A flash of white pierced through the darkness.
What the…? Light blinked several times.
It took him a few moments to realize the blinding glare of white was nothing more than a well-working light fixture, not the angelic beam of light he had expected. A strange heat rose to his face at the childish notion – hell, what was happening to him? Next he'd be looking for a little man in a red suit or something of the sorts. There he was lying on what he supposed was an amazingly soft mattress, confusing himself with sure nonsense, with not the slightest clue where he was.
Babbling internally; yet another thing Kira had to make a mental note of to kick out of his system.
Knowing the irreversible damage to his eyes that could be brought on by his blatant stare at the light, the sociopath turned onto his side. A an unpleasant crunch accompanied by a jab of pain interrupted his muddled thoughts; pushing away the covers, Light raised the cotton shirt he didn't remember wearing, revealing tight bandaging around his stomach and most of his chest. His wrist had undergone the same treatment. There would be no need for such extents if he were dead. Perhaps he had been taken to a hospital in time and –
No, it couldn't be. It's impossible.
It could happen. It might explain the bandages.
Just in case, I should make sure.
He placed index and middle fingers to his bandage-free wrist. Nothing. He was dead. He took a moment to mull it over, bracing himself for some sort of emotional outburst or panic attack, both of which never came. Insanely calm. That's how everything felt right then. No rush in the moment, no hurry for another plan or twist in story. Nothing Kira-like at all.
It all came to this, then.
The room resembled that of a simple, artistic teenager; three of the four powder blue walls adorned in art, the spaces and alignment of the pieces quite artistic in their own manner. There were no people in the pictures, only strange plants and flowers could be made out from Light's distance. Unlike the art, furniture was a rarity; a single chair sat quite empty by the only door, more or less blending into the floor, if it weren't for the frayed quilt draped over it.
Someone had sat in that chair at some time or another, observing him in the quiescent of the blue walls and quivering leaves. He frowned at the idea; it irked him to think of someone watching him while he slept, not that it hadn't been done before, (he remembered those cameras in his room that had been placed under Ryuzaki's orders in hopes of catching Kira in the act), but he had known about it and couldn't be caught off guard. And of course, during the time spent chained to said insomniac detective, he was sure had been under the careful watch of onyx eyes while he slept – that was when he was able to; Light had often been forced to stay up to 'look for Kira' or rather when the other didn't have the patience to lie down for more than a few moments. On the rare occasions that Ryuzaki feel asleep while he was observing the other man's slumber, in the morning they both awoke faces mere inches away, hopelessly tangled in the chain, faced with the pains of bruising and gruesome morning breath.
Instinctively, Light rubbed his wrist, almost feeling the chill of the manacle pressed against his skin.
He hadn't heard the door open. Or the slight creak of wood under bare feet.
"Ah," a placid voice broke through his reverie, "you've taken the liberty of waking yourself."
Another turn, another loudly uncomfortable crunch; brown eyes met black. Speak of the devil.
"It's been too long, Light-kun." Pallid fingers tucked casually in his pockets, it was quite apparent the detective held a calm air though distancing himself from the other, a stoic expression upon chiseled features.
If Yagami Light had been alive at that moment, he would've heard his heart hammering wildly in his chest. The colour had drained itself from his face; there were only a few rare moments that the man of twenty four years or so stumbled over words, being the articulate and self-assured person he was, and that particular scenario had made it into that miniscule category quite easily.
The fallen god took a deep breath to steady himself; dry lips opened, closed, and then parted once more. But to no avail; what could he say to the man whose death he was responsible for?
Now, this is awkward.
Former arch nemesis and friend pushed back a portion of raven hair from equally dark eyes, revealing a purplish bruise on the upper part of his forehead, a blemish on his paper-white visage. A small smirk tugged at his lips. "You've gotten much stronger since we last fought, I'll admit, but you weren't completely in your right mind so I couldn't defend myself properly. I had to jab you with a scalpel, instead."
"W-what?" managed the other feebly, sitting up a bit too quickly; he suppressed a cry as a sudden pain shot through his side, and instead, let out a stifled grunt. The room seemed to spin for a second or two.
Sable eyes narrowed slightly, a noticeably unconcerned expression on the detective's face.
"Death is quite painful, isn't it?" There was an unmistakable bitter twinge to his tone.
"I wonder," replied the brunette sardonically, clenching his teeth in an effort not to let out a scream, the pain in his side searing like a flame. He took a sharp breath, closing his eyes momentarily, concentrating on the core of the sting – it dulled to a tolerable throb. Umber eyes fluttered open, steadily meeting the owl-like gaze of the man who had seemed to take a concerned yet cautious step closer to the bed. The pain had been replaced with a newfound confidence; more or less a sudden rush of adrenaline he hoped would not leave anytime soon. "If you wouldn't mind, Ryuzaki, I'd like to think you owe me a damn good explanation."
Now it was the detective's turn to be surprised. He blinked apprehensively, taken aback by the sudden change in Light's attitude but a lopsided smile brightened his insipid features. "I thought you'd never ask." There was a pause as he took a moment to consult the clock, right thumb at his lips, teeth nipping incessantly at the apparently callous flesh, before returning his owlish stare to the other man. "Before I explain anything, I'd like to think you owe me a much needed shower - on your part." He slipped his other hand out of his pocket and pinched his nose with his fingers quite childishly.
Light was sure he felt a vein throb just above his left eye and had a strangely familiar urge to shove the detective into the nearest wall. For heaven's sake, the raven haired man looked utterly ridiculous; standing disheveled as ever, one thumb between his lips and his other hand quite preoccupied covering his noise in an obtuse fashion. Then again, the auburn haired man was in no way to complain of abnormalities; he was lying or sitting or carrying out an action in between the previous two with some difficulty, his body half adorned in bandages and reeking of sweat, gunpowder and blood, with little knowledge of where he was and why. Taking a deep breath to suppress his sudden rage, said quite-not-fragrant mass murderer propped himself up against the backboard of the bed. "Fine," he sighed. "A shower it is."
"Hm?" enquired the detective blankly in a slightly nasal voice, still pinching his nose. "Did you say something?
"…" Another shaky breath was much needed to prevent a certain younger man from physically harming the owl-spider-hybrid. Damn you, L. "Is there a washroom I could use?" Each word was slow, enunciated with great patience.
"Down the hall, your first right, the green door."
Light glanced down at the flimsy material of his clothing, lips curling distastefully at the rouge stains which he assumed had been a result of the intervention on his injuries.
"Watari has probably set out clothes, towels and toiletries for you," added the detective, echoing the other's thoughts.
So the old fossil's here, too. Typical.
"…" Further nipping of the thumb perhaps indicated a humble acknowledgment of Light's thanks.
"…" His face coloured; he wasn't sure quite how the blood traveled anywhere in his body without his heart beating but judging by the way L still had his nose pinched closed, this wasn't the time to ask questions and expect any credible answers. "I – I need help."
"I'm sure anyone who deems themselves Kira needs quite a lot of help."
So he knows. Well, of course, he does. It wouldn't take a genius to figure that much out after the events that had led to that moment but the detective was a genius so it all worked out anyway.
He hoped to dodge the subject until the detective could give him a reasonable explanation for…well, everything that had happened in those few short minutes. "That's not what I meant," he said.
"…" An expression – something very close to annoyance – set itself upon L's face. On the brighter side of things, he had stopped pinching his nose in that nerve-grating manner, though his thumb remained between parted lips. "Care to expand then?"
Light gestured at his chest in a fervent motion. This earned him a confused and somewhat disgusted look from the other man. Sighing in exasperation, the brunette slightly raised his shirt, revealing the tightly wound bandages around his torso. "These bandages are really tight. I need help – standing up. Please." He added the last word in a pleading tone, hoping the detective would make some effort to assist him.
"You could've simply told me, Light-kun, and you wouldn't have to go such…extremities in order for me to understand your petty demands. I am quite able to understand such things, I assure you."
"Yet, you failed to understand my 'petty' demands the first ten thousand times I showed you." The brunette arched a brow skeptically.
"If I recall correctly you did no such thing – you pointed at your chest several times and made some silly hand gestures, and indicated you needed help. Please do tell me who can understand those animal-like actions, Light-kun. Those silly gestures could've meant choking, phlegm, heartburn…" Pausing, he threw a pointed glance at the other.
"I get it," Light hissed through gritted teeth.
"Glad to hear."
"Now could you please help me get up?"
"There's a chance of that happening sometime in the near future."
Before the younger man could find something within his reach to bodily harm the raven haired individual, said individual had slid an arm around the brunette's waist, pulling Light's arm around his shoulder, hoisting up the man steadily. Light blinked in surprise; the detective's spidery fingers trembled quite conspicuously – he was hesitant, afraid, to be so close to another human being.
Me, Light – Kira, of all people – can I blame him?
Another pain shot through Light's side and he nearly keeled over but L's firm iron grip kept him from falling, the detective's pale structure trembling with the effort of standing up straight. When he stood this way, his height matched that of Light – a definite improvement to the slouch.
"You're staring; I'm quite flattered," Ryuzaki commented.
Surely something deep inside the brunette would burst and soon enough he would have the other pinned against a wall. I did not just think that. Light's cheeks coloured fiercely – and quite visibly to the detective – as he tried to process what had just gone through his mind at that moment. What the hell was happening to him? "I just didn't imagine you to be this tall, is all," he explained, his tone measured.
"Light-kun includes me in his twisted sense of imagination – I assume I should be quite touched."
"Don't flatter yourself, ex-detective," said the other coolly in response. He paused, relishing the triumph fading in L's expression and pressed on insistently. "You haven't quite crossed my mind since…well, since your pitiful death, Ryuzaki." A disdainful smile touched his lips.
"…" A sudden hostility flickered through the detective's eyes before he averted his eyes to the art upon the wall nearest him. "If I'm not mistaken, Light-kun, you were killed by your only friend so I guess that puts us 'in the same boat' as per the saying."
An uncomfortable silence settled itself upon the room, save for the ticking of a clock hanging on the wall across the duo. It was slightly past midnight, moonlight spilling through the circular window.
"I prefer my usual posture," he shrugged a few moments later, answering an unasked question. "It increases my reasoning dramatically and doesn't really harm me, now does it, Light-kun?"
Taken aback by the sudden back-to-topic stance the detective had taken, Light sighed inwardly – he would never really figure out that strange man. "In other words, you don't consider damaging your spinal cord harmful," he deadpanned.
"In other words, I'm clinically dead."
"…can you walk?"
Ah, yes, Light had almost forgotten he was practically standing in the arms of another man, and he felt like slapping himself at the strange interpretation of the moment but he refrained from doing so, quite aware such an action would earn him a burning stare from the owlish fiend. Inhaling sharply, he took a small step forward, Ryuzaki moving with him, wincing only slightly at the sting. Another step, bigger this time, another sting, though this pain was quite tolerable and barely aching at all. Yet another; the pain had almost completely disappeared, save for the occasional throb. He just had to talk sluggishly cautious steps. "I can manage," he mumbled.
Dark eyes, calculating and pensive as ever, scrutinized his face for a moment before the detective quickly released his grip on the other man, and took a quick step back, shoulders drooping back to its usual state. "Good. That means you can walk yourself to the washroom."
"Yes," replied Light jadedly. "Down the hall, first left – green door?"
"Correct." The detective gave a curt nod before he turned to leave.
Said man did not turn back but froze on the spot reflexively.
"I...well, thank you – for everything, really." The words were hastened, awkward.
Stiffened shoulders relaxed. The detective gave a small shrug, leaving the room but not before muttering something inaudible.
Yet another thing both geniuses had in common – the inability to express certain emotions clearly.
It took an approximate three minutes for the former sociopath to make it to the washroom Ryuzaki had instructed him to. Manila fibers of the plush carpet tickled at his feet as he took the slow, steady steps he was able, taking in the surroundings mechanically; something similar to a mansion though somehow different, much larger in size and atmosphere – it held a familiar air akin to the Kira case headquarters though Light could not place why. Slabs of white marble glistened in the light emitted from chandeliers hanging at least ten feet above him, some sort of a battle depicted within the facets of the stained glass ceilings. The tall windows were curtained heavily. Paintings adorned the pinstriped cream walls (it took a few moments for him to realize they were larger copies of the artwork back in the blue room). Yet again, furniture was scarce - a slight claustrophobia credited by the walls that seemed to close in as he advanced, quite not so scarce.
The first right took him straight to the green door, which led to a very large, green bathroom. Oh, the surprise. Each room had surely been colour coded or something of the sort. But Light was too tired to care.
In a few moments, stripped of clothes and the throbbing pain (though not of bandages he noted unhappily), the brunette stood under the running shower, sighing contently as the warm water soothed away the fatigue that had settled itself upon him, fingers slowly lathering the shampoo into tangled locks of russet. He was rather piqued to find the substance candy-strawberry scented, along with the body wash and soap. Ryuzaki…damn you. It was bad enough the owlish individual consumed sugary desserts beyond a healthy limit but to smell like the accursed things themselves was absurd. And to set this misfortune upon Light – that really didn't make any sense.
Unless he wants to punish you for being Kira.
By making you bathe with candy-strawberry scented shampoo? Oh, now that just makes complete sense.
That damn two-sided, brutally sarcastic conscious kicking in again; hadn't he made a mental note to end this internal babbling?
Then again, said conscious had sparked a bonfire of questions in his mind. Ryuzaki knew he was Kira but hadn't really seemed effected by the fact. If not calm, the detective seemed his usual hard-headed self or how Light had always remembered him; the horrible posture, the thumb-biting habit, raccoon eyes and all. And of course, they were both very dead, clinically dead to be specific. Yet nothing seemed to have change – much. Or things had changed quite dramatically without him realizing. Not a single thought of world domination or ridding the world of its impurities had crossed Light's mind since he had woken up from whatever slumber he had been it.
That was enough to worry, if not slightly bother, any self-conscious sociopath.
And, to add to the list of his growing concerns, he had seen the accursed detective before he died and that strange event had set off a thousand different emotions in the pit of his stomach – the most conspicuous being terrible sadness. What the hell? Since when did the genius-turned-god need such trifles occupying any part of his mind, and towards L of all people? Dying does things to a person, things he or she can't really explain.
But Ryuzaki could explain. Perhaps a strange connection - from the afterlife or wherever he was at that moment – had allowed the detective to appear before the dying god. Or maybe it's just best to keep it to myself. It was more likely that Light had hallucinated, his emotions a sign of the deranged state of his body before he lost his life to the Death Note. But why the detective, he was yet to understand. And he didn't want L asking the questions, not until the sociopath had some answers first.
A translucent bubble floated by; he had accidentally dropped the offending pink bath bomb that had come with the shampoo and it fizzed loudly at his feet; an overwhelming mixture of strawberries and milk chocolate filled the room.
So what was Ryuzaki's plan? Continue to torture him with candy-scented toiletries? This shower was the key to receiving an explanation from the pallid thing deemed detective – no, wait, ex-detective (that had definitely hit a nerve) - and as much as Light was enjoying indulging himself in the much needed repose, he need many questions answered and fast; the shampoo had washed out of his hair, leaving it quite silky and free of tangles (he grumbled inwardly, not willing to openly appreciate it even if he were alone), and he had used more than a healthy amount of body wash to rid his body of any unpleasant smells. Not that he was deeming the candy-strawberry-and-chocolate smell any more pleasant, of course.
He turned off the tap and stepped out of the cubicle, pulling the towel from its place on the handle and wrapping it around the lower half of his damp body. As per the detective's prediction, Watari had set out clothing for the now candy-scented man; a long sleeved shirt, the colour of ivory, and blue jeans sat in a wicker basket, immaculate and neatly folded. And they were well fitted, he noted as he pulled them on moments later, as if he had bought them himself. The old man had done his research well. However, the 'moment' was quite lost; Light eyed the peppermint deodorant he had just used mistakenly with disgust. Great, the last addition completed the whole walking-talking-saccharine-item-scented-is-my-claim-to-fame look quite classically.
Light walked out, hoping to soon wring the neck of a certain detective – only to crash into said detective carrying a tray of hot beverages
1) DOA is used here to show that Light was 'dead on arrival'. Ah, morbid humour.
Anything that seems confusing will be explained in the next chapter; cheers.