Human Condition

by Ebony

Notes: Disclaimed. And yes, I know it's officially 'Light', but I've been using 'Raito' for so long it's too hard to change.


And there they were, all three of them tangled up together on the sofa with limbs crossing over limbs and fingers tangled in hair as they clung to each other in restless slumber. Or somewhere half-in and half-out of slumber, in Raito's case.

Though he couldn't quite remember when exactly it was that he'd fallen asleep, he doubted it was very long before he'd woken up again. His vision was blurred into a haze by both his lingering exhaustion and the thick darkness covering the room, leaving him unable to take hold of the pieces of weary thought drifting in and out of his mind. He couldn't see either of the two bodies pressed against his, but knew they were there nonetheless by the way a soft breath would scrape periodically over his neck, or the heartbeat thudding into the side of his thigh. The cold length of the chain draped resting on his arm, and the vibrant warmth of their flesh in sharp contrast…

If he were to stop and think about it, he would realize just how little sleep he was actually getting those days, but really, he was too busy to stop and rest most of the time. For him and L, a full night's sleep had become an unaffordable luxury. Every second wasted could mean another life lost, another step they'd fallen behind on the case. It had become an obsession for them, pouring over the data day after day as they tried to discover the patterns before the other did. Even Misa had been affected, drifting into long and uncharacteristic bouts of silence between her constant offers to go make some more tea for Raito (and L, if he wanted some, which he usually did), or help in any way she could. Not that she really had anything else to do.

And with each report of yet another death (another murder, another sacrifice, another life slipping through their hands) that came in, it became a little harder to stop and rest, knowing that if you did paranoia would seep in to hinder you, to hold you down with self-doubt and worry. It was more and more often Raito would catch his own gaze in a reflective surface and wonder if L was right… if somehow, though he himself could hardly imagine how it could be possible, he was Kira. Each time it got a little harder to shake the suspicion, to meet L's calculating eye directly as they discussed the case. It got to the point where Raito simply could not allow himself to think about it, barring his mind of such thoughts when he and L stayed up together, sleepless night after sleepless night as time – time that was always too quickly running out – raced by…

But still, they could only go so long without rest. They were only human, after all.

Raito shifted a little to his left, relieving a little bit of the pressure placed on him by L's body. Even in sleep, the dark-haired man assumed his usual position, knees drawn up to his chest and his back hunched awkwardly forwards. He had fallen into an unorthodox lean to his left so that one of his knees dug into Raito's side and his head rested on Raito's shoulder, dark eyes hidden behind a mess of bangs and jagged shadow. One lanky arm was stretched over so that his hand could burrow into the thick strands of Misa's flaxen hair that had fallen over Raito's legs, fingers catching themselves in a net of gold.

It was Misa who had fallen asleep first actually, Raito recalled, and on top of him too. The faux-blonde had phoned them on her cell phone just after 2 am, and practically begged Raito to let her join them in the main room (she wasn't allowed out of her room without permission, after all).

"Misa wouldn't be any bother," she had said; he could almost hear the childish pout gracing her lips in every word. "She just can't fall asleep in this room, and she's been awake for hours! It's too dark and too… alone here. Please, Raito?"

Raito had opened to his mouth to protest, but L cut in before he could get a word out.

"Just let her," he said, and waved his hand dismissively before going back to typing away on his laptop. And sure enough, Misa arrived a few minutes later with her arms crossed over her chest, and her face washed of its usual dramatic coat of make-up, leaving behind messy lashes to frame bloodshot eyes and two pale lips pressed into an uneasy line. She settled wordlessly onto the sofa beside Raito, curling up like a cat with her legs brought in towards her body and her head rested on his thigh.

"Are you alright?" he had asked, surprised (worried? she liked to think so) by her passive actions.

Misa glanced up at him with half-open eyes and a troubled stare as she shrugged.

"Couldn't sleep," she mumbled. "That's all."

"You can have one of my cookies, if you want," L remarked from where he sat at the other end of the couch.

Misa smiled a little, but shook her head. "No thanks. Misa'll be okay now. She's with Raito again…"

She fell asleep a little while later, clinging tightly to one of Raito's legs as he reached over her to use the keyboard on the laptop on the messy coffee table in front of him, stacked high with various papers and crumbs crowding the spaces in between. Raito had followed suite soon after. Now that he thought about it, he could remember leaning back against the couch for a short rest ("Just a short rest," he told L, after the dark-eyed man had suggested Raito settle down for the night. "I can go a bit longer.") and losing consciousness almost as soon as his eyelids fell closed. Once again, L had beaten him and been the last one to surrender into sleep.

Though Raito would never openly admit to it, he sometimes found a bit of amazement in his thoughts of L. To think that this was his life… well, Raito had known it wouldn't be very glamorous, but still, he hadn't been ready for these extremes. L had a lot more endurance and perseverance than Raito had ever thought to give him credit for. Misa's strength had surprised him as well, albeit the optimism in her words seemed too greatly exaggerated sometimes, and the way she chattered on and on (relief from the vacancy in silence consuming them, piece by piece) did get under his skin.

He almost found it a little bit funny that of all the people in the world, these two – a young and overly eccentric detective and a girly, vivacious model with a dark streak – were the two people closest to him, and at the same time, the two he trusted the least. It was getting unnerving, the way he had begun finding sanctuary in the noise (the distraction) Misa would bring in with her, or how he had gotten in the habit of saving a bit of his desert for L, who would shamelessly take leftovers.

Some days, it seemed like another little game they played, darting around each other, and choosing carefully when to give a little and when to take it back, trying to get into the other's minds without getting attached or involved. Despite the fact that the three spent almost all their time together, Raito couldn't remember a time when he'd felt more alone. And that was the way it had to be. There was no time for emotion, or want, or any of those other 'human' things, although each time he told that to himself, it became a little harder not to give up and give in. Because – and he hated admitting to this too – he had started yearning for such things, almost in spite of himself. Some days, all he wanted was to surrender… but he knew he couldn't.

So there they were – the detective, and the two people he suspected of an international mass-murder, who were at the same time his partner on the case and his partner's girlfriend – all knotted up and alone in each other in that dark little room, a mess of breath and heartbeat, flesh and dream. Just three human beings, closer and at the same time farther away than most would be able to bear.

Raito let his eyelids fall closed once more and fell back into the embrace offered to him by the other two, knowing in the morning, he would have to wake up and it – their game – would start all over again. But for now, at least, without worry and together, they could all just sleep.

et fin.