Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note.

Rating: T

Spoilers: To the end of the series

Sometimes the innocent must suffer for the well-being of an entire community. Light Yagami believed this. It was cruel, he thought, that for fifty-three days he had to be brutally restrained and imprisoned in solitude when he knew he was innocent. But he could accept this. That had been his penalty for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but now they would have to admit that he was guiltless. L would have to admit it.

"So I'm finally being released and cleared..." Light said, releasing a sigh of relief. It was over, the nightmare was over. Aizawa had come to release him from that lifeless cell, he had unstrapped his bound ankles and walked him out of the dark basement and up to the garage. Soichiro Yagami had driven there to come and get him, even though they had not taken off the handcuffs that pinned his arms behind his back he knew he was safe with his father. The fear of Kira could finally dissipate, because Light had served his sentence. He had endured his punishment for being the prime suspect, and now, now he could be human again, he could be free-


Like a hammer bashing the unsuspecting hand of a child, the words were unbelievable. Inconceivable. Surreal. No recognition, no understanding, only the submergence of cold sweat.

"Right now, I am taking you to your execution."



So unfair, it was surreal.

The adolescent froze. Heartbeat stopped. Throat, no moisture, only a convulsing tingle as though cockroaches were creeping up from his lungs. A chilled terror, an intangible ghost not to see, but to feel and shake and tremble as the ice possessed his body. Nails bombarded his skin, tearing his flesh open and leaving him to his wretched disbelief. "Wh-what? Execution? What are you talking about, Dad?!"

"L has concluded that Light Yagami is Kira," his father replied tersely. Dry and empty, like desert sand blowing and stinging his son's eyes. "He's declared that once you are executed, the killings will end."

So unfair, it was surreal.

Silence had accompanied L's declaration, a swooning and speechless audience to the most wild of notions, the fast-paced symphony conducted by a lunatic. And then, the voices were everywhere, jeering and screaming and laughing and shrieking, terrible and relentless as the striking blows of percussion. "No! No way! Wait, Dad! I'm not Kira!"

"It's not my choice, it was L's," came a mechanical answer.

Faster and faster, the drums pounded. Nothing else could be perceived, there was nothing except merciless clashing of sound everywhere, tormenting fragile ears.

"L controls the police. He's solved numerous cases and has never been wrong."

It is wrong! It is wrong! So wrong, it's unfair, it's surreal. This was his father! He would never... the equation didn't fit... everything was hot, it was cold, so cold it was hot again, what was going on?! This wasn't logical. No, no, L must have seen it was logical, because of course it only made sense with the evidence that Light was the terrible killer, Kira... it made sense...

But it couldn't be logical because it just wasn't true! There was some missing factor! Something was gone! L was wrong!

Suddenly, the car stopped. They were in the middle of nowhere, pulled off of the highway onto the grass. Light gulped, praying that Soichiro, his loving father had come to his senses, had seen that this wasn't right, he was going to let him go now, keep him safe, because he was his father, God damn it, his father would never...

"Light," Soichiro said sternly, turning around from the driver's seat to look at his child from behind. Then, suddenly, his police handgun was in his hand. His finger was on the trigger, the barrel targeted at the prisoner's skull. "I'm going to kill you here."


...it was... so surreal-

"What are you saying, Dad?!" Light shouted, overcome with a shackling panic that squeezed the sweat from his skin and the tears from his eyes. "Y-you can't be serious!"

"I have the responsibility of being your father and the police chief." The words passed through tight lips that garnished a grimly angry expression. A murderous expression. An expression that did not belong to the father who loved his son unconditionally. "It's already been decided. At least this way you'll die by my hand."

Light's rational mind was torn to shreds, ripped to pieces by the demons of horror. He was going to die. He was going to die! This wasn't logical! It wasn't right! It wasn't fair! His throat was constricted and he couldn't breathe, his eyes were teary so his vision was blurred, his skin was like ice and his blood was burning. The body that might have precious seconds left to operate was trembling. "Dad, listen to me! P-please! I swear I'm not Kira! If you kill me now, we'll all be falling into his trap! If I was Kira, there's no way I'd let you do this, but I can't do anything, so-"

"Shut up."

A hammer bashing the hands on an innocent child.

The words, so unfair but so real, because the gun, it was right there! The gun shot bullets that pierced skin and tore the life out of bodies that were supposed to move, and it was there. There, in his face, and his father or whoever this man was, he was squeezing the trigger. Oh, oh no. No, no, no!

"Light, we're both murderers. We'll see each other in hell."

No, no, no no no! L, you're wrong, you're wrong and Dad you can't do this to me you're wrong and everything is wrong this isn't right please I don't want to die...! All of the sudden, guilt and innocence were just words, it didn't matter who he was or why it was happening, nothing mattered except the gun, the God of Death looking at him in the eyes, claiming his soul and - I don't want to die!





Everything was still surreal. For the next few hours, all Light could think was that he wasn't dead. At least, that was what he meagerly deduced. His body was functioning, his mind was more or less in tact. Some part of his brain vaguely took in that people were talking. His father murmured some apology, but the bullet was only a blank. They were just testing them. Just a test, of course. And L, the mastermind behind this... this test, he had been watching through video cameras the whole time.

And then he said something about how Light was going to work with him on the Kira case, twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week. The part of the adolescent's brain that was still comprehending things, sort of, making sure that he knew how to lift his feet to walk or expand his chest to breathe, it moved his lips to agree. Yeah, let's catch Kira together, L.

It had been for fifty-three days straight that his hands had been bound behind his back and his ankles lashed together so that he was thoroughly immobilized. Everything was wobbly and uncertain, and when his father parked the car in front of the hotel, he stumbled when he tried to walk. He fell to his knees on the concrete, staring down at the ground in confusion until Soichiro grabbed his arm and helped him up again. Leading him to where L was waiting.

I'm still alive... yeah, still alive... right?

He stepped through the doorway to where the gangly detective stood, hunched over like a gargoyle with one hand behind his back. Concealing something. A blank expression, the blackest of unkept hair that contrasted with pale skin and wide piercing eyes that inspected the very air that the Kira suspect breathed. Light didn't care right away, he was forcing himself to smile at the cops around him, who asked if he was doing okay. Yes, of course he was fine, why shouldn't he be fine? He was still alive and all. And even if L still had suspicions, at least now he was free, now he had served his punishment for being the perfect suspect, the debt was paid...

But the moment that Soichiro unclasped the handcuffs, L darted forward. The disheveled man did not even wait for Light to stop wincing in the sheerest and most terrible of agonies as the blood began to flow naturally through his arms again (the blood that had been ceaselessly dammed by hard metal for a month and a half, wanting to flow like an angry river with wrath now unchecked). He grabbed Light's left, limp, throbbing wrist and snapped a new handcuff on it, sinking into bruises that had no chance to wither.

A long handcuff, not terribly more than a meter and a half long, connecting the ominous detective to the adolescent who was still alive. This was the man who did this all to him, the reason that for fifty-three days he did not move and did not see sunlight, the man who had plotted his mock execution, the man who made his father do that to him, the man who was picking apart his life like scabbed wounds and reducing it to bleeding shreds, all without so much as a polite apology. Now never more than a meter and a half away.

"Is this really necessary, Ryuzaki?" Light swallowed, holding up his involuntarily shaky arm and examining the new ring of steel, a sensation both familiar and unsettling.

"I'm not doing this because I want to," L answered, staring across at the teen with his dark, scrutinizing eyes.

The NPA members and his father looked bleak as they sat around them. They couldn't say anything, because it was L who was in charge of the Kira investigation. This was L's case, and they would follow the orders because it took a genius like him to capture the real criminal.

And Light could help.

He calmed the wave of hopelessness that had hit him. No. He was still Light Yagami, alive in every sense of the word. Calling the situation unfair was so damned childish, and really, wasn't he more mature than that? It was the truth that all evidence pointed toward him. Yes, it was bitter but it was so. But this was a good opportunity. He knew that he wasn't Kira, so he would use his own intelligence to help capture the real culprit. The killer was already someone that Light had resented because although his memories still felt a little foggy, he knew that murder was wrong and that the people in this hotel room were risking their lives to stop that.

But most of all, if he was shackled to L, he could truly prove his innocence. When they caught the real Kira, Light's name would be cleared. And then he could finally be free. Of course one day he would be free. Of course...

"It's almost midnight, everyone," L was saying. "I've debriefed you of our current situation. I'm a little depressed that what progress we had made has all been overturned, but even so. There's nothing more that we can do tonight, and it's been a long day. Go home, and I'll see you all again tomorrow."

The NPA began to file out of the room, and it was Soichiro Yagami who lingered. Light vaguely felt his father's heavy hand resting on his shoulder, but his head wouldn't seem to turn to meet the older man's gaze. And then the voice, even heavier. "I know that you won't let me take him home, but I'd like to stay here with my son tonight, Ryuzaki."

L stared levelly at Soichiro with those eyes that revealed no secrets. "I'm sorry, Yagami-san, but I can't think that this is a good idea. You've been absent already for an extended period of time from your regular life."

"After what I had to do... I know it was necessary, but..." Soichiro's thick voice shook. "Light, it was the only way to get you out, it was all I could do..."

His father was watching him, and L was staring. Light felt himself smile and heard his own voice say unprompted, "It's okay, Dad. I understand. I'm glad to be out here instead of in the cell still, so really I should thank you. Don't worry about me, just go home and say 'hi' to Mom and Sayu for me, will you?"

"No, please don't," L disagreed. "In order to explain Light's absence, we will need to stick with the story that Yagami-san isn't certain of his son's exact location."

As Light watched his father finally relinquish him and walk out the door, the part of him that was alive mournfully hoped that they could catch Kira quickly. He sat awkwardly on the couch next to his mechanical captor, who was also observing as the hotel door closed behind the police chief.

His back was overflowing with excruciating pain. His arms hurt felt as though they were burning against needles of hot iron, too. It all ached and cried out. Yet the sounds didn't quite find their way out of his lips, they were lost on their path and numb like everything else.

Light's memories of his interactions with L prior to his confinement were a blur, he realized. They made as little sense as the reason he had agreed to be imprisoned in the first place. As absurd as the hypothesis that he was Kira. He knew that he both respected and resented the detective. Those feelings were existent, but everything else was confusing. Were they friends? Did they know one another very well? Did they get along? The answer to the questions was muddled, silent, a throbbing buzz in his head that dimmed the light and muffled noise.

It took him a moment to realize that L had said something to him.

"I'm sorry, what was that?" Light asked, turning his head slightly to clear the fog and focusing his attention on the man beside him.

"I asked if you were hungry," L repeated plainly, chewing casually on his thumbnail. "The trial took place over dinnertime, and you haven't eaten anything since this morning."

Light blinked, his body couldn't seem to comprehend the notion entirely, and then he shook his head. "I'm okay. I'm sure that you want to work on the Kira case longer, so I'll try not to be an inconvenience and do what I can to help."

"No." Suddenly, the mechanical tone to the impassive detective's voice was gone.

(Like a hammer on a child's hand, a gun in the face...)

It was different, and it took a moment for Light to realize why. L's head nested between the crevice of his upright knees and he glowered. "Actually, I'm feeling really depressed because we have no progress. I don't have the motivation to work on anything right now. Is that okay with you?"

"Uh..." Light stared. "You're in charge, not me."

"I just wanted to make sure the break didn't bother you, because I can't let you go until my suspicion of you is at zero percent. Even after today, it's not there, but..." L's voice trailed off, and he muttered. "Well, regardless, I suppose I'm glad that my friend isn't Kira."

"Huh?" Still, whenever Light closed his eyes and even for a brief moment, he saw the barrel of the gun slamming into his brow. Everything else was distant, and he was delayed in interpreting the detective's words. Slightly dazed, he mumbled, "We're friends, then?"

"Yes," came the matter-of-fact answer, as though 'friendship' was just the peak of some complicated and even dangerous iceberg. Something shrouded and deformed, maybe even facetious, yet Light couldn't seem to recall why. But then L hesitated, watching him with his owl eyes. "Didn't we establish this awhile ago?"

"I don't remember." The words came out automatically, offered by the meager part of his brain that was controlling his contributions to conversation. Then, realizing how rude that sounded, he recovered with a pathetic, "Yeah, sorry. I guess I'm a little out of sorts. I'm sorry."

"Out of sorts..." L murmured pensively, curling his toes with one foot on top of the other. "Or maybe you really don't remember? How much don't you remember, I wonder?"

"Hey..." The focus that seemed to be blurred in his eyesight suddenly clicked on. His amber eyes locked on to L's charcoal, capturing them. With a sudden energy, he said, "I'm not Kira. And I've been willing to go this far to get you to see that. Suspect me if you want, but I'm going to prove to you that you're wrong."

The detective tilted his head to the side, silent. Then he said, "I'm also confident that the truth will be made apparent in time."

Knowing that this was the exact opposite of an affirmation of his innocence, Light turned away and bit his lip. He rubbed his wrists to smooth out agitated skin. Even after these hours, the bruised lines ingrained into his right wrist hadn't even begun to fade, and as for his left wrist... he'd have to endure that. More disturbing was the detective on the other end of the chain, imprisoning him, watching him, who seemed determined to convict him as a mass murderer and have him executed at all costs.

Execution: A rough sound, sliding like sandpaper to scrape his face, dry and empty. "I'm bringing you to your execution..." The gun, right between his eyes, a disease of death about to infect him-


-an intangible ghost of destruction, the screaming of the accelerated snare drums, hearts beating too fast to sustain life, when the trigger was squeezed, everything, everything-

"Hey, Light-kun."

-and it wasn't fair because this was wrong. Wrong! I don't... I don't want to die!

"Are you cold, Light-kun? You're shivering." A pause, and then, "I have you handcuffed to me for purposes of observation. You'll make my job easier if you tell me the things that you are feeling. Any data has the potential to be useful in calculating the truth of this case."

Light exhaled sharply, turning back to L. The room felt smoky, like the trail of smoke that was emitted from the handgun after the dreadful crack of gunfire. L's eyes were the only things that pierced through the wavering scene. He offered a reasonable excuse. "I'm fine. I'm just adjusting to being able to move again."

"Hm." L's expression uncommunicative under the raven bangs that fell haphazardly down his face. And suddenly, saying nothing - that too was an accusation.

The detective was watching him. Observing without relent and without emotion.

Eyes pierced through the smoke, irises as black as bullets, as quick and loud as lightning.

A punishment meant for Kira.

Lips must curve into a brave smile, gaze must be focused and steady. No trembling and no uncertainty. There were rules that he had to follow to regulate his conduct, Light thought. He was chained and on display, to be studied like a science experiment. To be analyzed for flaws, any kind of disfigurement that could be extracted as evidence for the guilt that he did not have.

The game - if it could be called something as dead and meaningless as that - was that Light had to be perfect. And if he didn't act that way at all times, he lost. He lost to L, the looming curse just waiting for him to stumble. Watching, wanting, expecting it. He thought that he probably had the right to hate his captor. But hatred was also a flaw that he couldn't afford to bear. Because surely, Kira must hate people, and Light could not allow there to be any parallels between himself and... and that.

Because if he lost to L... if he let L find what he was looking for-



His legs didn't work. They really didn't work. Limp and thin, the muscles that had once tightly clung to his bones had dissolved just like the sunlight that once tanned his skin over the fifty-three day immobilization.

This became apparent when L decided that they were going to move.

Light leaned his weight forward, planting the palms of his feet firmly on the carpet. Then he pressed up in the way his mind told him would work, only when he lifted upward, everything crumbled. His ankles twisted and sagged on their own accord, even when he mentally shouted at them to stiffen. His knees were refusing to stay rigid, and when he forced them straight a new wave of pain pounded hotly through his shoulders. He clutched onto the back of the couch for support, avoiding L's merciless stare, those wide eyes that cast a thousand judgments.

He refused to react to that. L's expression was a wall, but Light felt as though he could feel the man's thoughts, vibrating through the chain that connected them:

Two percent higher chance of guilt for acting distant. Three-quarters a percent for slightly oppositional behavior.

Three percent for expressing desire to contact persons outside of investigation headquarters.

Another percent for apparent anxiety, plus four for the the initial reluctance observed during the act of chaining the suspect to self. Add total to primary percentage prior to captivity, multiply by the amount of time that suspicions were significant. Equate and result: if answer X reaches minimum Y, Light Yagami equals Kira, which in turn equals lethal injection.

The adolescent pointedly ignored L as he struggled to balance his feet. No, his eyes concentrated on the floor below him which challenged him in a sort of dance of balance and coordination. Step in tempo, this way, that way-

He will always be watching you.

L's eyes were like mirrors of onyx, glittering back reflections of the images he absorbed. Everything passed those mirrors was seemingly empty, or locked away. L wasn't the one who was going to be under surveillance, his simple mannerisms made this more than clear. He was the one who was the predator, the hunting wolf in fierceness and determination to rip apart the thing that he deemed his prey. His pale face would haunt every moment that Light was conscious. His ghost would haunt him until the day that he died.

(It was almost a mockery, when they made it to the bedroom. L had unsnapped the handcuff around Light's wrist to allow him to take off his shirt. If the adolescent had not already become accustomed to disappointment from the recent events, he might have been hopeful that L would leave it off as they slept. As though in sleep, the detective might have mercy and let him be free.)

(It was fortunate then, that he wasn't stupid and wasn't hoping for a damned thing. The handcuff bit its poison into his skin again, as soon as Light's nightshirt was on.)



His father was relinquishing him, the world was betraying him. A grim expression, cold and dry and empty and only brought to life by the hatred in his stern eyes. His father -- who used to hold his hand, to give him rides on his wide shoulders, who used to cherish him as an irreplaceable treasure -- his father, the Punisher, an eraser of his own pencil sketching that had reached eighteen years of age. Gnarled fingers constricted around their tool of destruction, the silencing handgun, right between the wide eyes of the terrified adolescent.

And Light couldn't escape - he was trapped underneath this crushing rage. The handcuffs captured his wrists, biting the skin in a steal kiss -- he could feel them, invading his skin and leaving him prisoner to his father's acrimony --

Leaving him prisoner to L's convictions --

Leaving him prisoner to Kira.

That man, his father, he was really going to shoot. He spoke of Hell, all things burning and frozen and tormenting. The trigger erupted, and doom came exploding with the crack of gunfire...

Something touched him, something cool and narrow wrapped around Light's shoulder. "Light-kun, are you okay?"

Stern eyes stared down at him, judging him as a pool of blood and bone streaming rapidly out of his skull, but he could still see. It was Soichiro! It was L! It was Kira! And Light screamed in terror, the blood was acid, everything was melting away in fiery agony except for his handcuffed wrists, that stayed and it wouldn't go away-

"Light-kun, wake up. You're tossing and turning, is this a night terror? I never observed them in you before..."

"Get away from me!" Light shrieked. Everything was dark, but the pain was there and the terror was there, and he was alone at the zenith of it. Absolutely alone, but still the eyes ripped through his flesh. "Let me go! Let me go! I'm innocent!"

He flailed - his body, it was still alive. His arms - his hands, his fists, fight it and fight it, I don't want to die, oh please, I won't let myself die!

"Ah!" came a cry of anguish as his untamed fist connected with something soft. Light could see the wide eyes, as large as a night owl's, it bore into his soul like the handcuff bore into his skin. Nothing made sense, and all he could think was that this is Kira, the Kira that was haunting him like an evil spirit unappeased, unsatisfied unless Light Yagami was his sacrifice.

The Night Owl backed away slightly from Light's wild punches. Spidery hands grabbed on to something, a thick cloth, and then the demon pounced forward. Light was overcome with terror, and he struggled and wrestled, but his adversary was wrapping the cloth around him firmly and pinning his flailing limbs in place.

"Light-kun, calm down and tell me what's going on!" the voice hissed. "Are you remembering anything? How did you kill them?"

"Dad, you're going to believe L over me?! I'm not Kira!"

Then there was silence.



Light heaved and panted, and slowly consciousness streamed back into his tattered mind. The reality of the dark bedroom was made apparent, and he blushed when realizing that it was only Ryuzaki that was talking to him. The fight had been real enough - L's cheek was red, and the binding cloth was just a blanket that the detective held onto tightly to keep the adolescent's unruly subconscious calmed.

"Ryuzaki," Light choked out. "I'm... I'm sorry, I don't usually..."

"No," the raven haired man answered quietly. "It was lax of me to not take the long-term psychological repercussions of these events into consideration, too. I can't apologize for putting you through it, because it was necessary, but you have my sympathies."

Light didn't know how to respond to this, so he said, "Kira's watching me. Somehow, if we follow this line of thinking, it makes sense, Ryuzaki. He's framing me. But with L on my side, we can outwit him, can't we? Because if we don't... my father, and everyone, they'll... Kira will kill me, and I don't want-"

He was silenced by the cool palm of a hand over his mouth. L held him there momentarily, letting him recover from a gasp.

"I like Light-kun."

Light blinked, staring at the detective.

"Independently of whether or not he is Kira..." L continued, his low voice murmuring into Light's ears. "In fact, I was certain that he was Kira when this affection began. I understand that my methods were harsh. I've never undergone my own interrogation, obviously, but..."

When L's voice trailed off, Light tried to shake off his hand to say something of his own, some automatic dismissal of unwanted pity. I'm okay, it was just a bad dream, I'm still alive, I'm not hurt, don't worry about-

"For all of those fifty-three days, and the moment that you were the most afraid, I was there with you, Light-kun," L voiced quietly. "I was watching you, even if you couldn't see me, you weren't alone."

For all those times... Light's mind raced back to the cell, where he could hardly move so he just lay on a cold-as-ice floor. The only comfort that he had in the isolated darkness was a grasp on to the thing only he knew to be true: I'm not Kira, I'm not Kira. Believing that the odds were against him, that the killings had stopped since his imprisonment and drawing the conclusion that he was guilty and what awaited him was high security prison and the execution chair. Then he saw the car again, trapped in the back seat. Hands bound, his father pointing the gun, never so frightened in his life, maybe never have the chance to be frightened again because with the pull of a trigger it would be over and silenced and dry and empty...

"I'm not going to take this chain off," L went on. "Because we're in this together until we find Kira. This is my promise to you, and the only sort of amends that I can make for what I've put you through that you can be assured I'm not lying about."

Light felt himself go still and rigid, and then he slumped forward. His head fell onto L's shoulder, and the detective tensed in surprise. Then, awkwardly but gently, L's hands traveled around Light's back. They pressed the blanket into the adolescent, calming his shivering and offering remedy for his tightened muscles.

Breathing is an involuntary function of the body. Though it is essential to maintaining life, it is perhaps peculiar how easy it is to forget about. How simple it is to take such a grand motion for granted.

Until one feels the steady raising and contraction of another chest. Controlled, reserved.

If one pulsing, breathing organism is alive, shouldn't the one perceiving also share the same privilege?

"Yeah, Ryuzaki," he murmured. "Let's catch Kira. Together until the end."

"Until the end." As L said this, his hands tightened around his suspect. "If you're willing to face death to uncover the truth, then so am I."

Their hearts were beating, Light felt them, ticking off the seconds. He expected L to be the first to forfeit, and lay him back down on the mattress. But the detective was still and he made no indication of desiring alteration in position.

Uncertainly, the adolescent mumbled an inquiry. "Ryuzaki?"


"It sounds stupid, but..." Light's voice trailed off into silence. He closed his eyes tightly, but when he did everything was suddenly surreal again. Violent and frightening and he was Kira, handcuffed and thrown to the firing squad. Eyelids snapped open again, even though he was tired. He stammered the words he did not want to say for the result he wanted more than anything: "C-can you stay with me until I fall asleep?"

A pause, and then a murmur. "Yes... I'll watch over you. You can definitely count on that."

There was a smile in L's voice, a bit of a joke - you're always going to be under surveillance. But Light closed his eyes, thinking that it was L's damned fault anyway that he was trapped in this current position, he sure as hell better be watching over him. Like some sort of guardian angel, or bloodthirsty demon, he was watching. Like some sort of friend, the twisted and dearest sort that love you and you just have to take it as faith because circumstances won't give them much opportunity to prove it.

And Light fell asleep against L's shoulder.

I'll watch over you. You can definitely count on that.


Something that he never did quite shake off.

Not during the Yotsuba hunt for the murderer. Not the moment they arrested Higuchi, and not when Kira - the missing shards of his soul - came back to him, completed him. Made him the noble protector of the weak and the innocent, made him the Holy Punisher.

Not after L was dead - got what he deserved, what he had coming for all the things he had done, and all the things that he was going to do-

Not in the five years that followed as Light lead a false investigation.

Not when the day came when the guns pointed at him weren't a bluff. They weren't a test. When the bullets really pierced his skin, really left him scared and bleeding. They left him writhing, in more pain than he had ever been in his life. His mind was also wounded and twisted and pooling out desperation, I don't want to die I don't want to die...


For real, the day he was dying.

He lay down on the stairway steps of the abandoned building, vision blurred, everything dry with sand and wet with blood, everything so... surreal, yet...

Stay with me until I fall asleep, Ryuzaki?

And there he was, looming in the shadows. A curse and a blessing. A welcome friend, and even without handcuffs they were still chained together. Watching over him until the end, because that was the promise he made. In the most frightening of times, he would never leave Light Yagami alone - a promise he had kept.

As he should. It was all his damned fault, anyway.


Author's Notes:

-The series never really goes into it, but did anyone really think about what Light and Misa went through during their 'interrogations'? The most that the series offers as to their well-beings is the NPA watching Light, lying pathetically on the floor of his cell and wondering if he's "reached his limit". Both he and Misa were rather brutally restrained for fifty-three days (or longer, in Misa's case) and appear to be isolated over that time from everything except L's voice. Over this time, Misa believes that she's been kidnapped by a stalker (and she must have had a fear of them, considering the murder of her parents and near-death experience when Jealous saved her). Light is forced to believe that he's being framed by the real Kira and will be convicted since L tells him that the murders have stopped since his imprisonment.

(It should be noted that there is a gap between Day 50, when L makes his decision with Soichiro Yagami for the test and Day 53 when it takes place... Both Light and Misa are wearing different clothes on Day 50 so I should hope in the deleted scenes of the real series, they were given time to recover in a hospital, such as in the live-action DN movies. But being as L is trying to extract confessions, and considering the extreme measures that he is portrayed as willing to take... I honestly can't say I'm confident about that.)

-Mock executions ARE psychological torture. They've been used in the past for interrogation but according to law have been banned by the United Nations on grounds of being too barbaric and cruel. The prisoners forced to undergo this tactic often experience life-lasting psychological problems such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and paranoia.

-Dialogue during the car ride was edited and paced differently because I wanted to focus exclusively on Light (Misa should be sitting next to him, but I didn't feel the need to elaborate on her).

-The jump to the final scene with Light's death was not initially in this piece... I had ended it with Light falling asleep next to L. Yeah, yeah, call me morbid, but I actually think this story is more uplifting to carry through to the bitter end. Plus the anime version of Light's death was really ingrained into my mind, as Light "sees" L. Of course when humans die they become nothingness, so this image of L is entirely of Light's imagination. The way I interpreted that scene is mostly consistent to this fic and I felt it appropriate to the overall theme of this.

-Prima Facie: "On first appearance" - in common law court, this term labels evidence that implies satisfactory proof as to the particular proposition.

Okay, thanks as always for reading! -Serria