Nana: Hello, and welcome to my first stab at a challenge-fic. Iron Chief, my friend from Justice Forums, wrote a fic at my request called Struggling Towards Death, which I adored, so when he wanted something done I had to give it a try.

In this fic, L gives up sugar. It's written assuming that that's essentially all he eats, that there aren't any hidden scenes where he's gobbling up cauliflower. It's a one-shot, and I hope that everyone enjoys it, especially Iron Chief!

Disclaimer: While I'd love to claim responsibility for the brilliance that is Death Note, I can't.

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Addiction

by SunMoonAndSpoon

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Excessive sugar consumption can be quite the health risk.

First, it suppresses the immune system. This results in more days spent sick and less work being done. Even small things are distractions, it's hard to think straight when your sinuses are clogged and your throat hurts. Lowered immunity due to too much sugar and not enough vitamins can lead to more serious illness as well. It has. L's been hospitalized for infections and anemia more times than he can count. This is inconvenient, expensive, and not particularly enjoyable.

Second, his metabolism will not stay the way it is forever. Those less blessed grow fat on diets like his, and while he doubts he'll gain much he'll gain something, metabolism drops with age and that's it. Weight gain makes heart attacks and strokes more likely, as well as diabetes. Those things aren't likely for right now, well the heart attack thing but not because of his eating habits. Still, it's a risk factor.

Third, and least important, it rots the teeth. L's had several cavities, and he's got mouth pain going on most of the time. When he bothers to brush blood comes out in the sink, that isn't good. None of this is good. He's also wired and doesn't get enough sleep; he's been having trouble with his stomach.

Before, he'd never had these issues. He could eat what he wanted and it's most likely stress, it's not just the fact that he's stuffing his face more than usual. He had thought he could keep this up for another few years with no worries, but apparently it's early for him, he feels awful. This is all he ever eats and that's likely why, but anyway it has to stop.

Yes. That's right. L is going to give up sugar. At least for a bit, he'll quit cold turkey. It's not like he needs it or anything. It's not like he's addicted.

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He would have started off by tossing everything, he actually tried but he found himself sneaking a cookie here, a chocolate bar there, it wasn't working. So he gave up, left it all up to Watari who heartily approved. He'd reiterated all the reasons L had for himself, making him feel like not stopping, like rebelling, but that would be ridiculous. So now he's sitting by the window, staring pointedly out while Watari searches his possessions, throws out every bit of sugar that he's got. Later, he plans to go shopping for real food, nutritious things that will make him make him healthy, boost his brain.

It doesn't cause him any pain to see his sweets discarded. What hurts are his molars, his colon and his gums. He will be reasonable about this. It's only junk.

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"This is disgusting," he states, poking at the mess inside the bowl he used to use for ice cream. He's using a spoon, god he's just not used to chopsticks, and he's not even used to the food here, he's not even sure what it's called. Rice, obviously, and some kind of seaweed. Hijiki Salad, it was. Japanese food, which he hasn't really had since he arrived here, the occasional dish of course but not really. He's never had Hijiki Salad.

It's repulsive, and supposedly healthy. There's carrots in it, sesame seeds. Carrots belong in cake and sesame seeds in a pastry. Seaweed belongs in the ocean, but apparently this is all meant to go in his stomach. Great.

He manages to choke it down.

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Night comes and he doesn't sleep, he expects to since he's eaten nothing but health food all day. Normally he's up doing things, he doesn't notice his insomnia but tonight he actually tosses in bed, stares for hours at the bright clock on a nearby table. His teeth still hurt and his stomach still hurts and he knows he can't expect immediate results but still, he's disappointed. Anyway attempting sleep and not succeeding is awful, he should give up right now and not bother, he has work to do and he won't be functional if he wakes up right in the middle of REM sleep.

He would burrow around for a bit and dig up some junk, but he can't. He'll just focus on the Kira case, do some actual work instead of obsessing over his own rather petty desires.

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The next few days are spent on independent investigation, L doesn't see the task force or anyone really, for a while. It's just as well; as time goes on he finds he's definitely got an addiction of sorts going on. Physically, it doesn't hurt as much as his teeth do (and they are still hurting him) but he falls into a dark and nervous mood. He does his work, pins down all the data that he has to, but he does the bare minimum, he spends too much time brooding over nothing and jumping out of his seat when he hears the creaking of the door. He has to switch hotels soon, get off his ass and stop picturing pecan pie, strawberry shortcake, god. Stop. Stop it now. Figure out the hotel thing. Jesus.

But he never gets around to it; the task force shows up just before he gets a handle on himself, he's gnawing on his thumb like it's candy, bleeding down his hand. "Welcome," he says, "lets get started."

They do and they're talking and they're striking up a plan, this is what we'll do next, blah blah blah. L doesn't care. He would care, he's supposed to care, goddamn it he can't believe he doesn't care, this is the Kira case, they're on a roll and they're this close to finding the second one, they have DNA that's going to be analyzed tonight. He should be psyched but he isn't, all he thinks is sugar sugar sugar and then, then Matsuda has the nerve to take some food out. A candy bar. Chocolate. Meiji. L gnaws his bloody finger harder.

"Matsuda…" he growls, trying not to scream at him. "Please put that away." And he doesn't explain and Matsuda's upset, he can't see why he's being banned when it's really L's fault in the first place, he wouldn't have thought to eat these things if not for him. He asks him in a small voice why, and L says he's not eating sugar, he can't stand to see Matsuda eating sugar if he's not.

"I could just give you a piece of my chocolate?" he offers, holding it out so it curls forward melting. Delicious, semi-solid goop drips down the wrapper, L is trying hard to stop the drool. He shakes his head, insists again that Matsuda get rid of it. "But why?" he asks, "I thought you liked chocolate…?"

"I love it!" he snaps, "but I'm trying to stop. So, if you would be so kind as to not tempt me to tear it out of your hands and consume it, we can proceed with the meeting." And he starts shuffling papers, readying his thoughts on Kira, yes he's finally switching to a relevant, meaningful method of thought. But the taskforce is looking at him, not ready to work or distract him. No. Instead they're staring him down, wide mouthed and mystified.

"Congratulations, Ryuzaki," they say virtually in unison, nodding to the tune of their approval. No one's ever said a thing about his excessive sugar intake, never judged him or criticized him or anything at all. Because they're co-workers, not friends, they have no right but it's obvious, they saw his eating as insane. "Congratulations," they say, and he wants to smack them, he's going batshit crazy and he wants that chocolate, the blood in his thumbs and the skin from his lips are no substitute.

The meeting ends with nothing accomplished, his brain's turned to sludge and his head hurts, his teeth still hurt despite his abstinence. He's asked if he's alright a thousand times, he nods his head but he keeps it down, rocks back and forth and thinks of sugar.

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Days pass and he has a handle on it, he's eating Hijiki salad or whatever every day. He misses his junk and he thinks about that more than he does Kira, he's more distracted than he was before. But it'll go away and he's proud of himself, things are better, definitely better. He won't be sick anymore, and the ache in his teeth will go away. He will be functional, perfect now that he's made this massive sacrifice. L is proud of himself. He's happy.

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The next few meetings are fast and crazy, they get their suspect and their second Kira just like that. She's Misa Misa, a cute but stupid semi-celebrity who thinks he's a stalker and says so. It occurs to him to take offense, to get annoyed with this but he isn't. He could go on slamming questions at her all day long, he feels fantastic. When Light shows up saying he could be Kira, that'd they'd better lock him up he's thrown off a bit, a little less gung-ho. But it's a challenge and L's up for anything, if he can kick the sugar then there's nothing he can't do.

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L no longer feels fantastic. There is plenty he can't do. The case is dragging on and they're getting nowhere, neither Light nor Misa have anything to say but 'I'm not Kira!' or 'Let me go Mr. Stalker, I have to go pee!' It's grating his nerves but that hardly matters, it's not the case that counts right now.

That's right, he's got other things on his mind. He's sick. After weeks of invulnerability, immortality because he gave up what he loved the most, he's sick. It's nothing serious, no vitamin deficiencies or fatal infections but still. He feels horrid, he's got construction work going on in his sinuses, a jackhammer and pouring concrete. His voice has left him; he's re-configured his computer to speak what he writes instead. He's got a violent cough, he's definitely running a fever, and this is intolerable, this really is, this is whyhe gave up sugar. He had wanted to stop getting sick!

And so he sits surrounded by snot rags, hacking his throat raw and occasionally typing something in to Yagami, Light, or Misa. Aizawa seems irritated by the noises he's making, Matsuda keeps looking at him like a puppy concerned for his master. His cough has been the first thing to get Matsuda's eyes off locked-up Light. For that he feels slightly special, but not enough to be any less annoyed. Matsuda eyes him up and down all day, making it clear that he wants to help out somehow. But in the end it's Mogi who does something, when he comes back from filing he hands him a mug full of tea. He gives him sugar too; apparently he's missed the fact that L has stopped. He doesn't protest, doesn't care. Screw depravation if he'll still be sick, the ban is off!

He piles the sugar in, fills the cup. Matsuda's eyes widen, he remembers if no one else does that he'd sworn off the stuff. But L doesn't care, he keeps going 'til he's got a cup full of sludge and it won't really serve the purpose Mogi meant it to. "Thank you," he says, "could you do me another favor?"

Mogi nods, ready if not pleased to be of service. L taps his chin, cravings flying through his mind and then he lands on one, the worst one really, ice cream will only increase his congestion. But all the same he says, "Mogi, I want you to get me a quart…no, a gallon of strawberry ice cream." And Mogi agrees over Matsuda's protests, he can't believe L's given up so quickly. L stares him down and he stops talking, but anyone can tell he's disappointed.

It's half an hour before he's back with the ice cream, it's not a brand he knows or likes but who gives a damn, he gulps it all down by the end of the meeting. Everyone gapes at him, amazed but they don't question it, they know but don't say that he's a failure. Screw it, that was fabulous, health and Hijiki salad can both go straight to hell.

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Nana: Did anybody think for a second that it was going to last? I don't know if I did, I'm not really sure what I thought when I was writing this. I hope it was in character. Oh well, at the very least it's well researched! So, I hope you had as much fun reading as I did writing, and I hope you'll leave me tasty wonderful reviews! Have a spiffy day!