the floor beside Light, who sighed and looked over at the detective. His eyes were bright, his mind no doubt working hard.

“I have a theory, which I am going to share with you. I’m only sharing this theory because we are friends, Light-kun. If you are Kira, or were Kira, this is how I believe your mind to be.”

“Give it your best shot and I will tell you if you’re right.”

“I will be.” The cheeky bastard, Light shook his head and tried his best to cover his smile. He instead raised an inquisitive brow, putting on his best challenge face. 

“Don’t be so sure, it’s not that easy, trying to put yourself in my mind.” L's own face challenged him right back. 

“Ah, yes, but you forget, our minds are the same. If I was somehow given the power to kill criminals, and found a twisted sense of justice within me that fueled this power, this is how I would do it.”

“And you think that if I was given this power, I would just start killing criminals, just because?”

“Light-kun, do not interrupt.” L was getting excited and Light had to admit that it was fun to watch, so he shut his mouth and leaned back, letting the older man speak.

“I believe that you received this power by chance one day, it was probably a Tuesday, a very boring day. Nothing much happening. So when you discovered you had this power, you were relieved that you had something to cure your boredom. Life is seldom exciting, especially for those with high intelligence, so any chance to challenge yourself, you took it.

“The first and likely the second test of the power are what sent you on the path of killing criminals, because your father is in the criminal justice field, you have always felt a connection to it, and decided you must enforce your own justice on the world. The legal system doesn’t always prevail, criminals walk the street every day because of it, this is something we can both agree on and attest to. Something about receiving this power flipped a switch in your mind, a switch that turned on your God complex.”

“My God complex?”

“Yes, forgive my abrasiveness, Light-kun. I truly believe that Kira is trying to usher in a new world, one of his making, on over which he rules. He will be justice for this new world, all will bow to him, they will simultaneously fear and love him.”

“You think I want that?” Light couldn’t stand to look at L in this moment, the idea that he would want to rule over the world as some twisted God made him sick, “I can barely manage a conversation with someone I don’t know; I can’t bare to think of an entire world looking to me to lead them. I understand that the world is rotten, Ryuzaki, and I want to do my part to clean it up. I just want to do it the right way.” His head was in his hands, his breathing was erratic, he might have been going into a panic attack. To think that someone he respected, someone as intelligent as L, thought of him this way was too much to bare. He couldn’t stand to think of himself this way, why should he bare it from someone else. Someone who hardly knew him.

“Light-kun-”

“No, L, you don’t know me at all. If you took the time to get to know me, the way my father does, the way Matsuda does, even the way Misa apparently did, you would see that the person you just described, is not me at all. I would never-” His words caught in his throat as he tried to imagine himself doing those terrible things. He tried to picture himself laughing above the world as criminals fell, clutching their chests.

The worst part was, there was something disturbingly familiar about that vision.

His panic attack worsened and he began crying into his knees. His chest hurt and he wondered for a moment if Kira had gotten to him, if he was about to die. He cried harder.

There were suddenly two arms snaking around him in a sort of awkward hug. L was doing his best in the position he was in, it wasn’t easy to hug while squatting and haunched over. Light was vaguely aware of the dampness of his thumb as it pressed into his shoulder, pulling him closer. He allowed himself to fall against L, he allowed the man’s warmth to engulf him. He allowed the sweet smell of powdered sugar and strawberries to sooth him and it was becoming easier to breathe. He rocked him back and forth lightly.

“I am sorry, Light-kun.” L’s voice was soft and quiet, it was a sentiment meant only for the two of them, this moment was theirs, “Would it make you feel better if I said 15 percent?”

“I won’t feel better until you say zero percent, Ryuzaki-san.”

“I will try my best then, to find Kira.” He gave Light one last squeeze before he released him. Light looked up at L and their eyes met. He had a certain kindness behind his dark spheres that Light hadn’t ever seen before. It was as though he’d done this before, as if he’d had to talk someone down from a panic attack on many occasions.

“Thank you for your insight, I will use that profile to try and find Kira as well. Though I don’t believe it applies to me, I will find the person who fits that description.”

“I believe you will do your best for the investigation.” L’s tone was still too soft and pitying. Light sighed and stood, brushing past the smaller man, he wasn't going to wait for him, until a hand reached out and grabbed onto his. Light looked back, confused, L was still crouched beside the bed, he looked as though he had no intention of getting ready. 

"We have to get out there." 

"They will be fine without us for the time being. Sit." Light did as the detective requested and sat back down beside them. He retracted his hand and Light wished with some small part of him that he hadn't, "You said I don't know you." 

"Yes. You only know what you care to know. What you've seen from my files, what you've observed. What I've told you." 

"So, tell me more. I would like to get to know you, Light-Kun. Perhaps learning more about you will help me decide whether or not you are Kira." 

"What do you want to know?" Light looked at the detective, who sat still, quiet, his eyes were wide. They seemed to grow wider as their eyes connected and Light could tell what it meant. 

Everything

It had only been 14 days, and already Light was willing to give him just that. 

Chapter Text

The room was dark, no light filtered in through the curtains, and he wasn't sure what time it was exactly. It had to be sometime in the early morning. They'd gone to bed hours ago, having felt victorious about their confirmation in who Kira was within Yotsuba. The others wanted to celebrate, but there was some aching pit within him that forced him to tug Light along behind him until they reached the solace of their room. 

That room shut out the noise from below. The doors blocked out reality and when inside those doors, L finally let his mind wander. 

It was as though there was a cyclone in his brain, pulling his thoughts in every direction. No surface was left unmarred by the sudden storm of activity in his mind. He'd never let it get this far before. He'd had feelings before, he'd turned people down, he'd felt something. But never like this, it was never this hopeless. He'd never let himself become so engulfed in one singular person. He should have known from the start that it was a bad idea to put all of his eggs into the Yagami Light basket. He was being proved wrong every day, and yet his obsessions stayed. 

His fixation on the teenager had morphed and grown with every passing minute and he wasn't able to focus that energy into suspecting Light anymore. Not when they'd found out Higuchi was Kira. 

Even if Light had been Kira before, he wasn't any longer. Could L persecute him for something that he no longer represented? Was the evil within him so stagnant that it could never be active again?

If L had feelings for him, did that put him in the wrong as well? Could L accept these feelings, was that something he was capable of?

He scoffed at himself internally, of course he was capable. He was more than capable; he was the most brilliant detective in the world, the top three, actually. He was capable of feeling a variety of different emotions, of course he could have feelings for the boy.

So understanding that he had feelings did nothing to quell his fears. Was the fact that Light may not possibly return those feelings an issue? L was smarter than that, he may have the capability to feel, but he didn’t have any lack of common sense. He knew how to get over someone should the feelings be unrequited.

However, if there were shared feelings, did they have enough time to act on them? Was that the best choice? Things felt as though they were racing toward a finish line that L wasn't ready to reach. 

He heard the man beside him shuffle and sigh. Light seemed to be having trouble sleeping as well. 

"Can't sleep, Light-Kun?" L saw his form turn in the darkness, the teenager sighed again. He'd been acting strange lately, since his panic attack. L couldn’t tell him that he’d dealt with it before. He’d calmed Mello many times. Was he embarrassed? Or could it be that he, too, felt the nagging in his chest that told him their time together was coming to an end. 

And did that fact really bother L as much as his mind was telling him it did?

"Can you?" Light’s voice was barely there, L’s subconscious reached for it, tried to pull it out of it’s hole.

"Clearly not, for I am awake right now." 

"Exactly." He pursed his lips, not entirely sure what they were discussing. What could he say to work their conversation into an easy flow. 

"I understand. You'd like to spend all the time with me that you can, you can sense it will end anytime now." Light gasped beside him, it was quiet, a normal person wouldn't have noticed. They'd already established that L was no normal person. Perhaps it was the wrong thing to say. 

"I wish you wouldn't say things like that." He seemed sad, L wanted to know why. 

"I'm speaking truthfully." 

"You don't know what you're saying." He felt Lights whole body turn toward him in the darkness, "If you hadn't become a detective, what do you think you would have been?" The sudden subject change threw L for a loop, it took him a moment to formulate a response and Light, patient as ever, gave him those moments to collect himself. 

"Impossible scenario, there was never any doubt in my mind as to what I wanted to be."

"Alright, if you could be anything other than a detective, then." 

L wasn't sure if it was the cover of darkness that made him feel brave enough to consider his past and other possible futures, or if it was the person beside him. Perhaps it was a mixture of both. He pushed down the part of him that was screaming to remain secretive. He knew he shouldn't talk about himself, but at this point, he couldn't help it. He could feel his imminent death on the horizon. The seconds ticked away. Light remained silent, waiting for the answer. 

"Pastry chef, isn't it obvious?" 

"You're right, I should have guessed that." Light had a smile in his tone, it was the youngest he'd sounded in weeks. L found that he was thankful for it. 

"And you, Light-Kun? What would you be?" 

"There was never a day when I didn't want to be a cop, to follow in my fathers footsteps. However, if my life hadn't been arranged the way it had, if I'd had more free will, perhaps I'd be a teacher. I’ve always enjoyed helping Sayu with her homework." This surprised L, and he wasn't used to being surprised. He was sure that his mouth was the perfect circle, his eyes were certainly wide, no doubt shining through the dark. 

"You're surprised." The smile was back, L was angry that he'd managed to surprise him, and then was even more angry that it made him angry. He was a detective, he should be able to read Light like a book, "Perhaps you don't see all you think you do. There are parts of myself that I don't let show." 

"Careful, keep talking like that and your percentage will go up." He meant it as a joke, but it clearly frustrated the boy. 

"We've literally just figured out who Kira is, and you're still calling me Kira? You're unbelievable." He turned onto his back, L kept staring at the mass huddled in the darkness. 

It grew silent again, and the detective couldn't find it in him to close his eyes. He kept looking, searching for some sign in the blackness of the room that would allow him to relieve Light of all the charges against him. 

"Do you think," Lights voice was soft in the night, L felt as if he were dreaming until he realized he had yet to close his eyes, "That if we'd met in another life, one where you were a pastry chef and I was a teacher, that we could have been real friends?" L's heart thumped at the prospect. 

"I think we could have been more-" L's soft words spilled from his mouth before he'd had a chance to check them, he felt Light go still beside him. He knew that the younger man hadn't fallen asleep yet, though it was quiet between them. 

"Why haven't you asked me to remove your handcuffs yet? We've found Kira." L asked the boy softly, worried of his answer. 

"You'll remove them when you're sure. I trust you." L breathed in his words, they filled his lungs with a hope he hadn't realized he'd needed. 

Light trusted L, could he offer him the same respect?

It was the 21st day, and L felt soft fingers snake their way through his. He didn't pull away.

Chapter Text

The metal clanked to the floor, the sound seemed to echo through the room, it resonated in Light's ears. He flinched. The new rush of air around his wrist sent a shiver through him and he felt inexplicably lighter.

His fingers itched.

If he was being honest with himself, he had been selfish, not wanting to be separated from the detective during such a pivotal point in the investigation. During such a pivotal point in their budding relationship.

Could it be called a relationship? They'd slept next to one another for almost a month and had shared a few midnight conversations. He could recall their voices, just quiet whispers in the darkness. It was nice, it was safe, and yet it was the most exhilarating part of his life.

Everything about L had been a roller coaster, and he wasn't ready for that to end. So yes, he'd allowed himself to be handcuffed to L for longer than he'd originally anticipated. He should have requested that the cuffs be removed when Misa had concocted her strange plan and had gotten Higuchi to confess to being Kira. He should have demanded L remove them as they organized their plans to figure out his method of killing. As they sat next to each other in comfortable silence, moving men like pieces of a chess board. Planning their strategy of attack. But he didn't, he kept silent, he felt at peace with the man beside him. 

Now, however, he was freed from the shackles that tethered him to L. He almost picked up the cuffs and slipped them back around their wrists. What would L have done? 

"Light-kun! You're free! Now you can be with me again." Misa had her arms wrapped around Light in an instant, he slowly brought his hands up and removed her from around him. The girl was relentless, it almost made Light feel sorry for her. Almost. He saw L frown out of the corner of his eye.

Did the detective believe that Light still wanted her? Could he be so dense? Had their nights spent in closed quarters shown him nothing but proof that she's not who Light wanted.

His palm began to throb at the thought. The memory of L's fingers wrapped through his was still fresh. He would have reached out then if he didn't think he'd be rejected.

A tug on the detectives shirt was allowed, however. He did so, it was barely a touch, but L turned to him and he smiled a small, reassuring thing that seemed to give him the strength he needed.

"Thank you for your contribution, Misa. But I can't allow you to involve yourself in this investigation any further." The words L spoke were surprising, he'd expected him to tell Misa to calm down, to control herself; it seemed as though he was finally voicing his opinion, he was kicking her out.

Finally.

"You will of course receive credit for helping to corner Higuchi, but your life is in danger if we let you stay." This did nothing to appease the girl, she frowned-pouted, actually. 

"Light! Tell him to let me stay. He can't come between us anymore!" She was wide eyed, if he wasn't mistaken, he could have sworn there was something more she wanted to say, it was as if she was trying to urge Light with an unspoken sentiment that he just didn't feel. The thought that there was something he was missing passed through his mind, but he let it go as soon as it tried to make a home; he wouldn't allow her to make him feel stupid. 

"I'm sorry, Misa, but Ryuzaki is right. You should go. You're already in enough danger, we care about you too much to let you involve yourself further." He hoped that by adding in that they cared about her, she'd feel better, but her lip stayed out, she huffed a small breath. She was angry. 

"Watari will see you out." The older man was already behind Misa with her coat. The girl turned and whined, but he stepped aside and beckoned her forth. She stomped away like a child. They watched her go, Light realized L was holding onto his sleeve as they did. He looked down at it and found that the detective was also staring at the way his thumb and forefinger were latched onto the material. They both raised their eyes and smiled. 

"Shall we see how Kira is going to respond to our plan?" Light said, L's responding grin was blindingly beautiful and he nodded, his fingers left Light's sleeve and found his own mouth and he nearly hopped into his chair as he began setting things into motion.

Their combined efforts were a marvel as they pulled the strings that had Higuchi heading exactly where they wanted him.

It was only when he began frantically talking to himself that Light felt an itch in the back of his mind. There was something wrong, they shouldn't have been watching, something was going inexplicably wrong.

It was something they hadn't been expecting. And yet, it was exactly what Light had been anticipating. How had he known that Higuchi would talk to this invisible entity, Rem. How was L so sure that this could be a Shinigami.

Kira's letters had mentioned Shinigami. They couldn't actually exist.

By the time Kira was asking to make a deal with the Shinigami, Light knew they'd need to go to the scene, and he was brimming with anticipation, his body practically vibrating at the idea. 

He felt as though he and L were too far apart as they stared at the screens. It was when he felt the cold too intensely that L was closer to him. The detective had rolled his chair over so that he was barely an arms length away from Light. He was thankful for the closeness.

When had he begun to rely on that for comfort? Should that be as troubling to him as he was making it out to be? L was a man who had accused him of being a serial killer. He'd orchestrated many nightmare-inducing predicaments for Light.

Could he trust him? There was no way he could ever allow himself to feel anything for someone he couldn't trust.

Yet he'd already told the detective that he trusted him, right before the first time he'd latched onto that soft skin. He was surprised when, upon further exploration into those emotions, that he was telling the truth. He did trust L. He trusted him more than he trusted even his own father. It was because they were so similar in every aspect, that he felt he could rely on the older man beside him.

"It's time to go, Light. Watari has the chopper ready." L's voice was in his ear and he flinched slightly at the sudden noise; his eyes flicked over, finding one dark eye staring back at him.

"I called your name 3 times, you weren't responding." There was something like mild amusement in his voice, Light ignored it. 

"Oh, sorry." Light stood, as did L. The detective latched onto the material of Lights shirt and tugged him along.

"If we weren't on our way to catch Kira, I'd raise your percentage right now." He didn't get offended at this statement, Light was beginning to understand L's awkward sense of humor. He laughed. It earned him a fond look over the detectives shoulder.

He could live off of the energy from that look alone.

He groaned at himself and averted his eyes, worried that L could tell his every thought just by looking at him. When he looked back up, L was no longer looking at him.

They made their way to the roof and a helicopter was indeed waiting for them. Watari stood onboard with a rifle in hand and Light was thoroughly impressed. He wouldn't have taken the old man for a sniper. Yet there he was, in all black, rifle, glasses, stern look on his face. Yes, Watari was a terrifying and compelling individual. He would not want to cross his path.

They climbed on board, and to his surprise - though he wasn't sure why he was surprised, he should have expected it - L was piloting.

Before Light knew it, they'd arrived at the scene and Higuchi had crashed. Then slowly, everyone began screaming. Light could feel his heart rate increasing. He was beginning to sweat and his hands were shaking. As the notebook was brought to L, he felt a pulse from it, as though it were calling out to him.

The world around him began to vibrate.

L held the notebook and his eyes widened as he looked out to where the others were.

It must have been the Shinigami. They were real, and by touching the notebook, you could see them.

L turned to him, notebook in hand. Light retreated. Every part of him screamed at him to reach out and touch that notebook. To hold it in his hands. To feel the power of the God of death.

He didn't want to. 

"Stop." Light backed away, or rather he cowered from the notebook. L tilted his head, obviously confused.

"You don't want to touch it?" L reached out, book in hand, Light flinched away and L stopped his advancement.

"I can't force you, if you don't want to see the Shinigami, I won't make you. I understand. It can be terrifying for some to realize such creatures exist. I won't judge you, Light." L turned and stuffed the notebook beneath his legs, obviously not wanting to relinquish it.

"What should we do? Will it follow us?" Soichiro interrupted and Light realized his father was still standing at the door of the helicopter; he realized he'd just witnessed his sons cowardice.

"Most likely. I believe it is attached to the notebook. By bringing it, and it's owner with us, the creature will follow." L sounded bored already, though it was obvious that he was contemplative. 

"I'll warn the others." Soichiro disappeared and headed back over to the others.

"Watari, would you like to touch the notebook?" L called to the older man behind them.

"I have seen many things in my years, Ryuzaki, but I do not believe I want to see that. As long as Mr. Yagami has not touched the notebook, I will refrain." Light looked back at the man, he smiled his thanks, Watari returned the sentiment with a bow of his head. It warmed his chest.

They returned to headquarters. The center of operations for a task force that was no longer needed. They had Kira, they had his notebook, which was what he used to kill. The notebook, they had learned, belonged to a Shinigami. Everyone save for Light and Watari was currently staring at said Shinigami.

Light was staring at L.

The man was mesmerized by the creature, it was sort of endearing. Light sighed at himself, now was not the time to be distracted. 

"The creature is looking at you, Light." L looked from where Light assumed the God was standing to him. His eyes were wide. The moment his hand went to his mouth, Light knew what was running through his mind.

"Probably because it knows I've chosen not to view it. It could be offended." Light didn't like the nagging doubt he had poking at his brain; it was trying to get him to reach out to where L was holding the book delicately in his hands.

His hands. He longed for the comfort of those hands. But he held it back, he could hold off the needs that were threatening to overtake him. He was better that that, he was smarter than that. He would not reach forward to take anything.

"It seems surprised." L continued, "Are you surprised Shinigami, Rem?"

Light didn't know what transpired next, he couldn't hear Rem, therefore he couldn't possibly know what was happening.

"Rem has expressed doubt in your motives, could it be that you're-"

"Ryuzaki! If you call me Kira, when we've just captured Kira," Light interrupted, L was clearly surprised by this outburst. Light thought he saw a flash of guilt, but it was gone faster than it had appeared.

"You said it, not me. I'm merely speculating-"

"He is in holding right now, we're about to interrogate him-"

"I will interrogate him, you can watch through the cameras." Everyone had grown quiet, they were all staring at the two men now, the Shinigami was forgotten. Light's breath was shallow, a pain erupted in his chest and he hated himself for it. 

"I will walk out that door," Light said, his voice small. L closed his eyes briefly and when he reopened them, they held no emotion. He'd shut down.

"I will just arrest you and bring you back when I've solved this case for good." L's response was unnecessarily cold and Light could no longer stand it; ignoring everyone else in the room, he stepped forward, putting his lips to the shell of the detectives ears, but still being sure not to touch the book. L's eyes widened in surprise.

"Do you still not trust me." Light made sure to put every emotion that was coursing through him into that question. The confusion, the hurt, the anger.

"It's not you I don't trust, Light. It's Kira." It was a practiced sentence, even Light could tell that much. How many times had he told himself that?

"We're not the same thing." L was quiet for a moment after that and Light half expected him to apologize, but when he turned, he was not smiling, nor was he exuding surrender. 

"That's debatable." Light heard Matsuda, he watched L's eyes flick over to him briefly before they focused back on his, "But that doesn't mean I don't trust you." 

Impossible.

"I'm leaving." Light backed away from the detective and made his way out of the door. Matsuda and his his father were close behind him.

"Light-Kun, you can't leave now! We have to celebrate the capture of Kira." Matsuda called after him, and he didn't stop; it was his father's shout that made him halt in his steps. He'd called Lights name using what Light could only describe as his 'dad voice.'

"Father?" He turned, his eyes on the ground, he wasn't ready to meet his eyes.

"Where are you going?"

"Home. I'm tired." 

"You can't leave. It only adds more truth to his argument." Soichiro had a point, Light sighed and began walking back to his father, "If Ryuzaki has angered you, then retire to your room. You can calm down and speak rationally later."

"Are you sending me to my room, father?" Light smiled slightly at that, it was nice. Sentimental. He hadn't been sent to his room since he was a child.

"In a sense, yes." They shared a small moment, he heard Matsuda sniffle, "Now go, if we need you or any new developments are made, we will call you, and I will speak to him."

"No, please, you don't have to. We're all adults, I don't need you to handle my battles for me anymore." His father set a reassuring hand on his shoulder and Light relished in the touch.

"That may be so, son. That may be so. How did you grow to be so strong willed?"

"Mother calls it being hard headed, and she tells me I get it from you." Soichiro smiled, and Light thought for a moment that he might hug him.

"How L could ever think that you're Kira, for one moment, I don't understand it. You're a good person, Light." His chest swelled with pride at his father's words and he nodded. The Chief backed up then, pulling along Matsuda, who seemed to be wiping away tears. Light smiled and blinked back his own tears, mentally berating himself for allowing the sentimentality in.

Light went to his own room, a place he hadn't been in since before his detainment. He'd only slept in there twice before he was locked away. It seemed warm enough, cozy enough. He settled into the sheets and tried to run through the events of the day without any other distractions.

He allowed himself to focus on the notebook, he needed to know why it seemed to call out to him. Furthermore, he needed to know why he longed to run his fingers over the smooth black surface. The idea simultaneously frightened and excited him. It was a terrifying concept. It only served to fuel his fears that he was Kira.

He closed his eyes, trying to imagine his plan should he ever try to rule over the world as a God of death.

He realized that it would go exactly the way it had already. If he were Kira, there's not a thing he would change. Except maybe he'd touch the notebook, regain his memories, and kill L.

His chest twisted at the thought of L dying. Of course this career path they'd chosen had its dangers. Their lives were almost always going to be on the line. Though he knew if he were Kira, he'd have developed a fool proof plan for killing the detective. Knowing the way his mind worked, he probably had. 

They were intellectual equals; only one could survive.

He didn't want to be the only one to survive, this life would be terribly, dreadfully boring without L. If he were Kira, he might have to change his tactics, find a way to get L on his side. 

He shook off the thought that he was Kira and sprang up from his bed and out the door of his room. He hadn't even realized where he was headed until he was speeding through the main floor of the headquarters. He realized no one was around and he checked his watch; he'd been lying in his bed thinking for over two hours.

Once he realized L wouldn't be on the main floor he changed his path and headed to the room he'd shared with the detective for a month.

When he reached he door, his hand flew up to knock. He did so once, there was no answer; and again and again and again. It wasn't until he began rapidly knocking that it flew open and L was standing before him with wide, confused eyes.

It had been a month, and he'd made his choice.

Chapter Text

Snow fell like ash. It brightened the earth and his breath shone in the air with every release. He wasn't sure when he'd gotten to this spot, but he wasn't ready to go yet. Death hung in the air like an omen, yet there was always a small tinge of hope, one he could never allow himself to fully grasp. He'd been heading back to this place all his life, since he left, he knew he'd return, yet he wouldn't return victorious. 

Watari stood beside him, his hand was encased in the older man's. When was the last time he'd had to look up to him? He looked ahead, the school lay before him, the bells chimed. His ears rang. 

They stepped through the gates, the door the stone building opened to greet them. 

Light stepped out. 

L, in his childlike state began to cry; Light laughed at him, it wasn't mean, rather it was sweet. Like he was laughing at a child, and L supposed he was one in this moment. 

L watched in horror as Watari let go of his hand, he turned he screamed for him, this man who'd been so fatherly to him, who'd taken care of him, saved him. But Watari was gone and instead he turned to find Light holding out a hand for him. 

"Take my hand," He'd said, L shook his head no, he couldn't, yet some part of him longed to reach out, "You know you want to, L. Lawliet." 

Impossible, Light didn't know his real name. If he did, if he had, then L would surely already be dead. 

He felt Light grab his hand anyway, he pulled him into the school, and when they entered, the Shinigami was standing beside a few of his successors. He looked from them to the Shinigami, and he could feel another presence in the corner of his eye, another Shinigami. He turned slowly, the shadow remained just that, a shadow. 

It began to laugh. 

L sprang up in bed, the knocking on his door had grown insistent and he wasn't sure when he'd even passed out. The bed felt cold beside him and he rolled away. His feet hit the floor and he cracked his toes against it. He cracked every bone in his body that he could manage before he stood. The knocking persisted. As did the bells. L shuddered at the implication. 

He slowly made his way to the door of his room, growing less eager by the step. His gut told him who would be on the other side. His mind told him not to answer, that Light had rediscovered his power as Kira and had arrived to kill him. 

His death felt imminent enough, it wouldn't surprise him. 

Another part of him said that Light was at his hotel room door in the middle of the night for an entirely different reason. It told him that perhaps Lights bed had felt too cold as well. 

He wasn't sure yet which part he wanted to be right. 

The metal door handle felt good against his clammy palms, when had he grown so nervous? This was Yagami Light knocking at his door, and he had probably just come to punch him for being so rude earlier. He deserved it. 

L pulled the door open and Light froze mid knock, his eyes widened minutely and the detective could see a moment of hesitation. He was wondering how he'd come to be at this door just as much as L was. There was a brief moment where L contemplated closing the door, but instead he simply stepped aside, opening the door wide enough for Light to come in. The younger man did just that, brushing last L close enough that he could inhale the scent of him. He resisted the urge to stop him in his tracks and bury his face in the boys hair. 

L closed the door slowly, keeping his back to Light, and he could feel his eyes burning into him. His hand pressed the door closed, the latch clicked into place, and there was a sudden tension in the air. L's heart was in his throat as he turned his head to the side in time to see Light approaching him.  

He'd grabbed a hold of the detectives hand first, held onto it as though it were his last chance. It wasn't unlike the other times their palms had pressed together, they'd fit perfectly, or so L assumed, if he believed things like that were possible. 

What was different this time, however, was that Light began to raise L's hand, he pressed a soft kiss to his knuckles, his eyes were closed, his head bowed. It was like the first move of an intricate dance that the detective hadn't learned the steps to yet. Light looked up from where his mouth was brushing against his hand and L felt the sudden urge to move backward, however he did the opposite and his back ran into the door, he was quite trapped. 

Light dropped his hand and moved forward, his hands fell on either side of the detectives head and L was transfixed on the amber eyes latching onto his own. He kept staring even as the younger man closed the space between them and sealed their lips together. He stared until Light pulled back, obviously confused by his lack of response, and he stared, his mouth was agape, that much he could tell, as Light asked him if he was okay. 

He asked him if he wanted this, if he'd read the signs wrong. If he'd read him wrong. 

Everything clicked at once, and L was relieved he wasn't the only one doubting his ability to read people lately. Light was returning his feelings and his urges. He felt everything the detective had felt the past month and he'd never been happier to oblige someone. 

Light was about to retreat when L responded enthusiastically to the kiss. He surged forward, accidentally knocking Light onto the floor, onto his back. He leaned away momentarily, worried that he might have hurt the boy, but Light reached up with one soft hand to worry a thumb over his cheek bone. His smile was sincere, it was radiant. 

"It's alright," Light laughed a small thing, L smiled, "Kiss me." So he did. He lowered himself down, slotting their lips together in the tenderest of touches. It sent a spark through him, warming him entirely, head to toe. Yet he shuddered as Lights hands wound their way through his hair, he used the locks to turn L's head, to deepen the kiss. He plunged his tongue into the detectives mouth and he almost choked; though it took a moment to familiarize himself with the rhythm of their kiss, he soon had it down. 

He would not have guessed earlier that day, that hours later he would be lying on the floor atop Yagami Light, his legs entangled with the younger man's, his hands running all over his form, their lips in an endless lock, their breathing in tandem. He never could have begun to imagine the exhilaration he felt as Light pushed him back so that he was sitting and L worked his way onto the man's lap so that he could straddle his legs, in his own way. He wasn't quite sitting, and he wasn't as haunched over as much as usual, but he was still in a sort of squat as he broke the kiss for air. 

Their foreheads fell together, their air was warm with the breaths they shared, the small laughs they allowed themselves to huff. Light brushed his fingers experimentally over Lights face, he relished in how the man closed his eyes and leaned into the touch as though it were the only thing centering him. Tethering him to this moment. 

L felt the same. 

He stood, and Light stared up at him in confusion until he held out his hand.
 
"This would be more comfortable over there, would it not?" He motioned toward the bed and Light smiled, gladly taking the proffered hand.

"We don't have to - What I mean to say is, this isn't why I came here," Light said, fumbling his way through his words, something that made L both exquisitely pleased and worried, this isn't why he came here, L looked back at him, wide eyed, had he misjudged the kiss? 

"It isn't?" L turned and stepped back to the younger man, dropping his hand, Light's own eyes went wide and he chased the fallen limb, seizing it once again. 

"No, no! This-" He held up his hand, he kissed his knuckles, he reached forward and kissed him lightly, L was confused, "I came here for this, yes. I just, we don't have to, go further." There was an awkward silence as L took in his meaning. Light had cast his eyes down and L was thankful he couldn't see the many emotions the detective was currently working his way through. Pleasure, confusion, happiness, more confusion, lust. There was a certain fire building in the center of him that he couldn't pinpoint until Light said those words. Go further. It never occurred to him that this was something they should talk about. 

Once the kiss broke the tension, everything was falling into place, they were flying full speed toward something L had never been a part of, and he wasn't sure how to hit the brakes. 

"I want to," He found himself saying, the way Light raised his eyes, the answering grin, it was all worth it. And wasn't that terrifying? 

They sat on the bed and began the process again.
 
The light touches, the soft sighs, the quiet murmurs in the darkness all amounted to an emotion that L was finding it harder and harder to suppress. 
Lights hands were the first to leave the safe zones, his were the first to explore. L felt them everywhere. On his back, his arms, his sides. He was over the younger man and he felt one hand cup his backside through his pants and he gasped, unused to the sensation; Light laughed into the kiss, obviously pleased by the response. 

The laugh was a challenge. It seemed to say, if that surprises you, wait and see what I do next. And L did wait, although he wasn't surprised when his hands ran down his front until they reached his growing hardness. Light traced a finger down the length of him, again he shuddered, releasing the smallest hint of a groan into Light's mouth. 

He responded in kind, rutting upwards, rubbing themselves together so that L could feel the sentiment was returned. He ground down against it, his skin prickled with excitement as Light clutched him tighter. 

For the first time, probably ever, L's mind was blank. There was one singular word pulsing again and again, beating against his skull, raging to get out. That word was Light. He needed this person more than he'd needed anything before. He needed to feel every inch of his skin, to relish in the warmth of him, the feel of him below him, beneath him, around him

They began discarding clothing quicker than they could register until L felt the smooth slip of skin against skin as he rested comfortably between Lights legs, they didn't move for a brief moment; they waited, they breathed, they caught up to their brains.

"You're sure?" L found himself asking, his eyes were squeezed shut. L opened his eyes mid-breath to find amber ones already staring back at him. They were alight with wonder and a sense of mischief that the detective was going to associate with this night always. It was a beauty he'd never experienced and found he wanted to delight in as often as he could.

"Yes, Ryuzaki." He gasped as Light shifted, their lengths slotted together and one of his hands was no longer grasping at the slender muscles of L's back. He watched with wide eyes as Light brought his hand to his mouth, he held it in front of the detective, in obvious anticipation. L, however was at a loss. 

"What?" He looked at the hand, Light smiled, it was sincere, not mocking. They were both lacking in this department, he had to understand. 

"Lick." The word was soft yet commanding and it made his center ache more for the man beneath him. L tilted his head and brought his tongue out to tentatively lick a stripe up the younger man's palm; in a frenzy of what he could only call instinct, he sucked Lights middle finger into his mouth, releasing it with an obscene pop. 

They both looked from his hand back to each other's eyes, both surprised by what he'd done. Then Light reached down with his newly dampened palm and took their lengths in hand, the first stroke almost send L over the edge as he hadn't been expecting how good it would feel.
 
"You can move, I'll hold my hand still-"

"You've researched this before-"

"You were sitting right next to me when I did." Light was smug and L had to admit that he was impressed that he managed to hide it from him. He got back at him by moving suddenly, the lazy circle of his hips led to the perfect slide of their skin together and all smug smiles were replaced by the perfect circle of puckered lips as Light breathed out a small, "Oh."
 
It was new for both of them.
 
With each stroke L knew he wasn't going to last, not with how good it felt, not with the small noises of pleasure Light let slip past his lips, not with the picture of perfection below him, fueling his every fantasy.
 
He found his completion quickly, barely holding back the noise of pleasure that bubbled up in the back of his own throat; a moment later, a new warmth followed and pooled between them, adding to the already damp space that connected them. L rolled over, landing beside Light but immediately grasping for his hand, and they laid quietly, sighing into the darkness of the room. L's mind was still blank, his mind was the clearest it had been since the Kira case started. 

Perhaps that's why things began connecting of their own free will. L's mind raced rampantly, images flashed, as did events and memories. Small quirks he wouldn't have noticed before began to fall into place and suddenly Lights hand burned in his. 

He had to tell Watari. He had to warn him, had to talk with him. He needed to talk to him, to calm himself, to quell his fears. He turned his head to look at Light, who looked so happy. He was so happy, L couldn't find it in him to ruin this moment with his newfound conclusions. 

"I'll go get us a towel, to clean up." 

"Do you have to?" Light turned and opened his eyes, they were so innocent, and sincere, "Couldn't we lay here a moment longer?" 

"I suppose we could." L sighed as Light tangled himself around him, they forgot about the drying mess between them, that's what showers were for, after all. 

They slept.
 
The next day L awoke with a throbbing in his head and a pain in his chest. The bells were ringing again, and all of his deductions came crashing back at that moment. 
 
He left Light in the main room of the headquarters after they'd cleaned themselves up, he left Light with everyone else, they were all discussing the notebook, and Higuchi.
 
Apparently while L and Light slept, the man asked to make a deal. He wanted to give up who the second Kira was in exchange for leniency. 
He died forty seconds later. The Shinigami was nowhere to be found.

It proved that something didn't want the man to talk; whether that something was the Shinigami itself, or the second Kira, L wasn't sure. It couldn't have been him or Light. They were wrapped up in each other all night.

There was one terrible moment when L thought that might have been Lights plan, make the perfect alibi. They'd seen from the rules of the book that a person could write plans for the cause of death 23 days out.
 
It had been more than 23 days, however, so it couldn't have been Light.
 
That fact didn't make L feel any better.
 
He walked slowly to Watari's base of operations, his hands shoved into his pockets, his mind running a million miles a minute. He wanted nothing more than to turn it off again, but he needed it right now. The Shinigami that had followed them back to headquarters with Higuchi disappeared when the man died, the team had searched for it, but they couldn't find it. But there was some nagging doubt scratching at the back of L's mind that told him that Shinigami was not the only Shinigami involved in the Kira case, and he couldn't quite pinpoint any other reason other than his dream. He put those thoughts on hold when he arrived to see the older man sitting in the middle of his desk, surrounded by his screens. L smiled fondly, though it soon dissipated. 
 
"Watari-" He'd said and when the man turned, he became clearly concerned.
 
"What do you need, my boy?" He hadn't called L that in years. L sighed and walked to the old man, he crouched in front of him and laid his head on the arm rest. Watari reached out, stroking a hand through his wild black locks in a soothing manner.
 
"I can feel it coming, Watari. Can't you?" He leaned back and looked at the man who frowned and closed his eyes.
 
"Death is inescapable, even for a Shinigami, I'm sure. You don't have to die soon, we can fight, we can win."
 
"What if I don't want to fight anymore?" L was sad, his frown was deep, Watari sighed.

"Why wouldn't you want to fight?" Watari was confused, L had never been one to back down from a fight. He didn't reply, he simply started walking away, "Is it because of young Mr. Yagami? Are you worried that finding Kira will bring about his downfall?"

L stopped walking and looked over his shoulder, he didn't respond, but his silence was answer enough.

There was a crack of thunder outside, even in his small room in the middle of the building, Watari could tell it was starting to rain.

Watari waited until L was out of view before sending out a simple algorithm to his retainers at Wammy's.
 
L has been compromised.

Chapter Text

Light stared at his computer, tapping his fingers on the desk in front of him; he couldn't help but feel that their presence as a task force was now useless. Even L hadn't joined them that morning.

As Light sat alone, he wondered what was to come. The Shinigami had disappeared after Higuchi's death; Aizawa emerged from a room holding a notebook, and showed everyone the pile of dust. There was nothing in Rem's notebook that explained why the God would be reduced to a pile of ashes, nothing at all. They saw Higuchi's name on the pages, and knew the Shinigami was responsible for the man's death.

Exactly what that meant, no one was sure.

Did that mean Kira was defeated?

Light had a small doubt, he knew somehow that Kira was not done. Whether the second Kira would pick back up and begin killing again, or if another person would acquire a notebook, no one knew for certain.

All Light knew was that he was never going to touch a notebook, and he was never going to regain his memories, not if it meant losing his newfound pleasure in life. He actually enjoyed living these days. Nothing was boring, not anymore.

L still hadn't joined him at headquarters and Light almost wished he hadn't removed the handcuffs. He was missing the closeness. And that was selfish.

Watari walked into the room and looked around, seemingly confused by L's absence as well. The man turned and began to walk away.

"Watari!" Light hurried out of his chair after the older gentleman.

"Oh, Light, if you see L, let him know we will have guests arriving soon."

"Guests?" Light was taken aback, not expecting that response from the man.

"Yes, guests, he'll understand." Watari seemed to sigh as he walked away from Light and he frowned; he hadn't even gotten to ask him if L left the headquarters. He wouldn't leave, not without Light.

Or would he?

Light hated himself for doubting things so quickly, but he'd never been in this position before. Everything was new; the frenzy of emotion was brand new and he didn't like it.

Feeling the sudden urge to get away, he walked out of the main floor and saw the large window looking out to the real world he often forgot was there. When they were closed up in that hotel, it was easy to shut out everything else. Now that he was faced with reality, Light felt a pressure building in his chest. He couldn't quite begin to place it.

There was rain. It seemed the perfect weather to support the way Light felt. It wasn't that he regretted what transpired between L and himself, nor was it that he hated what happened. He just felt, well, lost. And those that felt lost often sought the rain. Did they not?

That was a poor excuse for why he was headed up to the roof to soak in every drop he could; he really needed time away from the task force main station. Everyone was driving him insane. His father wouldn't get off his back, he was asking him every ten minutes what was wrong with him. Matsuda kept asking him why he and L seemed on edge around each other.

It was as though he could sense the growing tension; he was a horrible detective in every other way, but put him in a room with two people who had feelings for one another and he was a genius. He'd been making sly remarks to the two ever since they'd discovered the Death Note. Ever since that night.

Light tried not to think about the fact that he'd been back to L's room every night for a week; he tried not to think about the detectives smooth skin, or his lips, the way they felt grazing over his own. His skin pricked up along his arms as he ascended the dark stairwell leading up to the roof access.

They hadn't allowed their relationship to progress past that point. When Light visited the room every night since that first time, they'd only slept. They'd held hands, they talked until they could no longer hold open their eyes. But that moment of passion had been their only one thus far.

And Light wanted it again, more than he could truly understand.

He made it to the door, ready to let his frustrations release in the rain.

Only he found the roof was occupied. L was already standing in it, soaked to the bone, he was staring at the sky. Light watched him for a moment, transfixed by his beauty and didn't ponder the irony. He'd come up there to get away from L when really it was L he was going toward.

Were they really so alike?

"What are you doing standing out there by yourself?" Light called out through the rain. L pretended not to hear him, and Light repeated himself. He could see he small smile on L's face as he held his hand over his ear. He was messing with him, rather he was flirting. The look he tossed his way, it sent chills down Lights spine. He walked right out into the rain to join him.

"Come to get away, Light?" L wasn't looking at him anymore, Light didn't care. He had come to get away, and somehow even though L was there, he'd still accomplished that task.

"I could ask you the same question, what are you doing out here, Ryuzaki?"

"Nothing worth mentioning, I just came to listen." His voice was quiet and there was something off.

"To what?"

"The bells, Light. Can't you hear them? They've been ringing all morning. All week, actually, but they're unusually loud today."

"Bells? What bells? When did these bells start?" Light looked around, listening for the bells, wondering if they had anything to do with the Shinigami. Could his father and the rest of the task force hear them too?

"When you touched me." Light looked back to the detective, surprised to find that he was staring right at him, "Forgive me, I probably don't make much sense; ignore me. If I were you, I wouldn't believe anything-"

"You rarely make sense, Ryuzaki. That's part of what makes you - you," Light interrupted and L looked away, back up at the sky, "Unfortunately I believe you more than I wish I did."

"I wish I could say the same," He sighed, Lights heart lurched and L looked at him from his peripherals, "Tell me, Light, from the moment you were born, has there ever been a point when you've actually told the truth?"

"I - what?" Light was taken aback by the question, he hadn't lied to L once as far as he knew, "Everyone lies occasionally, but I wouldn't lie to you, Ryuzaki."

L sighed, he stepped forward, toward Light, and his heart sped up; the water was rolling off of his face, his hair, every part of him was drenched and when he stepped forward, Light could have sworn he was glowing.

"I want to believe you."

"So why don't you?"

"Because every part of me is screaming not to. I can't ignore my instincts. They've made me who I am."

"What are they telling you?" Light couldn't believe the detective. They'd caught Kira, in fact Kira was dead and no one else had died since. It was over.

"Why won't you touch the notebook?" It was a completely different question than the one Light thought he was going to ask. And his heart thumped in his ears, he could tell L the truth. He just didn't want to touch it. He was afraid.

"I don't see what I have to."

"I thought you'd say that-" His voice was a sigh, "Let's go in, were both soaked."

"Yeah..." Light followed the detective inside and he couldn't help but feel like he'd failed some test the man had concocted.

They found towels and began to dry off.

"Sit." L demanded and when he sat on the steps in the dim stairwell, L began drying his feet, though he was dripping water on him from his hair. So Light reached out, drying those damp locks. L looked up, seemingly surprised.

He was surprised someone would care enough about him to reach out, Light suddenly understood the test he'd failed moments ago; he was going to show him he cared enough to reach out in any situation.

"I'm afraid, Ryuzaki." Lights voice was quiet, though it still echoed around them.

"Of what?"

"I'm afraid that I might touch the notebook and gain back memories that I'm not sure I want." L was quiet for a moment, he'd averted his eyes back to Light's feet and resumed his drying. Light didn't interrupt the silence.

"Memories of being Kira," He finally said, still not meeting Lights eyes.

"Precisely. Kira is a psychopath, and not someone I want to be."

"Why not? Kira is a God." His tone was not a pleasant one, Light could tell that he didn't want Light to be Kira either. This statement was just another test. One Light would pass easily.

"A false God who could never hope to obtain the things I want." He wasn't holding back anymore, he wasn't going to keep it hidden. L finally looked up at him again, their eyes locked.

"What do you want that Kira could never have?"

"You."

They sat on the stairs, the rain pattered against the window, the droplets cast strange shadows against their faces, mimicking tears. L pursed his lips, his fingers were busy drying Lights legs so he couldn't stick any of them in his mouth, but it was clear that he was deep in thought.

"So don't touch the notebook." L said finally, after a moment and he smiled a small thing at Light, "This might sound unlike me, in so many ways, but I believe the Light that was Kira and the Light that is sitting in front of me right now are two completely different people."

"Yes?"

"So I will forgive the Light before me, as long as he doesn't touch the notebook, as long as he doesn't regain his memories."

"Really?"

"The moment a notebook falls into your hands, I will arrest you."

"Understandable."

"I am showing a weakness, and I am ashamed-"

"How is this a weakness?"

"Love is always a weakness, Light. Remember that."

"L-love?"

"Yes."

"You l-"

"Let's not repeat it." They sat in silence, Light stared down at L drying his feet in utter amazement and L didn't look back up at him for a while.

"L-" Light began and the man in front of him sighed, seemingly clenching his jaw, struggling, "You know part of the reason I don't want to, well that I'm afraid to become Kira - if I was in fact Kira -"

"You were." His voice was quiet, Light's breath hitched at the sound. This was the softest he'd ever seen L.

"Right, well then the reason I don't want to become Kira again is because, well, because I feel the same." L did look up at that, his eyes full of wonder, as if he'd been worried that Light could never return any feelings he might have developed, "Are you surprised?"

"My deductive skills may be off when it comes to matters such as these."

"False, you correctly deduced both Mogi and Matsuda's feelings for Misa. I think you're only blind to these matters when they concern you." Light was smiling down at him fondly, he knew this.

"Is that - normal?" Light laughed.

"L, nothing about you is normal." His face dropped as Light said this, but the younger man reached out and pulled his face back up so he could look into his eyes, "And that is what I am most thankful for. I wouldn't want you any other way."

The look on L's face was indescribable. His mouth was a small circle, his eyes were the widest Light had ever seen them. As his look of surprise slowly turned into a wide smile, Light almost laughed from the relief and joy he felt. He leaned forward and kissed him, it was a small thing, but it felt as if it were the most intimate moment he'd ever shared with anyone. L laughed and hid his face in Lights neck, and the latter wrapped his arms around L despite how drenched he still was.

He leaned his head against the soaked, yet still voluminous black locks and sighed with relief; he'd never imagined revealing his feelings for the detective would feel so wonderful. His eyes slipped closed for a brief moment and when he opened them again, his breath caught in his throat.

"Light?" L asked, obviously noticing Light's change in his hold on the detective, his arms had tightened past the point of comfort. And it was because his eyes locked onto the one person he never wanted to see him in this position.

"There's a visitor awaiting your return in the main room." Light watched L's own eyes close in a moment of weakness as Soichiro stood at the bottom of the steps, staring up at them, no doubt having just witnessed their entire exchange.

"Father-"

"They're waiting." He turned and stalked off in the direction of the main floor and Light sighed, his head began to throb, his eyes stung. He wasn't ashamed, exactly, of having his father see him with L. It wasn't about acceptance, it was about suspicion.

Had his father just heard him admit to being Kira? His heart pounded in the cavity of his chest, where it had only moments ago felt warm and full, it now stung with the icy pain of worry.

L's fingers carded through his own and he looked at the detective, who had his own hint of worry etched into the lines of his face, but he was smiling a reassuring thing for Light's sake.

He was grateful.

"Who are the visitors? Watari mentioned them earlier."

"They're here to-" L stopped his sentence with a sigh, he turned back to Light, "Whatever you do, don't touch that Death Note. These people are my successors, and they will find you out, it will be their main goal. Especially if it brings me down in the process."

"Your successors aren't your friends?"

"You are my first friend, Light." He squeezed his hand, "I don't normally have friends, only those who I trust enough to follow in my footsteps. Should I die, these are the people who would take over."

"So they're you-"

"But more desperate to rise in station. They would see me destroyed because they want to be me."

"That doesn't sound very reassuring. How many are there?" L pulled away, Light followed and watched the detective lean one shoulder against the wall, hiding his face from Light.

"Two: the first is reckless, but their ways are unfortunately very effective. The second is less of a threat, he looks up to me, does his best to emulate me. I trust him more than the first. But he's still going to stop at nothing to see me removed from my position as L."

"Can you be?"

"Sorry?" L turned to him, confused, but intrigued by the question.

"Isn't - Excuse me if I'm out of place, but - isn't L a title that comes from your name? Is it not your initial?" Lights words obviously struck a cord within the detective and he reached out, pulling Light into a fierce kiss; one that was a far cry from the soft, quiet, personal one they'd shared before. He shoved Light back against the wall and plunged his tongue into his mouth. His hands tugged through Lights hair, and he groaned into his mouth.

Light responded in kind, though he was very confused. When L broke away, resting his forehead against Lights collar bone, panting, he began to laugh.

"Should I ask what that was?" Lights hands gripped L's shoulders, it seemed to be to only thing keeping him standing.

"I'm sorry, I - I was reminded of your intelligence and I just couldn't help myself."

"So I was right, then?"

"Yes, but - if it's all the same, Light, I would rather not tell you my name, at least not-"

"Understandable." Light interrupted, pushing them away from the wall. They began to straighten themselves out as they walked down to the main floor. They shared a few amused and knowing looks. Light couldn't wait for night to fall. To be in bed with him again. He wouldn't be able to control himself.

"L, are you going to do that every time I say something intelligent?"

"Would you like that, Light?" L turned to him, a sly smile on his face. Light could feel his face burning.

"As much as I would, I just want to remind you to be professional in there, I say a lot of smart things, if we made out every time-" Light was surprised to a halt in his statement when L laughed, "You're really losing it, aren't you?"

"Am I? Or have I simply found something?"

"No, you're losing it. Let's go in." L laughed again as they opened the doors and walked onto the main floor where everyone was waiting. It was only then that Light realized his pants were still dripping water.

He couldn't find it in him to care, however.

His father wasn't looking at him, he was sitting on the arm of the couch, obviously deep in thought. Watari was smiling at them, and L had hunched his back, shoved his hands into his pockets, and adopted his work personality. So Light did the same. He crossed his arms over his chest and pursed his lips slightly as he looked at the two new additions to the room who were appraising him in the same way.

The smaller of the two, a boy that couldn't have been much older than 15 by the looks of him, walked over to them. His face was so similar to L's, the wide eyes and small smirk. His hair would have been the same were it black instead of a stark white; he was eerily similar in the way he held himself.

"L it is good to see you again." The boy said and Light noticed how he addressed the detective but stared straight at him.

"Not that I disagree, Near; but why have you and Mello come?" Light didn't look in anyone else's direction, he kept his eyes locked with Near.

"To help you catch Kira," Near said, and his mouth turned up into a delighted smile.

Chapter Text

The room was empty. He’d dragged Mello, and Near into it so they could have a private conversation. Watari stood watch outside of the door; he could only imagine what everyone must have been thinking. Especially Light. The look on his face, his horror at Near's announcement was barely contained. He was a good actor, L could at least give him that, but he feared the younger boy took notice.

This was the first time L was beginning to feel that emotion, fear. It was only days before that his death had loomed on the horizon and then, for only a moment, he'd had a taste of happiness, of joy, of satisfaction; when he found himself in Lights arms in the stairwell, he fooled himself into thinking, if only for that small fraction of a moment, that it was something he could have. Something he could hold onto.

However, as he climbed onto the sofa opposite the other two younger men, he knew he'd been quite the romantic idiot. He couldn't have what he wanted, not as long as he was the worlds top three greatest detectives. 

"You know why we've come." Mello wasted no time getting to the point. He ruffled the feathers on his jacket as he ran a hand through his long blonde locks. He'd gotten quite a bit more ridiculous in the years since L left Whammy's. 

"Actually I've no clue, care to enlighten me?"

"An emergency message was sent to us from headquarters. We thought you'd died, L. When we arrived, well we were pleased to see you alive, and so since we were here already, we thought we might as well help." Near smiled sweetly at him and he was reminded of the child who used to follow him around. He longed for those simpler times, if only a little. 

"Wrong-" L sighed, bored already with this interaction. He knew these two boys too well, he knew their tells. They were lying through their teeth, "Would you like to try that again? Or would you like me to tell you why you're here?"


"If you can." Mello hissed. 

"Come again, Mihael?" He knew using the boys real name was a low blow, but the look it earned him was worth it, "Don't say something if you don't want us to hear."

"I'm just stating a fact, you've lost it. Something's off; and I think we all know it has something to do with the Kira case. What's stopping you from solving this?"

"We did solve it, in fact we brought Kira into custody over a week ago. He died shortly after." L's fingers twitched against his leg. Mello always struck a cord within him. It usually resulted in him leaving the room so he didn't pommel the kid. 

"L, we understand you've been under a lot of stress. We just wanted to come and make sure you didn't miss anything important. We're here to help, honest." L wasn't sure which was worse, Mello's bluntness or Near's passive aggressive kindness. He preferred a more intellectual challenge, but he had Light for that. 

"Very well, carry on. But, gentlemen, don't get in my way." L stood and began to stalk out of the room. 

"Wouldn't dream of it." Mello muttered from the couch and L ground his teeth together as he opened he door and brushed past Watari. He stopped a moment and turned back to the old man; he had guilt written all over his face and L approached him solemnly, making sure the door of the room Mello and Near were in was shut first. 

"You called them here. After I asked you for help." 

"This is me helping you." 

"This is you usurping me.”

“Usurping? You read too many books, my boy.” Watari was trying hard to maintain their balance, their camaraderie, their relationship. He’d come to love the man before him as though he were his own father. It was becoming more and more clear that Watari was not now, nor had he ever been, his father.

“Now I’m your boy?” It came out more bitter than he’d anticipated, and he hated himself once again for showing emotion when he wanted to show none, “Why would you call them here, do you not trust me anymore?" L stared down at the man who'd been like a father to him for more than half of his life. Watari sighed sadly. 

"It is because I trust in and care for you that I'm doing this. Do not doubt my motives, I've been doing this far longer than you." The old man was slowly slipping into his former position of headmaster. When he'd run Whammy's he was strict, but he always had a soft spot for L. 

"I've told you before, Watari, age and experience do not beat diligence and natural talent." L half smiled and barely caught the hint of one in return as he turned and stalked down the hallway, hoping to get far away from those three and back to work where he could focus. 

He found, however, that the moment he walked into the room, he had two pairs of eyes on him. Both belonged to a Yagami. 

L sighed as he sat at his station. The cup of tea and the pile of sugar cubes had not been placed by Watari as he was still with the other two boys; L surmised that it was Light who got him the treats. 

"Here you go, L, I thought you might need something to tide you over until Watari is done with those two children." L was surprised to turn and find Matsuda offering him a plate with two pieces of cake as well as some strawberries piled onto it. L smiled a small, kind thing at the man and took the plate from his hands. He set it on the desktop and began dropping sugar cubes into his tea. He lifted it to his mouth and sipped, shuddering. Not enough sugar, he began to plop more into the liquid.

"Seriously though, Ryuzaki, you will need to eat normal food eventually." Lights voice was soft beside him and he sighed as he glanced sideways a fraction of an inch, making a show of popping one of the strawberries into his mouth. He smiled and saw Light shake his head, clearly suppressing his own amused reaction. He didn't want to give L the satisfaction and that knowledge made the detective even more satisfied. 

If it were at all possible to be more satisfied than he currently felt. His satisfaction came with a tinge of guilt; Near and Mello could never see him respond this way around Light, it would only lead to a further investigation of both of them. He had to keep Light safe.

"Ryuzaki-" His thoughts were interrupted by the voice of the older Yagami, "Might I have a word with you? In private." 

"Father-" Light began to argue but L held up his hand, stopping whatever was about to come out of the younger man's mouth. 

"Of course, Chief Yagami. Lead the way, I will follow." The older man turned and walked out of the door, L glanced at Light and nodded in his direction before following. 

Soichiro chose an empty room for this discussion, and L wasn't quite sure what to expect. 

"I apologize in advance," L said, clearly confusing the man in front of him. His jaw dropped an inch before he corrected himself and nodded, "I understand your convictions about what transpired between your son and myself, but I assure you-" 

"Ryuzaki, you have no idea what I'm about to say to you, do you?" Soichiro interrupted what was sure to be a riveting speech, though L hadn't even figured out what he was trying to say himself. How could he have possibly known what the chief was going to say? He shook his head, confirming the man's theory. 

"I don't care that you're a man, or that my son loves you. I accept him regardless of his preference. That's what a father does. He accepts his child no matter the circumstance. But what I cannot accept, what I cannot abide, is letting Light become Kira again." 

"Again?" L knew he wasn't fooling the man. However, he still kicked the toe of his shoe into the floor and looked back up at the man with questioning eyes, “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”

"Spare me the theatrics. I heard your conversation, and I know my son. I saw it the moment he was no longer himself. I'd come home from work that day stressed beyond belief because of you and the Kira case; but I could still see the change in my son. I could see how different he was. There was something in his eyes." Soichiro sighed and turned away from L for a moment, "But when he came out of confinement, when I put on that damned act, I could tell he'd returned to the boy he used to be. Pretending to execute him damn near killed me."

"Soichiro, I-"

"That boy in there is someone I don't want to lose. So you keep him, and you protect him, no matter the cost." Soichiro took a step closer to L, clapping a hand on his shoulder. It was the first time they'd made true contact and it surprised the detective, "I will also do my best to deter these new additions to our task force. I will steer them away from Light, away from you, away from everything." 

"That's tampering with official evidence, Soichiro. I'm not sure I can condone this." There may have been a smile on his face, though his words were serious.

"What you don't know won't hurt you, L. Allow me the chance to save my son. Allow us all the opportunity to live a normal life." 

"The moment he met me, any chance of a normal life was thrown out the window." L’s face dropped, his smile was gone.

"Yes, but a dangerous life with you is preferable over God of the New World." 

They shared a silent exchange, it caused a warmth to spread in L’s chest. He’d only known this man a short while, and already he was treating him with respect and dignity. This man was a true father.

"Don't let me down, L. More importantly, don't let my son down." He squeezed the man's shoulder before walking away and L was left standing in the middle of an empty room, more conflicted than when he'd walked into it. He stalked to the nearest chair and sat, closing his eyes, he retreated into the farthest recesses of his mind. 

He watched as a younger version of himself ran through the halls of Whammy's, holding a piece of paper that meant the world to him. He'd done it, finally, he'd made it. He ran right to Watari's office and knocked on the door rapidly before being told to enter. 

"What is it, my boy?" Watari asked, hardly glancing up from the paperwork in front of him. 

"I think I can help the agents!" He exclaimed running to the desk, he smacked the paper down in front of the older man who sighed fondly as he reached out and picked it up. This wasn't the first time since arriving at the school that L. Lawliet had tried his hardest to aid the Interpol agents in their cases. 

"This is fine work, L." Watari's eyes shone from about the paper as he looked up, they were filled with pride; L smiled at him, "Where did you find this information?"

"It's not usually what the Internet is used for, but I was able to get into their mainframe and gather intel while they worked." L was nearly jumping up and down where he was standing; he watched his younger self, so full of like, so willing to please. He'd tried so hard, he stood tall with pride. As the older version of the detective stood with his shoulder haunched over, he began to wonder when he'd closed off to the world around him. When had he built the wall around himself both physically and mentally? 

It was this moment. 

"L. Lawliet, you are a fool." Watari was harsh and L flinched at his tone of voice, "You realize you have broken the law?"

"I-what?" 

"You cannot investigate other people's lives without a warrant! All this information is now useless. You knew that would be the case, didn’t you? You were taught these laws."

"I-" L frowned at his younger self. He did know this, but he was only a child, he’d wanted to help. He thought he'd be praised for his intelligence and initiative. Not scolded. 

"You only wanted to help, but this is illegal point blank. Would you like us to arrest you?" 

"No! Why would you do that!" He wrapped his around around himself and shrugged his shoulders up to his ears. 

"But that's what we do when someone breaks the law, L. Lawliet. We arrest them, no matter the circumstances, no matter how dear they may be to us. No matter their excuse. We arrest them." His younger self began to cry and L found himself wishing this wasn't just a memory, he wished he could console himself. 

"I'm sorry, I won't do it again."

"You may go," Watari said, crumpling the paper into a ball and throwing it into the trash bin. L sniffed hard as he turned and walked out, "Oh, and L, see that you do it the legal way next time. I won't be having this conversation with you again. Next time, you'll be arrested." 

"Yes sir." L wiped his tears away and walked out the door. He watched this younger version of himself harden visibly before his eyes. He'd lain the first brick of the wall that surrounded him.

A wall that had been in place for many years until Yagami Light came smashing through its foundation.

L opened his eyes, and the dark room was all quiet but for the echo of rain pattering against the window. He wrapped his arms around his legs, pulling them in closer to his body than he’d thought possible. He squeezed his eyes shut, not wanting the tears that were burning into his eyes to betray him.

He hadn’t cried since that day. He’d gone out into the rain with the overwhelming sense of despair earlier in the day. He thought the tears would come then, but they didn’t have a chance, because Light had come to his rescue. Light had been there to drive away the darkness.

However, there was nothing now to shine a light into the shadows of the room, nor the shadows of his own mind. He was alone, and he began to cry. He was so far away from himself, he was beginning to lose sight of who L was. Who L was supposed to be.

Could he be that little boy again? Or would he be forever condemned to this life as the worlds top three detectives, unable to have even a taste of a normal life. A taste of freedom, of happiness, or of love.

There was a soft rapping on the door, L didn’t get up to open it, he didn’t move from his scrunched position on the couch. He had an inkling as to who it could be, but he didn’t want Light to swoop in and save him. He wanted to be allowed these moments to wallow. He needed these moments to get far away from himself.

Light’s voice called out to him from the other side of the door, he laid down on the couch and as he closed his eyes, he began to drift.

Chapter Text

There was no answer. He'd knocked too many times for the reason why to be simple. It was clear to him, L was ignoring him. Light turned his back to the door and slid down the wood until he hit the floor. Pressing his head back against it, he squeezed his eyes shut, trying to imagine L on the other side, doing the same. He listened for a sign that the detective might also have been listening for him, but there was none.

"Ryuzaki?" He asked softly through the barrier between himself and the other man, "Will you let me in? Please?" He realized it was quite a loaded question; both literal and metaphorical. The words they'd exchanged before, the sentiments. Was it too much? Could L be in that room freaking out?

What could his father have said that would have caused this reaction? Or perhaps it wasn't his father at all. Perhaps it was Near and Mello. Those two were lingering like cats in the main room, watching everyone in order to watch Light closely. He knew it, he could feel their eyes on him whenever his back was turned. He'd met Nears eyes too many times by accident.

The younger boy never looked away however; the memory of his amused gaze caused a sharp shiver to shoot down Light's spine. This was quite the predicament they'd found themselves in.

He wondered if L would feel obligated to give Light up to them. If somehow their presence would change everything. 

Light suddenly felt the need for fresh air, and not from the roof top. He needed out of that building, away from headquarters. He needed escape, and he needed to go anywhere. He stood abruptly, ignoring the head rush and hoping that L heard his departure and felt sad because of it.

Wishing sadness in his absence upon the detective was purely selfish but it didn't stop the mere thought from bringing him a fraction of satisfaction. He walked across the main floor, grabbing his jacket on the way out, not stopping to respond to anyone's inquiries. He kept walking; he walked down the steps to the front door and walked right out with no interruptions. He knew the two newest additions to the task force would probably have surveillance on him immediately so he headed straight for the forest along the edge of town. He pulled the hood on his jacket low over his face, hoping he wouldn't be recognized by any passersby.

As he walked into the tree line, he couldn't help but feel a sense of familiarity pass through him. As though he'd walked this same trail before with a specific purpose. It wasn't until he was well into the forest that he heard the footsteps synched with his own.

He stopped walking, the other footsteps continued on for only a moment until they came to an abrupt halt. Light turned, there was no one there. However, he'd heard the sharp intake of breath and the quiet rustling. Whoever was following him was not experienced. He sighed, he knew who it was.

"Misa, you can come out." He looked around and waited for the girl, she didn't step forward, "Misa, come out-"

"Not Misa, Light-kun." Matsuda stepped out from behind a large tree and smiled apologetically, "I only wanted to make sure you were alright."

"You're sure no one told you to follow me?" Light raised an inquisitive brow at the man who half bowed and laughed awkwardly, "Just as I thought. Go back and tell them you couldn't find me."

"Can't I stay? I was feeling suffocated in there as well." He acted so young sometimes that Light forgot he was older than him.

"Fine. Just don't bother me." He walked on, Matsuda rushed to catch up with him, walking side by side with Light instead of lagging behind.

The other man was true to his word and kept quiet for most of the walk. However Light still felt surrounded. He could feel walls closing in around him even though they were outside. He felt the pressure in his chest and had to stop, leaning against a tree, he struggled to catch his breath.

"Are you alright, Light? Do you need water? Are you having a panic attack!?" Matsuda was beside him in an instant, patting his back in panic. Light pushed him away and stood up, he leaned his back against the tree, shoving his head back against the bark. A small sharp pain shot through his head but he couldn't bring himself to care.

"I'm fine, just give me a minute." Light closed his eyes and breathed in slowly through his nose; the world opened up slightly around him.

"Huh? What's this?" Light opened his eyes to see Matsuda kneeling over a spot on the ground.

"What's what?" Light stepped forward, his head began throbbing slightly, but not at the back where he'd hit it against the tree, it was behind his eye. It was the same pulsing he'd felt when they'd caught Higuchi. When they'd discovered the Death Note.

"Something's been buried here. I was on a task force once, chasing another serial killer, I was just a rookie then so they made me search his land for buried bodies. I got to know what the ground looks like when something has been buried beneath it very well. And something has been buried here for sure." Matsuda's explanation had Light's head spinning. Leave it to Matsuda to be an expert in something do obscure.

"Leave it be, it's probably a time capsule or something sentimental to someone. Let's not bother it."

"All the way out here?" Matsuda stood, a weird smile worked its way onto his face, "Someone would only bury something out here if they were trying to hide it. Lucky are we that we needed air!" Matsuda began digging into the ground with his hand. Light felt the sudden urge to push him away and dig for himself, but he shoved that part as far down as he could.

"Oh a box-" Matsuda said, uncovering the rectangle, he brushed the dirt off and lifted it to his eye line.

"Put it back, it's clearly someone's keepsake-"

"But if we just-" A voice interrupted them.

"Matsuda!" They turned in surprise to find Soichiro standing in the middle of the forest, his hand outstretched, "Let me see that. I think it could be evidence in a cold case."

"You think so, boss?" Matsuda eagerly handed over the box to Light's father, he exchanged a glance with Soichiro that he didn't quite understand.

"Most certainly. There was a box containing letters written by the criminal that we never found. If this turns out to be it, you'll be credited for sure, Matsuda." Soichiro stepped forward, a sincere smile on his face, he clapped the younger man on the shoulder, "Good work, son. Now get back to headquarters, Aizawa was asking after you."

Matsuda bowed before running away with a large smile on his face.

"Quite the coincidence that he found it. I'm sure it'll bring some closure to that old case." Light began to walk away as his father opened the box and reached inside.

"Dear Misa, by the time you read this letter, you should have remembered everything-" Light stopped in his tracks and squeezed his eyes shut as he heard his father read through the letter obviously written by him. A letter instructing Misa to kill L.

"Father- I-" Light turned and saw his father setting fire to the letter in his hand, his mouth fell open and his hand stopped where it had begun to reach forward.

"We will never speak of this again, Light." Soichiro sighed as he picked up a notebook that was inside of a plastic bag, "You will never touch this."

"I don't plan on it." Light shoved his hands into his pockets.

"I have to decide if I want to." Soichiro turned the book over a few times, "Do I want to know the face of the monster who possessed my son? Who turned my son into a killer?"

"That wasn't me, father. I could never- I would never-"

"I know. Which is why we will never speak of this again." He put the notebook back into the box and tucked it beneath his arm.

"We will return to headquarters. You will give this box to Ryuzaki, and he will figure out what to do with it."

"You want L to be the one to see the Shinigami that stood behind me as I-as I-" His breath shuddered as his words fell flat. He couldn't complete his sentence. His father stepped forward and for a moment Light was afraid he was going to arrest him. But he wrapped his free arm around Light in a hug.

After a moment of surprise, Light tucked his arms around his father and breathed him in. For only a few seconds, he was a child again, being held by his father in a moment of weakness, a moment of fear. Like when he was young and would cry during thunderstorms. The man holding him now was much less tender, however the love was still apparent.

"I'm sorry, father." Lights apology was muffled in the collar of his fathers jacket.

"All will be well once we settle this case, Light." He stepped back and cupped his sons cheek, Light smiled sadly, "You will be happy with Ryuzaki, won't you?"

"Nothing is certain-"

"I'm sure of it. He is similar to you in as many ways as he is different. And that will bring balance to your relationship. It is the basis for a great one if you ask me." Soichiro smiled and dropped his hand, turning away from Light he began to walk back through the trees. Light did not follow at first until his father turned and motioned with a flick of his head.

Light hurried along after his father, and they made their way back to the large building. Soichiro handed the box off to his son and they went their separate ways. Light went straight to the room L had been holed up in before.

This time he didn't knock, he went straight for the handle and found it surprisingly unlocked. He wondered why he hadn't simply tried the handle before.

When he walked into the room, L was lying on the couch on his side, fast asleep. Light smiled fondly down at the man before remembering himself; he quickly locked the door behind him before approaching the sleeping detective.

Setting the box on the table in the center of the room, Light checked for any possible intruders, anyone who would hear their conversation. When he found none, he walked back to the table, the box, and the sleeping L.

Light reached forward and brushed a thick black lock of hair out of the older man's face, smiling when it immediately fell back into place. He did it again, only this time he tucked it behind his ear and leaned forward, pressing his lips softly to one of L's closed eyelids. They fluttered at he touch and when Light leaned back, he was staring into wide, dark eyes.

"Light?" L's voice was groggy but he was still as monotonous as ever.

"L," Light sighed, "I found something."

The detective sat up straight immediately upon hearing that. His eyes went to the box on the table and Light picked it up, handing it over to him.

"There was a note, to Misa, from Kira. My father burned it."

"Did you touch the note, Light?" His voice sounded panicked beyond reason and he reached out, taking Light's hand into his, "Look at me, Light."

Light looked at the detective, his large, searching eyes looked into his own and after a moment of staring, they seemed to relax. As though they'd found what they'd been looking for. L noticeably relaxed, if it were possible for him to look relaxed while sitting the way he was; haunched over in a squat.

"I only touched the box long enough to bring it to you." Light sighed and reached out, stopping L's hands from investigating further, "I am operating under the assumption that the other Shinigami, the one who disappeared, was connected to Misa. And if we are to believe that, then if you touch the Death Note inside of this box, I believe you will meet the Shinigami who possessed Kira. Who possessed me. Are you prepared to do that?"

They stared at one another for a moment, the weight of their situation settled around them like a wall. Though it did not settle between them.

"If this Shinigami possesses me, if it changes me, I believe that if I go astray, you will find me wherever I am; you will bring me back." L looked down into the box with determination, he took out the bag holding the notebook and slipped his hand inside.

His eyes widened, and then focused.

"Hello Shinigami."

Chapter Text

"He'll only slow me down, does he have to come along?"

Mello stared at the large bay of computer screens for far too long. He blinked once, his eyes stung from their dryness, but if Near could hold his eyes open for longer than humanly possible, then Mello had to learn how to as well. If in that split second his eyes were shut, something happened that Near caught and he missed, he would never forgive himself.

He hadn't meant to be so cruel back at Wammy's, but he always came across as such. Near was his closest competitor, and while it was true that you should keep your enemies closer, Mello wasn't sure what Near was to him exactly. They didn't hate each other, they got along, not quite famously, but enough to cohabit.

Yagami Light had been gone for far too long. They'd sent Matsuda after him, but the blunder that was the supposed detective came back smiling widely, seemingly proud of something, and had yet to report a single thing on the whereabouts of Light. Mello groaned, he shifted his stance, if Near was going to stare at everyone and everything, he would do it too. Even though this wasn't how he liked to do things.

"If you're bored, go do something else, I'll be alright here."

"And let you have complete access to the detectives? I think not." Near turned to him with a sigh and a smile that was too sweet to be genuine.

"Mello, I know how you operate, this is not your method. Go do what you must." He turned back and sidled up to Matsuda, asking him how the mission went. The man stuttered and tripped over an explanation that Mello had no time to listen to. He walked out of the main headquarters and almost ran right into Cheif Yagami.

"Excuse me." Soichiro said, Mello sighed and stepped aside. He watched the older man walk into the room and wondered when he'd even left. He'd been so busy watching what Near was doing that he hadn't thought to watch the elder.

Suddenly it dawned on him that the man was father to Light and perhaps they could be co-conspirators. Had he followed Matsuda and sent him back before he could discover anything important? Mello heard a door click somewhere in the distance and followed its echo.

He rounded a corner to see Light coming out of a kitchen holding a bowl full of apples.

Interesting.

Mello followed the teenager until he reached a set of doors and pushed it open, heading in he closed and locked it again. Mello stood on the outside, he pressed his ear against the wood.

Damn, sound proof. Of course L would have made sure all the doors were sound proof in the headquarters. Couldn't risk any sensitive information getting out. Mello had no clue who Light was in that room with, or why he needed apples. To figure that out would involve further investigation.

Mello turned to head back down the hall to the main room, but when he did, Near was standing in the middle of it, haunched over, head tilted, staring. When their eyes met, and Mello couldn't help the small jump that Near's sudden presence drew out of him, the boy smiled.

"Light and L are having private time." Near was still smiling and Mello shuddered at his creepiness.

"Is that who's in there with him? Tell me, Near, do you know of a sexual act involving apples?" He pushed past the boy and continued through the building.

"Do you think L would be so careless? Light was his number one suspect at one time." Mello stopped and turned, smirking slightly. Near wasn't this naive. He was trying to share his theory in a round about way.

"Think about it, Near, emotions cloud a persons judgement. L has fallen prey to something so trivial and mundane. I never thought I'd see the day. But now he's held up in a room with his number one suspect, eating apples. Or licking the juice off of one another. You know, I really don't want to think of it." He began walking again.

"You let your emotions effect you constantly." He stopped, but didn't turn. His jaw clenched in annoyance and he tilted his head slightly. It was true, emotions got to him more than he would have liked, but he wasn't going to let Near see that now. Did Near really think he didn't know?

"Yes, but I am not L, I wasn't even next in line to be L, thanks to you. Did you think I was unaware that you requested I be let in on this mission?" Near opened his mouth to respond but shut it again quickly, Mello saw him from his peripherals, but still didn't turn, he wouldn't let himself be seen in such a state, "Yes, Near. You're the child prodigy, the genius, L incarnate. And yet you have some soft spot for me. I'll tell you now, that will be your downfall. Do not think so highly of me next time. I might just prey on that."

He walked away, and he hated himself for how he spoke to the child. He only looked up to him, wanted to be a friend to him.

Mello didn't have friends, he had tools that he could use to manipulate his situation. He couldn't allow Near to become his weapon. However, he accompanied Near because he would allow himself to be used as his weapon. That he could handle.

The modicum of sentiment he felt for the boy was enough to fuel his drive to be a better detective. But it wasn't enough to augment his personality.

"Aizawa, show me this Death Note," Mello said upon entering the room. The older man stood quickly and bowed, rushing to get the notebook, he appeared before Mello again, holding the black rectangle. Mello took it into his hands and ran his fingers over the cover, carefully opening the book.

The pages were filled meticulously with the names of the deceased. Some had precise times and specific causes. However, most were just the names. He flipped back to the first couple of pages to read the instructions.

Why wouldn't Kira just kill people in a different way each time? Surely they must have thought that if they came up with an interesting and new way to kill criminals, they wouldn't have been caught so quickly?

Mello sighed and closed the book, realizing that Kira was an idiot, or just very apathetic, he became frustrated. Kira was not careful, and yet it took L so long to find them. If he'd even found the real Kira, that was.

"Chief, Misa is here." Mogi's voice interrupted Mello's thoughts and the chief sighed loudly.

"Light isn't here, tell her not to come back." Mogi bowed slightly and made his retreat, Mello followed, Death Note still in hand.

They walked down to the front door, Mogi unaware of Mello's presence behind him, and he practically sauntered up to the blonde.

"I'm sorry Misa-kun. Light isn't here. You could try again later." Mello huffed out a small laugh, Mogi directly disobeyed the Chiefs orders; he watched the man's body language, how open it was, how his body seemed to shift toward the girl. He was definitely interested in her in some way.

"Oh, thank you." Her shoulders deflated as well as her hopeful expression, she turned to walk away and Mogi watched her go. Mello waited for the man to leave before following Misa out of the building.

"Misa?" He called out and the girl turned, her face bright once again, obviously hoping that it was Light calling out to her.

"Do I know you?" She asked, her head tilted in confusion, "Do you work in this building?"

"I do, actually," his hands were gripped around the Death Note, he looked down at it and Misa followed his eyes. He watched her expression change at the sight of the book, "Do you mind if we talk? I've heard so much about you. I didn't realize you would be so beautiful." He put on his smoothest tone and stepped a bit closer to the girl, she giggled awkwardly and ran a hand through her hair.

"I'm sorry, um, what's your name?"

"You can call me Mel." He smirked and stepped forward again, she didn't retreat, "Perhaps we can grab coffee sometime?"

"If you know of me from the task force, then you know that I'm in a very serious and committed relationship with Light." She fidgeted with her hands, a lie.

"That's not what I heard."

"Did he tell you he dumped me? Because he only did that while he was chained to Ryuzaki. Their situation didn't really work for our relationship. So while he was stuck with that man, he dumped me. But we will get back together once they're separated for good."

"They aren't chained together anymore."

"I know that, but once this case is completely finished." Misa looked down at the book again and swallowed thickly.

"Do you recognize this book, Misa?"

"Huh? Oh, no. I just, I don't know. It's making me feel funny. Do you mind if I leave now?" She turned without a reply and hurried away from Mello and the Death Note. Mello turned the book over again in his hands. He flipped open the back cover, reading the last two rules.

"I wonder..." Mello thought aloud; he turned back into the building and rushed up the stairs, hurrying quickly to the main floor of headquarters.

"You have another notebook, correct? Left behind in the ashes of the so-called Shinigami?"

"Uh, yes?" Matsuda looked around confused as everyone else stood from their seats.

"Why?" Soichiro stepped forward.

"You've all touched it?"

"We have-" Matsuda replied, Aizawa punched him in the arm and he rubbed it.

"Give it to me."

"What are you going to do?" Soichiro had the book in his hands already, making Mello wonder what he was thinking about.

"Mello?" Near was suddenly beside him and Mello handed him the other notebook. He stepped forward and took the other one from Soichiro's hands. He turned his back and quickly took his lighter to it. Turning around, the rest of the men watched in horror as the notebook went up in flames.

"What have you done! The rule in the back of the book! If you burn a Death Note then everyone who has touched it will die!" Soichiro's voice cut through the collective gasp as Mello threw the burning book into a trash can.

The flames went out eventually and everyone gathered around the can to look at the ashes.

Near gasped, clearly understanding Mello's experiment.

"I think it's safe to assume not all the rules in this book are real. Does someone want to test another?" Near held the book up and shared a glance with Mello, who nodded and smiled a small, reassuring thing. Near's eyes were alight with wonder and a small fraction of hope that this case wasn't as hopeless as they'd originally thought.

Chapter Text

The demonic and unnatural smile of the Shinigami sent chills through L as he stared at it from across the dim space. The first thing it did was not say hello, it was not to threaten or cast a spell on the detective. No, the first thing this Shinigami did, was burst into a fit of laughter.

"Shinigami?" L asked, confused he tilted his head and turned his glance to Light who was looking from him to the space where he supposed the being was occupying, "Why are you laughing?"

"This is quite the twist!" He laughed harder, his unnaturally long arm was across across his stomach as he doubled over, "I shouldn't speak of it, but oh, I want to!"

"You may speak freely, Shinigami. I already know everything." L bounced on his heels, wanting to get off the couch to walk up to the God, but a small spark of fear sat in his chest at the thought.

"Huh?" The being stopped laughing and stood up straight, if it were possible for it to look confused through his ever-present smile and wide eyes, he looked just that, "You know everything?" The Shinigami looked at Light and it stepped forward, "Why and how did you tell him everything?"

"He cannot hear you, uh- pardon, what's your name, Shinigami?"

"Oh! So the smart detective figured it out on his own! My name is Ryuk, and I am the Shinigami attached to that Death Note in your hands."

"Shinigami Ryuk, it is good to meet you. My name is-"

"I know who you are, L. Lawliet." L couldn't help his surprise, "Yes, I have known your true name all along. From the moment you met Light during the graduation ceremony."

"But you didn't tell him?" L tilted his head as Ryuk laughed again. Light watched in confusion as he could only hear one side of the conversation.

"None of my business. We Shinigami cannot tell a human the name of their target no matter how much they ask. It's against our rules. Say, you got any apples? Kira told you Shinigami love apples, didn't he? With his messages? You should have some around."

"Light, can you procure apples from the kitchen?" L turned to Light for a moment and Light nodded, he ran his hand down L's arm to signify some sort of solidarity that L wasn't sure of and he left. L turned back to the Shinigami who was staring again with that look of confusion.

"I have been away from the human world for a while, Rem was able to stay, but I had to go. So annoying. But it was all part of Kira's plan." Ryuk sighed and sat on the couch opposite from L; his body seemed to twist strangely as he sat, he bobbed his foot up and down as he rested his elbow on the arm of the sofa. He tilted his head onto his own hand and stared across at L.

"How'd you do it?" His smile was large.

"Do what?" L felt the thrum of excitement course through him at the prospect of a new adventure.

"Get Light to deviate from his plan. It was a very well thought out plan. Why wasn't Misa the one to find the book?"

"Light never touched the other Death Note. He realized he was Kira and that touching it would restore his psychopathic qualities. This Light doesn't want that."

"Nah, there's more to this story," Ryuk laughed again, "I could see it before, whenever you were in the same room. It was just that the mission was in the way. But when he was free of that, well I shouldn't be surprised, should I?"

"Surprised by what?" Ryuk laughed yet again at L's attempt at deflection.

"Humans are so interesting. Something as trivial as love can interrupt plans for purifying the world of all evil."

"Was that the plan?"

"Something like that." In that moment, Light returned holding a bowl of apples. He walked to the middle of the room and set them on the table. L watched as Ryuk practically squeaked with excitement. Though, it was more of a feral growl. He reached out and picked up an apple, eating it in one quick bite. Light gasped and L turned to see him staring at the spot where the apple once was. It must have been strange, seeing an apple float in the air and then disappearing.

"He's, he's eating them?" Light sat next to L, his mouth agape.

"Apparently Shinigami love apples. Kira told me that." L stared at Light, and the younger man turned, his eyes wide and apologetic. He squeezed them shut and suddenly turned away, shutting out whatever comfort L was ready to offer.

"Yep, definitely love that ruined the plan then. Oh well. You're the owner of the Death Note now, what are you going to do with it?"

"Tell me, Shinigami, the other notebook had a 13 day rule. Was this fake?"

"I added it to trip you guys up." He laughed, "Apparently it didn't."

"No, it did confuse me. But I'd already surmised by that point that Light was Kira. Is Misa the second Kira?"

Ryuk simply shrugged, picking up another apple and tossing it in the air. He somehow spun it while simultaneously eating it so that it looked as though as it spun, it was getting smaller and smaller. Light still hadn't opened his eyes, so he couldn't observe this and L almost wished he couldn't see the Shinigami for the sheer wonder of what it looked like while the God was invisible.

"So, L, your plans? Do you plan to use it?"

"No."

"You know if you give it up your memories disappear. Case in point." He motioned to Light and L became instantly frustrated at the prospect of not remembering anything about the Death Note.

"Is there a way, Ryuk, to make all memories of this entire Kira case disappear?"

"Are you asking me if I have the power to wipe memories?"

"That's exactly what I'm asking."

"Oh, well, no. I don't. The Death Note only erases its existence. Nothing else. Everything else remains. So if you get rid of it, say you burn the one Rem gave to Higuchi, you would be set back all over again, wondering how he killed. You can always just write down everyone's names. Whoever is involved in this case. Kill them off, you can live happily every after." Ryuk giggled as he took a bite of an apple; L scowled at him, not liking that idea one bit, "You humans, so righteous. What's a little death in the grand scheme of things? Oh alright, don't kill the task force." 

"If you feel this way about humans, why did you bring your notebook to earth?" L's voice was quiet, he was frustrated, and the Shinigami was beginning to get on his nerves, laughing at their misfortune.

"I was bored." L couldn't help his small gasp, nor could he help the small spark of anger that he was trying to push down.

"And why him?" They both looked to Light as his eyes shot open, he looked at L with concern. As though he thought the detective was insane for asking the Shinigami such rude and prying questions. 

"I didn't care who picked it up. I dropped it in the middle of his school yard, he just happened to be the one to find it. Fate; I couldn't have wished for a smarter visionary. When he was Kira, he was so entertaining. He used it more than I ever thought he would before I even had the chance to come see him for the first time." Ryuk sighed, almost longingly.

"I'd forgotten what it was like to enjoy not living. When Light sent me back to the Shinigami realm, oh man did I miss this place. The apples," he took a bite, "The humans and their competition, their different personalities."

"So all of this happened simply because you were bored with your existence one day?" He saw Light's expression falter and flicker for a moment; could it be that Light, too, was bored with his existence? That he'd only used the notebook because it entertained a stagnant mind.

"Yes. Could you imagine if a real criminal had picked up the death note? Now that would have been funny." He giggled, "Think of the trouble the police would be having if I'd managed to get someone who wanted to do the eye deal with me. Light refused, he wouldn't give up half of his life span to find out your name, or the names of those agents. But he's smart, he managed to come up with a plan anyway."

"Eye deal? Is that what Higuchi did?"

"Didn't Rem explain this to you? Where is that good-for-nothing, anyway?"

"Rem is dead, I was unable to ask Rem much of anything."

"Dead?"

"Higuchi was ready to confess and give up the second Kira. A moment later, he was dead, and a Death Note was found in a pile of ashes with Higuchi's name inside."

"Oh that's something else!" Ryuk laughed cooly, "Rem died for Misa!" He burst into a fit of hysteria, still managing to chomp on the apple in his hand as he did it. L stood up quickly in surprise, Ryuk suddenly stopped laughing and looked at L with apprehension.

"Rem died for Misa? How?"

"Oh no. Oops. Wasn't supposed to say that."

"Rem died protecting Misa? Because Higuchi was going to out her as the second Kira? How did that kill Rem?"

"If a Shinigami extends a human's lifespan by killing another human, they die. Basic rules of being a Shinigami. Shinigami 101."

"That's a difficult way to kill a Shinigami."

"Were you planning to kill me L. Lawliet? Because I can write your name down right now and nothing will happen to me, except that I will gain your lifespan. Before your 40 seconds is up, I will throw this book at Light so he remembers, and we will relish in your death before continuing Kira's work." L couldn't help the small lump of fear that he had to swallow down. He'd never been faced with a supernatural foe before. He hadn't felt fear like this since Beyond Birthday, and even then, that was an enemy he knew he could handle. Not even the Kira case brought up this feeling.

"I wasn't, I was just saying. Your race is hard to kill, it must be nice for you." L could feel Light watching him and he didn't push him away when he offered a hand to ground him. L held onto that hand, he used it to support himself. He'd felt sheer terror at the thought of losing Light to Kira. It wasn't even the threat on his own life that had his heart thrumming in his ears. What an interesting twist.

"How sweet." Ryuk laughed again, L was getting tired of this Shinigami, "Would you like me to leave the room? I always wondered why Light wasn't interested in the titty girl when she offered herself up so freely to him. Now I understand. He wasn't meant for her, he was meant for you."

"Meant for?" L looked down at their hands and wondered when he decided they fit so perfectly.

"Humans, so boring. Except when it comes to soul mates. When they find their perfect match, it gets so interesting."

"Soul mates? You expect me to believe in that?" Lights hand tensed around his own.

"Wow, rude. I wasn't done talking. What I was going to say is that you two are perfect matches, but I'm not sure it was supposed to be romantic. You were the perfect foes. Built to outwit each other until the weaker one was defeated." Ryuk tossed the apple in the air and caught it with his mouth. L watched as Light watched the apple, transfixed.

"Thank you, Shinigami. You may go."

"Leave? Don't you know that I get to stay with whoever holds the Death Note. I'm gonna be behind you for as long as you have that thing."

"Can you leave the room, at least? Go explore." L hoped his message was getting across to the Shinigami and after a moment of trying to subtly make his point, the Shinigami laughed and stood, his long arms almost touched the floor.

"Alright, alright, I'll go find more apples." He turned and walked right through the wall. L gaped for a second before he turned to Light.

"Is he gone?" Light asked, glancing from L to the sofa across from them and back again.

L allowed his eyes to travel across the contours of Lights face, over the ridges of his lips, up the slope of his nose, to his auburn hair, back down to his eyes, and finally to his lips once more.

"L?" He asked, his mouth turned up into a small smirk, "Soul mates, huh? Destined to drive each other crazy."

L continued to stare, his hand tightening around Lights, he wasn't sure why his heart was still thumping in his ears, or why his stomach seemed to be doing somersaults from the mere sight of Light. The younger man in question huffed out a small laugh, his eyes were alight with confusion, and small hint of something else. Interest.

That realization was all it took to send L forward. He understood that Light was longing for him as much as he had been the past week. Their single experiment would not be their last. L captured his lips and pulled him back against him, disentangling their hands in favor of running that hand through his hair. Light whined into his mouth as L pulled him forward, pushing himself back until he was lying on his back and Light was positioned above him.

A gentle thrum of I Need You beat against the walls of L's mind and sent him into a frenzy. His hands wandered, his lips wondered, his eyes wondered. His legs encircled the man above him, keeping him in place while he let his inhibitions run rampant.

It wasn't as though Light was going to retreat, he was just as enraptured as L was, offering his neck as the detectives lips ventured over the skin there. He was licking and biting his way to a destination. That destination being Lights collar bone, as his shirt prohibited him from going any further.

"Should we-" Light gasped as L pushed the fabric aside and bit into the sensitive tissue of his clavicle, "Uh, bed, yes?" He ground down against L, drawing out a noise the detective wasn't proud of. He moved his hands down, grasping Light and pulling him down against him again, seeking that same friction. Light gasped and accepted the movement, they found the same feeling again and both took a moment to relish in the spark it sent through them.

"No, here. Now. I-" L almost bit his tongue, his face heated at what he wanted, how much he needed it, "You, in-" Light moved slightly at his words and he had to stop in order to keep his voice steady, but Light understood his aborted demand.

"You-me? I-in-you, you're sure?" L opened his eyes to find Light staring down at him in wonder and his incredulousness almost made the detective laugh. He simply nodded his response, not trusting his voice to be even, he couldn't allow himself to sound so needy. But oh did he need this. He needed to feel reassured, to feel loved, lost, found, full.

Light dove down immediately, capturing his lips in a bruising fit of biting and sucking, L gasped into it, riding the wave of somersaults his stomachs decided to take at that moment. His mind was reeling as Light kissed his way down, pulling up L's grey shirt as he worked his way to the brim of L's jeans.

The first pop of the button seemed to echo through the air of the room and L looked down to find Light staring up at him, wide-eyed, and so mesmerized. As though he couldn't believe where he was, or what was transpiring. L gaped slightly and moved a hand down to brush aside a few stray hairs that had found their way across the younger mans face.

Beautiful. He thought, though he didn't know if he could bring himself to say it quite yet. He'd never been faced with such beauty; had never witnessed such astonished reverence as there was in the shine he saw in Lights eyes. He was looking at him as though he were everything to him. But he had it all wrong, it was Light who was everything.

Light looked down and in a sweeping motion, he'd pulled down the top of L's jeans, along with his boxers, pulling them down to his ankles, he crawled back up L's legs, their eyes met again as Light wasted no time taking the length of him into his mouth. The sudden, wet heat was almost too much to handle and L had to squeeze his eyes shut, he had to clench his fist, grind his teeth. He hadn't been ready, but he managed to calm himself, take deep breaths, gather his wits, and he could look back at Light, who'd stopped moving at the sight of L, no doubt looking like he was going to burst.

"Are you alright?" Light said after releasing L with a pop that sounded so obscene it would make a porn star blush.

"I am, you can-" Light didn't wait for the end of that sentence and L had to cut off for fear of making another embarrassing noise.

He tried laying back with his eyes closed, but the sensation, the pull he felt to look down at Light was too much, and so he pushed himself up onto his elbows so he could admire the man below.

Light was fumbling slightly, obviously inexperienced, but he was applying the right pressure in the right places, he was licking a stripe up the length of L when their eyes met again and he breathed a small laugh. There must have been quite a look on L's face to garner Lights attention.

"What?" Light asked, grinning, he'd stopped and for a moment rested his cheek against L, before realizing what he was resting against and pulled away, blushing.

"Nothing, you're just-"

"Awful?" Light smiled against him before kissing a path down to his base and licking his way back up, a move that made L shudder before he laughed at the comment, because while he wasn't the most practiced, L still felt pleasant, and euphoric, and-

"I was going to say perfect." Light stopped his ministrations and stared up at L, mouth wide, a slight crease forming between his eyebrows he was confused. 

"You're reaching." In that moment, L couldn't have cared less about finishing, he cared about Light, about how he could possibly thunk himself awful, how he actually believed it to be true. 

"It's what I do best." L reached down then, pulling Light up to meet his lips, he pulled him back down against the couch with him and they rocked together for a few moments.

"We don't have any, uh-" Light said awkwardly into L's neck, kissing the skin he'd warmed with his breath.

"Lubrication?"

"Right."

"Shame, I have some in my room, but it's so far." The breath of Lights small laugh warmed his chest. He shook his head against him, obviously unable to believe the laziness of the detective; L felt proud of his strong sense of lackadaisicalness. 

"So what do you want to do?"

"Just this, we have time for everything else." L sighed into Lights hair, everything in him waning suddenly, his intense need for Light remained, however the other urges died. Light wriggled slightly, working his legs between L's and he pushed himself back a bit so they were face to face.

"Do we?" Light asked, L scowled slightly, "Have time, I mean? With Near and Mello-"

"We have time. They won't connect the dots as easily as I did, and we have your father helping us along." L sighed and ran a hand down Lights back, he used a bit of pressure to bring Light back down against him, and he was half on top of him, half on his side on the couch. L shifted so he would have more room, and they laid together in what should have been an uncomfortable position.

However, it was the most comfortable L had felt in a long time. When he looked down again, Light had fallen asleep, his face buried in the bunched fabric of L's shirt. L couldn't help himself, he smiled.

 

Chapter Text

It was two days later when his phone rang. Nearly vibrating itself off of his night stand. L untangled himself from Light and reached over the man, kissing his temple as he grabbed the phone, answering it in a swift motion. Light groaned beneath him and he smiled down at the man.

"Hello?" There was hesitation on the other end.

"I need your help." He recognized the voice, but couldn't quite place it, "Please Ryuzaki?"

"Misa?" He asked aloud and Light stiffened beneath him. He looked down at the younger man who was suddenly very awake. He mouthed her name in question, L shrugged and sat back on his heels, "You need my help with what?"

"Please, I think I'm being followed, and not by a police officer. I received a threatening letter yesterday and-"

"If this is a pretense to see Light-" Misa let out a sob on the other end.

"It's not! I promise! I'm just, I'm really scared and-"

"Alright, we will help you." L sighed, he never used to feel sentimental toward anyone. Now one cry from someone he'd been friendly toward for the sake of an investigation and he was ready to run to her rescue.

"You will! Oh thank you! I'll see you later, meet me at the cafe. Light will know which one!"

"Will he-" She'd already hung up and L could help his small laugh as he set the phone back down. Light looked up at him, more confused than he had been.

"Misa? Asking for our help?"

"She's being stalked or something." L shrugged and settled back down in the bed against Light, who squirmed beside him until he was up on his elbow, leaning over the detective.

"You agreed to help my ex-girlfriend?"

"Was that relationship actually real? I believe it was a fabrication to protect Kira. She knew about you, and you wanted to keep her close so she wouldn't tell."

"Who knows why it began, I only know I never actually cared for her. I have never had any genuine feelings for anyone but you." Light groaned and flopped onto his back, L's heart sped up a bit at the sudden outburst of emotion, but he chose not to push the subject further.

He looked over at the younger man fondly, the smile on his face was sure to look out of place, but it was becoming more of the norm in recent days. He wasn't sure that he minded all that much.

Light had thrown his arm over his eyes in a display of child-like annoyance and L huffed out a small laugh.

"Don't you want to get out of this stuffy room?" L tried, poking at Light's arm. The other man pulled his arm down and eyes L with caution.

"You think this room is stuffy? I thought it was pleasant. I don't mind being locked away with you." He covered his face again, a hint of a smile played on his lips and L feigned a scoff; he was new to flirting, but flirting with Light was something he enjoyed. He leaned down and grazed his lips over Light's forearm, the one that covered his face.

"I would gladly stay in a room with you for the rest of my life, however to do so at this point in time would require a lot of patience and planning. So before we hide ourselves away for the remainder of our days, shall we get out of here and have a bit of fun?"

"I don't think this case will be fun." Light relented to the teasing, uncovering his face in favor of placing his hands on either side of L's cheeks. They warmed at his touch and L was pleased.

"You don't?" He let his eyes widen as much as they could without seeming ridiculous, "I'm looking forward to showing Misa up."

"Meaning?" Lights smile was fond, though there was a hint of curiosity.

"She thinks she has a claim on you. I would love to show her how wrong she is."

"While still helping her arrest her supposed stalker?"

"Of course, I'm a stickler for justice." Light laughed and pulled L forward, he struggled to maintain his balance as their lips met briefly.

"You're ridiculous."

"You enjoy it." It was half question, half statement, he hadn't meant to show his insecurities, but Light didn't let on. He simply smiled his response and pushed L away so he could get out of bed. L watched him make his way to the bathroom, with what was sure to be a look of unabashed fondness on his face. Light looked back at the detective, who was sat on the bed with his arms wrapped around his knees and his head resting atop them and tilted his head in question.

"Coming?"

L's stomach dropped at the invitation; it was the first of its kind, and he didn't know what to make of it. Surely their first time wouldn't be against the wall of a shower. Of course it wouldn't.

"I'm not going to tackle you to the floor and have my way with you," Light laughed and turned to walk into the bathroom again, he rounded the corner before leaning out to add, "Maybe."

L gasped slightly before he slowly got off the bed and followed Light, shutting the door softly behind them.

It was around noon by the time they'd finally decided to head out. Misa was sitting in the cafe with a coffee in her hand and a stack of papers to her right; she looked miserable and L couldn't help but feel pity for her.

"Light-kun! You came!" She sat up, and L watched her body language change, finding her overeagerness slightly sad, but mostly amusing. She spotted him and her jaw dropped slightly, "Riyuzaki? I didn't expect you to tag along, I didn't think you'd care about something other than the Kira case."

"On the contrary, Riyuzaki was actually the one who convinced me to help." Light revealed and L was surprised by his brashness. Misa looked heartbroken for a moment, before she seemed to shake it off.

"Oh! Well thank you, I guess. Please, sit down, we can talk about what's happening." She motioned to the booth seat across from her and both men slid in, sitting closer than one would normally sit to a friend. If Misa noticed, she didn't show it.

"Please explain, in detail." L reached across for the papers without being prompted. He was glad to have his hands on something other than the Kira case. The messages were hand written, and extremely neat. It was the opposite of what a person would expect from a crazed fan, or stalker. This person had taken the time to write these letters. They were obviously trying to woo Misa with their impeccable calligraphy.

"It started around the time that I was helping your task force out with the Kira case. When you had me take on that ad campaign."

"So you think it's someone related to Higuchi?" Light leaned over to look at the letters, taking one from L slowly, being sure to brush their fingers together for longer than necessary. L saw Misa's eyes track the movement. She breathed deep before continuing.

"At first I thought it was Higuchi, he seemed obsessed with me when he thought I was the second Kira." Misa was speaking freely and L was entertained at her honesty. She seemed to have no problem revealing details now that Higuchi was dead and since she was sitting across from her beloved Light. L reached a hand under the table and stroked his fingers over the back of Light's hand. He turned it over and pressed their palms together. Misa continued, unaware.

"But then he was arrested, and the letters continued. Then last night, when I got home, it had been broken into. My underwear drawer had been rifled through, I think a few pairs were missing. But more importantly, he'd stolen my journal."

"Your journal? Why is that important?" Light asked, Misa frowned at him.

"They're my personal, private thoughts, Light. There was a lot of stuff in there, about you in particular. I should think that you wouldn't want our relationship details exposed." Light was silent and L smiled slightly.

"You wrote about your relationship with Light?"

"Of course, I record everything."

"Everything, everything?" L tried to stress the first everything in the hopes that Misa would catch on.

"Yes, everything. Our first kiss, the first time we held hands, the first time he said he loved me, the first time we - well, you don't need to know the rest." She didn't seem to understand his implication, but L understood hers. He may have taken his hand out of Light's, he wasn't proud of the feeling roiling in his stomach.

Was it jealousy?

Light sighed beside him, his now empty hand turned back over and wound up on the bottom half of L's calf, the only part hidden by the table, and he rubbed soothing circles into the material of his jeans. L breathed it in, if he had been sitting like a normal person, he had no doubt that the hand would have been on his thigh, or somewhere more private.

They exchanged a short glance behind their shared papers.

"Are you going to help me, or not?" Misa snapped suddenly, L lowered the papers that were in front of their faces and smiled a small thing, impressed by her passion.

"Of course, I would not have bothered coming here if we weren't going to help you."

"Ok, sorry, it just seems-" She stopped and fidgeted with the handle of her cup.

"It seems what?" Light asked, his voice bored.

"It seems like you came here to rub your relationship in my face," Misa said, her head tilted, "I'm not as dumb as you think I am. I can see when your arm is reached across the booth, and I see how close you're sitting."

L felt his face heat up at her explanation and he laughed, he turned to Light, who looked stunned.

"I don't care, you'll come back to me eventually, Light. I'll let you do whatever it is you're doing, and once you're done, I'll be waiting." Misa smiled a pitiful thing and L almost told her they wouldn't help her, but a hand squeezed his calf and when he looked at Light, his eyes were sad.

This girl believed Light loved her because of things he did when he was Kira. He felt responsible for her wellbeing. L couldn't let him suffer alone.

"Let's go to your place and look for clues."

They left the cafe and went straight to Misa's. L continued to stare at the letters while Light looked through her room. Misa sat on her bed next to him and stared at the papers with him.

"What are you looking for?" Misa asked, interrupting his thought process.

"Do you see this character here?" L pointed to the latest letter, Misa let out a noise of affirmation, "Its completely different from the way it's written here." He held up the first letter, Misa seemed confused.

"Are you saying the stalker has changed?" Light was standing in front of them, looking annoyed at their inactivity. L smiled up at him, he was a good detective.

"That's exactly what I'm saying, take a look. It's in the sentence structure too. The first one is very formal, and suddenly in the last one, it switches to sloppy and almost illiterate."

"So I have two stalkers!" Misa cried, flopping back onto her bed with a whine.

"No-" L started, when he saw Ryuk step through the wall into the room. Why would he show up at this moment, when he hadn't shown for days.

"This is interesting. Is it a triad thing?" Ryuk laughed, poking at a poster on the wall. Light seemed to notice a change in L's posture, or in his face, because he mouthed a question at him that at first, L read as west phong. He understood the actual question only a moment later.

Shinigami is here. L mouthed back, and Lights own eyes widened.

"No," L emphasized, looking at Ryuk and then to Misa, "Your first stalker was most likely Higuchi. The second one is a copycat, who has been observing you. He made you think he was your original stalker in order to throw you off." L stepped off the bed and stood beside Light, "Your journal, and a few pairs of underwear were all that were taken, you said?"

"The journal for sure, I'm not actually certain about the panties." Misa sat up and winked in their direction, L hoped it was at Light, because he couldn't take it if she liked him too.

"Alright," L sighed, turning away from her to Light, "I'm thinking she wrote something important in that journal, something about Kira." Lights eyes widened and he turned to Misa, who was staring at them intently.

"Misa, be honest with us, have you met anyone new or strange lately? Someone who seemed unusually interested in your life?" Light crouched down in front of her and she shrugged.

"Yesterday, before the robbery, there was this boy who kept asking me about my past relationships. I thought he was a reporter trying to get an inside scoop on the love life of model Misa Amane."

"A boy?" L asked, his stomach dropping.

"That's what I came to tell you-" Ryuk added, though he didn't seem eager to explain his sudden presence.

"He was younger than Light-" Misa continued.

"I've been at the headquarters, just hanging out, eating apples-"

"He had light hair, white, he was arguing with this other boy, he had blonde, you know I think I've seen the blonde one before-"

"That rude one, marshmallow, he came into the room-" L was having a difficult time listening to both stories, he wanted to pay attention to Ryuk's warning, but he had a feeling they were about the same person.

"Anyway, he asked me about my relationships. Asked me if I like to write down my feelings. I thought he was wondering if I was a poet. I told him no, that I've been keeping journals since I was 10, he seemed to like that-"

"Anyway, long story short-"

"When he left, a delivery boy came with flowers, and the flowers had the last letter. I was so creeped out that I had to hang out with some friends to feel safe. Then by the time I got home, my place was broken into, my journal had been taken." Misa sighed, twirling her finger around her hair as though this story meant nothing.

"In your journal, Misa, did you mention me?" Light asked, "Did you mention the real me?"

"Oh! You mean the fact that you're, you know-"

"We know he's Kira, Misa-" L said, hoping it would persuade her to answer the question, though he was afraid he already knew the answer.

"Yes. When Rem came to me, and told me about everything, I didn't think it was true. So I came home and reread my entries. When I saw that it was true, I was so surprised!!" She giggled slightly, and L turned to Ryuk.

"Tell me, Shinigami, what's happened?"

Ryuk had been standing quietly, watching Misa tell her story with an entertained grin. He turned to L then and sighed, shrugging.

"He has the Death Note. We had a nice talk."

"Did you tell him anything?" L's heart dropped and he could feel Light getting closer to him, obviously confused. Misa said nothing.

"Nah, what good is that. He drew his own conclusions from the fact that you had your own notebook." Ryuk laughed at that, L felt as if he were about to vomit.

"He thinks that I'm-" L couldn't say it, though Ryuk smiled wider.

"He thinks you're Kira."

Chapter Text

Why hadn't he thought of burning the notebook? It was so simple, so obvious. He was mad at himself for not considering it an option first. However, if the rule had been real, all of the task force would have died, including Mello. Near was the only one who hadn't touched the second notebook.

Would Near have risked everyone that way? Just to arrive at a conclusion?

That level of recklessness was an aspect of Mello's personality that Near could always rely on, and as much as he hated to admit it, it was part of what made him an asset. He could never have hoped to have that ability to make rash decisions. His mind was rational, he thought everything through over a dozen times before he made a move. Of course, his thought processes were quicker than average, so what looked like hastily made decisions were actually extremely well planned, just done expressly.

He was proud of Mello, which was interesting seeing how the other man was older than him. Shouldn't the pride be emanating from him for Near?

He was beginning to use his expertly honed instincts to improve his detecting skills, and that was all Near ever wanted for him.

He wouldn't consider Mello a friend, never had, actually. He didn't have friends, he had colleagues, peers, school mates. Wammy's was not a breeding ground for ever lasting friendships. It was part of what made it a great school for people like L. People like Near. But not necessarily people like Mello. He always relied too much on those around him to aid and assist him in his plans and games.

A plan was beginning to form in Near's mind as he watched Mello sit on the chair, one leg thrown over an arm rest, his head resting on the opposite arm rest as he went through the Death Note.

"We can't test anymore rules without killing someone," Near said, forcing Mello to look at him. The other man sighed and rolled his eyes.

"You're boring, Near. How do you expect to get anything done with that attitude? You have to risk a little to get a little."

"Would you risk going to jail for murder? If you use the book, you're just as bad as Kira." Near tilted his head at his comrade and the man sighed.

"What do you suggest we do, then?"

"This is obviously not Kira's notebook. Think about it, if there were two Kira's, then there must have been two books. Not including the one that belonged to the Shinigami that you just burned."

"So you're saying we find the other book, we find Kira?" Mello sounded slightly more interested at that. He sat up in the chair he was sitting on and swung his leg down so that he was sitting normally, instead of relaxed like before.

"Precisely. You said that you talked to Misa, right?" Near smiled at Mello when his eyes widened.

"I didn't tell you that-"

"Oh right, sorry. I must have followed you." Near laughed to himself, it always entertained him when Mello underestimated him.

"Of course you did." Mello scoffed and went to lay back down, "You can be so creepy, Near."

"I'm thorough. It's one of the aspects of my personality that you admire about me."

"Who said I admire you?"

"No one. I can just tell. My instincts are another admirable aspect; you would know if you had any." Near didn't mean to sound so harsh, he could see Mello pratically flinch. 

"Is your plan to condescend to me until I leave the room?" Mello turned his face away and began scanning the pages.

"My plan is to trick Misa Amane into telling us everything we need to know." Near smirked as Mello sat straight up, a wild look in his eyes.

"You want me to-"

"Not you, she's met you. You can't pretend to be someone else because she knows you're connected to the task force."

"So you're suggesting that you trick her?" Mello laughed a bit, and then after a moment he began to laugh harder.

"You don't think I'm capable?" Near tilted his head at the man, an angry feeling began seeping into his chest.

"You're what, 15? You can't pretend to be anything other than a crazed fan!" Mello was in a fit of hysteria, and it was beginning to piss Near off.

"I can pretend that I'm writing an article for my school news paper. She's dumb enough to believe it." He kept his voice calm and even. This served to stop Mello's laughter, Near hoped he would take his plan more serious.

"Your social skills aren't that great, it's why you brought me along." He smiled and stood from the chair, "So I'll come with you."

"Do you know where Misa is?" Near questioned, Mello shrugged, though it was obvious he knew something.

"I've had eyes on her since she left here the other day. I may have an idea as to how we can pull information out of her." Mello walked to their shared wardrobe and began pulling out his ridiculous fur coat.

"Isn't that a bit much?" Near looked from his outfit to Mello's. The differences were extreme, but it seemed to match their personalities.

"Let me live, Near." Mello shook his head as he slid on his jacket and turned back around, pulling sunglasses out of the pocket and placing them on his face.

"You think she won't recognize you in that?"

"Of course she'll recognize me, how could she forget this face?" Mello placed both hands on either side of his face, as though presenting it. 

Near couldn't help the laugh that bubbled up and soon spilled out of his mouth. He soon heard Mello's laughter join his and as he took deep breaths to slow the convulses of laughter, he looked at the older man who had a strange look on his face.

"What?" Near asked, Mello pulled his jacket tighter.

"I think we were getting along." He sounded disgusted by this concept and Near scoffed, the moment was gone.

They argued the entire way to the cafe that Misa had been at, and were surprised to find her alone at a table, staring at her cup of coffee as though it had personally offended her.

"Miss Amane?" Near walked up to the table, his notebook in hand and a large smile on his face, "Could I ask you a few questions? I'm writing an article for school."

"Oh?" Misa seemed surprised, she looked just past Near to where Mello was trying to make himself blend in, Near rolled his eyes.

"Excuse me a moment." Near turned and walked to Mello, who had leaned against a wall near the booth Misa was in and had turned his head away. He wasn't exactly conspicuous but he wasn't blending in either, "Leave!"

"I'm listening in, you won't know what questions to ask."

"I think I'm more than capable of asking simple questions to a simple minded girl. Go figure out your part of our plan." Mello groaned and launched himself off the wall, leaving the cafe in an indignant fashion, Near turned back around and offered a polite smile. Giving his widest, most innocent eyes, he sat across from her.

"Do you know him?" She asked, looking again to the now empty space Mello had occupied.

"Not at all, complete stranger, now, question number one, have you ever owned a black notebook?" Near tilted his head at her and Misa laughed a small, confused thing.

"Haven't we all? What is this about?"

"Nothing, um, have you ever written other people's names in your notebook? Based on thoughts or feelings?" He was trying in his own way to ask her if she's ever written someone's death, but she didn't seem to understand.

"I'm not really into poetry. Oh! But I like to read it!" She grinned, "Does that make me seem smart?"

"Uh-" Near swallowed and stared at the smiling girl, this was going to be harder than it looked.

When Near left the cafe an hour later, Mello was now where to be found. He rolled his eyes angrily and set off for headquarters by himself.

As he made his way up the sidewalk and around the hoards of people, he heard heavy footsteps behind him; the person was obviously running with a purpose, dodging in and out of the crowd, trying to catch something. The footsteps stopped right beside him, he didn't need to look to know it was Mello.

"Where did you go?" He asked, still looking straight ahead.

"Your perception skills are better than I thought. I went to Misa's house, picked up a few things. Then I sent her some flowers." Near looked at Mello, then, he seemed smug, confident in a plan he'd concocted without Near.

"What did you get?"

"I'll show you inside." Mello had his hand on the right side of his jacket, obviously holding something in place, but Near didn't dare ask again in public.

When they reached the headquarters they went straight to their shared room, locking themselves inside it; Mello stepped ahead a few paces, clearly ready to make his big reveal. Near waited, not quite annoyed, but just on the edge of it.

"So?" He asked when Mello said nothing.

"Misa Amane writes down everything. And I mean everything. There is some raunchy stuff in here." He pulled a notebook out of his jacket, it was small and purple, very clearly a diary. Near narrowed his eyes at the older man. He'd stolen her diary?

"Ok? What is this going to tell us?"

"It tells us this," Mello cleared his throat and adapted a high pitched voice, "Today I met Kira, and oh he's just as I imagined. I'm sure we are going to live a happy, long life together."

Near was speechless, so Misa knew Kira personally?

"Oh, Kira's lips are so soft, it's like they were made to fit against my own-"

"That's gross," Near said, shuddering, "She's really sappy."

"Shut up-" Mello sighed, obviously upset at having been interrupted, "Kira is paranoid, but I think that we'll be ok. Rem is willing to do whatever it takes to protect me, and make me happy. I believe that if Rem realizes Kira makes me happy, then Rem will also protect Kira from that nasty L person."

"Alright, so it's safe to say that Kira and Misa were in a relationship, and that Misa is the second Kira. So the question is, does it say anything about who Kira is." Near stepped forward, hand out, waiting for Mello to hand the notebook over; he did so reluctantly.

"No; of course not. But we know who Misa loves now, and that is Light. So isn't it obvious that Light is Kira?"

"Not necessarily. Light has been holed up in a room with L for a while. I don't think that he cares about Misa the way she says Kira cares about her." Near sighed, reading a particularly vulgar passage about things Kira said he would do to her when they ruled over the new world, "This Kira is definitely not gay and in love with L."

"Maybe when he was Kira, he was straight and in love with Misa."

"There's only one way to find out." Near said, tossing the book back at Mello.

"Raid Lights room to search for the Death Note?"

"Yes."

They quietly crept out of their room and went down the hall to Light's bedroom. The door was unlocked and when they entered it, it was very clear that he hadn't spent a lot of time there.

"I have a better idea, I'll go to his house and look through his things there. You stay here." Mello said, climbing onto his knees to look under the bed. Near felt something was off.

"Why can't I come with you?"

"Because if we both leave again, it'll be suspicious."

"We're detectives, here for an investigation. We are allowed to leave!" Near could feel his anger bubbling up, Mello wanted to leave him behind for obvious reasons. He was tired of his presence, he didn't think he was good enough, he didn't trust him-

"Near, stay here. I'll be back. There is no need to endanger yourself. I'll go search the rooms. You remain at the computers. Watch them." Mello's voice was softer than Near was used to and he nodded his assent.

When Mello left the room, he followed shortly after. Watari was standing in the hall, waiting for him.

"Why did you bring us here?" Near asked the question that had been nagging them since their arrival. This entire case felt hopeless and dangerous. Watari smiled sadly at him and turned, beckoning him to follow.

"L is a force unto himself. If gone unchecked for too long, I am afraid of what might happen to him." Watari's voice was heavy with the weight of his decisions.

"What happens if it's true? If Light is Kira and L is covering for him, will we arrest him for obstruction of justice? Aiding and abetting? Conspiracy to commit murder?" Near stopped walking, as did Watari, who's head was hung, his eyes were closed and when he dragged in a deep breath and opened them, his eyes met Near's and there was a renewed hardness in them.

"The law isn't black and white; in the moment of revelation, when it truly matters, I think the choices we make will define us as people. If it is true that love has blinded L so incredibly, I do not know how to react. What to think. I am happy for him, happy that he's been able to overcome his handicap and create such an emotional connection. All I ever wanted for him was his happiness." Near could see how much Watari cared for L, but if all this was true, then why did he bring them there?

"So why bring us in? If you think, even for a moment, that when faced with the truth that you will forgive him, that you'll help him bury this-"

"I don't know for sure, and I am afraid that I will want to bury this. I know that it is wrong. That is why I've brought you here. You, Near, you will do what is right. No matter what, of that I am certain."

Watari walked on, leaving Near behind to wonder. If all of this was true, and L turned out to be helping Kira hide, could he do what was necessary? Could he lock L away? Or would he turn the other cheek?

Near rounded the corner to find L and Light walking toward him. They seemed happy, content. Their hands were pressed together, fingers laced.

Could Near rip this happiness away from them for the sake of justice?

He went straight to his room, ready to sleep on the idea, perhaps the answer would come to him in his dreams.

Chapter Text

"You hit the notebook, right?" Light asked before they headed out the door to meet Misa. L stared at him with an unamused straight face before he sighed.

"Of course, I'm not an amateur." L offered a small reassuring smile before he moved to walk away, Light grabbed his hand, something in his stomach twisted.

"Maybe we should bring it, just in ca-"

"It would be far more damning if we were discovered with the book on us." L turned back to Light and stared right into his eyes, it served to calm him slightly, "Where it's hidden, it is impossible to find. Unless someone comes in looking specifically for the book, or if Ryuk betrays us, it won't be found."

"What if he reveals it's hiding place out of boredom?" Light looked back into the room, not knowing where it was, exactly, however he could feel its presence somewhere in the room.

"It's a risk we have to be willing to take. We cannot stay locked away with the book forever. Nothing will be solved that way." L tugged at Light's hand, and he had no choice but to relent. He followed L out the door, closing it behind him.

The next time that door was opened, it wasn't by his hands.


 

"We have to get back to headquarters." L's voice was panicked, it was a tone Light was not used to hearing. His confidence had been shaken. Light stared at him, slightly confused. How had this happened when just yesterday they'd been so happy, content. They'd been wrapped up in themselves.

"You know you can trust me," Light reminded L as they lay in bed together, fingers laced. L smiled over at the man and breathed deep.

"What's going to happen?" Light asked, the memory of their conversation the day before began to bounce around in his mind, is if it would have importance. As if the universe was trying to send him a sign.

"I know," L sighed against his skin before placing light kisses along his shoulder, "and I offer the same to you. You can trust me with anything."

"Of course." Light smiled and shivered at his light touch.

"I don't know," L offered, honestly, his hand lifted and he opened it, waiting for Light to take it. He stared at it for a moment before placing his hand in L's. The detective tugged, they ran.

"L. Lawliet," L said, his voice quiet.

"What's that?" Light asked, confused.

They reached headquarters in what felt like no time, when they walked through the front door, Watari was waiting for them.

"My name. It's my name. I trust you with everything," L said, their eyes met, Light swallowed thickly, "Don't let me down."

Light reached out and pulled L to him, pressing their lips together, as though this sealed their promise of trust.

"What have you done?" Watari's voice cut through the memory. Light could feel that any sense of happiness he'd felt before was quickly diminished by the voice of his elder. The man he respected, the man he likened to a father. He felt sorry for L in this moment. If his father had looked at him like that, he would be undone.

"What do you mean?" L turned, to face Watari, who sighed and dropped his head.

"Follow me, L, Light. You're needed in the situation room." He turned on his heels and began walking, they had no choice but to follow after him, both were unsure and worried about what awaited them; Light didn't know for sure, but he hoped the Shinigami was following them closely. He could do nothing but hope that it was on their side.

What awaited them was a smirking Mello surrounded by the entire task force. In his hands was a notebook. L stopped in front of him, his hands clenched into fists.

"What is that?" He asked, trying to play it off, his tone sounded bored, but Light could practically feel the tension rolling off of him. This was it, this was the end. Mello had won.

"I think you know. Ryuk here seems pleased that I have it. See his smile?"

Light followed L's glance to the empty space in the center of the room, he could only assume that's where the Shinigami stood. It only took a split second, but he could tell when the detective made his choice. 

He was giving up.

"He's always smiling." L scoffed and stepped further in front of Light seeming to shield him. Protect him. Light wanted to tell him that he didn't need protecting, that he could handle himself.

"So you admit that you've had this book in your possession, that you can see this Shinigami?" Mello raised his chin, triumphant; Light held back his urge to punch him in the face. He could see Near off to the side, his mouth in a perfect circle, his eyes questioning. Their eyes met briefly, he wanted to ask Near to help, to ask him to call Mello off. The way Near quickly averted his eyes told Light that the younger boy would be of no help, he would follow Mello.

"Why are you even asking?" He tried to exude his air of annoyance and apathy, but there was a hint of something that gave up his nervousness, though Light didn't know if he was the only one able to detect this change.

"Because, L," He scoffed the name, as though it was a personal insult to him that the title belonged to L and not to him, "This is Kira's notebook. It's obvious. The Shinigami told me that he gave it to Kira. That he was proud of what Kira has become."

"Yet he didn't tell you who Kira is? Why are we here?" L was still haunched and yet it was the straightest Light had ever seen him stand. He was standing up to Mello, literally.

"It's obvious, isn't it?" Mello smiled, "It's you."

"Me?" L laughed then, and Light's stomach dropped. Mello was trying to pin the murders on L, he couldn't let that happen, "That's ridiculous. Me? Really?" He looked around the room, everyone averted their eyes. Except for Near, his eyes instead found Light's, and he frowned, a worry line forming in the middle of his forehead. He looked at Light questioningly; Light couldn't reply. His own mouth was formed into a circle of question.

"If not you, then who? You had this notebook. That's a strong piece of evidence." Could Mello be trying to coax Light forward? 

"I-" L's voice caught in his throat and Light stepped forward, he glanced sideways at Light and shook his head, obviously telling him not to confess, not to do something stupid to save him.

How could he let him take the fall?

He couldn't.

"Mello, you know it's not true." Light stepped up beside L, who looked at him in terror, "You know who Kira is, and it's not L."

"Oh? Care to share?" Mello brought the book up and rested his face against its edges. He hated this man for being so goddamn cocky. He wanted to wipe that look off his face.

"You already know."

"I do?" Mello tapped the book against his chin in mock confusion, "hmm, no, all of the evidence points to your boyfriend. I'm thinking I'll have him arrested, Chief Yagami, if you'd please-"

"I'm Kira, not him." Light said, any forward momentum his father had made was halted abruptly by his confession, he could see the heartbreak on the man's face. He wished he didn't have to see it, he wished he didn't have to confess, but he couldn't let everything L had worked for disappear because of him, "But you know that." 

"Do I? Or are you confessing and I'm just now figuring it out. Either way, you're sure to be arrested-" He snapped his fingers and Soichiro hesitated, would Mello really make him arrest his own son? "What are you waiting for? Your handcuffs, arrest Kira!"

Everyone began moving quickly, Soichiro stepped forward, Mello followed, the surrounding crowd shifted, trying to decide if they should intervene; Near stepped away from the hoard. Light stayed very still, willing to accept his fate-

"No! You will not touch him, or so help me-" L took a few threatening steps forward and Light felt his resolve break. He couldn't let L ruin himself.

"L!" Watari shouted before Light could say anything, "This is not how I raised you, this is not who intended you to be when I took you in."

For those who had no clue of L's past, Light was sure they were both surprised and confused to find that Watari raised him. Light, however, knew that saying this was a low blow. L released a sound that conveyed both his despair and his anger. There was a battle occurring that no one had been prepared for.

"You found me and you saved me; I will be forever thankful for that. You gave me a home and a place to feel safe," Light could hear his heartbreak, he could see his shoulders slump more, could feel the pain as he slid to the ground in front of the man he considered his father, he was breaking, "But you didn't love me, you used me. I became a tool, a weapon for your deployment. You utilized my intelligence, for your personal gain. Do you have any idea what that does to a child? Someone who just wants a hand to hold!"

L was on his knees, everyone watched in a stunned silence as Watari's hard mask began to fall. Light wanted to reach out, but he didn't know what to do, he didn't know what he could say to make this any better.

Watari gathered himself up again and stepped forward. 

"I raised you to be a weapon of justice. This is true," Matsuda may have gasped, but everyone else remained silent, "Yet you have strayed so far from the brilliant child I once knew. Love is not advantageous to people like us, L. It is our downfall. Look at what you have become." Watari looked at Light then, his eyes were calculating, yet there was a hint of sadness. He did care about L, he cared more than he wanted the man to know. Light was confused by this, he looked back down to where L had hunched over even more, seemingly collapsing in on himself.

"I'm doing what's right," He said, his voice small and breaking, but then he sniffed hard and cleared his throat, raising his head in defiance, "You may not believe it, but I do, with every part of me. He is not Kira, not anymore. What is so wrong with me wanting to be happy with someone with whom I share so much? We are the same, he understands me. It makes living easier. I used to be your weapon, but he's shown me that there is more to life than this. Is that really so bad? Am I really a criminal?"

"L, I-" Watari's stern facade cracked, he looked sad, but his response was interrupted.

"You-" Mello crossed the room quicker than Light had expected, he had a notebook in his hands, and a desperate gleam in his eyes, "YOU KNEW? You've known Light was Kira this whole time? And yet you continued to-to- You're worse than a common criminal! Much worse! And you deserve - you deserve -" He began laughing as he turned the pages of his book, Light could feel something inside of him breaking. There was an ultimatum coming, and if he didn't act quickly, L would likely die before his eyes.

"Not everyone knows your name, L. Your full name." Mello smirked down at the book in his hands, L began to climb up off his hands and knees, Mello kicked him once, everyone else was unmoving, unsure of what was happening. Maybe they hadn't worked it out yet, "But I do."

Light saw movement from the edge of the crowd, the flash of white surged forward, rushing to Mello.

"Stop!" Near shouted, Mello was too quick, however and stepped out, tripping Near, he fell to the ground. In that moment, he'd  placed his pencil to the paper.

Light reacted quickly, he turned to where Aizawa was holding the other Death Note. He had just enough time to grab it and write Mello's name in, maybe, then maybe - he took the pen and then took the Death Note and all at once, the memories came rushing back into his mind, he screamed at the force with which they slammed into his brain. Everyone stopped, even Mello, and they stared.

L's eyes widened as Light fell to his knees with the Note in his hands. He shook his head, he muttered a few words, but Light's head was heavy with memories, with a sense of victory, but he shook it off.

"See, he will always be Kira. You've allowed him to return, another reason why you must be erased." Mello said before continuing on with his writing.

Light looked at L, and he smiled. He opened his book, he watched Mello as began to write, stopping only a fraction of a second after Mello, and he closed the book again, throwing it across the room, despite the urgency he felt in his veins to hold onto the book.

He knew that if he held it in his hands any longer, that he would certainly be writing down the name of everyone in that room. He couldn't do that to L. His contradicting feelings were filling him with confusion and it was constricting his chest. When had he become so sentimental? Memories of hands and lips and skin rested at the forefront of his mind, but thoughts of blood and an empire built on the bodies of the villainous were struggling to take control. 

Mello began laughing as the clock ticked around to 40 seconds, and everyone waited with baited breath, they waited for L to have a heart attack.

But nothing happened.

Light couldn't help the laugh that bubbled up in his throat. It was usually reserved for when he beat L at his own game. But this was just as satisfying.

"Light? What did you do?" L turned as Soichiro and Mogi apprehended Mello, the notebook fell from his hands.

"Give me that notebook, please. I need to speak with-" Light's head throbbed and L picked up the fallen notebook and handed it across to Light.

Ryuk appeared before him. He was smiling as he picked up the Note that Light had thrown.

"I taught you well, Light. Writing down L's name at the same time as Mello would ensure his death be nullified." Ryuk laughed as he tossed he Death Note in the air and caught it again. Those that had yet to touch Ryuk's notebook were confused.

"Shinigami Ryuk," Light said, his breathing heavy, "I relinquish all rights to the Death Note." He felt L's fingers squeeze his hand as he took the note from him. 

"I thought you might, but you don't own it. L was the one who touched it first. He is the one who must relinquish his rights. And then, if you pick it up after he does so, you may then give it back to me, and all will be set right. I will go back to the Shinigami realm, I have to take this notebook back anyway. Gelus has been asking after it. Pesky Shinigami."

Light looked to L, his eyes wide, with question behind them. Would L be willing to give up his memories in order to ensure that Light would have no more memories of being Kira?

His fingers itched to hold the notebook once more. The weight of L's hand on his did nothing to ground him, he was fighting the urge to reach out and take back his notebook. It was his, after all, he'd been the first to find it. If only L hadn't come into the picture-

"Are you certain you're able?" L asked quietly, cutting off Light's darker thoughts, "The pull of Kira might be too strong."

Light growled slightly, clenching his eyes shut, he wrenched his hand from L's grasp. He smiled slightly, hoping it was reassuring, but he knew L would not be eased by it. 

"I am in a room surrounded by police. If they in the least suspect that I won't give it up, I'll be arrested and-" L reached forward and brushed the back of his hand down Light's cheek. His eyes opened in confusion, he remembered once relishing in the touch, and wished that it still felt the same. Somehow it felt oddly foreign to him.

"I can see how different you are. The moment that book fell into your hands I knew I'd lost you." L sounded sad, defeated, it made the manic pride bubble inside of Light, he'd brought that sad tone to L's voice, he'd won, defeated him. 

"I used it to save you, Ryuzaki." Lights brow furrowed, perhaps he could use those feelings to sway L, to convince him to join him. The man was intelligent, and though he couldn't feel it as fully as he did before, he enjoyed him more than he'd ever enjoyed having Misa at his side. With L beside him, the would truly be unstoppable. But the sadness in L's eyes told him that wouldn't happen, "What more will you ask of me?"

"I'd ask for your eyes back. The way you looked at me when-" L closed his eyes and shook his head. He sighed deeply, "I relinquish all rights to the Death Note." He handed the book back to Light. 

Ryuk laughed and everyone around them gasped.

"What does that mean?" Matsuda asked, Light glared at him and he shut his mouth.

"It means Light is in control of the Death Note." Near said and Light stood abruptly, L looked up at him, obviously confused.

"Death Note?" He asked and Light walked to Near, he had a choice to make, and though the power he held in his hands threatened to corrupt him, he handed it to Near. The boy took the book in confusion and his eyes widened as he glanced over Light's shoulder. 

"Look in both books and you'll see how I saved L from Mello. Go ahead." He was smirking, he turned to L, "They should know how Kira saved you, Ryuzaki."

Ryuk tossed the second notebook into the air, Soichiro caught it, though he was confused, he looked into the book, "This says L. Lawliet?"

L let out a shaky breath behind him and Near'a release of breath was just a small huff.

"You used the rule that if a name is written in two different notes within 0.06 seconds of each other, the death will be nullified. Clever." Near said, stepping away from Light, still holding the notebook, Light reached out, but Near was already out of his grasp.

"However, you've just admitted to being Kira." Near turned and smiled, he motioned his head to Aizawa, who quickly apprehended Light. He struggled against the hold the man had on him. Unfortunately he was stronger. Light growled a feral thing.

"I helped!"

"You've killed!" Near responded, though he sounded unsure. 

"Near, please." L was suddenly between them, the younger boy was awestruck at the detective's plea, his suprise was etched into his features.

"I'll do what must be done." Near said, somewhat sadly, turning to where Mello was no longer struggling in the grasp of Soichiro and Mogi; he looked annoyingly smug and Light wished he knew the mans real name.

Near walked up to him and did the strangest thing, he reached into Mello's front pocket. Everyone gasped, even L seemed taken aback. Mello's face evened out however, before it became a mask of anger.

"Near, what do you think you're doing!" Mello's growl echoed through the room.

"What must be done. If Kira exists, this world is sure to burn." Near was quiet as he walked to the far side of the room, his back was still to everyone; no one knew what he'd taken from Mello. 

"This was unexpected." Ryuk said from behind Light, "It was fun while it lasted, Kira." Near turned, his eyes wide as he stared at Ryuk, he smiled a small, sad thing before holding up the notebook and lighting the small silver lighter he'd clearly taken from Mello's pocket.

The Death Note went up in flames. Light couldn't help his desperate plea as he watched all of his plans, his destiny, burn to ash.

He fell to his knees and ignored the pain from being held too tightly by Aizawa, he ignored the pain as he made contact with the cold, hard tile. He ignored the feeling of a cloud invading his mind, covering everything he'd done. Erasing his memories once again.

And then, he couldn't understand why everyone was suddenly staring at him. Why they all seemed concerned, his father looked heart broken. Matsuda was terrified. Mogi and Aizawa looked ready to attack. Watari looked defeated and sad, Mello looked infuriated.

But Near, he looked happy, and hopeful. His eyes were pleasant as he stared at him and smiled. He dropped the remaining corner of the Death Note into the trash can and it caught fire, clearly destroying every last bit of the book.

Light was confused. He looked at L, who seemed just as confused.

Then he reached out and took Light's hand into his own. They stood together.

"Is this ordeal over?" Watari spoke up first, stepping up to Light and L, "Can we resume things as normal?"

"Not yet." Soichiro held up the notebook that still remained, "This won't be over until we all forget. Let's just remember, write it down, it doesn't matter. The Kira case is over, resolved, however you want to remember it. This case is done. Kira is dead."

"We will remember." L said, "Whatever you're about to do, if you're about to erase all of the memories of the remaining task force, let it be known that Light and I will remember what you've just said."

Soichiro nodded, and then threw he notebook into the fire. Light watched with fascination as the flames grew.

Chapter Text

Light sat in the diner, tapping his fingers against the table in anticipation as he awaited his cup of coffee. The waitress was swamped, working alone on the floor during the small lunch rush, so he wasn't upset about the fact that it had taken 20 minutes for his caffeine to reach him.

She finally arrived, spouting apologies, but he waved her off, it was no problem, really. He raised the cup to his lips and winced; so the coffee in a diner somewhere in middle America wasn't the best. But he had to be there, and he wasn't going to complain about choice of venue.

He was staring across the room at a man sat in a booth, who was hunched over his plate of eggs and home fries. This man wasn't typically good looking, rather he was the kind of person easily over looked, easily forgotten. He was exactly the person Light had been expecting.

The man looked up and they locked eyes, Light smiled slightly and looked back down at the dark liquid before he took another drink and winced again. It wasn't any better the second time.

"Coffee's kind of terrible, huh?" The man he'd just made accidental eye contact with was suddenly sitting at his table, he'd brought his food with him. Light found this amusing.

"Yes, I suppose." He'd been working on his English for a few months, but his accent was still thick and the man smiled.

"You're JapaneseTourist aren't you? I hope I didn't get this wrong, because, man, you're hot as hell." The man took a shy bite of his eggs before looking back up at Light from under hooded lids, "And I'd really like to get out of here with you."

"That is me-" Light breathed, unprepared for the man's blatant come on. He hadn't been expecting this to be so easy. But he supposed in the right lighting with his hair styled a certain way, he did look rather attractive.

"Thank god." He'd replied, he seemed far too innocent, it was a bit problematic for Light, he wasn't sure what to make of him.

"You want to go?" He hoped he wasn't being too forward, that he wouldn't scare the man away. But then the man smirked, and Light knew he'd made the right choice. That he had the right man. This smirk told him everything he needed to know, there was nothing of the innocent, shy person he'd interacted with on the dating site, nor was it the same shy smile he'd offered when he sat down.

This man had just been handed exactly what he wanted.

"You don't want to finish your coffee?"

Light looked to where he knew the nearest security camera was, one of the tells they'd worked out.

I don't need the coffee to keep me up. The voice in his ear said, though it was tense. Light held back his eye roll.

"No. I'll be okay without it." He added a wink for good measure and the man nodded and slapped down $20 on the table before standing and beckoning for Light to follow, which he did.

There was a motel right beside the diner, but the man began leading him to the woods behind it, this was disconcerting as their entire plan had revolved around the man taking Light to the motel.

"Where are we going?" Light asked casually after the voice asked the same question in his ear, though it wasn't really to be repeated, it was more of a genuine inquiry. He could hear some rushed movements in the background as he tried to focus on the man in front of him.

"I find nature to be comforting. It's much better than those musty motel rooms, trust me." He glanced back over his shoulder and his whole demeanor had changed. Light was beginning to feel like he was in over his head.

"Try to change his mind. Say 'wouldn't a bed be more comfortable?'"

"Wouldn't a bed be more comfortable?" Light repeated, not liking the slight panic in the tone of his voice.

"Have you ever stayed in a back woods motel 6? Believe me, the forest will be much cleaner." The man laughed at Light's discomfort, and if they hadn't been tracking this man for so long, Light would have called the whole thing off.

"We will be there, don't worry."

Light felt minutely better at the promise of backup and once they'd finally crossed the threshold into the canopy of the forest, his momentary comfort was ripped away from him as he heard another set of footsteps crunching into the leaves behind him.

"Just over this hill is the perfect spot." The man didn't look back and Light could feel the other presence.

This man had an accomplice.

They climbed a small hill and just over the edge was a camp set up. There was a fire burning and a table laid out with items that Light could only attribute to hunting.

"I'm so glad I met up with you." The man laughed into the air before rounding on Light, stopping him in his tracks, "Tourists go missing all the time, I'm sure no one will miss you." He glanced over Light's shoulder.

"Don't let him capture you."

Light followed the advice of the man in his ear and ducked just in time to avoid a set of hands reaching toward him holding a length of rope that was sure to go around his neck. The men both laughed as they turned and began to advance.

"You found a wild one!" The accomplice said, his eyes seemed crazed as he followed Light, who was backing up blindly.

"So there are two; Find a weapon if you must. I knew we shouldn't have let you go in unarmed! We're coming!"

They couldn't have predicted that the crazed psychopath killing off gay tourists would have a sidekick. Though the longer Light looked at the man who joined them, the way he was ahead of the other, he was starting to believe this man was the real mastermind.

The other one was just following him.

"I told you I had good taste."

"Don't say it like that, he'll think we're gay." The joiner groaned and looked at his partner.

"He doesn't know what we're sayin, he's Chinese."

"Japanese," Light corrected and the men stopped their advance momentarily surprised.

"Whatever," The first man laughed, "All the same, a fags a fag."

"You're killing people who are gay because they are gay?" Light asked, hoping to pull a legitimate confession out of the guys.

"No better reason! Wiping them out one by one." The man who'd lured him into the woods seemed smug about this fact and Light felt sick to his stomach. He suddenly hit the table covered in weapons and other objects. He reached out and grabbed a deer knife. The men laughed.

"Sure you know how to use that?"

"Almost to you. Eta 30 seconds."

"Don't need to." His sudden use of Japanese confused the men enough, but it also seemed to anger them, they both lunged; the one with the rope managed to knock the knife from Light's hands while the other one sought to knock him to the ground.

Light avoided his kick and scrambled out of the way in time to be met with a fist to his face.

The man was big, a burley lumberjack type, and he packed a hard punch. Light was momentarily disoriented and he soon felt the rope wrap around his neck. He grasped at the tightening thread that was cutting off his air and struggled to loosen it.

There were suddenly four sounds. The first was a shout, the second were simultaneous shots, the third was the men squealing in pain, the last one was two bodies hitting the ground.

The large man somehow ended up sprawled over Light and he looked at the mass with wide eyes. He had a tranquilizer dart sticking out of his neck. Light laughed at how he'd been saved in the nick of time, but was unamused at the heavy body that was the new threat to his air supply.

"A little help." Light groaned and when the body was lifted from him he breathed a deep sigh of relief.

In the setting sun, the shadows of the forest were cast in such a way that the person who stepped in front of him, offering him a hand to stand was completely silhouetted. The moment he took the proffered limb, he knew who had come to his rescue, however.

"Maybe we should have planned that better." L was hunched over a bit more than normal and Light shrugged, brushing himself off, "My intel told me there was only a 30% chance of him having an accomplice, and the chances of him simply being the bait for an even worse psychopath were even lower." 

"Next time, get better intel. Though I would rather it have been me than some poor, unsuspecting tourist. At least now we've saved anyone in the future." Light smiled a small thing at L who huffed and blew a single hair out of his eye.

"Saving others at the cost of your life is not a good bargain, Light." He turned his back and walked to the other agents, who were struggling to lift the suspects and haul them out of the woods. Light smiled and followed after L.


 

Later after they'd flown back to London, filled out their paperwork and been yelled at for being careless, they pushed into their shared apartment and plopped down on the couch. Well, Light did, L went straight to the kitchen and put on a kettle for tea.

Light looked over the back of the couch at the strange detective who'd changed his life so much.

"What?" L looked back at him, smirking, knowing.

"What?" Light echoed and L sighed, walking to the couch he jumped over the back of it and rested in a haunched position, something Light would never understand.

"You're staring."

"Aren't I allowed to stare at the man I love after he's just saved my life?"

"I was only returning the favor."

"Oh is that all?" Light laughed, he'd been working with L for almost a year, his face in the field, and L had saved his life about five times already. Every time he'd done so stating  that he was just returning the favor.

"It's a favor that will never be able to be repaid." L sighed as he ran a hand through Light's hair.

"Well I suppose I'll just have to stick around and let you try." Light pulled him in for a kiss and L sighed against his lips.

"That's the general idea," L said, his eye roll evident in his voice as he pushed forward and brushed his tongue along Light's bottom lip, asking for entrance and receiving it eagerly. Light breathed into the kiss as he turned his head to deepen it.

The kettle began screaming and L groaned.

"Damn it, tell me again why we can't keep Watari around?" L hopped off the couch and hurried to take the kettle off the fire.

"Because we tried it for a week and he said he couldn't do it anymore after he walked in on us not once, but three times." Light smiled as L rounded the couch holding a tray with two cups and a tea pot.

"Ah, right. Well he should have known to call first." L poured them each tea and began tossing sugar cubes into his.

"He did, twice." Light laughed and watched L give up on dunking the cubes individually and finally pour most of the pile into his cup, "How you don't have diabetes is beyond me."

"I get plenty of exercise." L looked over his shoulder at Light and winked. Light felt his stomach flip as he twitched to life.

"Speaking of which, I believe a thank you is in order tonight."

"Ah yes, the thank you sex is definitely why I save your life time and time again. Don't fool yourself into thinking it is for any other reason." L set down his cup and turned to Light expectantly.

"Truly touching, really." Light deadpanned, but he still lurched forward and immediately began sucking a mark into the flesh of L's neck. The man let out a surprised and pleased noise as he fell back off of his feet and onto his ass. Light enjoyed forcing him to sit normally during these moments and pulled his legs straight, wrapping them around his waist. L let out a discontented noise and Light laughed against his skin.

"Thank you," Light said as he kissed to the first button of L's shirt, opening it, he began to move down, kissing each inch of newly exposed flesh as he opened the shirt completely. As he moved the material aside he rose back up slightly to lick his appreciation into the now raised nipples; L squirmed beneath him and gasped, grinding up against Light, he could feel his hardness practically throbbing for attention.

"Thank you," Light said again, though it was muffled by the detectives skin as he licked against newly exposed flesh, popping open the man's jeans and pulling him out, no more words would be possible as he swallowed him, moaning against the fullness of his mouth. L bucked at the sensation; this was nearly enough to finish off Light without him even being touched but he held back as he bobbed his head, supplementing what he couldn't swallow with his hands.

L's hands began tugging at Light, begging him to stop his ministrations below. He obliged and allowed the detective to lift him, to bring their mouths together. Light let his guard down for a moment and L apparently sensed it, using his relaxed state to flip them so he was on top.

The detective made quick work of Lights own clothing and soon there was no barrier between them, no fabric hindering their skin from connecting at every possible point. Light relished in the warmth.

Though the couch wasn't the most comfortable place for such activities, it was one of the most common spots they found themselves when it was impossible to keep their hands off one another. This day was no different than the previous day, and as such, there were supplies at the ready. L reached out and grabbed the bottle that was sitting proudly on the table beside the couch and popped open the cap.

His fingers worked quickly; and in no time he'd prepared Light, who was waiting almost impatiently for L to breach him.

The size of the cushions made the angle awkward, L had one foot on the floor, the other was smashing Lights leg into the back of the couch while the other was being held in the crook of his arm. He preferred them to be face to face, liked to look into his eyes, L felt the same.

They reserved other positions for heated moments in bathroom stalls, or supply rooms at work. Which happened quite frequently despite the fact that they often had large case loads.

They were geniuses after all, if they couldn't interrupt their work with a quickie here and there, what was the point of them being so smart?

Light finished between them first, the wet heat slicked their stomachs and made L go a bit mad; his hips snapped wildly until he found his own finish and nearly collapsed atop Light, who was ready for the fall. He wrapped his arms around him as they worked to catch their breaths, placing light kisses into dark tresses.

L turned his face to Lights neck and kissed him lightly, finally gathering the strength to remove himself, he hurried to fetch a cloth to clean them.

They continued about their night after that, Light ate real food while L gorged himself on pastries and cakes. He wouldn't have it any other way, however. The sugar surely fed into the detectives brain power.

Light wrapped one leg beneath him as he ate and stretched the other out toward L who allowed it to slide beneath his legs where he sat on his haunches. He looked toward Light, sucking his thumb between his lips, a sign he was thinking.

"What?"

"It's been a year since you saved my life," He said, his eyes shining.

"I know, I didn't forget."

"Do you regret it?" L blinked at him and Lights heart leapt for a moment, at first misunderstanding his question before he remembered the solution to the Kira case that no one else had known about.

The solution L had written down before they'd given up their memories.

"You're asking me if I regret giving up the chance to be a God in favor of saving your life and burning the book?" L said nothing in response and Light smiled slightly, deciding it was time to tell him his little secret.

"Look at this," Light said, extending his arm, showing his watch, L stared at it in confusion, "A few weeks ago I dropped it, and in dropping it, something broke open." He turned his dial a few times and out popped a little drawer, there was nothing inside. L looked back into his eyes, there was a hint of worry that soon disappeared as soon as he found what he was looking for.

"There was a piece of paper in it, a small folded little thing; it was clear that I'd hidden it away to write on, even when I knew I'd give up my memories." Light sighed and reached out, brushing the back of his hand down L's cheek, "Do you know what I did with it?"

L shook his head, the slight hint of worry returned.

"I set it on fire," Light revealed and L's eyes widened even more than he'd thought would be possible, "I enjoy my life as it is now, I'm not bored, I'm not sad, I'm not struggling to discover who I am. I've found myself, and I know where I belong; it's with you."

"It is incredible that the case that brought us together could have ultimately been the thing that kept us apart." L smiled slyly, "There was a moment when we met that I wished for you to to not be Kira. Of course, at first you were, but then an amazing thing happened, and suddenly you weren't."

"And I never will be again."

"Not on my watch, I'm never letting you go." L turned away, smiling mischievously and Light held back his own.

"Never?" He asked, "Never is a long time."

"Technically it's not a period of time at all, but I'll forgive the mistake."

Light rolled his eyes and punched L lightly in the arm, the detective smiled, and took a bite of his eclair.