A/N: wow! so many reviews! I'm so glad you guys like the story, and I'm v. v. glad it's interesting. i would respond to all of you guys individually, but it would take a while and i do want to get right to the story. I think this chapter turned out pretty well, hope you guys like it!

"Wow, didn't expect for him to go out like this." Ryuk chuckled. He was standing over Raito Yagami's unconscious figure. The teen was sprawled on the kitchen floor with blood pooling around his head.

Raito had always been so careful about death. He looked twice before he crossed the street, he didn't jaywalk, he always had a bath mat laid in his shower so he wouldn't slip, and he always picked up ice off the floor. The teen hadn't exactly feared death, but he was always so careful.

Honestly, Ryuk hadn't expected him to die like this. It was so out of character. It was a shame too. Raito had always been so amusing. But Ryuk suspected this wouldn't be the end for Raito Yagami. So he gently plucked the cell phone from the teens pocket and dialed a number.

"Tenshi transportation services." A receptionist answered. "If you are an elite customer please enter the password."

The password was known to every shinigami, of course, although they rarely used this line.

"One moment please." The receptionist said cheerily.

There was a dial tone as Ryuk was put on hold. The shinigami glanced down at Raito again. He would die in about five minutes if he kept bleeding at that rate. Elevator music floated through the phone and Ryuk sighed impatiently, tapping on hand against the counter top.

There was another dial tone and a female voice snapped, "Hell, Ryuk, it took him long enough!"

"No need to be so impatient," Ryuk chuckled.

"It's been six days! Is he dead, yet?"

Ryuk glanced down at Raito, "He will be in about five minutes."

"Well, finally. Things have been such a wreck up here!" She sighed. "That damn kid has got us so backed up in paperwork!"

"Really?" Ryuk asked, he liked Miranda, for a Tenshi she was very amusing, although she had a nasty temper.

"Well all those criminals he killed went straight to hell and they didn't have a chance to repent or anything! We've got so many trial request from them, I think we're backed up for the next hundred years at least!"

The shinigami chuckled, "I know those High-Tenshi hate being clumped all together."

"This is the most they've seen of each other since World War Two! They hate each other!"

"But for a trail you need all nine of them, correct?"

"Yeah, and they have trails scheduled almost daily for the next century at least! You are so lucky I managed to fit Raito in. Most of them want to send that kid straight to hell!"

"He's not a bad kid." Ryuk protested.

"His personal death count is ten thousand and counting! Ten thousand! They're trying to get Kira listed in the black books as one of the greatest disasters of human history!"

"Black books!" The shinigami laughed. "C'mon, he hasn't killed that many, you've got guys like Hitler and Stalin listed in those books."

"Do you know how many inmate suicides Kira has caused?! We still don't even have a total for him! There's also people killing in the name of Kira. You know how we do things up here, even if it's some other guy doing the killings, if he's doing it in the name of Kira, those deaths are still attributed to Kira."

Ryuk frowned, "You got him a trail right?"

"Yeah, Raito Yagami a.k.a. Kira, scheduled for tomorrow at midnight. You want me to get you a pass?"

"You haven't let a shinigami into heaven since Christ died."

"I know, but the High-Tenshi said it's okay and I know you like the kid." her voice softened and then she added teasingly, "You can sit with me--that way you won't get shy around all the other Tenshi."

"I do not get shy!"

She just laughed. "Yeah, right. Oh! I forgot to tell you!"

"What?" Ryuk asked.

"Wait till you hear who signed on to defend Raito at his trial!"

"who?"

"L!"

"L Lawliet! The guy who was trying to catch Kira!"

Miranda giggled, "Yeah! Isn't that sweet!"

"It's sort of weird, he was always talking about getting Kira the death penalty."

"Well he likes Raito, he asked to be there with him till his trial. And the High-Tenshi will give that guy anything he wants. They're attributing Kira's death to him, you know."

"Oh," Ryuk glanced at the teen bleeding out on the floor again, thirty seconds, "Hang on, I need to write Raito in the Death Note." The shinigami flipped open his Death Note on the kitchen counter and quickly scribbled Raito's name in it. "Raito Yagami," He said as he wrote. After a few seconds he said, "did you get it?"

There was a pause and then Miranda answered, "Yeah, he's dead. It's in the log. Slipped on an ice cub? Well, that's a lame way to go out." Then her voice softened. "He made the right choice."

"You really did tell him too much that time you visited, you know."

"Oh, shut up, Ryuk. He's the only human I've visited in the whole century. I think he deserved a warning, don't you?"

"No."

"You're so heartless, he's a good kid. I hope the trial goes well."

"Me too, it'll be boring if they just sentence him to hell. He's so amusing."

Miranda sighed, "He really did make the right choice...if only he'd made it sooner."

"You know how humans are."

"I do."

"You did what you could for him," Ryuk insisted, "He's a stubborn kid."

"I know. I just wish he hadn't found that Death Note."

"Well I had fun."

She said sarcastically, "Yeah, well he didn't."

"It'll turn out fine."

"I hope so."

"Alright," Ryuk sighed, "So you'll meet me at the gates?"

"Yeah, sure, come at 11:30 though, we need to get a good seat," Miranda said.

"Okay, see you then." The shinigami hung up and dropped the cell phone on the counter. He took one last glance at the body of Raito Yagami, "I'll see you tomorrow night. You're in for a nasty surprise." He murmured. Then the shinigami unfurled his wings and took flight. He had to go brag to the others that he was going to get a pass up to Heaven for Kira's trial. It was going to be interesting, that's for sure. Raito always was.

XXX

It was incredibly bright when Raito opened his eyes. For a second all he saw was white, bright white. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the bright light. When they did, Raito realized that, wherever he was, everything was white. He lay sprawled on his back and stiffly, the teen leaned onto his elbows and looked around.

There was a dark speck against all that white.

It was a table, a black wrought iron table, appropriate for a patio or a garden. It was decorated with an ornate tea pot and two delicate china cups, it was also fitted with two matching chairs. There was a tray of sugar cookies which were covered in heavy pink frosting. Raito absent-mindedly noticed that L would've loved those cookies. In fact he was sitting at the table, delicately nibbling at one.

The teen got to his feet and took a shaky step towards the table. Ryuzaki would know where they were. He body was oddly stiff, it felt as though he was using it for the first time in a while. Raito tried to remember what he had just been doing, but instead frowned. He couldn't remember anything.

The only thing that came to mind was the fact that L was dead.

But that had happened a while ago.

Hadn't it?

Wait, L was dead. Raito froze, blinked, and stared at the figure at the table. Pale skin, big eyes, dark circles, messy hair, white shirt, jeans, curled up in chair with knees at chin. That was L.

"You're dead." Raito said. He'd expected his voice to echo, instead it sounded oddly flat.

"Yes. Come have a cookie." L responded, lapping the frosting with his tongue like a cat with a saucer of milk.

"But," The teen ran a hand through his hair, scratching his scalp, "You're dead," His amber eyes widened, "Kira got you! Ryuzaki, it was Kira!" He looked around frantically, all he saw in any direction was white. "Ryuzaki!"

"Raito-kun, please sit down."

"But Kira! Ryuzaki, if he got you, what if he gets all of us! Where's the task force! Is dad okay?!" Raito insisted in a frenzied voice. His eyes were wide and he was looked around desperately. "Wait, where are we?"

L finally looked up from his cookie and met Raito's eyes, "Raito-kun, just sit down and I'll explain."

"But Kira---"

"We don't have to worry about Kira anymore." He said in an oddly heavy voice. "Just come sit."

Nervously, Raito stumbled over to the table and sat down heavily in the chair. He kept shifting, the iron was cold and he couldn't find a comfortable position. Swallowing hard, the teen finally brought one knee to his chest and rested his chin on it. His eyes were feverish and bright, swiveling around as though he expected Kira to appear. "Where are we?" He wasn't looking at L when he said it.

L was worried. "You're dead."

Raito frowned, "That's impossible. You died and then I...I..." He trailed off.

"I died six days ago. You've been dead for six minutes."

"No! I'm not dead!" Raito snapped. "I can't be dead! One of us has to catch kira."

L sighed heavily and took a delicate bite of his cookie. He was regarding Raito with bright, worried eyes. The teen was breathing faster than usual and his face was flushed. "I told Raito-kun, Kira is no longer a threat."

"Of course he is! He's out there!"

The detective exhaled harshly, "You are kira."

Raito froze, "That's insane. I've been handcuffed to you for months. I couldn't have--"

"Raito-kun has spent the last six days writing names in his Death Note." L said, his voice forcibly bland and neutral.

"I have not! What are you talking about?!"

L noticed that Raito's breathing was becoming more erratic. "Raito-kun is Kira, there is no other way to say it."

"No! No, this is one of your games!" The teen shoved himself away from the table, and scrambled to his feet. The chair fell with a gentle thud. He looked around frantically. L was still couched in his chair, watching Raito like one watches a wild animal.

"Raito-kun, please sit down."

The chestnut-haired teen laughed desperately, "Okay, the jokes over, where're the cameras!" He was looking around frantically. Then he snarled at L, "Where did you hide them!"

"There are no cameras Raito-kun."

"No!" The teen hissed, "This is one of your sick games! We're underground somewhere, and you...you faked your death! This is all just a game! You're trying to get me to admit I'm kira!" Raito's voice raised to a scream, "I'm not!"

L opened his mouth to speak.

"Shut up!" Raito's snarled, "Don't you fucking move! I know you have cameras! Where are they?!" The teen swung an arm across the table, shoving all the china onto the floor where it shattered. "Tell me!"

Then, Raito shoved the table and pushed it onto it's side. "Are they under here?!" "Stop it, Raito-kun." L insisted. "You're dead, just stop!"

The teen backed away from L, starring at him with wide frantic eyes. Then he turned and bolted in the opposite direction.

L sighed and rubbed his face with one hand, "silly, Raito-kun." He sat crouched in his chair and waited for Raito-kun to realize that this room was in an endless loop. It was a holding cell for criminals to wait in before their trials in the court of heaven. A loud yelp from over his shoulder alerted L to Raito's presence.

Raito had tried running away from L and now he was starring at the back of the detectives head. This room...it was a loop. He tried running another direction. He ran frantically and then stopped. He glanced around, panting, and realized that he was in the same exact position. He was trapped.

L heard Raito's breath come in harsh, angry pants. If the teen didn't relax he was going to hyperventilate, L noted. "Now will Raito-kun sit down?"

The teen gasped.

The table was all set up again. The china was fixed, the cookies were arranged, L was still nibbling at one.

"W-w-what did you do?" Raito whispered. "Where are we! What the fuck did you do to me!" He was screaming now, arms wrapped around his heaving torso. "You drugged me!"

"You're dead!" L hissed. "Stop screaming and sit down, Raito-kun!"

"No! no, no, no, no, no! I can't be dead--I can't! This is a joke, it's another game! We can't be--Kira!"

"You are Kira!" The detective repeated. Raito opened his mouth in indignation. L cut him off by hurling something at him. It landed with a small thud at Raito's feet. "That's your fucking Death Note." L snarled.

The teen blinked. He'd never heard L curse before. Gingerly, he picked up the notebook and flipped through it. "It can't be," The teen whispered. This was his handwriting. "You made this up! This is...it has to be a fake."

"It's your handwriting, your victims, your Death Note. You are Kira, now sit down." Raito couldn't breath.

His head spun.

His heart fluttered.

There was bile rising in his throat.

"I'm Kira?" The teen whispered. He flipped through the notebook. It was his handwriting. He'd written these names like Higuchi had. He was Kira...he was the real Kira. The pages became a blur of names. Twenty three lines per page, two columns per page, every page filled with names. They were dead. How many names were in this book? "But Kira killed you," Raito's voice cracked.

L opened his mouth to speak, but his lips couldn't quiet wrap themselves around the words. He couldn't think of anything to say. He tried to open his mouth again and promptly shut it, pressing his lips tightly together.

This was horrible. Raito really hadn't known. The teen was shaking, his eyes were wide and frantic and lit by terror. With every page that passed his eyes, they seemed to widen and his breathing seemed to grow more erratic. Raito was in pain and L could see it. He wanted to say something, anything to make that pain stop. For some reason it hurt L to see Raito like this. "Raito-kun," L said gently, "Just put it down."

The teen's grip on the book tightened. "I did this."

L sighed, "Raito--"

"All of them, they're all dead." Raito's voice was steadily rising.

"Just come and sit down, Rai--"

"It's my fault!"

"Stop--"

"I killed them! I killed them all, I killed you!" The teen was screaming, his throat was raw and there were tears on his cheeks. "I'm a-a--a murderer! I'm kira!"

He threw the notebook down and scrambled over to the table. L lifted a hand and then stopped midway through the motion--a pat on the shoulder wasn't really going to help Raito. The detective watched as Raito slammed a teacup down on the table and picked up a pointed shard. L's fingers curled into a tight fist and he brought it under his chin.

Raito stabbed the shard into his wrist and yanked it across his pale flesh. A thin red line appeared on his flesh. The teen watched his skin with frenzied eyes, waiting for blood to bubble forth. L bit his thumb. He knew what would come next.

No blood came.

The thin red line lightened until it was just skin on the teen's wrist. Raito chest heaved as he took short, shaky breaths. "Why?" he whimpered.

"You're dead. You can't die again."

"No!" Raito screamed. "I have to! I'm Kira!"

"Yes."

"I have to be punished! I'm a murderer! I killed them! They're all dead! I'm Kira, I'm kira, I'm kira!" He shrieked, plunging the shard of china into his flesh again and again. He messily slashed at his wrists, his hands trembling harder and harder each time those thin red lines faded.

L winced and exhaled harshly, "Stop it, Raito-kun."

"Kira, kira, I'm Kira." Raito repeated to himself, eyes impossibly wide. He was in shock, punctuating each 'kira' with another slash.

L protested with soft words, he was trying to calm Raito down. It was having the opposite effect. Each time he spoke, Raito's voice rose until he was screaming and clawing at his face with his nails, making little red marks on his cheeks that quickly faded. L was at a loss, he had no idea what the right thing to do or say was.

Raito picked up the tea pot and bashed it against his skull.

The detective flew from his chair and came around the table. That was it, fucking hell, it was hurting him just to watch. Raito grabbed the tray of cookies and it looked like he was going to hit himself with that too.

L grabbed one of Raito's wrists and yanked it away from the tray. "Raito, stop, you're scaring me!"

It wasn't just the sound of his name from L's lips without the honorific, that made Raito stop and blink. It was the admission of an emotion from those lips coupled with the panic in L's voice and the fear in his eyes.

The detective drew a shaky breath and clutched Raito's wrist with both hands, "Just, please stop, Raito-kun."

The chestnut haired boy shook his head and whispered, "Kira."

"I know, I've known. Just--" L stopped and choked on his own breath, "Raito!"

Raito's eyes rolled back in his head and trembled violently. He fell to his hands and knees and clutched his stomach. The teen shook and made retching sounds, he was dry heaving. He was dead, there was nothing in his stomach for his body to throw up.

L crouched beside Raito and waited for the teen's body to stop shaking. The detective gnawed on his thumb until the digit bled.

Raito shook for a while. He stayed on his hands and knees for a while, staring at the white floor and trying to catch his breath. Words replayed themselves in his mind; words like kira, dead, L, and Death Note. He couldn't breath. He was trying, he was trying really hard, but his head felt so light and his eyes couldn't focus. He shut his eyes and fell hard onto his chin. The feeling of the impact was vague as the world drifted out of focus and he was enveloped in blessed darkness.

XXX

"So...I'm dead?"

L nodded, offering Raito a cookie. "We're both dead."

"Okay." The teen said calmly. He knew L was watching him, the detective probably thought he would fly off the handle again. He felt much better since waking up. His head was pounding and he still felt shaky, but in all honesty he was too exhausted for any hysterics. Raito delicately nibbled at the edges of his cookie, watching as tiny crumbs fell onto his lap. He noticed he had been wearing the same pants since the day L died.

"You're Kira." L said in a carefully neutral voice.

Raito paused and nodded, taking another bite of the cookie. Then he looked up at L with grave eyes, "Are you positive?"

"Beyond any doubt."

The teen nodded slowly. "I guess you were right all along about me." He buried his face in his hands and moaned, "Oh god."

L frowned gently and regarded the cookie in his hands. "Not exactly. I suspect that your behavior as Kira was influenced by the death note. Without it, you obviously wouldn't have had the means to kill, but I also suspect that it...warps the user in some way."

"How so?" Raito mumbled.

"You're a fantastic actor, Raito-kun." L said bluntly. "I noticed that first about you. I'm usually very keen about that sort of thing, but you had me stumped for a while. Your reaction before was genuine. I know firstly because Raito-kun wanted to catch Kira as badly as I did--"

"But I'm kira!"

"From now on we will call the Raito-kun who was in possession of the Death Note Kira and you will simply be Raito-kun. There are subtle personality differences between you two."

"Great, so now I'm a schizophrenic--"

"Sociopath" L added.

Raito glared at him, "Schizophrenic, sociopath mass-murderer?" he finished.

L bit his thumb, "Kira was a sociopath, yes. He was willing to kill anybody who got in his way. He justified everything with his very warped sense of justice. Raito-kun, you do have a rather...um...immature conception of good and evil. I believe that without the death note, you would have never murdered anybody--in fact I'm sure of it. But I suspect the death note warped your psyche in some way that allowed you to justify the murder of criminals."

"Oh," Raito sighed. "That still doesn't help me at all. I still am responsible for the murder of--"

"Ten thousand and counting."

Raito started to tremble.

L sighed and tried to ignore the hyperventilating teen sitting across from him. "The second thing that leads me to suspect that Raito-kun is a distinct from Kira is your reaction to seeing your death note. That was Raito-kun's genuine emotional breakdown, not Kira."

"How can you be sure?" The chestnut haired teen whimpered.

"Because Kira was exceedingly pragmatic. His safety came before everything else. He would never have tried to hurt himself."

"I deserve to die."

"You are dead."

Raito didn't know how to respond. "So I am schizophrenic?"

"Not exactly. The kira personality was shaped by the death note, it's well documented that users of the death note are influenced by it."

"Really?" Amber eyes lit up and looked at L with a childish enthusiasm.

"Did you think you were the first human to use a death note?"

"Well no, but--"

"I've been researching others. All of them, every single one, changed after finding the death note. Although none of them have ever used the death note like you have, some killed hundreds. Before finding the death note they had never committed any sort of crime, perfectly innocent. But afterwards, they were able to murder."

"But, wait. It's hard to prove that someone was murdered with a death note. Maybe the fact that they couldn't be caught and put on trial made them feel empowered enough to kill. You could argue that the Death Note simply gives humans a means to murder without consequence--that the desire to kill is in the human heart all along." Raito argued. His eyes were wide and haunted.

"True, but there is more evidence, Raito-kun. Have a cookie."

The teen did as he was told and picked up a cookie.

L continued. "I have testimony from friends and shinigami that the users suffered a distinct personality shift after finding the death note. They usually became very Kira like, suspicious, pragmatic, burdened, and megalomanic. In addition--"

"L, why did you do all this?" Raito asked.

"Do what, Raito-kun?"

"Look up other death note users, hypothesize why Kira--I did it. Why are you doing all this? You're acting like a lawyer or something."

L frowned, "Well essentially, I am your lawyer."

"Why? For what?"

The detective began to chew on his thumb, "Well, your trial is scheduled for midnight tomorrow."

"I'm being tried!" Raito gasped, "You mean as Kira...But we're dead." The teen lowered his eyes in thought. Those amber orbs suddenly jerked upwards to meet L's. "We're in heaven...and I'm going to be tried and then they'll decide wether to send me to heaven or hell."

"Basically." L shrugged.

"...I'm going to hell." Raito groaned. He brought his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them. "Oh god," the teen whimpered over and over again.

"Well they might find you--"

"Innocent?" Raito snapped. "I'm guilty! You have all the Goddamn evidence you need! I'm Kira and there is no jury in heaven or hell that will find me innocent."

"You are kira and you are guilty beyond a doubt. But...Raito-kun, you aren't evil. You regret your crimes and you--you only killed them because of the Death Note! Tell me what you remember about using it."

The teen shrugged, "I just thought that I was doing good--that I was helping. I was just, I think the day before I found it I...I can't remember." He could vaguely remember a woman telling him something, she was saying something important. "But I know I wanted to help. I didn't do it for selfish reasons...But I guess it's true,the road to hell is paved with good intentions. At least, mine is."

"Intentions do count, Raito-kun. You did have only the best intentions when you started to use the Death Note. And by using it, it warped you." L said slowly. "We do have a case. You certainly won't be admitted to heaven, but I think we can argue that you deserve a second chance."

Raito snarled, "But I don't. You can't just blame the whole Goddamn thing on the Death Note. I willingly used it, I killed people--I'm as evil as Kira! Kira grew from some darkness inside of me. It's not right to say that Kira is separate from Raito and call it a day. It's not right. I thought you believed in justice above all else, I deserve to be sent to hell, don't I?!"

The detective regarded the flushed teen and sighed. "Maybe if I didn't know you. Then yes, I'd send you straight to hell."

"Then why are you bothering to help me?"

"Because I know you. Raito-kun is not an evil man."

The teen exhaled sharply and then hissed, "I'm a murderer."

"Who doesn't believe in extenuating circumstances." L added sarcastically. "You can't simply call a murderer evil, Raito-kun. You are not evil."

"Why are you defending me?" Raito insisted.

L bite his thumb and shrugged, "Because Raito-kun is my friend."

"That's stupid!"

"Call it what you want." The detective sighed, "Raito-kun doesn't deserve hell. That's not justice and I can't let that happen."

"I thought justice was punishing evil people--people who kill." Raito snapped.

L regarded him with cool eyes, "That's your idea of justice. Not mine."

Raito groaned and shut his eyes, "Just stop talking!"

"During the trail Raito-kun will have time to address the court. What will you say?" The teen tugged on a piece of his hair and slowly said, "Something true, something I really believe in. I won't lie, we're past lies and acts at this point."

"Perfect. We'll get to change before the trial too. I'll be wearing a suit and I found one for you too. We can't leave this holding cell until 11 tomorrow night--well Raito-kun can't, I can. And I have my argument written and organized so--"

"Wait you can leave?"

L nodded.

Raito glanced around, this place was like hell. "Then why don't you?"

"I thought Raito-kun might get lonely."

The teen rolled his eyes, "Yeah, yeah yeah. So seriously, how'd you get stuck defending me? Is it like repentance of some kind?"

"Actually they're offering me a spot in heaven, they're attributing the death of Kira to me, so I can have whatever I want. It was almost impossible getting you a trial, most of the angels wanted to send you straight to hell."

"Tenshi?!" Raito gasped. "They're real?"

L nodded, "Stubborn assholes. I think I argued your case to them for four hours straight. But they're letting you have a trial and I insisted on defending you."

The teen cocked his head to the left, "So why'd you do it?"

"Because Raito-kun is my friend."

A/N: ahahah, hope that chapter wasn't too confusing. But just to summarize:

The fortune teller lady is actually an angel (tenshi) named Miranda who is friendly with ryuk and works in heaven. Raito is having a trial (in the next chapter) and L is defending him. And there are nine high angels (arch angels in christian mythology i guess (not sure if there's really nine or not, but in my story there's gonna be nine)) who will ultimately decide if Raito goes to heaven or hell.

hope everything sort of makes sense and nothings to convoluted.

reviews:)