Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note.
Notes: Doesn't quite fit into canon... I took some liberties. Sorry for the html troubles.
It started while Light was locked up, at the end of his first week of captivity. He doesn't know why; L might have been finally starting to get to him, or maybe it had been there the entire time, a lurking, ominous presence that he had been all too busy to acknowledge.
But what Light knows is that it came then. Then, with L's grainy, loud voice seeping through the speakers, speaking dully and testily, "there has been no change."
And this was L, L who thought he was Kira, whose voice was firm and stable and always questioning, and Light had needed to prove it once and for all. He'd swallowed once, tasting the bile rising in his throat, and looked up with desperate eyes. "Ryuzaki, listen to me!"
He wasn't Kira.
Before that, he had been living for L. He'd always been living for L, really, spending restless nights preoccupied with finding a way into the task force so he could help L catch Kira, once and for all. (Secretly, Light had almost wanted to be L himself, to be able to wield that kind of power.)
L, Light thought, was really just like him.
Occasionally, they would fight. There was nothing for it but that sometimes, L could be as stupid as he seemed at first glance.
"You are Kira," L would say, looking over at Light with challenging black eyes, or, "Misa is a tool," and Light would really have no choice — invariably, it would end in insults and bruises and L dodging Light's punches with a smile before he said it again.
"Only a murderer would be this defensive, Light-kun."
He wasn't sure at first why nobody ever suspected L.
Light was certain that together, they would be the best.
"Look," he had said, pointing at the screen, "Ryuzaki, there's a pattern."
"Yotsuba," L had breathed, bringing his thumb to his lips and brushing his other hand across Light's shoulder.
He was a decent person, Light supposed, even if he did stubbornly cling to the notion that Light was Kira.
"Would you like some coffee, Light-kun?" L asked softly, and Light blinked his eyes open and nodded in acceptance. "It'll help you stay awake."
L rarely slept; it was something Light had to get used to while they were chained together. Even now, with the computer's peaceful hum pushing him into half-dreams and Light's vision blurred and unfocused, L was wide awake, staring at the data on the screen.
"I'm afraid you'll have to come with me," he said, stepping down from his chair and glancing at Light with his curious, childlike eyes. His movements at night were slower, softer, as if less self-conscious about being observed.
The coffee machine was on a counter near the window; the shades were open, revealing a dark blue-grey sky, near dawn, peacefully transparent and immobile.
"Someday, we'll make him stop," Light said idly, rubbing the chain of his handcuffs with his free hand.
"If you are not Kira," L responded, glancing up and gently meeting Light's eyes, "I am 78 percent sure that you will catch him first."
His hands were steady as he poured the coffee.
"It's Kyosuke Higuchi," Light said, looking up at L with a slight smile, "L, Misa was right. Higuchi is Kira."
L lifted his thumb to his lips and silently bit down on the nail, eyes wide.
"Now all we have to do is have him tell us how he kills," Light continued, eyes again riveted on the screen, hands scrambling frantically over the keys. "We could send another false message from Kira and gauge his reaction; his method of killing doesn't seem to match that of before, so if he's a different Kira — or if the power to kill has been switching off like you think — he won't immediately know that the message was sent by the police, which would be obvious in his actions. We could plant cameras —"
"Light-kun," L whispered in delicate awe, thumb still pressed against his lips. Light had glanced over to find the detective's eyes watching him with a foreign intensity, completely unlike L's usual unreadable, calculating expression — gazing at him with Misa's infatuated eyes. And Light had just barely realized it before he felt himself move forward, wide black eyes gazing at him and then the soft, disorienting feeling of L meeting his lips and slowly pulling away.
"I'm not certain that was the best action to take in the situation," L confided, starting to move back, something fragile and inquisitive showing in his eyes; "stay there," Light protested, clenching one hand in L's shirt and moving in again.
L's mouth was warm and wet and sweet-sour as his tongue crept between Light's open lips. And Light couldn't say he'd ever imagined this before but he knew that he should have been considering it, that he had been only a step away from natural attraction.
And then L drew back again, wiping spare saliva from his lips with two fingers, and at Light's curious gaze said, "the cameras are on in this room, Light-kun. I'm sure your father would appreciate it if we continued this later. Now what was it you were saying about Higuchi?"
Everything got better after that.
It was almost easier to think, when Light could let his thoughts fall freely from his lips and continue themselves in L's voice.
"This might sound idiotic," he said, lying back on their bed and watching the hurried, seemingly endless rotations of the ceiling fan, "but Ryuzaki, what if Higuchi killed the first Kira?"
L shook his head immediately, popping another green grape into his mouth and chewing it before he spoke. "That's impossible, because Light-kun was the first Kira."
"I thought you might say that," Light replied, smiling faintly and reaching into the bowl for a grape; his fingers brushed L's and L let his hand linger there briefly before drawing it back to his mouth.
"But if you're right," Light continued, "how then did the power pass from me to Higuchi, and why?"
"You're implying that both of you were being influenced by an outside force," L said, inching closer and staring into Light's eyes intently.
"It's — Ryuzaki, get your feet off my pillow," Light said, glancing down disdainfully.
"They're perfectly clean," L put in, blinking, and moving back all the same. "But the problem is that if Kira is separate from those he is possessing, he must have powers beyond belief."
"Well, you can't deny the fact that the messages left by jailed criminals mentioned Shinigami. So did the second Kira's response to our false broadcast from the original Kira... two separate incidents," Light mused, meeting L's eyes.
"That is a myth and obviously a trap, Light-kun," L said, sitting down fully and stretching his legs out in front of him. "Kira wants us to think he is a Shinigami. I'm certain he considers himself to be something higher than human. But he doesn't realize that the fact that he is afraid shows us that he is not truly all-powerful, as was pointed out earlier."
L yawned once, tugging on the chain and heading to the bathroom; at first, such an intense gaze on Light while doing ordinary things like brushing his teeth had unnerved him, but now he wasn't at all bothered. It was normal, and it was L, just like the way he sat and the way he slept (lying on top of the covers, with his head propped up on a pillow and the security alarm blinking next to the light switch, protective and ominous and red.)
He'd never admit it, but Light slept easier with L in the room.
"Misa," Light heard, jerking abruptly out of sleep, and he blinked his eyes open to find L staring down at him.
"You don't really love Misa, do you?" L asked quickly, most of his face hidden in shadow.
"I'd feel terrible if you did," he continued, "but while you seem to be very devoted to her, I'm certain that you don't see her as anything more than a friend."
"I don't want to hurt her, Ryuzaki," Light responded, voice thick and heavy with sleep. "I really do like Misa, but not in the way she wants me to."
"And it's true that your expression barely changed during the times you were looking at those questionable magazines," L mused aloud, moving slightly — "Light-kun, I think you are a homosexual."
"I'd say you were right, Ryuzaki," Light responded, raising his eyebrows, and closed his eyes again.
It's funny, he thought, falling readily back into sleep, but he couldn't recall ever being genuinely attracted to a man — or, despite his large number of girlfriends, a woman — before.
Maybe he had just been too preoccupied.
He awakened later, disoriented, to fluorescent lights and beep-beep-beep and "just a minute, Watari, I've got to wake Light-kun." Light raised himself up, rubbing at his temples and glancing around the dark room to find L crouching on the edge of the bed, holding his phone to his ear with two long, awkward fingers.
"It's the alarm," he explained, blinking his owl-eyes, "but I don't see how anyone could have made it through the main security except perhaps Wedy."
"We should look around just in case," Light said, immediately awake, remnants of sleep still clinging uncomfortably to his skin. "And it isn't Wedy, because you sent her to plant those cameras."
"We're going to check the monitors, Watari," L said, climbing off the bed and reaching out a lean finger to turn off the phone. He paused at the doorway, before clicking the lights off. "Come on, Light-kun."
They went over what the cameras picked up three times, but their progress was hindered since there had never been a camera in their room (L was more than a little paranoid about his face being seen) and still came up with nothing.
"It may have been a failure of the device," L admitted, slinking down in his seat with two fingers pressed to his lips, "and even if it was not malfunctioning, it would be wise to order another."
"Good idea, Ryuzaki," Light said, watching L's tongue darting out through his lips and lightly licking the skin on his forefinger.
"I was also thinking," L continued, curling his toes into the vinyl chair and making it spin slightly to the right, "that with Higuchi, the cameras won't be enough. I'll have someone tailing him, too."
"Isn't that risky? He'd be in mortal danger," Light responded, eyes still attune to the way L's teeth were now grazing the skin of his thumb.
"If you are or were Kira, I am in mortal danger right now," L added logically, leaning over in his seat to stare into Light's eyes.
This time, Light recognized the gaze and was barely surprised when L's soft lips met his own. He kept his eyes open; there was no reason not to, since the room was completely dark except for the glare off the monitors and the furtive, hidden light sneaking through the glass windows. L parted his lips and rested a shaky, feverish hand on Light's neck, a tentative moan shivering through his mouth, and Light curled his fingers in L's hair.
Through the window, he watched the stars.
"Your father says Matsuda has got to leave that place — they'll set up a mannequin and leave the cameras running, and in that time five teams will be sent out to capture Higuchi," L related hurriedly, eyes sharp and focused, and Light nodded curtly at the words.
"Let's go," he agreed quickly, frowning slightly, muscles in his face tense with the sudden adrenaline.
"We'll catch him together," L promised, (voice suddenly softer, clearer, less harsh), clutching Light's hand hard under the table, and Light met his eager gaze and smiled.
It ends in the helicopter, while Light is grasping the notebook in his hands with a beating heart and a subtle, hidden smirk.
He has never liked L.