Disclaimer: Death Note is owned by Tsugumi Ohba, and Takeshi Obata. Neither of whom are me.

Author's Note: This fic was originally written for the LiveJournal community of 30 Kisses. I'm still waiting to see if my claim for L/Misa is okay. Even if it isn't, I'll probably do this story anyway, just because I think it's a fun idea, and there's simply not enough L/Misa love going around. This is an AU, and dabbles with the idea of Misa meeting L before Light. Still with me? Good. Let's go.


Theme 22: Cradle

If there was one thing Misa would not do, it was cry. She would sit so still as to make the people around her think she had stopped breathing, she would stare straight ahead at nothing, and she would clench her fists so tight that it would leave little crescent shaped cuts in her palms. But she would not cry. Her mother always told her she looked terrible when she cried.

And Misa-Misa was always supposed to be pretty and happy.

At least, that's what she kept telling herself. As long as Misa held onto that mantra, the hushed voices around her weren't so noticeable. Not so irritable.

She had come home the night before to police sirens and yellow tape and people asking her to step away from her home. A botched burglary, they had said. Her parents had been home at the time, and though Misa had already known the answer, she still couldn't help but ask the question, hoping to be wrong.

"Where are Misa's parents?"

The officers at the scene had glanced uncomfortably at each other, before finally giving the young teen a pitying look. And that had been enough of an answer, really.

Now hours after the murder, Misa found herself sitting in a cold room at the police precinct. They said she might need protection. She was an up and coming model, after all. Even if she had only done a couple magazines for now, there was always the chance that the burglar had really been a stalker. Misa felt rather infuriated at the idea that somehow, someway the police were indirectly blaming her for the whole thing. She knew they weren't, really, but that's how it felt in her heart, how it tasted on her tongue when she spoke a few times to the officers who wouldn't leave her be.

She lost track of how long she had been sitting on this hard, wooden chair. She was beginning to not care anymore. Not care about anything. Numbness was a welcome change of pace, and she embraced it like an old friend.

Someone had mentioned that a detective was coming. The buzz that was going through the office was because of him. From the bits and pieces of conversations that Misa picked up, he was up and coming in his field, too. A supposed genius, and usually wouldn't bother with a simple burglary and murder case. But he was apparently a fan of Misa-Misa, and therefore volunteered to help. This was a good thing, an officer told her, with an encouraging smile. For sure, they would get the culprit now!

Misa forced a smile for the man, but said nothing, and then went back to her own train of thoughts. Unless this genius detective could bring back her parents from the dead, she failed to see how this was a good thing.

Her view of the dirty, tiled floor of the room suddenly was obscured by two bare feet, and oversized jeans. It was such an odd sight, Misa made a tiny squeak of surprise, before slowly lifting her gaze. Black eyes greeted her; dark circles from lack of sleep ringed them, causing them to appear larger. Messy black hair swished, as the person tilted his head, nibbling on his thumb and watching her intently. In his other hand was a coffee cup that he was tapping in rhythm with his pinky.

Unable to help herself, Misa raised a brow, feeling for all the world that the strange boy in front of her was trying to undress her with his eyes. Pervert!

"Misa-san," he greeted, voice odd, but pleasant. "How are you feeling?"

Well, that was a stupid question! She didn't know who this guy was, but he was obviously an idiot. Still, she answered as kindly as she could, "Misa is fine."

"Are you?" He knelt down then in a hunched position, on his tip toes so he was now forced to look up at her. "My name is Ryuuzaki. I'm going to be helping with the investigation."

She looked at him incredulously. "You're the detective?"

He smiled at her then, with this strange, almost eager smile that made her clench her skirt tighter. "That's right. Iím a very big fan of Misa-Misa. So, I..." he took a sip of his coffee, and his face scrunched up in disgust. He turned a little, and said to no one in particular, "I'm sorry, but could I trouble someone for sugar?"

"How much?" asked a female officer, who had already been walking to get her own cup refilled.

"All of it." When the officer spun around with surprise, Ryuuzaki smiled almost apologetically. "If you please?"

"Sugar is fattening," Misa told him, feeling the need to say something, anything. Being silent was suddenly getting to her.

"But it tastes good," he pointed out. "And sometimes that matters most."

"Misa's mom said it's bad, and you shouldn't eat it much. Misa's mom was never wrong."

He looked like he was going to retort to that, but stopped when he noticed the strained expression on her face. "Mothers are usually right," was his final reply.

Misa nodded fervently. "Misa's parents were good people. They were good."

"I'm sure they were," he said, smile gone and eyes now void of the soft amusement they had before.

"Their anniversary is-was next month. Misa was saving up to give them a vacation." She didn't know why she was telling him this; it just felt so good to let it all out. To feel the tension and the pressure slowly leave her chest with each word. "Somewhere nice and warm. Mom liked warm places."

He wasn't speaking anymore, she realized. He was just letting her talk now, and she suddenly wanted to tell him everything. Just to get it out, and be done with it. So, she did. In one big, painful rant, she told him how her parents liked to go to festivals every year together, calling it a "date," and how they'd come home with slightly too much sake in their systems, but that was okay because they would still hug and kiss her goodnight. How her dad would call her princess, and how her mom told her she looked cute in pigtails. How her dad had a beat up motorcycle he had always wanted to repair, but her mother would fret over him getting hurt on it.

How the day before Misa was supposed to come home early to spend dinner with them. Instead, she had spent the entire afternoon with her friends, forgetting about her promise to them. And when she had remembered, she had felt so guilty and embarrassed, that she had worried over their reaction to her lateness all the way home, and couldn't bring herself to call them from the cell phone they had bought her.

"Misa should've died, too," she concluded, her voice so soft she barely heard it herself.

"Would your parents have wanted that?" he asked, almost conversationally, as he turned to the police officer who had returned with the container of sugar packets. He grabbed a handful, ignoring the look of distaste the officer made. He began to rip them open eagerly, pouring the sweetening stuff into his coffee with a practiced ease. "I can't claim to know parents really well, but they usually don't want their children dead."

She flinched. "Well, no- They wouldn't have... But, I still..." She had been watching him sweeten his coffee as an excuse to focus on anything but his inquisitive face, but now she found that everything had become blurry. Wiping her eyes only temporarily solved the problem, and when Misa pulled her hands away she found them wet. She was crying. She had tried her hardest not to, and she had still ended up crying.

Somehow, this made her cry harder. She couldn't bring her parents back, couldn't stop this feeling of being lost, couldn't stop this anger that was building in her chest... Couldn't stop the hot tears from spilling down her cheeks.

At the moment, she couldn't do anything but make pitiful noises, and cling to her skirt in frustration.

Ryuuzaki gazed on awkwardly. Clearly, comforting people was not his forte. Hesitantly, he placed a hand on her shoulder. "Um, Misa-san?"

With a hiccupped wail, she lurched forward, wrapping her arms around his shoulders, and successfully toppling him backwards. He caught himself before he fell completely on his back, but that left him with a crying idol in his lap, her face pressed into the crook of his neck and shoulder. He gazed to his left, and noticed her outburst had knocked over his coffee. He frowned with dismay. He had sweetened it so well, too.

Another loud sob brought his attention back to Misa. It was hard to ignore a woman who was not only laying on top of you, but was breathing hotly down your shirt, whether she meant to or not. Especially when that woman was someone you happened to buy magazines you never really read just to have that pretty fold out of her in that pink frilly skirt.

Still, something had to be done. This was quite the scene, and he didn't like the attention they had managed to attract from everyone around them. Besides, it bothered him to see someone quite so devastated. Nobody had the right to ruin another person's life. He would make sure he found the person who did this, and make it so she wouldn't need to cry over it again.

"Misa-san," he said softly, and for her ears only. "I'll find their killer. I promise."

She said nothing for a few minutes, but her crying began to slowly ebb. Finally, after a shuddering breath, she whispered, "Will you kill him?"

He didn't hesitate, or even flinch. Revenge was a usual instinct for victims, after all. "No. But I will bring him to justice."

"I'd rather him dead," she admitted, darkly. She pulled away, face flush from crying. "But... Misa will settle for justice."

He nodded, flashing that odd smile of his again. "Then justice I will give you."