x by Ebony x

Whenever the college swim team wasn't using the pool in the mornings, Light would go down as early as he could and swim length after length, until he was too exhausted to go on. He pushed himself to the limits for the fun of it, always pleased with the tight burn in his lungs, the sting that settled just behind his eyes from the chlorine. It had been years since he'd been swimming like this – since junior-high, probably, when he used to take Sayu down to the public pool in the summer. It was a disgusting, disorderly place, and the thought of it now made him feel a bit ill.

For the first two weeks it was just him and his thoughts, and the chemical blue of the water that isolated him there. When he was beneath the surface the world took on an odd sort of quiet, save the constant sound of blood rushing through his veins and his heart, banging against his ribcage.

Two weeks passed, and then L (or Ryuuzaki, or whoever the Hell he really was) started coming down to the pool in the mornings as well. Beneath the flickering glare of fluorescent lights, his skin looked an unhealthy shade of pale, his arms and legs were long and graceless, almost skeletal, and his hair looked even worse when wet and plastered to his head (almost like seaweed, Light thought with a smile. He looks like a monster).

It wasn't long before L was swimming lengths right alongside Light, matching stroke for stroke. The next morning, Light urged his muscles to carry him faster but L managed to keep up, sometimes swimming so close alongside the brunette they came dangerously close to crashing into one another, legs tangling with legs and waterlogged fingers knotted in hair (almost). And it wasn't nearly as quiet beneath the surface anymore, as now Light could hear L's quick exhaling, out of rhythm with his own (if he listened close enough, he wondered, could he hear the other's heart, throbbing just as loud if only to edge him on? L had to know, of course, that Light was pretty much incapable of resisting a challenge…).

Every morning that they could, they raced, but at the end both were so breathless – pushed so far beyond their limits – that neither could recall which of them had ended up the winner.