Disclaimer: Death Note and all characters and settings related to it are the property of Ohba and Obata.


( A perfumed body presses close to him, wheedling and coaxing, trying to seduce his senses. Raito closes his eyes, letting the woman's affection wash over him.

He is still cold. Neutral and unaffected.

She unbuttons his shirt with the precision of one accustomed, and starts kissing him, her lips eager and softly melding against his. Raito kisses back automatically, closing his eyes.)

Sometimes, when Raito Yagami closed his eyes, he'd remember flashes of scenes he'd long tried to forget. He remembered dark rooms lit by the artificial blue glow from computer terminals, the carpet thick on the floor, the tables littered with papers and discarded wrappers. He could almost feel a cold steel ring against the sensitive flesh of his wrist, and the pale, nearly luminescent skin on the other end of the chain. His mind played images of soot-dark eyes, wide, with the shadowy hints of insomnia outlining it against the alabaster flesh, and wild hair, much darker than the coffee he'd drowned in sugar and had spooned into a moistened, soft mouth.

He recalled staring at L's profile in his tireless pursuit of information and Kira. The way his eyes had flicked almost imperceptibly to Raito while pouring caramel syrup over some crepes left over from dinner. He'd remember the soft, lackadaisical, almost unassuming voice, infused with the tones of someone who was innately, undeniably intelligent and knew it. Even when there was nothing remarkable in what he had to say.

"Would you like some, Raito-kun? "

He'd remember the strange stirring he quickly suppressed whenever he had spoken with Ryuuzaki, as he told them to call him, whether it was hearing his name upon those lips or arguing over the complexities and subtleties of anything that came to hand.

(He opens his eyes, and dispassionately looks over the woman's lipstick-smeared pouting lips, the doll-like face, as if it had been manufactured in a factory, and the long strands of bleached hair. She has a name, Raito knows, but he can't be bothered to remember it.

"Stop," he says. The woman stares at him, incredulous, before huffing and straightening her clothes.

"You never get into the mood!" she complains, but the words sound distant to Raito, and though his mouth makes placating words, his mind is not on it.

And he while he knows she is sought after for her infamous beauty, and there is no harm in taking his pleasure with her tonight, he sends her away, unsatisfied.

She is just another woman, after all.)

Upon reflection, he supposed that being with L had been a never-ceasing novelty of sorts. It was when he started feeling almost explosively alive, sometimes, burning with ire and hate as they traded words and blows. It had thrilled him, made the blood thrum in his veins, to spar with someone on the same level.

(She is the year's world chess champion and a top scholarship student of Harvard, Raito is told, before they start playing. He takes white and makes the first move, glass pieces sliding on marble tiles.

Her long ebony hair is drawn into a loose ponytail, and she pushes back a few errant strands as she moves one of her white pieces to execute what would be a threatening check on Raito's black-crowned king, 3 moves down the line.

Raito moves a strategically positioned rook to claim her piece, eliminating the threat smoothly.

The girl is both attractive and intelligent certainly. She has none of the near otherworldly beauty some had, nor is her face cute, like a teen idol. Instead, her beauty is reminiscent of the ill-fated Takada, though the chess champion surpasses her in both maturity and intelligence.

They talk as the moves are played out, and Raito knows that he will end the night unsatisfied yet again.

He recognizes that he may be interested for a few hours- maybe even a few days, but it only took thirteen minutes for him to judge her as, ultimately, one of the rest. One of the people who he detaches himself from daily, the ones who belong to a world he surveys from atop another place.)

At time he'd felt disgust at some of the prodigy detective's quirky habits and mannerisms: the way he had curled his slim body on the seat, and how he had sent a never-ceasing stream of sugar down his throat or how he had gnawed on the tip of his thumb, though strangely enough, never broke the skin.

This hadn't been new. He'd always felt a distant sort of disgust with everyone who wasn't family. Whether it was the teachers and their condescending or nervous outlook about him, or people like his classmates, who treated him with varying forms of awe or dared to think he was like them.

But L was different. With L, it seemed personal. It was an affront that got under his skin, as Kira and as Yagami Raito.

And he hated the fact even more when he had started to like his quirks.

He remembered the elastic tension that was always between them, as it was between any two people of destiny. It drew taut and lax from point to point, and hung between them waiting to be acted upon. The verbal exchanges, the fist-and-foot fights… all of it. There had been several times when neither of them knew why it was exactly, any more.

He remembered when he almost did act upon it, driving L against the wall and ducking his head close- only to abruptly release the wide-eyed boy and mumble an apology.

He'd walked away.

But when the chain drew taut and he turned, the detective prodigy was still looking at him speculatively.

"I don't mind, Raito-kun," he said almost absent-mindedly, still watching from beneath his lashes. But it was a door that was never tried again, though temptingly ajar.

(Hands wandered over wiry limbs and a flat, masculine chest. He is one of the few of the more ardent Kira fans to actually be worth noticing- intelligent and exceptionally devoted, Raito reflects.

And yet as his mouth closed over the firm and smooth flesh, his closed eyelids sees ghostly images of paler skin, another body under his, seemingly fragile, entirely supple, evidenced strong by many a received kick. His hand finds darker hair, and his tongue is inside a mouth that retains ghostly hints of sweets.

In the end, he is still unsatisfied.)

L thought Raito was Kira.

And L was right.

That was why he had to be killed.

L's very presence had threatened him. It did things that resonated deep within him enigmatically. He was like a bared knife, an active danger, and with his in-depth mental abilities, his precision, sense of justice, determination and intuition- L could be nothing less. But sometimes Raito had the niggling feeling that he was scared of L for other things as well. Something he had never bothered to identify.

For a few brief moments, he had allowed himself a twisted delight, finally seeing the thing he most feared fall. He remembered his surprise at how easy it was to howl in despair and play the rest of the Kira investigation team to his liking.

Not even the two would-be successors could stop him. They barely lasted a fraction of the time L had. And then he rose, turning away any opposition with a few precise marks.

He could do anything he wanted. The criminals fell before him, handful by handful, a collection of names in black ink. Even the Mafia couldn't stop him, simply watching apprehensively from their shadowy corners in the world- even they had to give up.

Different representatives from every country from the North Pole down were threatened, cajoled or charmed. Ultimately they marched under his banner.

His New World was born, and he led at its head as god.

(He stands over a grave; its marker is plain and the name on it, false. It is unvisited, the stone weathered by the elements and the place in front of it bare, though clean. Well-kept grass grows neatly over the grave, courtesy of the staff employed by the mausoleum, no doubt.

In his hand is a small bunch of white flowers, expensive and imported from Europe. Nestled in the crook of the same arm was a vial of hyper-sweetened Earl Gray tea. Both are an afterthought, a strange whim he cannot explain. One that wars with the smoldering remains of anger and triumph that he had yet to let go.

Silently, he places both offerings on the grave and crouches in front of the marker meditatively. He reaches out and traces the etched letters and years.

He still doesn't know L's real name, but this one clearly was as false as the Ryuuga Hideki he had used to identify himself. But that didn't really matter anymore. He was L, and that name, and all pseudonyms, no matter how much they were used by other people, were wrapped around Raito's coalescent images and memories of a dark-haired, dark-eyed boy, dressed in the inconspicuous oversized clothes: rival, friend, foe. Equal.

He knows that the body that lies beneath him in its coffin must have decomposed long ago, cold and without breath for nearly 5 years now.

But as he sits there and lets the wind blow strands of his hair over his face, picking up his black scarf and dancing with the cloth, he allows himself to feel the long-suppressed wave of regret. It's a strange sinking sensation, utterly foreign. He stays until the sun begins to sink. The wind picks up again, whipping loose leaves and trench coat about his frame. Slowly, Raito Yagami, the Exalted Kira and Unopposed Ruler of the New World walks away.

In some part of him he numbly, analytically reaches a conclusion on the root of his dissatisfaction- a realization that was quiet and sharp and echoing, like the clink of links on a chain.)

Sometimes, when he closed his eyes, Raito remembered. Sometimes, although he'd never admit it, he wished he could stay there, his eyes closed, remembering the things he wanted to simultaneously keep and forget.

And maybe someday, in the darkness behind his eyelids, he'll forget that he was and always will be…




A/N: this thing is old and has been sitting around since forever. Written a few chapters before the end of the manga. I'd love to hear from you :)

Edit: I had so many errors here- tense shift and run-ons in particular . If I missed more, don't hesitate to tell me so…