Disclaimer: Death Note and all affiliated characters and materials are property of Tsugumi Ohba and Shonen Jump.

Wine Red
By: Nanaki BH

The monitor shone with its bright colors against Ryuuzaki's face, its glow haunting his tired eyes. He was more than twenty-four hours without sleep yet was still determined to stay awake. The case would not solve itself and he would never forgive himself if he missed something important. Page after page, chart after chart, he searched for clues that would turn him in the right direction. To give up so easily would've been his greatest failure. Sleep was weakness, it was unnecessary. Just a little more and Kira would be his.

"Ryuuzaki," Raito murmured, the chains grating together as he shifted to look at him. "It's not worth it. You won't be able to catch him if you aren't thinking straight. Go to sleep."

Raito's voice was like a lullaby to L, soft and comforting, lulling him into closing his eyes. For at least ten hours straight, he'd done nothing but stare at the screen, convinced they would make some advancements. Raito obediently sat next to him, assisting him when possible. He would've rather been at home or anywhere else where he could be alone to fall asleep when he felt like it. The chains kept him limited and most literally chained him in one place, though. Even if he wanted to leave L, he couldn't.

"We're going to sleep," he said, grasping L's hand to stay it above the keyboard. "Come on."

He tried to wrench it away but Raito kept his hold firm, keeping Ryuuzaki from going back to work. His eyes shot to him instantly, seething and infuriated. Raito was impeding his progress. "If you want to sleep then sleep. I'm researching right now."

"No, Ryuuzaki. You can do very little for this investigation in the middle of the night. You haven't slept for more than a day now so how can you possibly think you're helping the investigation team? You're exhausted and you aren't thinking straight anymore." L's harsh gaze didn't waver. "And, although I know that's eyeliner or something, your eyes look terrible and you aren't even trying to hide it. You're pale and your eyes are bloodshot and you're tired and for God's sake, so am I. Go to sleep."

"That really boosts my confidence, Raito-kun. Thank you. Really. Now, please, let go of my hand so I can get back to work."

He gave him ample time to remove his hand but Raito adamantly refused, staring into his eyes, unyielding. It quickly became a staring contest that L was quickly losing. His eyelids felt heavy, almost like he was drugged. Staring at Raito… he just got so tired. Noticing finally that he was losing, he snapped open his eyes and wrenched away his hand, turning back to his computer without a word. This time, he kept his hands on his knees, clutching the material of his pants tightly in his fists so Raito couldn't touch him again.

Ryuuzaki clearly wasn't considering the fact that they were chained together. With one hard yank on L's end of the chain, Raito sent him falling into his arms. He flailed and kicked out his feet awkwardly to get loose, accidentally kicking away his chair instead, providing just enough force to also make Raito slip down from his chair. Yet still, his hold on L remained.

"Kira…! We have to…! Let go, Raito-kun!" But in truth, Raito wasn't even holding onto him very tight. Ryuuzaki was the one putting up the struggle. When he put his hands down over Raito's, he froze. "You… You really aren't trying, are you?" He hung his head dejectedly, hair falling in front of his face, a shaky sigh escaping his parted lips. "I feel stupid."

Those words coming from the esteemed L's mouth shocked Raito. It was an oxymoron; the complete opposite of the truth. L was brilliant. It was only the lack of sleep holding him back, in more ways than one. Raito wanted to tell him how much he admired him but what could he say that would be any different than what Ryuuzaki'd heard in the past? He could say nothing that would make him different.

"You aren't, you know. Kira is afraid of you." It was a simple consolation that Raito hoped would comfort him. At the very least, he wanted to get him to the point where he'd agree to go to sleep. Instead, his words fell flat in the silence of the room. Ryuuzaki's eyes stared blankly at his hands that still rested over Raito's.

"Kira. He has me so messed up, doesn't he?" With L's slightly curved back against his chest, Raito easily noticed the shudder that worked its way through him. He shivered, his heartbeat speeding up, and Raito knew something was wrong. Was L… crying? No, L wouldn't cry. It was impossible for such a thing to occur. He was strong and unwavering; even one tear shed would be like a failure to Ryuuzaki. But Raito couldn't see his face to tell. Either way, the sudden change in his behavior was frightening.

"I'm not sleeping. I've given up on all real food because… because I'm convinced I could die any day now. I want to enjoy myself like any normal person would but… but I'm not normal am I? I'm obsessed with him. I hate Kira but I'm so obsessed it's almost as if…"

Raito pulled away his hands, slipping them out from Ryuuzaki's grasp. His fingers were freezing and clammy like he was sick. Gently, Raito put a hand on his shoulder, resting his chin atop his head. "Kira deserves your attention. Because when you finally catch him, trust me, Ryuuzaki, he'll get what he deserves."

"No," he whispered, voice cracking. He shook his head, his shoulders bunching up, and his body drawn tight. What did he mean no? He didn't bother to elaborate for a good few minutes, remaining in place between Raito's sprawled legs. A sort of uncomfortable silence surrounded them and for a while, Ryuuzaki had separated himself somewhere else. It was like he was there but not there, lost to a place beyond them. For a while, Raito thought L had fallen asleep. The only thing hinting otherwise was his uneven breathing and the shudder of his ribs against Raito's back.

"He doesn't deserve it," he finally said, his voice almost a whisper. He reached up to his shoulder, his fingers lightly tracing Raito's knuckles. "Sometimes I wish you were him."

"Why do you keep saying that, Ryuuzaki?" He tried to keep his voice calm but he truly felt hurt. Not long after meeting him, Ryuuzaki had taken to telling him the same thing: that he wished he were Kira. Kira was a murderer, a terrible person who killed indiscriminately; a man who was hardly human. How could he ever wish he were such a person? "I… I wouldn't want to be Kira."

"But he doesn't deserve this attention! It makes me feel so bad."

"You're doing what's best, though."

"No!" Unable to restrain himself much longer, L turned quickly in Raito's hold, breaking himself away so he could grab onto Raito's shoulders. Unstable from his lack of rest, he fell forward though, pushing them both to the wooden floor. Raito looked up at him, eyes wide and bewildered. L had been violent with him before but now, this wasn't violence. This was desperation. His expression was the same as always, calm and composed, but Raito sensed something else behind his eyes, something untamed.

Before Raito had a chance to react, Ryuuzaki grabbed him around his middle and pressed their lips together. Ryuuzaki's eyes were closed tightly, his eyebrows furrowed. Raito was far too shocked to do anything; he just looked at him, searching his face for a reason. Then he felt it, hot tears running down his cheek. They weren't his own.

"You idiot," he sobbed, his fingers curling in the fabric of Raito's shirt. "I love Raito-kun. He deserves my attention. Not Kira!"

Raito's eyes softened, dazed still but not angry at him for what happened. "I'm sorry. I never realized. I'm always right here beside you, though."

"But you're never with me."

"What do you…?" Raito understood. He didn't need to say anything else. "How can I help this investigation when I couldn't even sense your feelings for me?" He laughed softly, putting a hand at the back of Ryuuzaki's head, easing him down to his chest. His fingers worked their way through his hair, massaging gently, hoping he was helping him relax. "See," he said, the chains brushing together, "there's no reason to cry. I'm always right here with you."

"I still… hope you're Kira."

Stubborn, stubborn Ryuuzaki, Raito thought.

They didn't bother to even get up to go somewhere more comfortable. They fell asleep where they lied.

Author's Notes: slams head into keyboard repeatedly It's finished. Praise the Lord. For a while I thought I wasn't going to be able to write this. Luckily, it ended up turning out how I planned. Hopefully you enjoyed reading! Feedback's always appreciated!