A/N: FFnet's lack of Right Justification kinda killed the physical structure of this. The correctly formatted version can be found at
http:// 17965 (dot) insanejournal (dot) com / 1047 (dot) html # cutid1
Whisper to a Scream
I felt like I'd stepped inside his head. I was slowing being sucked in by the vortex of his memories, of the solemnity, of the bells and the sheets of rain that were about as irrelevant as the twenty-so years that had passed since whenever he last heard those bells.
The strange detective had always had a strong aura about him, but never had I been so overwhelmed by the atmosphere he projected as then. It was almost as if he'd done it on purpose – as if he possessed that power. It washed over me like deep, dark sea, pulling me under the current, drowning me.
"Don't say such useless things, Ryuuzaki." I wanted to get out of the damned rain. There was something disturbing in the way his large, lifeless eyes stared at me. I wasn't sure if it was just the rain and my thoroughly soaked clothes that sent the chill up my spine, or the growing urgency I felt to get out of the storm, back into the building, out of this dream L was pulling the world around me into.
He spoke of distancing himself. Of course. L avoids society like the plague – so much so that only the men of the investigation team and few others have been allotted the sight of his face, and even so, only by importance of the job. L could talk circles around a single person or the theories they presented him, but he lacked the charisma required to be a strong figure to win over the masses. It's the advantage I had over him. He can accuse me all he wants, but I'll be the one with the jury on my side.
"… the same as me."
It's almost insulting. His distancing and my distancing were completely different. His he did out of fear and lack of his own ability. Mine was done out of necessity.
you were born, have you ever told the truth even once?"
There is silence in clarity that is both shocking and traumatizing, like the cold knife sliding into your back and the sudden but so very evident betrayal of the hand pushing it further. The audio fades to low, humming static and all there is is the fact, clear, piercing, forcing your eyes to open up and see. I know there is the rain, the thunder, the roar of the wind, but none of it seems loud enough to reform the barriers he'd broken in that sentence -
To shatter the inescapable silence he'd summoned upon me.
"What do you mean, Ryuuzaki?"
An absurd question.
"It's true I tell lies occasionally."
Thinking of it rationally, that couldn't be possible. When I was born, I didn't realize the benefit in making up a story to telling the truth yet.
"However there aren't any humans who have never told a lie."
I only lied when it benefited me more than telling the truth would.
"People can't be perfect. Everyone lies."
Or when I deemed it would be better for the good of those around me.
"Even so, I won't tell lies that will hurt those I love."
I'm lying to you now because I have to, don't you understand? If you understand well enough to know with such certainty that I am Kira, then you must understand the necessity in protecting myself. I must put enough distance between my cover and my acts as Kira to clear suspicions.
"That's my answer."
And it seemed enough to satisfy him. For the time being.
Some part of my mind told me I sounded more self-affirming than I ought to have.
It was a relief like a knife removed from the immediate vicinity of my throat when we reentered the building. The dim light that weakly illuminated the cold, marble hallway sifted down from the fixtures high up on the ceiling, obviously on a low-setting to conserve power with only the investigation team occupying the building. Every now and again a flash of lightening brought a wave of intensity to the dulled atmosphere.
The storm outside continued on, battering its rage on the stalwart walls of the building that held us and our reverie. The quiet brought us in and pulled us down as quick sand, sinking us.
I'd always thought having another person bowed before me would be invigorating. When L knelt down - looking rather pathetic with water-laden, messy locks hanging in his face - wrapped his spidery fingers around my ankle and began toweling my feet, an off-putting feeling of humility rose in my chest, wedging itself as a lump in my throat. I stared at him, wide-eyed as he usually looked at me, unsure for the first time in a very long time. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen. Cheap biblical allusion aside, it wasn't supposed to be this way.
Physical contact jolted me. I don't often like people touching me. He seemed intent on it, so I allowed it.
A silence fell that I expected to be awkward for him. It wasn't. There was merely silence.
I realized I was going on a tangent that was pointless and possibly dangerous, but what did it matter? It would be over soon. The cold splash of water on my bare skin made my muscles jump slightly. I sighed. Silly man. Dry yourself off before you try to dry someone else.
And I thought to myself, that the silence seemed appropriate – for us. With all the words between us, I believe the most we ever understood each other was when we weren't trying to project ourselves at one another.
In the empty space between us there seemed to be all the words that had not been said, all the similarities, the connections, the profound volumes that tied our beings and our fate together surging and vibrating in harmonial unison – vast and void in the kind of oblivion that spun planets in celestial order.
The quiet engulfed the two of us, dragging us down, beneath the surface, beneath the current, into a place much stiller, much clearer, much simpler.
It caught me off guard.
I had not seen this coming.
"You'll understand soon."
You understand now.
It wasn't in my calculations.
The world around me reeled violently, spinning spinning spinning, before screeching to a terrifying halt that left me in a state of mental whiplash.
I skipped past the realization that he knows what's coming and past the question of why isn't he fighting it and went straight to the rending thought that not only had he been on par the whole time, but L, this awkward, too brilliant, enigma of a person had seen through to the truth I'd been trying to cover up all along.
The eyes that looked up at me then were so full of all the emotions I'd never seen in him before. He wore them, bared and naked to the world, honest to the point that it hurt to look. Sorrow, regret, a dull bitterness toward the irony and a strange element of… pity?
I would have liked to tell myself that he was bluffing, merely putting on a front of overbearing precognition to try to shake me into breaking character.
But I realized… L did not know how to make a false expression.
L did not have the ability or the care to create a façade. Anytime he tried to test me, it was with a straight, blank, expression. He would not lie. He merely did not give anything away.
As the shrill ring of his cell phone distracted him, I could not find the strength of mind, or the will, to pull myself from the reverie.
On the walk back to the room, I walked behind him, watching his shuffling feet and the small pools of rain water they left on the flawless marble floor, and the relaxed hunch of his back that I had, at first, taken as a sign of meekness.
The silence that was so comfortable before was suddenly heavy. So very heavy it could suffocate.
He didn't appear to be bothered by it, but he never appeared to be bothered by anything. I almost physically flinched. I couldn't take the extra weight the air around me suddenly assumed. The foreboding inherent in it pulled at me, revoking my ability to form rational thought.
Silence had never been so terrifying.
The elevator dinged off the floors on the way to the level the headquarters was located on and each indicating noise sounded to me like a number being counted down. Each step out towards the computer and the panel of various monitor screens became weighted and harder to take the closer we came.
The pieces began to fall into place.
I wanted to reverse them. Too much had just happened and I couldn't force myself to process it fast enough to understand fully what was going on. The oxygen around me became thicker, harder to swallow. It wedged in my throat and pushed at the walls of my lungs. I wanted it to stop. I still needed time to think.
All data deletion.
Silence rose over the confused cries of the investigation team and its volume drown out the electronic blaring of the emergency system coming to life – muffling it, muting it. A red veil painted L's translucent skin crimson as he fell. I didn't notice myself skidding across the ground to catch the man until I felt the burn of the skin on my knees shredding.
When a person dies in your arms, you would think that the moment seems to stretch on forever, burning itself into your memory -
Like many of the things that had happened in the last few moments, it was over before I was given the chance to grasp its meaning.
The silence remained… but it became empty. The volumes, the profoundness and the clarity was absent. All that was left was a hollow echo of myself.
Through whatever twist of fate, I'd won.
My last obstacle was gone.
Those unnervingly piercing eyes finally slid shut. Humanity's last defender disappeared into the ether of afterlife and I was left.
The survivor, but more importantly… the victor.
Yet the smile I formed then was by far the most difficult one I had ever had to fake.