Metal.

Iron.

Had he half his consciousness left, he might marvel at the surreal feeling that there was so much blood, and that it was growing cold.

So tired.

So numb, all sand and the heaviness of lead and the sharp pain fading gradually to dull, and is this what it's like—is this what it's like—

Even the faint taste of iron was fading now, of cold liquid, of blood—

His only regret is that he will die.

Someone. Anyone.

He has never loved anyone.

Even after it's all gone black and numb and cold, he is still there, he is still cognizant, and it's terrifying, isn't it, it's terrifying to know that even after your heart stops beating and your lungs stop going and your muscles stop moving, your brain still continues on for a little while longer, knowing there's no way to turn except death.

He can vaguely feel the cool slide of fingers under the nape of his neck and the angular articulation of the wrist under his knees, and all is darkness as he is carried away.

"Here is where this chapter ends," comes the quiet voice of reason, soft and composed, and somehow Light replies,

"I'm afraid."

It comes clean and simple but laden with poisonous knots at last unfurled, and, not looking down, L replies,

"I understand."

He is beginning to see again, and all he can see is the white underside of L's chin and the soft black hair sliding against his neck, and he asks,

"Where are we going?"

"You're bleeding," comes the reply, "you're bleeding all over, Light-kun."

Didn't L die?

He can move his arm now, and, now that he can see, he brings his fingers to his face and inspects them slowly.

"You've been shot."

"Am I—going to die?"

L stops and gazes down at him in quiet introspection, and Light realizes that it has been years since he's looked into his black eyes.

L is quiet for a long time.

"That has ended already. Light-kun."

Were he not so delirious with fatigue, he might panic or maybe lash out in confusion, but everything was so surreal, so confusing, so—so slow—

He doesn't keep track of how long they've been traveling or where they could possibly be going, but ultimately he can see that they have entered some building, and he feels himself being lowered down onto a raised surface—and he isn't quite so tired anymore.

He can see L's black hair sway as the older boy reaches for something across the bed, and when the white chest hovers over him, he notices that L isn't wearing anything. When their gazes meet again, Light feels something cold and wet against his arm, and it's cloth, and L is actually cleaning his wound.

"Yes, I know, Light-Kun," comes the quiet voice.

That I was the one who—

"And yes, I'm still taking care of you."

It's been such a very long time.

Even though L had died, Light still lost. There was no justice. There was no new world.

"All that is over now."

What is now?

The room isn't quite dark, and as his eyes grow accustomed to the dim gray, he can see that there's a small table next to the bed, and on the table is his notebook.

No—a new notebook.

L's long fingers are unraveling his tie and then the buttons on his shirt, and both are heavy with coagulated blood, and, as L nudges him to sit up so he can slide them off, Light realizes that the wounds don't hurt and that he isn't tired.

And L isn't treating his injuries – he's merely cleaning the blood.

No human who uses the Death Note can go to heaven or hell.

So that's it.

"But why are you here?"

He asks, watching the water drip down his chest from the cloth in L's hand.

Black eyes look up.

"Light-kun is my only friend."

To be continued…